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A Mary Williams in Nantyglo

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  • A Mary Williams in Nantyglo

    I know there's all kind of things wrong with this Mary Williams, from a Mary Jane Kelly candidacy perspective (the nine year old child in 1883, for example; even if you accept a 30yr old Kelly in '88, she would have been 15 when giving birth), but I think I'm going to look into this one nevertheless. The Monmouthshire-connection, coupled with the residency in London, is something to at least glance at for a while.
    I'm terrible at censuses, so if anyone would like to jump in, you are most welcome.
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  • #2
    Rootspoint has John Harris in 71.

    JOHN HARRIS

    1871 England & Wales Census
    Born in 1822
    John Harris was a man born in 1822 in Monmouthshire. During the 1871 UK Census he was 49 years old and lived in Monmouthshire. He appears as the head of his house in the 1871 UK Census.
    There's a Williams in his household but I haven't figured out the relationships.
    HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS: John Harris (49, Male)
    Margret Harris (60, Female)
    Wm Williams (25, Male)
    Link is below:

    John Harris - born in 1822 in Monmouthshire - 1871 England & Wales Census (rootspoint.com)
    FamilySearch has the census records for free with registration.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thank you very much for the probe, San Fran. It seems Mary in the 1881 census was sharing the household with John Harris (stepfather) and William Williams (not a husband but the brother, also stepchild of John Harris). Mary must therefore have left the household somewhere between 1881 and 1883... Following 1881 census from Ancestry John Harris:
      Age: 60
      Estimated Birth Year: abt 1821
      Relation: Head
      Spouse's Name: Margaret Harris
      Gender: Male
      Where born: Aberystruth, Monmouth, Wales
      Civil Parish: Aberystruth
      County/Island: Monmouthshire
      Country: Wales
      Street Address: Garn Vach

      So Mary Williams was, by the looks of things, unmarried. In the 1871 details, we read that Mary Williams was aged 13, although the year of birth is given as 1848, which seems incorrect. So either she was 23 at the time of the 1871 census, or her year of birth was actually 1858. Here's the record:
      Age: 13
      Estimated Birth Year: abt 1848
      Relation: Stepdaughter
      Mother's Name: Margt Harris
      Gender: Female
      Where born: Llanelly, Breconshire, Wales
      Civil Parish or Township: Aberystruth
      County/Island: Monmouthshire
      Country: Wales

      So, if I'm reading all this right: Margaret Harris is Mary- and William's mother by blood, and this Margaret married John Harris at some point in Aberystruth (near Swansea). I find it striking that Mary Williams is listed as unmarried in the 1881 census, yet is noted as a widow in the 1883 Cardiff Times article. This leads one to consider that this Mary Williams, who went to London somewhere between 1881 and 1883, had left behind a child in the care of her mother and stepfather, only to reclaim the child before the courts. The widow-part was then taken without question. It could also mean that Mary ws married, say from 1874 onward, but flung into widowhood by the time of the 1881 census, in which case she could be listed as she was: simply as stepdaughter. If I allow myself the liberty of speculating for a moment: I am supposing Margaret Harris died somewhere between the 1881 census and january 1883, prompting Mary Williams, now residing in London, to reclaim her child now left alone in the household with John Harris, who may be- as the article states- “respectable-looking”, but who might not be so respectable in other ways. This would explain the mother’s “apparant anxiety” at the prospect of leaving her child in the old man’s care.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Jurriaan Maessen View Post
        I know there's all kind of things wrong with this Mary Williams, from a Mary Jane Kelly candidacy perspective (the nine year old child in 1883, for example; even if you accept a 30yr old Kelly in '88, she would have been 15 when giving birth), but I think I'm going to look into this one nevertheless. The Monmouthshire-connection, coupled with the residency in London, is something to at least glance at for a while.
        I'm terrible at censuses, so if anyone would like to jump in, you are most welcome.
        There are a lot of little things like this which could eventually show us MJK. Great ideas! I too think Williams is a valid name to add to the Kelly/Davies short list. There is some small indication the name Williams may be appropriate. On the other hand if her family was Irish, I think there is less chance her maiden name would have been Williams. Or could her family have come to Wales, the father died, mother remarried to a Williams, thus the tale of Mary's father being named Williams? (Mary's father named Williams comes from a newspaper clipping citing a reminiscence of a man named Williams appearing at the time of Mary's death.)
        The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

        Comment


        • #5
          I find it very similar to the case or theory of Mary Jane Wilson, with the child abandonment and leaving for London, ostensibly to get work and escape an embarrassing or scandalous situation.

