Wales and Ellwood cousins

Continued from Cornwall to Morgannwg: 6 May 2005 | Hayes & Greene family history

We left the rather bland hotel in Caerphilly just after 8:00, and went to have a look at the castle in daylight. I was interested in Caerphilly and Whitchurch because my great great grandmother, Catherine Harris, who married James Andrew Hayes, was said to have been born in Whitchurch, and her mother Sarah was born in Caerphilly.

Caerphilly Castle, 7 May 2005

Caerphilly Castle, 7 May 2005

We drove north, up the Rhondda valley stopping at Brecon for breakfast at a small cafe, as the hotel breakfast was optional and rather expensive. The town was full of secondhand bookshops, and if we’d had more time and money we might have spent a couple of days there, but instead we went to W.H. Smith and got a couple of extra films and a map of North Wales.

Cwm Rhondda, 7 May 2005

Cwm Rhondda, 7 May 2005

We had just left the town and gone about 10 miles when Val discovered she had left her bag behind, so we went back to the cafe and looked for it, and they hadn’t even cleared the plates away. There was a lot of traffic on the major roads, so we took the minor ones, which were winding and twisting. We stopped at the Clywedog Reservoir to take some photos.

Vlywedog Reservoir, 7 May 2005

Clywedog Reservoir, 7 May 2005

We reached Blaenau Ffestiniog just after noon. It was quite a big town, but mostly winding and twisting along the main road. When we originally planned our trip we had hoped to meet Father Deiniol, the Orthodox priest there, whom I had met in Albania a few years previously (see here for that story). But it turned out that the time we would be there, he would be away in Turkey. Even though Father Deiniol was away, we looked for the Orthodox Church, but could not see where it was, though we stopped to look and just about every building that looked vaguely church like. Most of them were abandoned and derelict, or were being used for something else.

Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales. 7 May 2005.

Blaenau Ffestiniog, Wales. 7 May 2005.

We drove on to Betwys-y-Coed, which seemed to be full of tourists and tourist accommodation, and turned off just before Caernarfon to look for Deiniolen, where Viv and Geraint Jones lived. We missed the turn off were looking for, and could not go back as a lot of cars were following and there was no place to turn, so took the next turn off and got lost. We drove through some villages, and found ourselves on a hill above a village we thought was Deiniolen, but were not sure about, because there was no signpost saying that it was. Viv Jones phoned, and suggested that we should stay were we were and that they would come to look for us, but that was not a good idea, as they got lost too, but eventually they found us and led us to their farm Blaen Ce Uchaf, just outside Deiniolen, where we had tea with them and their daughter Alison, 24 years old, who was doing a PhD in Chemistry at Bangor University.

Geraint, Viv and Alison Jones and Val Hayes. Blaen Ce Uchaf, 7 May 2005

Geraint, Viv and Alison Jones and Val Hayes. Blaen Ce Uchaf, 7 May 2005

Their farm was 70 acres, and they had cattle and sheep. Geraint said it had been in his family for four generations, and it seemed rather sad that they had no other children who could work it for them, and to whom they could leave it. They worked it all themselves.

Viv and Val were second cousins on the Ellwood side of the family, and Norah Pearson (of whom more later in this series) once wrote to us saying that Valerie, Vivienne and her own daughter Maxine were all born within a few months of each other in 1948, and she recalled making matinee jackets for the three of them. Their maternal grandmothers were Martha, Bridget and Margaret Ellwood, daughters of Thomas Ellwood and Mary Carr of Whitehaven, Cumberland.

Viv Jones and Val Hayes, Caernafon, Wales.

Cousins: Viv Jones and Val Hayes, Caernafon, Wales.

Geraint’s sister was ill, and he and Alison went to see her in hospital, while Viv led us down to Caernarfon stopping on the way for us to book accommodation at a “Grill and Tea Room” at a traffic circle,
and then to Caernarfon Castle, where there was an Orthodox Church in the city wall. It had a sign saying that it was in the care of a monastic community that lived outside the town, but did not say what time there were services, or where the community was.

Orthodox Church in the city wall, Caernafon, Wales.

Orthodox Church in the city wall, Caernafon, Wales.

Viv left us to join the others at the hospital, and we walked round the castle, and across a pedestrian swing bridge over the river, taking photos. and as seemed usual when we reached the water, the tide was out.

River Seiont at Caernarfon.

River Seiont at Caernarfon.

