3 replies [Last post]
Last seen: 12 years 23 weeks ago
Joined: Saturday, 4-02-2012

Hi everyone,

We've been trying to trace my Great grandfather's family for over 20 years with no such luck. We are really stuck in a rut with this so I'm hoping someone might have any new suggestions we havent tried.

My Gt Grandfather is George Griffiths of Onibury, Craven Arms. He lived there from 1900 until his tragic death in 1933. It was suggested that he was born circa 1866 in the Clun/Ludlow region. In the 1911 census he says he was born in Bishops Castle, another date says Argoed. However, this doesn't quite add up and being a common surname doesn't help!

He married in Stokesay as Griffiths and his fathers name is named as John Griffiths. The wedding witness is James Squires. At some point around this time our George changed his name to Squires. We don't know why but it is very confusing!

There are no birth certificates for George Griffiths with a father called John. The likeliest we have found is an illegitimate birth by a Margaret Griffiths but she is just as untraceable as George. We've even tried looking under Squires and there are no possibles.



Last seen: 7 years 21 weeks ago
Joined: Friday, 22-07-2011

Your ancestor was born at a time when registering a birth wasn't cumposory. Further, the births of bastards are less likely to re recorded, if that is the case.

1 - If I remember correctly, changes of names were meant to be recorded and published in the London Gazette. There may be other resources for this situation that others may be able to direct on. Some material from the London Gazette is searchable at:

2 - Argoed, is a common place name in Shropshire and Montgomergyshire. Is there a place called Argoed in Bishop's Castle?

3 - If he was a bastard, children of such birth often list their maternal grandfather on marriage and other documents. This can give an avenue for investigation.

4 - Have you checked the Bishop's Castle PRs? There is also a Bishop's Castle Methodist circuit, the records of which are available from SFHS. One Bpt. not far away here:

5 - Have you checked the relevant Petty Sessions for the Bishop's Castle Petty Sessional Division, if they exist? And also Quater Sessions. An index of Q.S. is published by the society and ava. at Shrop. Archives.

6 - Have you cehcked the vestry for records pertaining to the admonishmets for acts of fornication and bastardy bonds?

That's what is instantly coming to mind though there are other avenuse.
Appologies if I am attempting to teach an old tricks they are already familiar with.

Last seen: 8 years 21 weeks ago
Joined: Friday, 3-02-2012


One of my relations was given the name mary penlington when she was born but we found a Frances penlington on the 1911 census ..first of we thought it was the daughter of a sister who daughter was name Frances but we found her on the 1911 census living with her mum who later gave her up to another member of family to bring up under another surname..... found this Frances was born in liverpool and her mother had gone to liverpool to have her then came back to whitchurch to leave her with her parents who had call her Frances. .....later her mother change her surname to mason and started calling her Mary again.....some one i worked with had one of her relations put in the local newspaper for sale back in the 20's.....

My mother who is in her late 80's said children were just passed around and names and dates of birth change so that it was not known they were not their uncle was born under one surname and given another so that his aunt could bring him up as his mother was not married to the father.....

I've only been doing it for 3 years but I'm lucky that my mother and father family lived for the lasted 150 years in the same area and now 90% of the family on both sides live within 10 miles of each other...Debi

Last seen: 12 years 23 weeks ago
Joined: Saturday, 4-02-2012


Thanks very much for the advice. Unfortunately my family don't appear to be the sort of people to change their name officially. There's a family story that George's mother married a man named Squires after her husband died. The only problem is that there are no Squires/Griffiths marriages at this time or area.

Argoed is a hamlet 1.7 miles from Cefn Einion and a couple of miles from Bishops Castle. The actual place falls under Clun parish.

I have managed to track down the Margaret Griffiths of Cefn Einion who later married John Brick. There is also another illegitimate Griffiths later living with them but curiously living with Brick relations whilst Margaret is unmarried and working in service. The maternal grandfather of this George Griffiths is William, not John. George born 1865 is very difficult to track down in 1871 and I suspect this one may have died.

I have also tried to look at the workhouse records and bastardy bonds for the area and none survive.