Welcome to the third in the Elusive Evan Evans brick wall busting series. On this occasion I begin to evaluate the evidence relating to Evan’s short life. I’m going to start briefly with his birth because it is, naturally, the first event. Despite the evidence being vague and conflicting.
Evan Evans’ Birth
- 1829-1831 – Probable birth of Evan EVANS, dates taken from his marriage, the 1871 census, and his death certificate. The 1871 census states he was born in Caernarvonshire and his marriage certificate names his father as Evan EVANS (deceased).
The three pieces of evidence for his birth come from three sources: his marriage certificate, the 1871 census, and his death certificate. These three sources can be notoriously inaccurate, relying on information relayed verbally by the informant.
The information from each source is as follows:
- Marriage Certificate on 23rd October 1862 – Age 31 years, father Evan EVANS (deceased)
- 1871 census on 2nd April 1871 – Age 41 years, place of birth Caernarvonshire
- Death Certificate issued on 2nd Jun 1875 – Age 45 years
I’m not going to perform a thorough analysis of these documents in this section because I will explore each event in detail.
Marriage of Evan EVANS and Laura ROBERTS
- 1862 – Evan married Laura ROBERTS on 23rd October. He was a farm servant living at Ty Isaf, Ffestiniog.
I have a PDF copy of the marriage certificate obtained from the GRO (General Register Office).
Evan and Laura were married at Bethesda Chapel, Ffestiniog in the District of Ffestiniog, in the County of Merioneth on 23rd October 1862. Both signed their mark which suggests they were illiterate.
The marriage was witnessed by John HUMPHREYS (who again signed his mark) and Stephen ROBERTS. I have yet to do any particular research into either of these witnesses but I do wonder if Stephen could be a relative of Laura.
Bethesda Chapel is now permanently closed but the building still exists, although I doubt if it’s the building the couple married in as it was rebuilt in 1870 https://coflein.gov.uk/en/site/8393. According to an 1888 and 1914 map of the area it was a Calvinistic Methodist Chapel which suggests that at the time of their 1862 marriage, Evan and Laura were non-conformistshttps://maps.nls.uk/view/102184051, https://maps.nls.uk/view/135197788. I do believe, however, that I may have found the building they would have married in  https://seearoundbritain.com/venues/bethesda-methodist-chapel-later-st-martins-hall-manod-rd-blaenau-ffestiniog-gwynedd.
Looking at the residences of Evan and Laura, they both resided in Ffestiniog at the time of their marriage. Evan at Ty Isaf, Laura at Llwynygell. There is a modern-day holiday cottage called Ty Isaf that looks old enough to be the Ty Isaf, not to mention close enough, but I know nothing of how long it’s been called that. Maybe contacting the current owners would be useful. There is also a Llwyn-y-gell Road in Blaenau Ffestiniog just up the road, and a quick search of the 1861 census (because I went down the rabbit hole) shows Laura living on Llwynygell as a servant to the HUMPHREYS family. The head of the household is, yes, John HUMPHREYS – can I be confident that this is the John who witnessed their wedding 18 months later?
I view the fathers of both bride and groom with scepticism. Given that they are both deceased at the time of the wedding, and they are Evan EVANS and Robert ROBERTS. We shall see though.
Finding Laura at Llwyn y Gell in the 1861 census is a bit of a breakthrough for me and fills me with hope that one day, I’ll be able to do the same with Evan. It might mean looking through each of the census pages but that’ll come for the new research section.
To Do List
- Order the birth certificates for Edward, both the Evan Jnrs, and Robert.
- Order the death certificate for the older of the Evan boys.
- Research witnesses to the marriage of Evan and Laura – John HUMPHREYS and Stephen ROBERTS.
- Contact the current owners of Ty Isaf.
- Follow up on the 1861 census for Llwyn y gell.
- The Elusive Evan Evans
- The Elusive Evan Evans – A timeline
- The Elusive Evan Evans – Evaluate the Evidence 1
- The Elusive Evan Evans – Evaluating the evidence 2
- The Elusive Evan Evans – Evaluating the Evidence 3
- The Elusive Evan Evans – Evaluating the Evidence 4
- The Elusive Evan Evans – Evaluating the Evidence 5
- The Elusive Evan Evans – Evaluating the Evidence 6
- The Elusive Evan Evans – To Do List
- The Elusive Evan Evans – Searching for new evidence