1833 He appears to have been born between June 1833 and March 1834, at Abermule, Newtown, Montgomeryshire, in the parish of Llanllwchaearn (the village is at the junction of 4 parishes, and his parents were married at Llanllwchaearn parish church).
Old Kerry Road, Newtown
1841 census gives him living at Kerry Road Newtown with his parents John Jenkins 40 and Mary Jenkins 40. In the household are Thomas Jenkins, age 7, born: Montgomeryshire, and Jane 15, Evan 15, Mary 10. The census was on the night of 6th June 1841, which puts Thomas Jenkins birth between June 1833 and March 1834, too early for official records.
Because of the Chartist unrest and the general economic situation in Newtown, I feel that the family must have moved away from Newtown soon after 1841. The difficulty is that we cannot pick them up in the census returns of 1851. Only a putative sighting of Thomas Jenkins' father John Jenkins 1797 is to be found in 1851, when he is living as a lodger without the family, at High Street Llanfair Caereinion (5 miles due west of Welshpool). I have been through the enumerators books for Newtown and the family is not there. There is only one small book for Rhos, and I think there are three or four books missing. Rhos parish church records run only from 1853.
1851 The only vaguely possible census entry is "Thomas Jenkings" age 17, born Montgomeryshire, working as a farm labourer in Westbury, Shropshire. This is about 20 miles from Newtown. This could well be him, if the family was broken up with the recession.
1861 Thomas Jenkins marries Elizabeth Lloyd at Wrexham Registry Office. The marriage cert shows that the marriage was on 2 March 1861 at Wrexham Registry office, not in a church.
Thomas Jenkins age 26, a painter & glazier of Stryt Issa, Rhos, son of John Jenkins, carder. Marries Elizabeth Lloyd 23, of Rhos, daughter of Henry Lloyd, butcher, deceased. His trade of painter is maintained through his life, in the censuses of 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901. He gives his address as "Street Issa, Rhos". Rhos and Stryt Issa are close to Wrexham. That area at that time was a coal mining area, and one would assume that he was employed in one of the mining businesses there.
Certainly Rhos was not a happy place around this time.In 1875 several collieries and brickyards had closed resulting in about 1,200 men being made unemployed. In 1878 there were reports of people starving in the streets as poverty caused great suffering in Rhos. So it would not be surprising that the Jenkins family moved away from Rhos. They are living in llangollen in the 1861 census a few weeks after their marriage. Thomas and Elizabeth's first child, John Jenkins, was born at Llangollen in 1862.
1861 census, shows Thomas Jenkins age 27, house painter, born Newtown, Montgomery and his wife Elizabeth age 23, born Llangollen, Denbyshire. Also in the household is Joseph Henry Lloyd, given as "wife's son" age 2, born Birkenhead. They are living at Hall Street, Bache, Llangollen. I tracked the birth down to "Joseph Wright Lloyd" born at 5 Wilson Street, Birkenhead. No father is given, mother is Elizabeth Lloyd. Birth Certificate was on 9 December 1858, and registered a month later on 18 January 1859. One assumes the father was a "Mr Wright" rather than Thomas Jenkins , and that Elizabeth Lloyd went to Birkenhead to have the child discretely, away from the neighbours at home. Where she encountered Mr Wright is not clear. There are two Joseph Wrights in Llangollen/Rhos area of the right age in the 1861 census, but one can say no more than that. The family believe that this son died of drowning in the river at Llangollen, which would explain why he does not appear in further censuses. After her marriage, the child will just have assumed the surname Jenkins.
Of their children, christenings only start in the parish register with Margaret (born 1869, christened 1872), while all the other following younger children were baptised at Llangollen. Either the older children, John, James, Mary and Elizabeth were not christened, or were christened somewhere else (unlikely as they were living in Hall Street,Bache, Llangollen in 1861, which is only a few yards away from Church Street and the parish church.)
1862 John Jenkins, therir first joint child born in Llangollen
169 birth of Margaret Jenkins 29 July, when they were living at 19 Church Street, Llangollen.
