Friday, October 27, 2006

Women behaving badly

There are a few names in my family tree that I keep returning to in my researches, endeavouring to find out missing pieces of information. One such name is Sydney Ellis, born 1826 in Dolgellau Wales, mother of two illegitimate children - one of whom is my earliest known paternal ancestor Ellis Williams, and his twin brother Griffith Ellis.

I don't know much of what happened to Sydney after this, although I'd heard that she'd had another bastard child. Her name doesn't show up in marriage or death records, so I'm left wondering what happened to her. I'm still in the dark as to the identity of Ellis & Griffith's father.

Just now I was looking through some online archives, and typed in her rather unusual name. Bang! 21 hits on county court records from 160 years ago. Oh what a scrapper she was.
  • April 1 1845: Sydney Ellis of assaulting Margaret Jones at Dolgelley [Dolgellau] on 29 March, 1845. Adjudged to forfeit 6d. with 8s. costs and failing payment, 7 days imprisonment in Dolgelley [Dolgellau] Gaol
  • May 1850: Sydney Ellis of Dolgelley (Dolgellau) alleges that John Harrier Jones is the father of her bastard child, born 21 May 1850, taken before Lewis Owen Edwards, Esq., and Rev. John Jones, J.P.'s who adjudge John Harrier Jones to be the Putative father, and order him to pay 1/3d per week towards the child, plus 15/= costs to Sydney Ellis
  • October 1850: [Evan James] served Sydney Ellis with an order of court which ordered her to pay £14.6.5d. to the Appellant. He also states that she refused to pay.
  • October 1850: Surety: Sydney Ellis of Dolgelley (Dolgellau), spinster £10, William Richards, skinner and Griffith Griffiths, tanner, both of Dolgelley (Dolgellau), £5 each, taken before Lewis Owen Edwards, J. P., that Sydney Ellis shall keep the peace and be of good behaviour, particularly towards John Harrier Jones of Dolgelley (Dolgellau)
As I progress through the records, I find her mother:
  • EASTER 1822 - ref. ZQS/E1822

    FILE - PRESENTMENT by the jurors that Anne, wife of Griffith Ellis, late pa. Dolgelley (Dolgellau), taylor, did assault Evan Evans, gent. - ref. ZQS/E1822/9 - date: 1822 Feb 26

    FILE - RECOGNIZANCE - ref. ZQS/E1822/17 - date: 1822 Feb 3
    hit[from Scope and Content] Taken by Richard Hughes, clerk, J.P. of Ann Ellis, Dolgelley (Dolgellau), wife of Griffith Ellis for her appearance at next G.Q.S. and for keeping the peace towards Evan Evans, Carnarvon, co. Carnarvon, gent..

    FILE - INSTRUCTION by Evan Evans, solicitor - ref. ZQS/E1822/24 - date: nd
    hit[from Scope and Content] For prosecution to the clerk of the peace that an indictment be prepared re the case of Evan Evans, gent., against Anne, wife of Griffith Ellis, late of pa. Dolgelley (Dolgellau) for a charge of assault. Naming prosecution as Mr. Evan Evans and witness as Mr. John Pugh.


  1. An 1865 death record for a Sydney Ann Ellis in Carnarvon turned out to be a false lead. That was for an 8mo infant.

  2. Something that is troubling about the report of the bastard child born "21 May 1850" is that she has a bastard child, John Ellis registered as born 18 Dec 1849, and baptised that month. That birth is officially registered on 12 Jan 1850.