Author Topic: Tracing my grandfather - Arthur Lloyd Jones (Harry Jones or Harry or Eddie May)  (Read 2476 times)

Offline Black Adder

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I have tried in vain to find out what happened to my grandfather who died sometime before 1935.  Here is the story. Rather long but necessarily detailed. Apologies in advance.

I was born and raised in Hastings as were my parents.  I have been researching my family tree for some time but recently made some new and intriguing discoveries.

My mother was born Gwendoline Mabel JONES in 1912.  Her parents were Arthur Lloyd JONES and Isabella Mabel JONES (nee RAYMOND).  Arthur was born in Rhyl in North Wales in 1876 and Mabel was born in London in 1886.  I do know that both of them were on the stage.  Not only is this shown as their profession on my mother's birth certificate but I also have some family photographs of them in their stage personae.

Arthur's stage name was Harry MAY and Mabel's was Isa MAY.  They went variously under the names of "The Two Mays" or  "Isa and Harry".  Isabel also went under a separate stage name of Isa BERNARD and sometimes Betty BERNARD.  Arthur was sometimes Harry MAY and also Eddie MAY. All these names appear on photos that they have signed for well-wishers. Until very recently that was the sum total of my knowledge about my maternal grandparents. My mother died in 1997 and my father in 2007.  (Why don't we ask them more while we still can?)

Very recently I decided to do some investigation on the archives of "The Stage" newspaper and was thrilled to be able to uncover about 150 separate references to their appearances in Music Halls up and down the country from 1903 to 1925.  They styled themselves as a Comedy Duo.  One of Isa's photos says "Comedienne".  In adverts from "The Stage" she was also termed a Soubrette.  The various appearances were in well known theatres all over England, Wales and Ireland. I have no records of them appearing in Scotland. Strangely in one cutting they appeared as Arthur Lloyd and Maida Raymond (using his christian names and her maiden surname).

Harry and Isa were married in Camberwell, London in 1908 but were appearing together as early as 1904. Before 1904 Harry seems to have started his acting career in North Wales where he was born.  I am not sure what took them to Hastings but there is a reference to them both appearing there in 1905. Hastings was, of course, one of the birthplaces of the seaside musical and variety show which may account for their presence.
I also recall my mother saying that they were also Pierrots and one photograph shows a Pierrot Troupe.  The Stage newspaper contains references to "The White Coons" (1908) and to "Uncle Tom's Eastbourne Minstrels" (1913). 

So far so good!  However, the plot thickens.  My mother later had a step-father called Thomas Edwards.  He was born in London and emigrated to Canada in 1914.  He enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force and sailed back to Britain - en route for the Somme - in 1915.  At one stage he was evacuated to the UK and spent time in hospital in Seaford but returned to the Front in September 1918. Shortly thereafter he was awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field.  Thanks to friends and descendants of his Canadian Battalion I have a cutting detailing his award. He was finally discharged in April 1919.

I never knew how my mother came to have a step-father. Then, by chance, I found reference to the birth of Thomas Edwards' son James in March 1919.  Obtaining a copy of the birth certificate I was very surprised to find out that his mother was "Isabel Edwards formerly Raymond". The birth of his son to Isabel was registered in Hastings in May 1919 which will have been just after his discharge.

So why did Isa and Harry split up? The records from The Stage show them performing together right up to 1925.  More mysteriously, did Isabel and Thomas actually marry?  The reason I ask this is that, after further research, I uncovered Isabel's death certificate. This shows she died in Hastings in 1935 aged 47 and shown on it as:

"Isabel Mabel Jones, commonly known as Edwards.  Widow of Harry Jones an Actor (Stage)."  I am still trying to find a record of Arthur (Harry's) death.

Offline [Ray]

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Hi

Can we just plant your mother's birth reg?

1913 QMar Hatings 2b 28          Gwendoline M Jones (mmn Raymond)
1908 QJun Camberwell 1d 1553 Arthur Lloyd Jones / Mable Isabella Raymond

And this is yours? . . . . .
https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/person/tree/3113693/person/-1773875674/facts?_phsrc=jPs8&_phstart=successSource



Ray




"The wise man knows how little he knows, the foolish man does not". My Grandfather & Father.

"You canít give kindness away.  It keeps coming back". Mark Twain (?).

Offline Black Adder

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Ray
Correct.  Mother's DOB 28 Nov 1912. Grandfather's marriage as stated.  Confirm my tree.


Offline Milliepede

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What an interesting story.

The most likely death, name and age wise, is the one on your tree - Bangor 1926. 
Have you investigated that one?

"Commonly known as Edwards" implies she wasn't actually married to Mr Edwards but was using his name.

And she was definitely performing with her husband up to 1925?  So on the face of it he should have died between 1925-1935. 
Hinchliffe Huddersfield Wiltshire

Offline Milliepede

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Have you the birth for the other Edwards/Raymond child?
Hinchliffe Huddersfield Wiltshire

Offline Black Adder

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Thank you Millipede.
Thanks for pointing out the Bangor entry.  I obtained the death certificate for this and it was not the same Jones.  I should have amended my tree (which I have now done).

Yes; Edwards/Raymond co-habited from about 1918 to her death and no record of any marriage.  My mother Gwendoline - Mabel Isabella's daughter - signed a photo in 1932 calling herself Gwendoline May (her mother's stage name).

James, Eleanor and Betty were the other Edwards/Raymond children.

Offline Milliepede

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I can't see the birth for Betty but Eleanor is down as the wife of James Sydney Edwards so a little confusing! 
Hinchliffe Huddersfield Wiltshire

Offline Black Adder

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Sorry again. It's late at night!  Eleanour was James' wife.  Betty was born in 1920.  See photo.

Offline sylvia (canada)

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Re: Tracing my grandfather - Arthur Lloyd Jones (Harry Jones or Harry or Eddie May)
« Reply #8 on: Saturday 28 April 18 22:18 BST (UK) »
As mentioned to you elsewhere .................. have you thought that the information given on Isabel's death certificate was not accurate?

Much information is only what the informant knows, ie hearsay, and can be untrue (my own grandfather is an example of this!!!)

Arthur might not have been dead in 1935, but Isabel might have told people that.

Extend your search past 1935, just in case.
Taylor, Park, Rowlandson, Hayhurst, Goose, Moor, Mattinson, Dawes. Westmorland, Yorkshire, Lancashire.
Cadd, Ellard, Schofield, Ashton, Cott(e)rill, Buck(w)right, Love. Buckinghamshire, Lancashire
Hughes, Roberts, Wynn(e), Griffiths. Wales