Caernarfon Castle

Caernarfon Castle

We drove back to the tea room, but they were just closing the dining room as we arrived, and so we drove on to a pub up the road, and had lamb curry for supper, and I had Newcastle Brown ale,  my all-time favourite beer, which I had not had for many years. The second best, Lion Ale, is no longer made. When I was in England to study 40 years ago, I had often eaten at Indian restaurants in preference to English ones, because Indian food was so much better, but now the pubs are offering Indian food, though they still made rather watery curry-flavoured stew, and offered it with chips as an alternative to rice.

When we got back to the tea room Viv and Geraint Jones were waiting for us there, and Viv brought a sampler which had the name Mary Barker, and the date 1814 on it, which she had inherited with her
mother’s things, and wondered if the Mary Barker was related, but we did not immediately recognise it. Her mother, Elsie Fee, was Val’s mother’s first cousin on the Ellwood side. They then took us for a ride over the Menai Bridge, which was quite famous, to the island of Anglesey.

The Menai Bridge, 7 May 2005.

The Menai Bridge, 7 May 2005.

 

On the Anglesey side there was also the place with the longest place name, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, and Geraint took great delight in saying the name for us.

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch Station, Anglesey, Wales 7 May 2005.

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch Station, Anglesey, Wales 7 May 2005.

Then we went to Bangor, to see the cathedral, and Geraint and Viv dropped us back at the tea room at 10:30 pm.

Bangor Cathedral, Wales. 7 May 2005.

Bangor Cathedral, Wales. 7 May 2005.

Cornwall to Morgannwg: 6 May 2005

Continued from: 5 May 2005, Cornwall

We woke up about 5:30 at the Trewint B&B near Blisland, Cornwall, where we had spent the last two nights, and packed our things. We watched the news on TV. More election results were out, and it seemed that the Liberal Democrats had made gains at the expense of Labour, which seemed satisfactory to me, as it might send a message to Tony Blair that his war mongering was unacceptable.It looked as though Cornwall, in particular, was a Tory and Labout-free zone.

 

Ytewing B&B at Waterloo, near Blisland, Cornwall

Trewint B&B at Waterloo, near Blisland, Cornwall

We had breakfast at 7:30, and left Trewint at about 8:15, driving up to St Breward again, and then across the moors to Camelford, and down to the church at Lanteglos, and took a couple of photos of the outside, but did not go in and take pictures in the churchyard or inside the church, as we only knew of one family member who had been born there, my great granduncle Richard John Tilley Greenaway, younger brother of my great grandmother Elizabeth Greenaway, who married William Matthew Growdon. Richard was born and baptised at Lanteglos-by-Camelford in 1847, but as the family seemed to move around a lot at that time, his siblings were all born elsewhere.

North Cornwall coast at Tintagel, 6 May 2005

North Cornwall coast at Tintagel, 6 May 2005

We went on to Tintagel, where William Matthew Growdon’s mother, Christiana Dyer, had lived with her first husband, John Pope. Her two eldest children, Thomas and Philippa Pope, were born there in 1838 and 1840, but seem to have disappeared, as we could find no record of their subsequent marriage or death.

"King Arthur's Castle" hotel at Titagel, Cornwall. 5 May 2005

“King Arthur’s Castle” hotel at Tintagel, Cornwall. 5 May 2005

At Tintagel there was a large block of a hotel, calling itself King Arthur’s Castle, a rather kitsch Disneyland type of thing, with an “Excali-Bar”. We drove to the church, a little outside the village, and found a couple of Sandercocks buried there, and took photos of the church and of the island from the cliffs.

UKtrip59Those Sandercocks were probably not related, as  ours seemed to have lived mostly in Cardinham, on the south side of Bodmin Moor, and the ones on north-eastern Cornwall seemed to be entirely separate.

Tintgel village, from the churchyard. 6 May 2005

Tintagel village, from the churchyard. 6 May 2005

Then we headed east along the north coast, driving through Devon, and stopped at Barnstaple, where we found an interesting market, where we bought some batteries, and a newspaper at the newsagents,
and some roast beef rolls with horseradish sauce.

Market in Barnstaple, Devon

Market in Barnstaple, Devon

We drove through Exmoor forest and stopped for a picnic lunch at the side of the road, eating the beef rolls we had bought in Barnstaple.

