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THE FRANCIS-REES FAMILY OF NEATH

 

 

   James (Jim) Francis-Rees and Gertrude Mabel (Gertie) Snow were married in Neath and had 6 children (Vida, Olga, Phyllis, Harold, Marion & Maldwyn). They lived in No 13 Eva St, next to Gertie's parents (No 15), Both died within 1 months of each other in 1954 & 55.  

 

Gertie Snow pictured far left in the back row of this family photo. Please click on the link below for more information on Gertie's family history please.......

 

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James Francis-Rees was born Francis then adopted by the Rees family after his parents died, hence the double barrelled name. We haven't any photos of Jim's ancestors on the Francis or the Rees side. For more info on his family history please..............

 

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THE REES & FRANCIS FAMILIES

Grandpa Jim was originally born Francis and adopted by the Rees family, hence the double-barrelled surname him and inclusion of Francis on the birth certificates of the children, but normally they were known as 'Rees' Here's more info about James Francis-Rees and his forefathers as compiled by cousin James (Muir).

James Francis-Rees

 James Francis Rees was born James Francis in Neath on the 23rd Feb of 1890 to Francis Francis and Elizabeth Jones at No 4 Jones Court Neath, which was somewhere near Wind Street. In 1891 we find the family at the above address. Francis was a tin smelter born in Neath on the16th of February 1861at James St and one month later on the 1861 census living at 29 The Latt which is where Safeway’s car park is now situated.

  

The Latt - with 'The Friends Meeting House' on far right - this building is still there today

  

 

Francis married Elizabeth Jones (b1860) on the 25 Dec. of 1883 ( Merry Christmas) and they had four children, namely Thomas John Francis b1885, Amelia Francis b1886, Francis Francis b1888, and the youngest James. In 1901 the three oldest children are found in the union cottage homes in Bryncoch, Blaenhonddan, and James living with William John Rees, b1865 Cadoxton and his wife Sarah Jane, b1866 Maesteg, at 22 Main Rd, Catwg (Cadoxton). James now Francis Rees is down as cousin to William and also there is Anne Rees aged 5 down as a cousin. I have not established that they were first cousins.

In trying to establish why James was adopted, I have found the death of an Elizabeth Francis (wife of Francis Francis) on the sixteenth of January 1893 of Puerperal Fever (a fever following childbirth and caused by uterine infection), registered in Neath aged 33 which seems to tie in, and the death of a Francis Francis in Swansea in Dec 1897 aged 36.

 

The Jones Family

  Elizabeth ’s parents were John Jones a gardener b1816 in Llantrisant, Monmouthshire. (two censuses give his birth 1811 and another two 1816) John is found in Neath in 1841 lodging with Samuel Lewis a tailor at 23a London Rd. John married Elizabeth and they are found at Water St. in 1851 with their three children, David b1846, Jennet b1849 and Margaret b1850. By 1861 the family has grown with James1854, Mary b1856, Zephaniah b1857, and Elizabeth b1860 all living at Mexico Rd. which was off Wind Street . In 1871 they are still at Mexico Row No13 with the addition of Lucy b1864, Elizabeth the wife is employed in butchery. When we look for them in 1881 the family is scattered, John is dead, Elizabeth a travelling vegetable saleswomen, Lucy is living with Zephaniah and his new wife Eliza at 57 Windsor Rd. and Elizabeth is a servant to her sister Mary and her husband John Thomas (a Butcher) at 53 Windsor Rd. from where Elizabeth is married in 1883. At the same time Bemjamin Snow and family are at 55 Windsor Rd. (Gertrude’s great uncle.)

 The Francis Family

James married Gertrude Mabel Snow in the Sept Qtr of 1909 and they had six children, Vida, Phylis, Olga, Marion, Maldwyn and Harold.

Going further back James’s father Francis was born in 1861 to Thomas Francis bc1834 in Neath or Neath Abbey and Margaret Thomas bc1839.  Thomas was an iron moulder and also ran the White Lion at 10 Cattle Street Neath in 1881. They were married on Dec 23rd 1855 at St Thomas’s parish Church and had at least 11 children, Jenkin b1858, Francis, Sarah J, Elizabeth, William, Margaret, Martha, Lucy A, Thomas, Jessie, and the youngest, Harriet b1881. They were at No. 2 Cattle Street in 1871. Thomas may have died aged 55 in Neath in the Sept Qtr 1889, and Margaret in the March Qtr of 1890.

In 1891 Margaret junior is found with the younger children (and no sign of Thomas and Margaret), at 52 Water St where she is a general servant and niece to the head John Hill b1837 Neath a collier. Is Margeret the mother called Margaret Hill? No!

