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Saturday, September 8, 2012

In search of my Welsh Great Grandmother

Mary Ann Evans 

My great grandmother is the first real link to my Welsh heritage, being born in Haverfordwest, Wales in 1834. I thought I had found reference to her parents in one of the Parish record books in the Castle based Family History centre in Haverfordwest during my trip there in 2008. I had some mixed records of her ancestry before leaving for my holiday, so I wrote to a genealogist from that area who did some sleuthing for me. That information was quite useful and when I arrived at the history centre to research my great grandmother I had a couple of leads. There was indeed a baptism record for Mary Evans for 1834. Early days!

I need now to deepen that search and have once again engaged the services of a Genealogist in Wales, Welshroots. Together we narrowed down the search for source documents to the Marriage certificate between Mary Ann and George Robinson - the only fact for which I was reasonably confident was true.

We have now sent off for a copy of that certificate in the hope that we will discover the names and occupations of the parents of both George and Mary. These details will help with the next stage of the search - providing proof of parentage among the many Evans and Robinsons of the day. From these matches can be made to the Baptism records found in 2008. Then we can use the Census for 1851 and 1841 to further fine tune the residences and occupations for Mary prior to her marriage.

I am reasonably confident that Mary was in service and was employed as a House Servant at a wealthy Farmer's residence in Pembrokeshire in 1851.

What I now need to know is her exact birth date and birth place - was it Haverfordwest or Monkton, Pembrokeshire. Who were her parents and what is their heritage?

Once I receive the Marriage certificate some of those pieces of the jigsaw puzzle will be put in place and we can continue to dig a little deeper. I am keen to know what Mary's childhood was like in the 1830-1840 era and will look into the typical lifestyles of people who lived in Pembrokshire, Wales. The BBC British History Timeline will be one of the internet sources I will used for painting a picture of life in Victorian UK:

I am learning the importance of validating and citing evidence of each 'fact' in my ancestor's life before leaping to conclusions. I have enrolled in a Family History e-course and I'm using my new found research skills to ensure that I get the facts right for this ancestor - a gateway to my Welsh heritage.

So I must wait for that elusive Marriage certificate.

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