Exmoor Forest, Somerset. 6 May 2005

Exmoor Forest, Somerset. 6 May 2005

.We joined the M5 at Taunton, and stopped at the Gordano Services centre for petrol. My great grandparents William Allen Hayes and Mary Barber Stooke had been married at Easton-in-Gordano, and some other members of the Hayes family had been buried there, but we did not go off the motorway to have a look since they did not seem to have lived there very long. We drove on and crossed the Severn Bridge to south Wales.

Crossing the Severn into South Wales 6 May 2005

Crossing the Severn into South Wales 6 May 2005

There were now two bridges, and we took the eastern one, which I had walked across in 1968, after visiting my college friend Chris Gwilliam at Chepstow when on a “seeing people” hitchhiking tour during the college vacation.

We tried to get off the M4 and go to Whitchurch, which we reached by a rather roundabout route, and looked for somewhere to stay near there, and there didn’t seem to be anywhere suitable, so we drove up to Caerphilly, with lots of roadworks on the way through the rush-hour traffic. We saw the castle there, and settled for a hotel on the edge of town, one of a chain similar to the Formula I hotels in South Africa. It was bland and boring, and looked like any such hotel anywhere in the world, but at least there was a table where one could put the computer. In spite of their name, laptop computers don’t really work very well on laps, and tend to slide off onto the floor. At the Trewint B&B we had managed to balance it on a bedside pedestal, after moving all the fluffy toys and dolls onto the bed.

We tried to phone my cousin Simon Hayes, who lived in Cardiff, but at first got no response, and left a voice mail message for him, and he phoned back a bit later to say he was driving home from work. He commuted each day to work in Bristol.

My cousin Simon Hayes outside his house in Cardiff. 6 May 2005

My cousin Simon Hayes outside his house in Cardiff. 6 May 2005

We drove over the hill to Cardiff to meet Simon and his wife Gill, and their younger daughter Jessica, aged 7. Their elder daughter, Sophia, aged 10, had gone to a Guide vigil.

Gill, Jessica and Simon Hayes. Cardiff, 6 May 2005.

Gill, Jessica and Simon Hayes. Cardiff, 6 May 2005.

We had supper with them, and spent a very pleasant evening chatting about family history, and politics and various other things. Simon was the son of my second cousin Roger Hayes, who had been a marine engineer. We drove back to the hotel in Caerphilly, and went to bed about midnight.

Simon & Steve Hayes, Cardiff 6 May 2005.

Simon & Steve Hayes, Cardiff 6 May 2005.

Continued at Wales and Ellwood cousins.

UK Trip 4 May 2005: Somerset, Devon, Cornwall

Continued from Hayes family in Somerset.

We had breakfast at 7:30, and left Pickford House at Beckington just after 8:00. We had had a very pleasant stay there for two nights.

Pickford House B&B, Beckington, Somerset 4 May 2005

Pickford House B&B, Beckington, Somerset 4 May 2005

We drove through Midsomer Norton, because there was a TV detective series called Midsomer Murders. Midsomer Norton looked a rather unprepossessing place, and it turned out that the detective series was filmed in Oxfordshire anyway. We drove down the Cheddar Gorge this time, and went to the post office in Axbridge, where we bought post cards, pens and stationery. We drove up the High Street and round the village. There was a field full of Somerset sheep, which seemed fatter than the Merinos at home, and at the other side of the field there appeared to be two llamas lying down, but they were so far away we could not see them very well.

Fields at Axbridge, Somerset. Is the animal by the fience on the right a llama? 4 May 2005

Fields at Axbridge, Somerset. Is the animal by the fence on the right a llama? 4 May 2005

We called at Wookey Hole, but did not go in to the caves. We drove through Glastonbury, and saw the Tor, which was not nearly as numinous and mysterious as it has been touted to be. We had read in many places that it was supposed to be spooky, and one of the “thin places” of the earth, but it looked quite ordinaryas we drove past. Nearby we passed a sign to Burrowbridge Mump, and we wondered what a “mump” could be — something like a tumulus or tump, perhaps? We saw a roundish hill off to the left, and assumed that that was it. Then we drove along a narrow road across the Somerset flats, lined with basket willows, and turned off to the left, and after about a mile climbed up to North Curry, where my great great great grandfather Simon Hayes was born about 1785.

The Somerset Leveds, with the road lined with basket willows 4 May 2005

The Somerset Levels, with the road lined with basket willows 4 May 2005

The sky was overcast and there was a chilly wind blowing. From the hill there was a view a long way over the Somerset Levels. We went to the church, and when we got out of the car we heard the sound of the wind blowing in the trees and the raucous cries of strange birds. That was numinous and mysterious, far more so than Glastonbury, and had a rather menacing atmosphere.

