Elizabeth Hughes b 1832

Elizabeth Hughes' life is somewhat complicated, but can be followed successfully via census data.. Born in 1832, the eldest child of Griffith Hughes and his wife Ann at Cilgwyn, 3 miles east of Llandwrog town. Her father was a copper miner who died when she was about 13 years old. Her mother struggled to bring up a large family and eventually "married" the lodger (or at least took his name). Elizabeth becomes a house servant at Llanfaglan, near Carnarvon, in 1851 by the time she is 19. 10 years later in 1861 census she is a servant in Llanbeblig (Caernarvon town) to a butcher. Her daughter Jane is born Jane Hughes in the Carnarvon Union Workhouse in 1864, the father is blank on the birth certificate, but when Jane marries she puts John Thomas as her father. The 1871 census shows mother "Elizabeth Hughes" and daughter "Jane Thomas" living at Fron Heulog, Llanddeiniolen,just outside Dinorwic village, and the Elizabeth was making a living as a washerwoman. She eventually marries in 1875 to a widower and farm labourer called John Hughes, who has a number of children classed as "imbecile" in the censuses. She then lives with her husband and his family at two different locations round Deiniolen (Ebenezer) until her death in 1892.

She undoubtedly was the mother of a girl called "Jane E Thomas" born about 1865, and I am sure that this "Jane E Thomas" is "our" Jane Thomas. Elizabeth Hughes consistently gives her place of birth as Llandwrog in the censuses and can be followed through all the censuses as outlined below. The key clue is with her father, Griffith Hughes, a copper miner in Cilgwyn, Llandwrog, being given as her father in her eventual marriage to John Hughes in 1875. The marriage certificate specifically gives her father as "Griffith Hughes, deceased, copper miner". She can be seen in Griffith Hughes' household in Llandwrog in her childhood (where he is stated to be a copper miner), and one can follow her through to John Hughes household in Llanddeiniolen. The 1841 census shows Elizabeth Hughes, aged 9, living with her father Griffith Hughes, "copper miner."

There is an IGI record of Griffith Hughes marrying Anne Griffith on 27 Aug 1831 at Saint Twrog, Llandwrog, Caernarvon, which is consistent with the family here.

Llandwrog, a parish in the county of Caernarvon. The parish lies on Caernarvon. bay.. 5 miles S by W of Caernarvon.; has a village of its own name, with a post office under Caernarvon.; is cut into two divisions, lower and upper; and contains the villages of Bethesda and Tylon. Acres, 9,516; of which 200 are water... Pop. of the whole, 2,825. Houses, 614. Part of the property is subdivided; but most belonged formerly to the Glynnes, and belongs now to Lord Newborough. Glynllifon is Lord Newborough's seat, and stands amid a splendidly wooded park. Slate quarries are at Peny-Bryn, Talysarn and Cilgwyn; and a copper mine is at Drws-y-Coed, under Snowdon....The church is dedicated to St. Twrog; was rebuilt in 1864, at a cost of £7,000, all defrayed by Lord Newborough; is in the decorated English style, cruciform, of Anglesey limestone, lined with Bath stone; and has a tower and spire 110 feet high. A considerable section of the parish, designated L. St. Thomas, was constituted a separate charge in 1856; and, at the census of 1861, had a pop. of 2,114. ...Mrs. Glynne's alms houses, for twelve decayed maiden gentlewomen, were founded in 1727...-The sub-district contains also three other parishes. Acres, 40,556. Pop., 8,518. Houses, 1,866. (John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72))

Drws-y-Coed Mine, Nantlle Vale. A very old mine that was reputedly visited by King Edward 1st in 1284. There is a record of Cornish miners working at Drws-y-Coed in 1761 and many miners and "copper ladies" moved here from Parys Mountain in Anglesey during the 1830s as the lodes there became less productive. Probably at its peak during the period circa 1820-40 ( in other words when Griffith Hughes was working here), the Drws-y-Coed mine remained in production until towards the end of the 19th century. In 1879 200 tonnes of pure copper was recovered. By 1881 this had reduced to 140 tonnes. Attempts to work the mine in the early part of the 20th century were largely unsuccessful. Although a total output of 13000 tons of ore is recorded, this is thought to be a great underestimate, with the real output possibly about double this figure.

1832 Elizabeth Hughes born at Llandwrog, daughter of Griffith Hughes, copper miner from census 1841.

1833 Griffith Hughes baptised 21 July 1833 at Llanllyfni (3 miles south of Llandwrog town) on IGI.

1841 census Living at Cilgwyn, Llandwrog (Cilgwyn is 3 miles east of Llandwrog town.)

