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A pocket watch having belonged to James Richards at a previously unknown address, 9 Ethel St, Melin, Neath, with engraved inscription including the address to inside case, the watch marked 'The 'English' Express Lever, silver and is by J C Graves, Sheffield, missing one hand and possibly a glass face, with chain and winding key.
09.jpg (403778 bytes) 08.jpg (323948 bytes) Jacobs & Co Biscuit tin containing 
  • 2 Neath Borough police buttons
  • Neath & District Sports Supporters Club button hole badge
  • SB Emergency Hospital Scheme button hole badge
  • Great Coronation Recruiting Campaign 1911 medal
  •  150th Anniversary of Robert Raikes, founder of Sunday Schools medal
  • 3 Sunday School for regular attendance medals
  • gold ? medal 'presented to J Richards by the Eagle Tinplate Co. for services done in the Great War
  • small bags of screws nuts, attatchments etc, also loose in the tin. Ref: DC06-case




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1911C – 5 Savour’s Court, The Green, Neath (next to Lake’s Court)

Mary Ann Richards 67 (Monmouth) 
John Richards 24 (Neath, Glamorgan)
Lucy Hawkes 30 (Birmingham) - Married (John's sister)
John Hawkes 6 (Neath, Glamorgan) (John's nephew)
Source Ancestry


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1901C – 11 Ethel Street, Neath

Mary A Richards head 57 (Monmouth, Monmouth) 
Elizabeth Richards 21 (Monmouth, Newport)
Lucy Richards 19 (Warwickshie, Birmingham)
Mary A Richards 17 (Glamorgan, Neath)
James Richards 15 (Glamorgan, Neath)
John Richards 13 (Glamorgan, Neath)
Source Ancestry

James is also known to have lived in number 9 Ethel St - source pocket watch with inscribed address

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1891C = 15 Lakes Court, The Green, Neath – 
James Richards, age 55 (abt 1836) head, Northumberland 
Mary A wife 46 (abt 1844) (Monmouth, Monmouth) 
Elizabeth 13 (abt 1878) (Monmouth, Newport)
Lucy 11 (abt 1880) (Warwickshie, Birmingham)
Polly (Mary ? ) 9 (Glamorgan, Neath)
James 6 (Glamorgan, Neath)
John 4 (b 1887) (Glamorgan, Neath)
Anne (Glamorgan, Neath)
Source Ancestry

The photo is possibly Mary Ann Richards circa 1891 - with John dressed as a girl ? 

1881C - not found

James Richards - have searched the 1st 3 pages (60 results) for JR b abt 1836 in Northumberland on ancestry - no joy. At the time I would have thought him married and living with Mary Ann Richards the family living in Birmingham or Neath or somewhere between with children Elizabeth age 3 and Lucy age 1.

Mary Ann Jones & Richards - can't find - have searched for Elizabeth too 

1881C - I am unable to find James Richards, Mary Ann Richards, Mary Ann Jones,  Elizabeth Richards, or Elizabeth Jones on the 1881 census. 

Family legend has it that the Richards family may have come over from Ireland at the time of a potato famine. Family legend also has it that there is a close relationship with the actor Ray Milland. At present I'm unable to trace my great grandparents in 1881 so it may be worthwhile chasing back Ray's family tree to see if I can find a common ancestor or connection so let's go ....................  






 This is what Wikipedia says of Ray's early years...............

 Milland was born Alfred Reginald Jones (not Reginald Alfred John Truscott-Jones as has often been stated). His birth was registered in the March Quarter of 1907[3] in Neath, Wales, and he was the son of Elizabeth Annie (née Truscott) and Alfred Jones, though some sources[4] still state 1905 as his birth year. In the 1911 census the family were living at 66 Coronation Road, Mount Pleasant, Neath, Wales. Of his parents, Milland wrote in his 1974 autobiography Wide-Eyed in Babylon, "My father was not a cruel or harsh man. Just a very quiet one. I think he was an incurable romantic and consequently a little afraid of his emotions and perhaps ashamed of them... he had been a young hussar in the Boer War and had been present at the relief of Mafeking. He never held long conversations with anyone, except perhaps with me, possibly because I was the only other male in our family. The household consisted of my mother, a rather flighty and coquettish woman much concerned with propriety and what the neighbours thought."[5]..............

I did read the autobiography a while back and there wasn't a lot in it about his early years - I'm not sure what happened to it so I've ordered another one which is due next week.  

So what about Ray - first thing I did was confirm the above information, if this is correct then it's a good starting point. 