St Peter & St Paul Church, North Curry, Somerset. 4 May 2005

St Peter & St Paul Church, North Curry, Somerset. 4 May 2005

The harsh cries of crows, and some that sounded like owls made it feel somehow unearthly. It was what H.P. Lovecraft might describe as eldritch. The church with its octagonal tower was grey and crumbling and covered with lichen, and looked like an abandoned building from Elidor, something from another time and place. If you are talking about thin places, this was the thinnest place I had ever been in.

St Peter & St Paul Church, North Curry, Somerset, 4 May 2005.

St Peter & St Paul Church, North Curry, Somerset, 4 May 2005.

Inside the church was also rather impressive, in a somewhat different way, and it seemed to be a lively and active parish. There was an ikon of St Peter & St Paul, and we lit candles in front of it. We had lunch in the Bird in Hand pub, ham eggs and chips, which was expensive, but much better than English food as I remembered it from 40 years ago. In Bath we had gone to a Chinese restaurant, because of my memories of the banality of English cuisine. This was a surprise, and as we continued on our travels we discovered the cooking much better than it had been in the 1960s; perhaps it was the influence of all the cooking shows on TV that seemed to have proliferated in recent years.

Pub in North Curry

Pub in North Curry

The inhabited parts of the village were not nearly as spooky as the bits around the church. Though my ancestor Simon Hayes claimed to have been born here, there was no record of his baptism in the church records, and he appears to have dropped into the world out of nowhere. Perhaps he was a refugee from Elidor.

North Curry, Somerset

North Curry, Somerset

We left North Curry by a different road, and filled up with petrol before joining the M5 motorway, which took us to the vicinity of Exeter in Devon. We turned off to Dunchideock and Doddiscombesleigh and
the sun came out again as we drove down narrow country lanes with high banks and hedges, so one could see very little other than the narrow sunken lanes ahead.

Devonshire lanes near Dunchideock,  with high banks and hedges, and no view of the countryside. 4 May 2005.

Devonshire lanes near Dunchideock, with high banks and hedges, and no view of the countryside. 4 May 2005.

We saw nothing more of Dunchideock than a sign on a hedge, and Doddiscombesleigh seemed to be little more than the pub and the church. The pub was the Nobody, and I remembered someone on the British Genealogy newsgroup saying one could get a good meal there, but we’d just had a very adequate meal
at North Curry, and so were not hungry enough. We went on to Ashton in the Teign Valley, where the Stooke family had lived.

The River Teign at Ashton. 4 May 2005.

The River Teign at Ashton. 4 May 2005.

My great grandfather William Allen Hayes had married Mary Barber Stooke in Bristol, and then run the Red Lion Hotel in Axbridge. The Stooke family goes back to the 16th century in the Teign valley. Ashton church seemed much deader than the one in North Curry, and was locked.

Ashton parish church, Devon. 4 May 2005.

Ashton parish church, Devon. 4 May 2005.

There was only one monument to the Stookes that we could find in the churchyard, that of Edmund Stooke of Rydon (1788-1860). He was the uncle of my great great grandfather Thomas Stooke, who was born in Chudleigh in 1815.

Monument to Edward Stooke of Rydon in Ashton churchyard. 5 May 2005.

Monument to Edward Stooke of Rydon in Ashton churchyard. 4 May 2005.

We then went to Trusham, where Stookes had also lived, and the church was a bit better maintained, and there were monuments to the Stooke family inside the church. We spoke to a woman there who was looking after the church.

Trusham parish church. There are several monuments to members of the Stooke family inside the church. 4 May 2015

Trusham parish church. There are several monuments to members of the Stooke family inside the church. 4 May 2005

Trusham village seemed to be a bit bigger than Ashton, and had more inhabitants.

Trusham, Devon. 4 May 2015

Trusham, Devon. 4 May 2005

We went on to Chudleigh, where Thomas Stooke had been born, and parked outside the library, where some kids were skateboarding in the street. I tried to listen for their accents to hear what local
accents sounded like, but everywhere we have been we heard Estuary accents.

Chudleigh parish churc. My great great grandfather Thomas Stooke was baptised here in 1815.

Chudleigh parish church. My great great grandfather Thomas Stooke was baptised here in 1815.

