More about the Youngs of Blaenavon

I am writing these notes after reading the article on the Youngs of Blaenavon published on the ‘ My Weslyan Ancestors’ website written by David Young.

I found the article by chance whilst researching my own family’s background.

My name is Bruce Thomas and my paternal Grandfather was William Thomas (born 1885 in Close Row, Quebec, Co.Durham / died 1959 in Birchington Kent).

William’s parents were Joshua Thomas (born 1860, Blaenavon) and Sarah Ann Young (born 27 Nov 1865 Blaenavon / died 1957 Bedwelty, Mons). Joshua and Sarah were married in 1883 at the registry office in Lanchester, Co. Durham.

Just in case you are thinking that this might indicate the end of the Methodist connection, you will be interested to know that William (my Grandfather) was a lay preacher and his brother Samuel Thomas (1886-1972) was a Methodist Minister for 53 years. His short obituary is no.75 in the Minutes of the 1973 Conference.

You can imagine my delight as I started to read the article and found mention of Samuel, William and John Young and the Miles family, as I had only recently discovered my connection to Pitcome. In fact I visited the village during August.

Samuel Young was my (maternal) great-great-great-great Grandfather!

The Wedding Certificate (3 March 1883) for Sarah Ann Young and Joshua Thomas gives both their parents occupation as Coal Miner.  

The 1871 Census shows Samuel and Martha living in Back Rifle Street, Blaenavon with 2 children and Samuel is again shown a Coal Miner. The last reference that I have of Samuel as a Blacksmith is on Sarah Ann’s birth Certificate, 1865.

I understand that the Youngs and Thomas’ were amongst many Blaenavon families that moved to Co.Durham during the 1870’s – many of them had returned by the late 90’s. I suspect that both Samuel Young and William Thomas were coal hewers.

I visited Quebec last year and, sad to say, found that the house where my Grandfather grew up was demolished in the 50’s. Quebec is now a lonely and soulless place – it has suffered, as so many other North Eastern communities, as a result of the pit closures.

I have only the vaguest childhood memories of visiting relations near Pontypool – so I would be pleased to hear from anyone who might know anything more about their backgrounds. William Thomas married Fanny Matthews at the Abersychan Methodist Chapel on 2nd August 1909. They eventually left Wales and settled in Wembley in the 30’s – where my father Raymond Thomas grew up with his brothers Haydon and Gordon.

Best Wishes – Bruce Thomas    1/12/2013


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