          Comment


          • #6
            John Williams


            Census • England and Wales Census, 1851

            John Williams
            Male
            30
            1851
            Aberystruth, Monmouthshire, Wales
            Abergavenny
            1821
            Llanelly, Brecknockshire
            Married
            Smith
            Head
            37
            2447 / 468
            HO107
            John Williams's Spouses and Children


            Margaret Williams
            Wife
            F
            29
            Crickhowell, Brecknockshire


            William Williams
            Son
            M
            6
            Llanelly, Brecknockshire


            Mary Williams
            Daughter
            F
            3
            Llanelly, Brecknockshire

            Comment


            • #7
              The age of the wife is off by 13 years but I think this is her:


              Margaret Williams

              Wales, Brecknockshire, Parish Registers, 1538-1912
              John Harris
              Age: 35
              1821
              Margaret Williams
              Age: 32
              1824
              Marriage date: 29 Nov 1856
              Marriage Banns Place Llanelli: Brecknockshire, Wales
              Marriage Banns Place (original): Llanelli

              Comment


              • #8
                This is the record Jurriaan found. It's 61 instead of 71. So birth year is definitely c. 1848. I haven't located her in 71 yet.

                John Harris

                England and Wales Census, 1861
                John Harris
                Male
                39
                1861
                Aberystruth, Monmouthshire, Wales, United Kingdom
                Aberystruth, Monmouthshire, England
                Bedwelty
                1822
                Aberystruth, Monmouthshire
                Married
                Cinder Filler
                Head
                32
                3997 / 190
                RG09
                Margt Harris
                Wife
                Female
                46
                Chrick..., Breconshire

                William Williams
                Stepson
                Male
                15
                Llanelly, Breconshire

                Mary Williams
                Stepdaughter
                Female
                13
                Llanelly, Breconshire

                Comment


                • #9
                  This Mary would have been around 40. But I now think it makes more sense that Mary would be closer to 40 than 25. I would still rather have her mid 30s.

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    John Harris

                    England and Wales Census, 1881
                    Tools

                    John Harris
                    Male
                    60
                    1881
                    Aberystruth, Monmouthshire, Wales
                    Bedwelty
                    1821
                    Aberystruth, Monmouthshire, England
                    Married
                    Coal Miner
                    Head
                    40
                    5240/54
                    RG11
                    Margaret Harris
                    Wife
                    Female
                    66
                    Llangattock, Brecknockshire, Wales

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks, San Fran & Anna Morris for helping out. Our elusive protagonist, it seems, continues to elude us.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Anna Morris View Post

                        There are a lot of little things like this which could eventually show us MJK. Great ideas! I too think Williams is a valid name to add to the Kelly/Davies short list. There is some small indication the name Williams may be appropriate. On the other hand if her family was Irish, I think there is less chance her maiden name would have been Williams. Or could her family have come to Wales, the father died, mother remarried to a Williams, thus the tale of Mary's father being named Williams? (Mary's father named Williams comes from a newspaper clipping citing a reminiscence of a man named Williams appearing at the time of Mary's death.)
                        Yes, the Williams-name would be less likely as maiden name for an Irish-born immigrant, although not entirely unheard of: the William, Williams, and Williamson- variations do occur sporadically in both English and Irish (and Welsh) records, it seems.
                        Btw, in a final thought on our Mary Williams in Nantyglo, it suddenly dawned on me that the London Post Office directory for 1888 and 1889 mentions a Mary Williams (midwife) listed at 157 Bow Common Lane: the address given by Elizabeth Phoenix in 1888 and (coincidentally) the source that Kelly had a friend named 'Lizzie Williams'.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          There are a couple of servants in 1871 that would fit, assuming she didn't marry. There's a cook in Devynock for a farmer from Carmarthenshire. And this one working for a Building Publican, who is closer to her and the mother's place of birth, Crickhowell and Llanelly. It's indicative of the type of woman who winds up going to London.


                          Mary Williams

                          Census • England and Wales Census, 1871
                          Mary Williams
                          Female
                          23
                          1871
                          Llanddetty, Breconshire, Wales, United Kingdom
                          Vro, Llanddetty, Brecknockshire, Wales
                          Subdistrict: Penkelly
                          Enumeration district: 4
                          1848
                          Brecknockshire
                          Unknown
                          Servant
                          Servant

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Wasn't there a rumor--perhaps started by later authors (?)-- that MJK was a midwife? Then, right after her murder was discovered, some papers said her name was Lizzie Fischer, I think. Definitely Fischer and I think Lizzie also. I have tried to work with all these names and still come up with nothing. I don't give up but I don't know what to look for now. I think there was a working class girl named Mary Jane Something. She had a basically ordinary life till she went to London and had some adventures. Then she died spectacularly and true crime romanticists tried to make her the reason for JtR's whole series and her fame grew and grew. Probably JtR had nasty fantasies and low impulse control, perhaps especially after a night of drinking in the pubs. With Mary he hit the jackpot; she had a private room and he had more time to explore and indulge his fantasies. Maybe she even undressed for him so that he did not have to slash through all kinds of skirts and pockets as he had done with Catherine Eddowes....
                            The wickedness of the world is the dream of the plague.~~Voynich Manuscript

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