We then drove through Bovey Tracey, where a Stooke had been minister in the Commonwealth period, and on to Moretonhampstead, where I had nearly had a job as a kitchen boy in a hotel in 1966, and then across Dartmoor to Tavistock, via Two Bridges. Dartmoor looked a lot like the South African highveld.

Dartmoor - resmbles the South Africah Highveld.

Dartmoor – resembles the South African Highveld.

We drove up to the A30, and crossed Bodmin Moor and turned off to Blisland just past Jamaica Inn, and stayed at Trewint Farm near the hamlet of Waterloo, run by Mike and Carol. After dumping our cases we drove in to Bodmin, and had supper at the Weavers bar in the middle of town. They had Cornish steaks on the menu, but no Cornish pasties, so we had ham omelets.

St Petroc's Church, Bodmin, Cornwall

St Petroc’s Church, Bodmin, Cornwall

The town seemed noisy, with small motor bikes running around. After supper we drove around looking for places where the Growden family had lived at various times, and found Higher Bore Street, which was one of their homes. We drove back over the moor, though around Blisland most of the roads were narrow sunken country lanes with high banks and hedges like those in Devon, so we could not see much of the countryside.

Continued at Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, on election day.

Priest in shock wedding

Priest in shock wedding. So read the headline in the Natal Daily News the day after our wedding 40 years ago on 29 September 1974.

We were married in St Martin-in-the-Fields Anglican Church in Durban North, where I was the assistant priest at the time. The “shock” was a bit of an exaggeration; “surprise” might have been more accurate. We were married at the regular church service on Sunday morning, and of the congregation of about 400 only about 10 knew beforehand that we were getting married. Not even the guest preacher that Sunday, Fr Michael Lapsley, SSM, knew, and so he too was taken by surprise at the announcement that followed his sermon.

The reason for the secrecy was that I was banned at the time, and was not allowed to attend any social gatherings, that is, gatherings at which the persons present also had social intercourse with one other. There was one exception to this: with the special permission of the chief magistrate of Durban, I was allowed to attend tea parties after regular church services at St Martin’s, provided that those at the tea party had also attended the service beforehand. That meant that our wedding had to be at one of the regular Sunday services that was followed by tea, which at St Martin’s was on the fourth Sunday of each month.

Wedding of Stephen Hayes and Valerie Greene at St Martin-in-the-Fields Anglican Church, Durban North. 29 September 1974

Wedding of Stephen Hayes and Valerie Greene at St Martin-in-the-Fields Anglican Church, Durban North. 29 September 1974

Issuing a public invitation to attend would be likely to attract the unwelcome attention of the Security Police, and we did not want them snooping around and recording the number plates of all the cars outside the church and things like that. In these days of freedom that may sound quite paranoid, but things were different back then. At that very time my cousin’s husband, who was also banned, was facing charges of having broken his ban by attending a friend’s wedding in Pietermaritzburg — he had chatted to a couple of people after the service, and the Security Police interpreted that as a “social gathering”, and subpoenaed a lot of people who were at the service to give evidence, including the Anglican suffragan bishop of Natal, Ken Hallowes.

Wedding of Stephen Hayes & Valerie Greene, 29 Sep 1974. The officiant was the Revd Arnold Hirst

Wedding of Stephen Hayes & Valerie Greene, 29 Sep 1974. The officiant was the Revd Arnold Hirst

It so happened that on Sunday 29th September the choir of the Northlands Girls High School was singing a special musical setting of the service, called “The Mass of St Francis” (by aniticipation, St Francis was actually commemorated on 4 October). This provided a suitable excuse: we invited our friends and acquaintances to come to church that Sunday to hear this special choir, so we weren’t actually inviting them to attend a wedding or a gathering afterwards that could possibly be interpreted as a “social gathering” as defined in the Suppression of Communism Act (as amended). So we told our parents, and swore them to secrecy. And the parish priest, Arnold Hirst, knew, of course, and the head server, Richard Girdwood, and Ian Bastable, who had arranged the visit of the choir, and that was about it.

Going into the vestry after the service to attend to the legal bits.

Going into the vestry after the service to attend to the legal bits.

So after the sermon by Father Michael Lapsley, which went on for about 45 minutes, we were married.[1] And, despite the Mass of St Francis, the day was actually the Western feast of St Michael and All Angels.