Elizabeth is the eldest of the 4 children at this time, Elizabeth 9, Griffith 7, Mary 5, and Robert 1. Note the lodger Owen Humphreys, agricultural labourer, as he later "marries" Anne Hughes after her husband's death.

The children would have attended the "Mountain School" in Llandwrog Parish. The 1847 Blue Book gives it the following report. The enquiry was carried out by three English commissioners, Lingen, Symons and Vaughan Johnson. They spoke no Welsh and relied on information from witnesses, many of them Anglican clergymen. Their report, published in three blue-covered volumes - the traditional colour of Britain's official Government publications (hence the name), concluded that the Welsh were ignorant, lazy and immoral, and that among the causes of this were the use of the Welsh language and nonconformity. In its introduction, the report says: "The Welsh language is a vast drawback to Wales and a manifold barrier to the moral progress and commercial prosperity of the people" This resulted in a furious reaction in Wales: a measure of the anger aroused by the report in Wales is the subtext of the name 'Brâd y Llyfrau Gleision'. It is a reference to the legendary "Treason of the Long Knives" with which the Saxons began their revolt against the Britons.

1851 census Griffith Hughes has died. His widow Ann, Elizabeth Hughes' mother, is still living at Cilgwyn, Llandwrog. She is described as a pauper. The composition of the household is discussed under her mother Ann's entry.

Meanwhile Elizabeth Hughes, who by now would be 19, is probably this servant at Llanfaglan just outside the town of Caernarvon, working for a farmer as a "house servant". Elizabeth no longer appears in the Hughes household in censuses

1861 census - Elizabeth Hughes is a servant age 27 at Llanbeblig (Caernarvon town) to a butcher.

1864 Daughter Jane born (birth cert) 11 May 1864 to Elizabeth Hughes in the Caernarvon. Union Workhouse. The workhouse is in fact very close to where she was working, under a mile. No father is given, but one assumes that she knew a "John Thomas" to be the father, and that she was calling her child "Jane Thomas" in the 1871 census, and that her daughter Jane married under the name Jane Thomas, and gave her father as "John Thomas, slate quarrier, deceased".

1871 census. Given that Elizabeth Hughes is in 1871 census as having a daughter "Jane Thomas, age 7", and that she is not using a married name of Thomas, there is more than a strong suspicion that she never married the father of Jane Thomas. Indeed I have been unable to unearth any such marriage certificate and when she eventually marries John Hughes in 1875, it is as Elizabeth Hughes, spinster. Mother and daughter are living at Fron Heulog, Llanddeiniolen, just outside Dinorwic village.

Why she continued to call the girl "Jane Thomas" when it would presumably have been easier to call it "Jane Hughes" is difficult to see, unless she was making a point of some sort. When she married John Hughes later on, she changed the girl's name from "Jane Thomas" to "Jane Hughes".

Perhaps John Thomas died before he could marry her, possibly while she was in the early stages of pregnancy (which would have been late 1863 or early 1864). If this was true, then it might be possible that the death cert would give the informant as "Elizabeth Hughes". There are a number death certificates to find the right one. A winnowing of possibilities leave these as the most likely (if he died). There are no suitable entries in the last 6 months of 1863, so one is left with

as the only real deaths that might support the hypothesis that he died before he could marry Elizabeth. The alternative is that he was alive, and just did not want to, or could not if he was already married, marry her, that he was alive in 1871 census and that Elizabeth Hughes was calling her daughter Jane Thomas to shame a local John Thomas still alive. Without more evidence itis difficult to get any further with who it might have been, and the census does not show any likely suspects in 1871. My conclusion is therefore that he probably died about the time of Jane's birth

1875 Elizabeth Hughes marries John Hughes. The marriage certificate gives John Hughes, age 46, widower marrying Elizabeth Hughes, age 40, spinster, daughter of Griffith Hughes (deceased, copper miner)

1881 census Elizabeth is now married to John Hughes and living at Pen y ffridd, Llanddeiniolen. One can see from the census returns of this John Hughes and his family over the years, that his wife Grace died, and he remarried quickly in order to get help with his "imbecile" children.

1891 census Elizabeth is still alive and living with her husband John Hughes and now only one of his original children, Ann, at New St, Ebenezer. Her daughter Jane, now Jane Evans, is also living in Ebenezer in this census (at High Street). New Street and High street are within yards of each other.

I am not able to find them in 1901 census. The only possible death from the registers is:

I don't really need the date of her death, but would like to get a will to see if she left a house to Jane Thomas.

Family fan chart