Searching for Rhandirmwyn ancestors.

The relevant ancestors are Charlotte Thomas and John Davies, both born in 1816. Charlotte died in 1868 and John in 1873.

My starting-point was an early 19th-century Welsh Bible inherited from my grandmother. The first flyleaf contains some handwritten details of Charlotte and John and their family, which included my great-great-grandmother Ann Rees née Davies. It states that John was the son of another John Davies and was born on 16 April 1816. Charlotte his wife was born in February 1816. Charlotte and John’s children were named Elizabeth, William, Hannah, Jane and Ann.

According to the Bible entries, Charlotte and John married in Tredegar in 1838, brought up their family there, died there and were buried in Cefn Golau cemetery, so it was only when I traced them in the censuses last year that I realised they were both originally from Carmarthenshire. The 1851-71 census entries for John all give simply “Carmarthenshire” as his birthplace, but the 1851 census shows Charlotte’s more specifically as “Nant-bai, Carmarthenshire”.

Their marriage certificate shows Charlotte’s father as William Thomas, Mason. In the digitised parish registers on findmypast.com, I found a baptism on 10 March 1816 at the parish church, Llanfair-ar-y-Bryn for Charlotte Thomas, daughter of Elizabeth and William Thomas, Mason, of Rhandir Abbot. Other children of William and Elizabeth were also baptised in the church. Thomas Thomas b.1817 and Jane Thomas b.1820 were baptised together on 2 February 1820. The parents’ home at that time is shown as Nantbai. John Thomas was baptised on 28 April 1821, when the family’s home was again Rhandir Abbot. William is described as a Mason on all the parish register entries. It seems possible that this is “my” Charlotte’s family, but I cannot be certain without more evidence.

I have not so far been able to trace any further details for John’s early life in Camarthenshire: as I can’t be sure of his parish, too many people with the same name come up! The marriage certificate shows his father was a miner, and John also worked variously an iron or coal miner according to the censuses.

I would be very grateful for any information which would enable me to make progress with this family. We have so far made two trips to Rhandirmwyn and have been glad of the chance to explore such a beautiful part of the world, previously unknown to us.

Susan Hughes

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