The next great grandfather of my late wife to explore has yet another common name, William Jones, and where might he come from? Wales, of course. I expected this might be like looking for a needle in a haystack and I wasn’t wrong. After a couple of months of searching the subscription sites for relevant documentary evidence, I failed to find a confirming birth date in Wales, given that his father was also a William Jones and I was uncertain of his mother’s name. His marriage in England and his death in Australia were easier to find but I still wanted evidence of his early life in Wales. I decided on a different strategy.
In a presentation in RootsTech2023 by Beth Taylor of the Family Search Library, she suggests working from death to birth as there are more records for a person’s death than for their birth. For a birth there may only be a birth record, baptism record and sometimes a birth notice in a newspaper. For a death there may be a death record, burial record, obituary, death notice in a newspaper, probate granted, Will and ‘in memoriam’ notices. So using this approach, I rummaged through some old papers given to me some years ago by my late wife’s brother. I believe he acquired these from a cousin. This proved to be a gold mine!
In this bundle, I found copies of William’s Death Certificate, Marriage Certificate and birth, marriage or death certificates of some of their children. Also, there were some newspaper clippings and letters from a professional researcher in the UK, who had been paid to research William Jones. I had been so obsessed with finding original documents online, that I had completely neglected checking what was already in my possession!
William died of valvular heart disease and syncope in his home at Tooley Street, Maryborough (Queensland) on 14 Sep 1907 at the age of 65 years, leaving a wife and eight of their nine children still living. He had been a storekeeper and was buried in the Maryborough Cemetery on 15 Sep 1907. Born in Neath, Cardiff, Wales he married Rebecca Moore in Wellingborough, Northampton, England. It was Rebecca, who was the informant for the Certificate, giving some credibility to this wealth of information therein.
The Marriage Certificate was equally enlightening. William Jones and Rebecca Moore were married on 30 Dec 1867 in the Parish Church, Wellingborough, witnessed by Rebecca’s father, William Wright Moore, and Annie Watts. William was 27 and a farrier in the army, while Rebecca was 18 and a machinist. Of the fathers, William Wright Moore was a shoe maker and William Jones a carpenter. The marriage was by Banns.
So it seems that William did not follow in his father’s profession. When the last of their nine children, Henrietta Constance Jones, was born in Maryborough in 1887, William was a blacksmith. When the family migrated to Australia on the ship Quetta in 1885, his occupation was listed as Farm Labourer. But moving further back into William’s earlier life and being interested in military history, I was now intrigued by his occupation as a farrier in the army when he was married.
Rummaging through that old bundle of papers again, I found a letter from Mr P.A Stanbridge, of Epsom, Surrey, thanking Mr Vaughan, of Maryborough, Queensland, for funding to research William Jones’s military service. Cliff Vaughan appears to be a distant cousin of my late wife, who, unknown to me, was researching the Jones family in the 1980s. Remarkably, this letter fills in many gaps that I have not been able to find online.
Though William and Rebecca were married in England and most of their children were subsequently born there, their second child, Lucy Elizabeth, was born in Ireland. This was according to Lucy’s Marriage Certificate to Arthur Walker that was also in the bundle. Checking on Ancestry, a child was indeed born to William and Rebecca on 25 Sep 1871 in Ireland, though the record merely states the child’s name as ‘Jones’. Their presence in Ireland at that time was confirmed in the letter. William Jones was a farrier sergeant, Regimental Number 617, as listed in the musters of the 8th King’s Royal Irish Hussars. The letter further stated that his full military record appears to have been lost by fire, but on further muster searching, Mr Stanbridge found that William was discharged from the 8th Hussars at The Curragh, Ireland on 12 Sep 1872. He noted that his civilian trade on joining on 1 Sep 1860 was Groom and his birthplace was Neath, Glamorganshire, Wales.
In his letter, Mr Stanbridge conveniently provided references to The National Archives (TNA), giving me some confidence in his findings. He would have visited TNA in person to obtain his information by viewing the content of the relevant boxes. This is yet another option for difficult research. Hiring a professional genealogist in the country of interest, who can access relevant archives or libraries in person, may save many hours of searching online, like I have been doing. I need to remind myself that everything is not online!
