Marriage certificate for Edward Williams and Mary Birkinhead
Birth certificate for Martha Ann Williams (daughter)
1841 Census information for Edward Williams (PDF)
1841 Census image for Edward Williams
1851 Census information for Edward Williams (PDF)
1851 Census image for Edward Williams
1861 Census information for family of Edward Williams (PDF)
1871 Census information for family of Edward Williams (PDF)
1871 Census image for family of Edward Williams
The arm of the Montgomeryshire Canal to Guilsfield is complete as well as a twelve kilometer extension from Welshpool south southwest to Garthmyl. Permanent lime kilns have been constructed on the eastern side of the canal about two and a half kilometers south from Welshpool. Likely the appearance of the kilns gives the name Belan to the area. Belan translates from Welsh as an animal enclosure or a mound on the side of a hill. On the western side of the canal the pastures are rough, and steep wooded valleys divide the slope. More development is taking place here as the timber yard of Powis Castle is expanded, lumbering increases and a sawmill is built. Thomas Williams, who is probably Edward's father, is a carpenter; possibly hired by the new Earl of Powis to work on the residences being built to house the workforce at Belan. This is Edward's birthplace.
There is no evidence that Edward ever attends school or that his parents are literate. Besides what he learns working with his father it seems likely that Edward is taken on as an apprentice in a joiners shop in Welshpool, or perhaps as an assistant, between 1820 and 1830, when the sash windows of the castle are replaced with mullioned and transomed windows.
When he is old enough Edward travels the border country of Wales and England north to the inland plains of Cheshire. By 1841 he is renting a house in Leftwich which is a township in Davenham Parish. An 1848 description of the parish makes the following points: there are no great woods in Davenham Parish as most of the valley has been set out in cheese and dairy farms. The road from Birmingham to Liverpool parallels the River Daven, or Dane for which the parish is named. The parish is also intersected by the London and North-Western railway, and the Trent and Mersey canal. The major industry is salt production. There are numerous salt works “the smoke of which blackens every thing on the face of the land for a considerable distance....”
There are 426 houses and 2001 inhabitants in Leftwich Twp according to the 1841 Census. Edward's census return contains information about ten households. He’s the only person living in a house by himself. He is also the only man not born in Chester County, Cheshire. Four of the men are labourers, two men are stone masons, two men are pan smiths (the metalworkers who create the salt-making pans), one man is a salt boiler, one is a carpenter, and Edward is a joiner.
The minister of the church in Great Budworth announces the intention of Edward Williams and Mary Birkinhead to marry on June 08, 1845 and the marriage ceremony takes place June 22, 1845. Mary was born in Leftwich and is living with her family in Northwich before her wedding.
On May 02, 1846 Mary gives birth to their first child who is christened Henry on May 08, 1846 in Davenham Parish. Over the next fourteen years Mary and Edward have five daughters who are all christened in Davenham: Elizabeth on October 29, 1848; Mary Ellen on July 11,1852; Sarah on March 4, 1855; Martha Ann (who is called Annie) on January 24, 1858; and Emma on October 28, 1860.
Edward lives in Leftwich Twp for at least fifteen years, although he may be away for extended periods on job projects. He rents a house on Hartford Road. It looks like the road connects the towns of Northwich (where Mary's parents live) and Hartford. His closest neighbours have young families and the other men also have jobs requiring frequent or seasonal absence: one man is a bricklayer, one is a waterman, and one is a sawyer.
However, by 1871, Edward is living at 53 Curzon St. in Duddeston Ward, east side Birmingham. Although he doesn't remain in the same house, Edward lives in this Vauxhall neighbourhood of Duddeston, East Birmingham until his death in the second quarter of 1891.
According to his parish marriage record, Edward's father is named Thomas Williams. A small amount of information about Edward's probable parents can be extracted from UK census records. In 1851 Thomas Williams and his wife Sarah are living on Powell's Lane in Welchpool (Pool, Welspool, Welshpool). Thomas is a sixty-seven year old carpenter, born in Towyn, Merioneithshire, Wales. Sixty-two year old Sarah was born in Guilsfield, Montgomeryshire which is just over three kilometers from Welshpool.
Birth: 1851 Census of UK, ancestry.com on-line. 1891 Census UK, Edward gives his birthplace as Welshpool, Montgomeryshire Private family papers indicate that Sarah Jones of Guilford was Edward's mother and Thomas Williams was his father.