Tuesday, 12 February 2013

When did Thomas Davies die?

Thomas DAVIES of Rhyl was our 4xgreat grandfather. His grand-daughter Jane travelled to Queensland in 1884. Just to make the investigation of family history more challenging, Jane was the daughter of Thomas's daughter Jane who married John Davies thereby ensuring that the younger Jane appeared to have her maternal grandfather's surname!

The 1851 Census showed Thomas (an Agricultural Labourer) and his wife Susannah living in Rhyl with 7 children ranging in age from 15 years to 3 months. At the next census (in 1861), Susannah is recorded as the widowed head of a household of 7 children including 2 born since 1851. Edward, the youngest, is listed as being 6 years old.

We can infer that Thomas died at some time in the period 1853 to 1861. It is a reasonable assumption that he would have been buried in Flintshire, since that is where had lived for his entire life. Unfortunately, the Flint Burial Transcriptions show that no fewer than 42 men named Thomas Davies were buried in the county during the relevant period. We need to narrow the search.

The 1851 census return listed Thomas's age as 42 which would indicate a date of birth in 1808-9. In 1841, his age was given as 30 but it must be remembered that this would have been rounded down and the actual value could be as large as 34. Hence the birth would fall within 1807-11.

When this additional constraint is added to a search of Flint Burials, the number of candidates falls to just 3. And one of those actually lived 10 weeks past the census date on 7 April 1861.

Thus, we can state with some confidence that Thomas died in February 1856 or October 1857. Can we be any more precise?

The 1857 burial occurred in the Parish of Llanasa while that in 1856 took place in Rhuddlan (the location of other significant life events for our family at this time). Is it possible to identify the Thomas from Llanasa in a way which would eliminate him from consideration.

The 1851 census records Thomas Davies, Quarryman, living with his wife Ann in Llanasa with no children.

So I am quietly confident that 4xgreat grandfather Thomas DAVIES died in February 1856 and was buried by the parish vicar, Thomas Wynn Edwards, on the 12th day of that month.

Which makes today the 157th anniversary of Thomas's burial, and prompts me to ask When was he born?

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