In the latter paragraphs of Mr Stanbridge’s letter, he records that William Jones had been transferred to 8th Hussars from the 21st Regiment of Foot, where his Regimental Number was 970. William enlisted in the 2nd Battalion of that Regiment on 9 Aug 1859 in Cardiff and claimed his age as 20. With this new knowledge, I searched online for some indication of where William might have served with those units during his military career. Unfortunately, those records have not been digitised.
However, it pays to talk to other like-minded people. On being directed to The Genealogist and using William’s Service Numbers in the ‘Keywords’ space, I now found that in 1861 he served in Rawalpindi, Pakistan with the 81st Regiment of Foot (Loyal Lincoln Volunteers), in Manchester & Aldershot with the 84th Regiment of Foot (York & Lancaster) and at Canterbury Cavalry Depot while with the 8th Hussars.
After migrating to Australia, it seems that the last twenty years of the life of William Jones were relatively uneventful. He was a blacksmith when their youngest daughter was born in Maryborough and a storekeeper when he died, but I could find little else about him. That is, until his wife, Rebecca, took him to court for assault in 1897. Maybe he suffered what we now call PTSD from his military service. It appears that he took to drinking heavily and began abusing his wife. By August 1897, she had had enough and reported him to the police. In the hearing before a magistrate, she stated that he was ‘most abusive and obscene in his language’ and he ‘struck me a heavy blow on the shoulder’. She told the magistrate she did not want him jailed but that she only wanted protection. William was ordered to be ‘bound over under his own surety of £40 to keep the peace towards his wife for twelve months’. Rebecca appeared to be a very strong woman. Perhaps I will write about her in a later blog?
 Beth Taylor, ‘Are You Your Own Brick Wall?’, RootsTech2023, FamilySearch, accessed 4 Apr 2023.
 Death Certificate of William Jones, died 14 Sep 1907 at Tooley Street, Maryborough, Aged 65 years, photocopy of Certified Copy of Register of Death, General Registry Office, Brisbane.
Marriage of William Jones to Rebecca Moore, 30 Dec 1867, Parish Church, Wellingborough, Northampton, photocopy of Certified Copy of entry of Marriage, General Register Office, London, Number MX 042178.
 Marriage Certificate of William Jones and Rebecca Moore.
 Birth of Henrietta Constance Jones, 5 Mar 1887, Tooley Street, Maryborough, photocopy of Certified Copy of entry of birth, General Register Office, Brisbane, Queensland, Number 6761.
 Jones Family, Remittance passengers on ship, Quetta, Image page 205, Digital Image ID, DR39203, Australia, Queensland Assisted Immigration, Findmypast, accessed 21 Aug 2023.
 P.S. Stanbridge to C.J.Vaughan, letter, 8 Jul 1986, results of search for military records of William Jones.
 Marriage of Lucy Elizabeth Jones to Arthur George Eaton Walker, 26 Jan 1897, in house of William Jones, Tooley Street, Maryborough, photocopy of Certified true copy of entry in the District Registry Office, Maryborough.
 Birth of Lucy Elizabeth Jones, 25 Sep 1871, Newbridge, Kildare, Ireland. Accessed website: irishgenealogy.ie 9 Oct 2023.
 Stanbridge to Vaughan, letter, 8 Jul 1986.
 8th Hussars and 21st of Foot records not digitised, The National Archives, Discovery search, https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C2460695, accessed 30 Sep 2023.
 William Jones, Service Number 617, Rawalpindi, Pakistan, 1861, Muster Books and Pay Lists, 1781-1871 [database online]. TheGenealogist.co.uk, accessed 11 Oct 2023; William Jones, Service Number 970, Manchester & Aldershot, 1861, Muster Books and Pay Lists, 1781-1871 [database online]. TheGenealogist.co.uk, accessed 11 Oct 2023; William Jones, Service Number 617, Canterbury Cavalry Depot, 1861, Muster Books and Pay Lists, 1781-1871 [database online]. TheGenealogist.co.uk, accessed 11 Oct 2023.
 Police Court, ‘Assault”, Maryborough Chronicle, Wide Bay and Burnett Advertiser, 28 Aug 1897, p. 3, viewed 30 Sep 2023.