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My family Pentrefelin

52 Ancestors: Week 21 – At the Cemetery

I am taking part in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge for 2021. The challenge is organised by Amy Johnson Crow who provides a weekly writing prompt. I am way behind with my writing …. I could blame my University course, but term finished a month ago. I have just been doing other things.

Most genealogists and family historians will find any excuse for a wander around a cemetery. There is a wealth of information in cemeteries. To give something back to the genealogy community I am transcribing the memorials in two local graveyards Tabor Chapel and Ynyscynhaiarn Church. I will add them to Find-A-Grave when I find time too.

I do like the Welsh tradition of putting address on gravestones, so useful to us when this information has been forgotten. I hadn’t realised it was a particularly Welsh thing to do until I was looking for a geocache in my Mum’s local churchyard in Kent. We spotted one gravestone with an address:

St Mary the Virgin churchyard High Halden, Ashford, Kent
In Loving Memory of
Catherine Poulton
the wife of
William Williams of Gates
High Halden
Born 4th April 1845 Died 5th April 1917
Also of William Williams
Born 31 July 1842 Died 23rd Oct 1931
Thank you to Mum, Vera Hopkinson, for this picture.

William Williams of Gates Farm, High Halden sounds to have Welsh connections, and the Welsh tradition of an address on the memorial inscription has been followed.

Years ago I spent some time exploring the churchyard at St Alban’s Wickersley where many of my Downes and Wadsworth ancestors were buried. My 3rd great grandparents moved to Wickersley around 1835 and had 13 children in total.

Sacred
to the memory of
George
Son of John and
Martha Downs
Who departed this life
October 20th 1839.
Aged 2 years and 6 weeks
Also William their son
who departed this life
June 21st 1841 aged 2 years
Also Henry John Grayson
their son who departed this
life Nov 20th 1846 aged 10 years
and 10 months.
Also Caroline their daughter
who departed this life
April 14th 1848 aged 1 year and
11 months.

I find this gravestone heart-breaking. To lose one child must be horrendous. To lose four children in nine years just does not bear thinking about.

Sacred
to the memory of
Benjamin Roberts
who died March 24th 1826
aged 43 years
also John son of the above
died July 27 1810
aged 1 year and 9 months
also Sarah wife of
Richard Oliver and relict of the above named
she died Nov 9th 1857 aged 72 years.

This gravestone, for my 4th great grandparents Benjamin and Sarah Roberts confused me. Benjamin Roberts was born in about 1782 and was baptised in Bramley near Wickersley, West Riding of Yorkshire. In 1806 he married Sarah Dawson, who was baptised in Tickhill in 1783. They had at least four children between 1808 and 1822, but as seen on the gravestone Benjamin died in 1826 aged 43.

Sarah married Richard Oliver on 24th December 1832 in the Cathedral Church of St Peter & St Paul, Sheffield. He was about 27 years old and she was 49 years old. Sarah died 15 years later and was buried with her first husband.

Richard Oliver went on to marry Benjamin and Sarah’s daughter Ann, his step-daughter. Ann already had an 8 year old illegitimate son, John, my 2nd great-grandfather.

I can’t help wondering what gossip there was around Richard Oliver, Sarah and Ann. Why did they both marry him? And of course, who was John Robert’s father?

You never know what you will find at the cemetery, and it is always worth looking for your ancestors gravestones.

2 replies on “52 Ancestors: Week 21 – At the Cemetery”

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