Sunday, February 25, 2007

Morris Hughes

My grandfather's great-grandfather was Morris Hughes who married and brought up his 9 children in Castleford, West Yorkshire. He is pictured here in about 1907 at a family wedding. I had found Morris in the 1891 and 1901 censuses where he was described as being a coal hewer or coalminer. I also knew that Morris married Mary Gray in Normanton in October 1881. His marriage certificate told me that his father was called David Hughes. However, Morris had not been born in Yorkshire but in Bilston in Staffordshire. I therefore set out to find out more about his earlier life.

A step-father - Charles Woolley
My first task was to find Morris Hughes in the 1881 census. I found him living in Whitwood, a suburb of Castleford where he was working as a coal miner. He is living with Charles Woolley his step-father, and his mother Jane. Charles is described as 'nearly blind' and is not working. Charles was one of the witnesses at Morris' wedding a few months later. Charles Woolley, like his step-son, was also born in Bilston, Staffordshire.

Morris Hughes' father David Hughes must have died before 1871, as during this year Morris is already living with Charles Woolley (b.1833) and his mother Jane (b.1827) at Court 10 House 3, Coseley Street, Bilston. Both Charles and Morris are described as coal miners. Also living with the family is another step-child of Charles, Morris' sister Harriett Hughes and an adopted child called Maria Morris who is only 1 year old. I have no further information about Maria Morris so I do not know what happened to her or why she was adopted.

I was able to find the marriage certificate of Charles Woolley and Jane Hughes. They married on July 25th 1866 at Trinity Church, Ettinghsall. Both Charles and Jane were widowed; Charles worked as a miner and Jane as a laundress. Charles' father was also named Charles Woolley, and Jane's father was David Lewis. The witnesses were John and Mary Ann Allen.

Morris Hughes' father - David Hughes
I was able to further deduced that Morris Hughes' father David Hughes would have died between 1861 and 1866, as I was able to find Morris Hughes living with his father in a private house on Wolverhampton Street, Bilston in the 1861 census. Morris is there with his elder sister Elizabeth, younger sister Harriett and younger brother John, all of whom were born in Bilston. David Hughes who was born in Bilston in around 1826 was working as a labourer in the iron works.

I was able to confirm this information and these relationships from the birth certificate of Morris Hughes. This stated that he was born on the 6th February 1856 at High Street, Bilston to David Hughes and Jane Hughes (nee Lewis). David's occupation is listed as a blast iron founder labourer.

David and Jane were also married and living in Bilston in 1851 at Black House yard. Also living with them is their two year old son David Hughes. As David does not appear in 1861, it is very possible that he died in infancy.

Finally, I was able to find the marriage certificate of David Hughes and Jane Lewis. The marriage took place at St. Mary's Church, Bilston, on Feb 12th 1849. David Hughes, 23, was described as a furnaceman, whereas Jane Lewis, 22, was of no occupation. Both were from Bilston and were previously unmarried. The witnesses were David Lewis and Elizabeth Lewis. This David Lewis may be the father of Jane Lewis, who is described on the certificate as a labourer, confirming what was stated on the certificate of Jane's second marriage. We also get to find out that David Hughes' father was Maurice Hughes (sic) - the inspiration for Morris Hughes' name is revealed.

Read this post to find out updated information about Morris Hughes's youngest daughter, Eveline Hughes, and extra pictures of Morris and his wife.


Anonymous said...

I really have enjoyed reading your website about Morris Hughes. My great grandmother Elizabeth Hughes was Morris Hughe's sister. I have also been looking at my family records and I believe Elizabeth married Benjamin Walters. On the 1901 census, Jane and Charles Woolley were living with Elizabeth & Benjamin Walters at 35 Benson Square, Normanton. I thought you may be interested to know this. I look forward to reading more on your site about the Hughes side of the family as we are related. I am now living in Wales and I plan to keep researching Jane and I will let you know if I find anything interesting. Best Wishes, Ellie

James said...

hi ellie

thanks very much for getting in touch. i'd love to hear anything more if you manage to find out information. i believe that the Hughes information related to our family may be in Montgomeryshire. Unfortunately i live in America so dont have time to get there! Thanks for getting in touch, hope to hear more soon. You can email me at jamescurley77 AT yahoo DOT co DOT uk.