With the preacher at the service, Fr Michael Lapsley, SSM

With the preacher at the service, Fr Michael Lapsley, SSM

Thirteen years later, on the Orthodox feast of St Michael and all the Bodiless Powers of Heaven, on 8 November 1987, we were received into the Orthodox Church, and since then we have observed the 8th November as our Slava and wedding anniversary. Slava is a Serbian Orthodox custom. All Orthodox Christians celebrate their name day, the day of the Saint whose name they were given in baptism. A Slava is a kind of family name day, celebrating the day of the Saint on which the first members of that family were baptised. In the case of most Serbs, that would have been several centuries ago, but in our case it is in living memory. It also seemed to be a good custom to adopt in Africa, where ancestors have played a significant role in culture.

Val Hayes, formerly Greene

Val Hayes, formerly Greene

As our actual wedding had to be “secret”, in the sense that we couldn’t invite anyone to it, we would like to celebrate our 40th anniversary by issuing an open invitation to friends and family to attend our Slava and anniversary celebrations. With the blessing of the Archbishop of Johannesburg and Pretoria, Metropolitan Damaskinos, and the parish priest, Father Athanasius Akunda, it will take place at Vespers at the Church of St Nicholas of Japan, 156 Fulham Road, Brixton, Johannesburg, at 6:30 pm on Saturday 8 November 2014. As they say in the funeral announcements: friends kindly accept this intimation.

After the service, in the wedding garments Val had made

After the service, in the wedding garments Val had made. Unfortunately our negative scanner doesn’t cope too well with Fujicolor film, so the colours are a bit off

Unlike the original wedding, therefore, we are inviting people to join us. But, like the original event, and in memory of it, the refreshments will be of the “tea after church service” variety”.

It might have been better to plan such a thing for our 50th anniversary, in 2024, but who knows if we’ll survive that long in this world, so perhaps we’ll save that one for the next.

—-
Notes
[1] Actually if the Security Police had been alerted, they would probably have classified the whole thing as a “political gathering” (another type of gathering banned people were not allowed to attend), since Fr Michael pulled no punches when he said what St Francis would probably have thought of the contemporary political situation in South Africa (a “political gathering” was one at which any principle or policy of a state or of the government of a state was discussed). One woman walked out in the middle of the sermon, though whether because of political objections or because she thought it had gone on too long, we never discovered. She missed the fun afterwards, though she might also have disapproved of that too.

Visiting cousins and old haunts

This morning I left home before 5:00 am to go to Johannesburg for the Divine Liturgy for the feast of the Transfiguration, It starts at 6:00 to give people enough time to get to work afterwards. And, as I sometimes do on such occasions, I had breakfast at the Wimpy in Killarney Mall (they do hake with chips and salad). And then I planned to go and do some family history research in the Mormon family history centre in Parktown, but when I got there it was closed.

I didn’t feel like facing the freeway at the tail-end of the rush hour, so I took a leisurely drive through some of the haunts of my youth — a block of flats we had lived at in Sandringham, and St Nicholas Anglican Church down the road, where on Thursday mornings (rather like today) I used to go to be an altar server with old Canon Sharman and millions of angels. Canon Sharman seemed very old then, though he was probably no older than I am now. But he is long gone, The church was still there, though, but it has been converted into a private residence.

St Nicholas Anglican Church, Sandringham, Johannesburg -- now converted into a private house

St Nicholas Anglican Church, Sandringham, Johannesburg — now converted into a private house

Then I thought, having been deprived of the opportunity of looking at the names of long-dead relatives in microfilm readers, why not go and see a living one. So I went to see my cousin Peter Maxwell, whom I hadn’t seen for over 50 years, and met his wife Mellony for the first time. The last time I met him, I recalled, we had spent most of the time talking about cars, and he said he is still a car nut, and in the past drove in races and rallies. Nowadays it has become specialised and professionalised, and only the very rich could do it, but back then, he said, if you went to Castol and showed them your rally registration, they would sponsor you by providing a few litres of oil.

Steve Hayes & Peter Maxwell, 6 August 2013

Steve Hayes & Peter Maxwell, 6 August 2013

It’s more fun to meet one living relative than to pore over microfilm records to find a few facts about a dozen dead ones.

Peter Maxwell is the son of my father’s sister, Doreen Wynn Maxwell, born Hayes.

Anglo-Boer War photos

For as long as I can remember we have had a couple of photo albums that belonged to my grandfather, Percy Wynn Hayes (1874-1948). As they are now more than 100 years old, the photos are beginning to fade, and the albums’ bindings are beginning to disintegrate.