79.jpg (218243 bytes) 1911 Census - Jones household living at 66 Coronation Rd (now Dalton Rd), Mount Pleasant, Neath - Ray Milland age 4 

Alfred Jones 35 (born abt 1876 Pontypool, Monmouthshire) - Sheet Millman
Elizabeth A Jones 26 (abt 1885, Cardiff, Glamorgan)
Alfred Reginald Jones 4 (abt 1907, Neath, Glamorgan)
Beryl Jones 1 (abt 1910, Neath, Glamorgan)
Enid Jones 3 mths (abt 1911, Neath, Glamorgan)

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1901 Census - household containing Elizabeth Truscott believed to be ARJ mother living at 4 Bush Row, Melincrythan, Neath

Thomas Evans 65 Head (abt 1946, Cardiff, Glamorgan) - Tinworker
Maria Evans 65 wife (abt 1946, Cardiff, Glamorgan) - Tinworks Shearer
Elizabeth Truscott 16 niece (abt 1885, Cardiff, Glamorgan)
*****Margaret Durbin 2 adopted (abt 1899, Neath Glamorgan)*****
William James 72 (abt 1829, Aberavon Glamorgan)

Margaret Durbin - known as Maggie married Clifford Snow, brother of Gertie Snow my grandmother. This is a complicated one. If Maggie Durbin was adopted into the family and Elizabeth Truscott was a niece then that makes them first cousins. Maggie Durbin was my grandmother's sister-in-law so I think that makes my mother Ray Miland's 2nd cousin possibly. I spent 5 miles on the bike trying to work it our yesterday and I still don't know. 

Interestingly there are Durbin's living next door, Mary Durbin (wife - but no husband listed) and Elizabeth Durbin, daughter age 8 months. It looks like the father is not at home so Maggie was maybe put up for adoption. It's a difficult one that because the family (next generation down) keep pretty quiet about what went on there even 110 years later. 

1901 census - Alfred Jones born 1876

He'd be age 25 - his wife Elizabeth A Jones (supposedly nee Truscott) would have been 16 - in 1901 - top return is listed as Alfred John Jones Royal Horse Artillery which ties in with RM's story of his father being in the cavalry - on census he is listed as being born in Newport, Monmouthshire, same as Elizabeth Richards daughter of Mary Ann Jones age 21.


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Alfred Jones' father is listed as James Jones, (Carpenter), and he is listed as living at Morgans Road, Melincrythan, Neath.


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Reggie age 3

the book arrived and the autobiography "Wide Eyed in Babylon" states.......

My father was not a cruel or a harsh man. just a very quiet one. I think he was an incurable romantic and consequently a little afraid of his emotions and perhaps ashamed of them . To me, he was rather a tall man , very handsome, with black hair and eyes the colour of sherry. His nose was aquiline and thin, and he wore a fierce cavalry moustache; he had in fact been a young hussar in the Boer War and had been present at the relief of Mafeking. He never held long conversations with anyone, except perhaps with me, possibly because I was the only other male in the family. The household consisted of my mother, a rather flighty and coquettish woman much concerned with propriety and what the neighbours thought, my three sisters exactly one year apart, and Mary Catherine, our housekeeper and laundress. She was also the maid, the cook, and our comforter and shield. I think she was a relative of sorts on my father's side, but it was a relationship never spoken of, shadowy and secretive.
I know that my grandfather, a huge black bearded man, had been married twice, a state which in Wales is looked upon rather like leprosy. On top of that his mother had been a Spaniard, which in our county made us all rather suspect. In all he had ten children, two girls by the first wife and eight sons by his second. My father was the seventh son. He was christened Alfredo, which he never admitted. My father's half sisters were Emma and my wonderful Aunt Luisa. Each of my father's brothers had four or five children, so you know that Wales is just crawling with my relatives.

Later on in the book Aunt Luisa reveals to Ray that his father was born upstairs in the Nightingale Inn in Monmouthshire because the grandfather was delivering a new wagon he had built to some millers in Usk.  

Q - Was MARY ANN JONES, James Jones' first wife - according to the 1891 census she is 33 years older than her eldest child so is she the mother of Emma & Luisa and these two girls stayed with the father while she started a new family with James Richards. The ages look to be about right.   


CHECK 1901 CENSUS - JAMES JONES (b abt 1840-1850), MORGANS RD, MELINCRYTHAN - his year of birth ?



TO DO Neath map 1911 for location Coronation Rd - believed to be in Hillside are of Neath - possibly a renamed Rd
photo Cliff Snow & Maggie Durbin




GIBBINS , FREDERICK WILLIAM ( 1861 ,- 1937 ), Quaker industrialist ; b. at Neath , 1 April 1861 , eldest son of Frederick Joseph Gibbins and Caroline Gibbins , prominent members of the Society of Friends . He was educated at the Quaker School , Scarborough . He m. 1898 , Sarah Jennette Rhys , Sgubor-fawr , Penderyn , and had two sons. F. W. Gibbins was an outstanding figure in the commercial life of South Wales , particularly in the tinplate industry. He entered the tinplate trade in 1880 ; was assistant manager at the Ynispenllwch works in 1884 . In 1890 he erected and managed the Eagle Tinplate works , Melin , Neath . He was one of the first employers in the trade to provide his work-people with a canteen, lending library, and facilities for recreation, and he was popular as arbitrator in works disputes . One of the founders of the Welsh Plate and Sheets Manufacturers' Association , he was its chairman from 1910 to 1922 . He served on several committees, commercial and philanthropic, was a J.P. , an ardent upholder of hospital work , a vice-president of the Welsh National Memorial Association , and served as high sheriff of Glamorgan for 1908-9 . He was elected M.P. for Mid-Glamorgan in 1910 ( Liberal ). He sold the Eagle Tinplate works to Baldwins Ltd ., in 1922 and went to live at Cwm Irfon Lodge , Llanwrtyd Wells , and thence to ‘ Glynsaer ’ where he d. on 30 July 1937 ; he was buried at Cynghordy , near Llandovery . 





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