 The Thomas Family

On the marriage certificate of Thomas and Margaret we find that Margaret’s father John Thomas was a carpenter, which helps us find the right John Thomas in the 1851 census. We find John b1809 in Neath and his wife Margaret b1807 Neath at Union Road with their children, Sarah b1834, Margaret b1838, David b1841, John b1844, Elizabeth b1846 and Leyshon b1850. In 1841 they are at 22 Wind Street . In1861 we find them in “The Merra” in Neath (by Water St) and Shem is added to the family b 1854, but Sarah and Margaret gone probably both married. The Mera & The Latt was housing put up by Sir Humphrey Mackworth to accommodate the increase in population from the opening of his mines in the Gnoll area during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The common land known as the Mera was transformed into Victoria Gardens in 1896-7.

Going back another generation Thomas Francis’s father was also Thomas b 1808 in Cadoxton, also a moulder, his mother was Elizabeth Griffith b1808 Cadoxton. They had 10 children, Elizabeth b1827, Francis1829. Jane 1831, Thomas1834, Margaret 1835, Mary 1838,William 1841, Catherine1843, Sarah1844, Martha 1850, They lived in James Street in Neath in 1841,  and in the Latt in 1851 and 1861.

 

 All the photos on this page from this point on have been identified by Marion - I've tried wherever possible to add the information she's given while identifying the photos. These photos were contained in two albums in Olga & Mervyn's photo collection. The albums we think may have originally belonged to Auntie Flossie, certainly the second of the two was Flossie's. I'm happy to send any of the family a CD with the complete collection of photos on - just send me your address by email. 

  CLICK HERE TO EMAIL COZ DAI 

 

GERTIE (SNOW) & JIM FRANCIS-REES

Gertrude Mabel daughter of William & Margaret married James Francis-Rees. Grandad Jim was born Francis but when his parents died he was adopted by the Rees family of Cadoxton. 

CLICK HERE FOR THE HISTORY OF THE FRANCIS FAMILY

  

Grandmum Gertie with Linden, (Marion says) " probably in Newcastle because that's where Bill Kite & Phyllis went to live, it was where he had his first church." 
 

Grandad Jim with Raymond Gibbons and somebody's new car. Carole Snow was a regular visitor to Gertie & Jim's, 'the one striking thing about Jim' she said was his voice - he was extremely hoarse, another thing about Jim was he was always positive and would always try a gee people up if they were down' 'what's the matter girl' he would say to me, put a smile on your face !  

 
Unknown, Jim Rees (Grandad) Harry we think Robottom - from Brookdale - rode a motorbike for years.
Bill Dummer used to live top of Eva Street & Jim Rees (Grandad) - Harry Robottom in background working on bike

 

The children of James & Gertie Rees circa 1926

Vida, Olga, Phyllis, Harold, Marion & Maldwyn

VIDA & FAMILY

Vida as a baby and adult with we think Ryland in the bottom right photo.

994-vida-ryland.jpg (134442 bytes)

if you see a small photo like this click on it to make the image larger 

Vida in the Melyn Amateurs
Vida & either Ryland or Lynnette
Vida
Vida
Possibly Danny belonging to Emrys ?? & possibly Lynnette as a baby
Doreen & Vida

This is mum talking ..........." Grandad taught Vida to drive and she drove one of his lorries, Grandad was a haulage contractor and Vida drove while he did the donkey work. Mam used to do the collecting of the money - some were really tight fisted especially the sweet shop at the bottom of Dan-y-Graig Rd. Grandad wasn't too clever at collecting his debts, a bit soft !!! He eventually went out of business, he was always hoarse, he was a heavy smoker (Capstan Strong) but also suffered from gas inhilation in the first world war^

Vida and Lynnette on the steps of a van that Emrys turned into a semi-caravan
ooooooohhhh that Ryland is a handsome boy ! 984-ryland-4.jpg (128719 bytes)
Lynnette
Vida & baby who ?
Unknown Baby on Vida page
Lynnette family photos 974-lynnette-and-family.jpg (87583 bytes)

 

OLGA & FAMILY

Brian in the sand - with Owen & Lewis
Daphne, Chris, Paul, Olga, Emma & Liz
995-chris-brian-liz.jpg (112489 bytes) Chris, Brian & Liz
Olga with bike
We think lady on right was a friend of Olga from the Melyn - the others we don't remember
Top row - Evelyn - Vida - Unknown
Bottom - Flossie & Olga
olga, vida, unknown, possibly Gaynor Isaac, unknown 
Olga, Doreen, unknown in front

 

PHYLLIS & FAMILY

top - Vida & Phyllis
middle - Evelyn, unknown & Flossie
bottom - possibly Evelyn's son (Martyn ??), Majorie & Olga

Evelyn married Albert Mason but he was killed by a bus in Llandarcy

Grandmum Gertie with Linden, (Marion says) " probably in Newcastle because that's where Bill Kite & Phyllis went to live, it was where he had his first church." 