So the time has come to make digital scans of them, before they fade any more. The problem is that a series of images on a hard disk don’t tell you very much, and so I’ve been putting it off.

But now I have begun using the Evernote notetaking program, and it seems to be the ideal tool for this kind of thing.

I scan the photos in tiff format with the program that came with our printer/scanner, and then edit them with Irfanview to try to compensate for some of the fading. I then make a smaller, compressed jpeg copy (keeping the tiff one for archival purposes).

I press Ctrl-C on the jpeg version in Irfanview, to copy the image, and Ctrl-V in a new note in Evernote, and the picture is there. I give it a title, and some tags so that I can find it again. Then I type underneath the picture anything that my grandfather wrote in the album. He often didn’t.

Here’s one of the pictures:

img506

He didn’t write anything under that picture, so I’ve just given it the title “Five mounted soldiers”. But at least it is preserved, and can’t fade any more. And even the reduced jpeg copies, copied into Evernote, are bigger than the pictures in the original album.

So I’m quite chuffed with Evernote. It can do lots of different things, but one of the things it excels at is compiling a digital photo album.

If you’d like to see how Evernote prints a report (ie an album) of the first few pictures I added, click here to see the Evernote.pdf file it produced. You just select the “notes” you want included, and then print the album, which you can then send to other family members, etc. That way everyone can share grandpa’s photo album.

When I’ve finished scanning them, I might donate the originals to a museum somewhere. My mother sometimes threatened to do that, but I’m glad she didn’t, because back then we didn’t have the technology to make decent copies that we could keep.

Where does Francis Joseph Hayes fit in?

Yesterday I discovered a Hayes relation I had not known about before; he is Francis Joseph Hayes, born about 1882.

Discovering hitherto unknown relations is not unknown in genealogical and family history research — that’s what it’s all about. But the difficulty is finding where this one fits in.

Francis Joseph Hayes appears on the 1911 English census, aged 29, staying with the Nobbs familyat 11 Ashchurch Park Villas, Hammersmith, London. Most of the male members of the family are gun makers, and he is too. He is shown as the nephew of the head of the household, 62-year-old Barbara Nobbs, widow. From other sources I know that she was Barbara Rachel Hayes, born in Bristol, England, and baptised at St Andrew’s Church, Clifton, Bristol, on 15 July 1848.

name: Francis Joseph Hayes
event: Census
event date: 1911
gender: Male
age: 29
birthplace: Finsbury Park London N, London
record type: Household
registration district: Fulham
sub-district: North Hammersmith
parish: Hammersmith
county: London

Barbara Rachel Hayes married William Nobbs, gun maker, on 4 June 1870, and they had five children, Rosa, William, Wesley, Elijah and Chrisopher. By 1911 three of the five were dead: Rosa, William and Christopher all died in their 30s, apparently unmarried and leaving no descendants. At the 1911 census two of the five children were at home: Wesley, with his wife Florence and two children, and Elijah Thomas Nobbs, who was still single. And then the mysterious Francis Joseph Hayes, nephew.

Where did Francis Joseph come from?

Barbara Rachel Hayes was the eldest of eight children of Sander Hayes and Barbara Deake Clevely. She did have a nephew William Joseph Hayes, born in 1882, son of her brother Christopher Albert Hayes, but William Joseph Hayes died 18 months later, and his birth and death are recorded on a plaque in the Easton-in-Gordano cemetery. None of her other brothers had children born in the right time frame, and their children were all born in Bristol.

One brother, John Hayes, was in the right place at the right time. He married Maud Alice Rogers in Bristol in 1877, and they had two daughters, Maude and Adelaide, in 1878 and 1879 respectively, and they appear on the 1881 census living in London, where John was a builder. It is possible that they could have had a son in London in 1882. But in 1885 the family emigrated to the USA, where they show up in censuses for San Francisco — father, mother and two daughters — no Francis Joseph. Is it likely that they would have emigrated and left a three-year-old child behind?

Earlier censuses don’t seem to cast much light on the matter, so perhaps he was in America, and returned.

Perhaps it’s time to bite the bullet and order the birth certificate for this one:

Surname First name(s) District Vol Page
Births Jun 1881   (>99%)
HAYES  Francis  Hackney  1b 509
HAYES  Francis Joseph  Islington  1b 452
HAYES  Francis William  Upton  6c 323

But if his parents are not known members of the family, then what?

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