This year has seen considerable progress made on Gillian's mother's side of the family - not through any intent to focus on it this year, but because events occurred making this a next step.
In July, when on holiday in Watchet, Gillian took the opportunity to visit Bristol and meet a distant cousin on her Grandpa Jenkins' side of the family. Suzanne showed many family photos and Gillian now knew who many of the people in her own photos were. Suzanne also seeded a mystery: where did Grandpa's mother come from? - she was untraceable before first appearing in the census when she was 18, working as a servant for the local 'lord of the manor' near where my great grandfather lived. Gillian remembered a letter from another distant family member that might provide a clue.
Unfortunately the letter could only be in the boxes of memorabilia from Gillian's grandfather's house, which were in a cupboard across which Martin had built his model railway. After temporary demolition of the railway, half a dozen boxes of memorabilia were extracted and the railway rebuilt. The letter proved vital in tracing that part of the family, and also contained a photo of Gillian's great-great grandfather.
The half a dozen boxes were duly processed over many weeks, and proved a treasure trove of old photos and family mysteries solved.
Then in October, Gillian was contacted by a second cousin on her grandmother's side (the Williams family), who had found Gillian via the internet. This led to the discovery of how that part of the family inherited money and left coal mining in the Welsh valleys to come to Cardiff - where my grandfather met my grandmother. Granny Jenkins came from a large family, as you can see! Eight out of nine children survived to maturity, the eldest boy being 'lost at sea' (in World War 1? - another mystery). The youngest boy hadn't been born at the time of this photo, leading to a fairly precise date prior to 6th May 1907.
Great grandfather Thomas Jenkins' farm, New Barn, Goytre, near Pontypool, Monmouthshire
The piece of paper that caused the demolition of the model railway: "Thomas Lewis married Mary Chapman at Penstrowed, 8 June 1855"
Granny Jenkins' family, ca. 1906-7. Granny (Jennet Gwyn Williams) is the girl in white immediately in front of her father
Web page maintained by Gillian Beer. Last updated 4 December, 2011 .