1871 census - Census on 2 April 1871 gives Thomas Jenkins, a painter aged 35, living at Church Street, Llangollen Fawr. Llangollen is only about 5 miles from Rhos where Thomas Jenkins married in 1861. One can follow all the census information on the family here. He is living with his wife Elizabeth Jenkins age 34, born at Llangollen, and children (all born at Llangollen) John Jenkins age 9, James Bert Jenkins age 7, Mary Jane Jenkins age 5, Elizabeth Rudenhard Jenkins age 3 (the state birth register shows Prudencia rather than Rudenhard), Margaret Ann Jenkins age 1.
They have a child Thomas Jenkins born 21 Apr 1871 and christened 24 May. He must have died as an infant, as another Thomas was christened in 1874. The 1874 birth puts their address as 19 Church Street.
Jenkins house at 19 Church Street, Llangollen
The census enumerator's book also shows that next door to them in Church Street are his parents John Jenkins, age 67, carder, born Montgomeryshire, and his wife Mary Jenkins, age 67 born Montgomeryshire.
They lived in Llangollen certainly until 1879, as their children Winifred 1872, Thomas 1874, Sarah 1877 and Richard 1879 were all born in Llangollen. As the family later moved to Ffestiniog, I feel that Thomas must have been employed in the slate quarry business in Llangollen
His parents John and Mary Jenkins died in 1878 and 1879, and this may have prompted him to move from Llangollen. On top of this in 1879, a period of twenty years of almost uninterrupted growth came to an end, and the slate industry was hit by a recession which lasted until the 1890s. Management responded by tightening rules and making it more difficult for the men to take time off. Labour relations were worsened by differences in language, religion and politics between the two sides. The big quarries at Ffestiniog were less badly hit than the smaller ones in the outlying areas like Llangollen, so a move from Lllangollen to Ffestiniog with his skills following the death of his parents would have been logical. It is about 40 miles from Llangollen to Ffestiniog.
1881 census - Thomas Jenkins age 45, born: New Town, Montgomeryshire, Wales. Living with his family at Maenofferen Ter, Ffestiniog. They have moved from Llangollen, but he is still a painter. All the children, including the youngest are given as born in Llangollen, so they can only have moved to Ffestiniog around 1880.
The family is by now his wife Elizabeth Jenkins 44, and children John Jenkins 19 slate miner, James Jenkins 17 slate miner, Elizabeth Jenkins 13, Margaret Jenkins 11, Winefred Jenkins 9, Thomas Jenkins 7, Sarah Jenkins 4, Richard Jenkins 2. One child, Mary Jane, appears to have died since the 1871 census (or could possibly have been in service). Their last child (another Joseph) was born in Ffestiniog.
1888. 24th October 1888, At St David's Church, Ffestiniog by banns his daughter Margaret Ann Jenkins age 20, of Diphwys Terrace, Ffestiniog, married Rees Pugh, age 27, a quarryman, living at Peniarth Arms Llanfihangel y pennant, son of Evan Pugh (deceased) quarryman (marriage certificate). Margaret and her new husband lived in Ffestiniog for another 2 years, moving away in 1890 to live in South Wales
1891 census - Thomas Jenkins, age 55, a painter, born: Abermule, Montgomeryshire. Living with his family at 51 High Street, Ffestiniog. The whole family are monoglot Welsh speakers.
Living with his wife Elizabeth Jenkins age 53 and family Thomas Jenkins age 17, painter, Sarah E Jenkins age 14 , Richard Jenkins age 12, and Joseph Jenkins age 9. Joseph is the only child given as born in Ffestiniog
1901 census - Thomas Jenkins, age 67 born: Abermule, Montgomeryshire, Wales. Living at 52 High Street,Ffestiniog (I do not know if they moved over the road, or if one of 1891 or 1901 addresses is wrong). A Painter working on his own account. The family now speak both English and Welsh.
Living in the house with him are his wife Elizabeth Jenkins 60 and the youngest child Joseph Jenkins 19, painter
1901 Elizabeth Jenkins died 30 November 1901 in Blaenau Ffestiniog, Merioneth
1902 He died 22 April 1902 in Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Family fan chart