 

MARION & FAMILY

 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE ABOUT MARION & FAMILY

HAROLD

Harold & Marion, Maldwyn & Majorie at the beach
Harold & Marion, Maldwyn & Majorie at the beach
Harold & Marion, Maldwyn & Majorie

 

MALDWYN & FAMILY

We think this is the boys club - with possibly Mervyn back right and Maldwyn, 2nd from left bottom row, Evan Breach to the right of Maldwyn as we look.
Maldwyn caricature
Maldwyn playing football, probably for Briton Ferry Athletic
Grandad Jim (Rees) and Maldwyn
We think Maldwyn as a teenager ! only kidding !!!!
Peggy
We believe this to be a goal scored by Maldwyn - it's probably him on the floor. We think he played professional football for Swansea Town, Norwich & Scuthorpe.

Meryvn about Mal - Mal's first match for the Swans was against Bath during the war - he was 18 - Bath had 10 full internationals in their side and was marked by the Spurs and England captain. I was stationed locally so went to watch the match. 

 

 

Maldwyn & Flossie
Maldwyn far right and three other geezers
We are not sure who the one in the back is but we think the three in the front are Maldwyn. Leonard Snow & Majorie 
Maldwyn with (we think) Daphne & Alan
Flossie with (we think) Daphne & Alan
We think Glen with Maldwyn
Maldwyn with some geezers who are happy - probably footballers
We think Gertie with Peggy, baby Daphne & Peggy's mum
David Pearson (in Flossie's troop, had a good voice used to sing) Maldwyn in middle also had a good voice but too nervous to sing on his own. Bill Gibbons on right (Raymond's brother).   
Maldwyn with the tops of Daphne & Alan's heads
Peggy with Daphne & Alan on the beach
Peggy at unknown beach - large house to the left of picture - possibly Sker or Rest Bay, Porthcawl
unknown boy - possibly Alan - we think definately Alan - maybe !
Daphne, Alan and other unknown kids, unfortunately the camera was out of focus when the picture was taken.
Peggy & Daphne + two others
Daphne, Alan and other unknown kids, 
Alan the footballer
Daphne & Alan in the sea
Daphne
Maldwyn & Peggy, Vida and Olga holding baby Peter.
  
Uncle Mal captaining Briton Ferry. 

 

Uncle mal played for several professional teams - Norwich City, Scunthorpe Utd, Swansea Town (during the war), he also played for Bath City during the war. He also played and managed Briton Ferry AthIetic for years, I was fortunate in my youth to be allowed to train with them in 'the barn, Hen Gwrt'. I didn't realise until recently that he played for Aberystwyth Town - this is borrowed from the 'Legends' page on their website.

 

Mal Rees - Midfield, Forward, 1952-57

A handful upfront, bagged 36 goals in 186 games. As club captain set an example to his team on how to score, he helped nurture Town's youngsters but at the same time taught them how to compete for places. Mal was a builder from Neath when he first started to play for Town. He brought great authority to the forward line of the 1950's. He was nick-named the wizard of Welsh League football and would often match this claim in newspaper headlines. He once bewildered the Merthyr defence at Park Avenue during 1953/54. His energy, dribbling and long swinging passes as accurate as guided missiles being enough to cause problems. At an away tie in Ebbw Vale he left the home fans standing and brought gasps of delight from spectators. He even had the accolade of being called the Scarlet Pimpernel against Pontllanfraith when he scored the goal of the seaon for 1953/54. In a dazzling run from the half-way line he beat man after man, pulling out of his bag of tricks every sleight-of-foot in the soccer magician's handbook, before unleashing one of his specials.

  

 

SHED ON HOLIDAY

This is without doubt my favourite story, the family holiday........... the family used to load the garden shed onto the back of Grandad Jim's lorry, strap it down and take it to Newton in Porthcawl and live in it for the summer ! that smells like incredible fun !

   

If an image is small (thumbnail) click on it to see a full size version

 

This page is dedicated to my aunts & uncles Vida & Emrys (Bunston), Olga & Mervyn (Freeman), Phyllis, Gordon (Davies) & Bill (Kite), Harold Rees, Maldwyn (Rees) & Peggy, and my cousins Ryland Bunsten, Lynnette Bryant, Brian Freeman, Peter Freeman, Susan Lloyd, Neilson Kite, Linden Paterson, Alicia Davies, Daphne Rees, Alan Rees, Mark Rees, to my mum & dad and sisters Anne Tanner & Barbara Howells, to all of you and you and your children and children's children, too numerous to mention It's an honour to part of this family - keep smiling - cuz Dai !

If you have any info you would like to add to this webpage please email me:

 

CLICK HERE TO EMAIL COZ DAI

 

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