Friday, May 19, 2017

Whatever Happened To Julia Edith Davies?

I have written a little about the earlier part of Julia's life and her contribution to women in church leadership here. After 1937 she disappeared from all the church records I could find. A few conversations with an extended family member, Roy Davies, and several record searches later I have been able to piece together a little of what happened after this date.

To begin with let me just say that in relation to earlier posts, I don't yet have David John Davies and Julia Edith's marriage record, but I have located them in the index.

Title of Index: England and Wales Marriage Registration Index
Event: Marriage
Registration Quarter: April - May - June
Registration Year: 1905
Registration District: Merthyr Tydfil
County: Glamorganshire
Event Place: Merthyr Tyfil, Glamorganshire, Wales
Volume: 11A
Page: 1197
Line Number: 64

All of the facts fit so I look forward to ordering this in the future and transcribing the full document. 

But what happened to Julia later in life, after she led the church at Ystrad in the 1930's?

I was tipped off by Roy that Julia remarried in 1939 to George E. Gwynne. Again, I do not have the full record, but I have located it. I will also transcribe this fully when I have sent off and received it back.

Title of Index: England and Wales Marriage Registration Index
Event: Marriage
Registration Quarter: April - May - June
Registration Year: 1939
Registration District: Pontypridd
County: Glamorganshire
Event Place: Pontypridd, Glamorganshire, Wales
Volume: 11A
Page: 1246
Line Number: 109

I am not sure why this was in Pontypridd. What I do know is that George had lived in Wales, but moved to Pennsylvania, U.S.A. He must have returned to Wales in the late 1930's. After they married he returned to Pennsylvania. He was already a naturalised citizen. The plan was for Julia to join him later that year. Roy told me George had travelled on the Queen Mary and with that information I was able to find a copy of George Gwynne's port of entry papers for this journey back to America.

Here's a brief transcription of the pertinent information:

List of United States Citizens for the immigration authorities.
S.S. Queen Mary sailing from Southampton, 14th June, 1939. Arriving at Port of New York 19th June 1939

Family Name: Gwynne.
Given Name: George E.
Age: 58
Sex: Male
Married or Single: W (Which I think means widowed.)
If native of United States insular possession Or if native of United States, give date and place of birth (City or Town and State): 614568 
If naturalized, give name and location of court which issued naturalization papers, and date of papers: Comm. Pleas. Court. Wilkes Barre. PA. 22 April 1938
Address In United States: 232 Chestnut Street. Kingston. PA.

Points of note:
Firstly, I believe the W in Married or Single stands for widowed, but I am unsure why they wouldn't put married since he had married Julia by this point. Perhaps because he is widowed from an American citizen? I need to look into this more. All the other facts fit perfectly so I am quite sure it is the right George.

Secondly, I believe the numbers given on the question about being native of the United States are something like an alien resident number. I need to do some research to find out if this is the case but it seems likely.

The third point is that the "Comm.Please.Court" short hand I believe refers to the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas. I am not sure if this was or is a regular place for immigration papers to be issued. I will need to do more research on that aspect.

Finally, his address in the United States gives me something to research further in the future, although it is Julia I am most interested in. It is not surprising to find him living in Pennsylvania, many Welsh people moved to Pennsylvania either temporarily or permanently to look for jobs in the mining industry or working with slate. I have other direct ancestors who did this.

So let's move on to Julia's move to the United States.

S.S. Mauretania. Passengers traveling from Southampton, October 14th 1947.
No. On List: 16
Family Name: Gwynne
Given Name: Julia
Age: 66
Sex: Female
Married or single: M
Calling or occupation: H'wife
Able to Read: Yes
Able to read what language (Or if exemption claimed on what ground.): English
Nationality (Country of which citizen or subject): Britain
Race or people: Welsh
Place of birth (Country): Wales
City or town, State, Province or District: Penrhyw (1)
Immigration Visa, Passport Visa, or Reentry Permit Number (Prefix number with QIV, NQIV, PV or RP and give section of act involved: Sec 5 6A (3) Div 33359
Place: London
Issued: 17th June 1947
Data concerning verification of landing etc. (This column for use of Government officials only.) Blank
Last Permanent Residence Country: Wales
City or Town, State, Province or District: Yrstrad, Rhondda

Points of note:

Firstly, the obvious reason for why there is such a vast difference in time of arrival between George and Julia is that shortly after George arrived in the U.S.A. war broke out between Britain and Germany. World War 2 did not end until 1945. I am sure Julia went to George just as soon as she was able.

Secondly, Julia noted that she could read English. I don't know if a test was done upon entering port or whether this was self declaration. I know many people in Wales of Julia's age could not read English but as a bible teacher and preacher I have no doubt that Julia could indeed read. It is interesting to me that there was no mention of Welsh. Living in the Rhondda and preaching at Ystrad Julia could most definitely speak it. Indeed, all of my grandfathers side of the family could speak it. It drove my grandma up the wall because she could not.

Thirdly, I don't know what the reference numbers and index in the immigration visa question mean. I may be able to find out with a little more research.

Finally, at present there is only one other bit of documentation I have about Julia and that is her death certificate. She lived a good long life and she and George were still able to spend some good years together. I will transcribe their death certificates in a future post.

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