Go to “My Mother’s Side, Part 1”
Go To “MY Mother’s Side, Part 2”
Like Trying to Find a Kelly in Dublin
Genealogy research, I’ve learned, is very hit-or-miss. My mother’s father’s mother was a Kelly, born in Chicago. Tracking down one particular Kelly in Chicago is like looking for one particular piece of hay in a haystack. I’d rather look for the needle. On the other hand, my mother’s mother’s mother was an Andrews — another common surname — but, for some reason, I’ve discovered quite a lot about them, especially those who remained in Carmarthen, Wales.
Here, then, is what I’ve been able to piece together about my ancestors who made candy and raced bicycles in the 1800s and early 1900s.
Jacob Andrews Arrives
My great-great-grandfather, Jacob Andrews, appears as an 8-year-old on the 1841 census for Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England. That “yes” on the right of the first document below means he was born in the same country. However, by 1851, the Andrews family had moved to 9 King Street in Carmarthen, Wales, and the father and his oldest sons were confectioners. (Confectioners, you might already know, make candy and other treats that are irresistible and probably bad for you.)
Sure enough, Jacob would join the same profession, as shown on his 1853 marriage certificate. His bride’s name was Lucy Ann Moseley, and she also lived on King Street. The 1871 census shows Jacob still in the sweets business, but the couple are living a bit further down King Street with their four children. (One of those kids is Ida Mary, my great-grandmother. She’ll marry John Nicolas and they’ll emigrate to Chicago, something I discuss in Part 1 of this little series.)
The 1870s; Or, Who Robs a Confectionary?
Let me rephrase that: who robs a confectionary for money?
A far greater loss had come the previous year. Lucy Ann Andrews died on September 16, 1874. Jacob remarried, and the 1881 census lists his wife as Margaret from Carmarthen. But Margaret died on January 2, 1889. It follows that no wife is indicated in the 1891 census. Nonetheless, in 1901 and 1911, Jacob’s wife is identified as Susan. Though the typical reasons behind for doing so might be different today, marrying three times was also a part of Victorian and Edwardian life.
To illustrate a very different part of Victorian and Edwardian life, let me now shift the spotlight to Jacob and Margaret’s son, Bertie.
Bertie Andrews: Successful Local Cyclist
The Carmarthen newspapers that figured readers would want to know about Bertie’s fall from a bicycle also kept tabs on his accomplishments as a racer. For instance, the Journal announced his being chosen to ride for Wales against the London Polytechnic Club (9th May 1902, p. 5) while the Weekly Reporter explained that, at a benefit held by area athletes for one of their own, Bertie was considered to be “the best cyclist on the ground that day” (18th July 1902, p. 2).
I imagine that even a champion bicycle racer needs a side gig to pay the bills. It makes sense to start with a bike shop. And that’s what Bertie did in 1903, selling the brand of bike ridden by a king!
In 1910, he retired from cycling. Here’s the only picture I’ve managed to find of the famous athlete.
Maybe Bert had grown tired of the sport or was looking to settle into something less physically demanding. Whatever his reason, within a few years, he had become the proprietor of the Spread Eagle Hotel on Queen Street, an establishment that still exists today. Should I swing by, I think I’m owed a complimentary beer.
Jacob Was Remembered for Cycling, Too
Apparently, cycling mattered to both Jacob and Bertie. When the father was memorialized in 1914, it was noted that he had been among the earliest bicyclists in the area. Maybe Bertie got the itch from his dad.
That Solomon Andrews mentioned in the obituary was a pretty big deal in a variety of businesses across Wales, from local bus services to real estate development. He’s worthy of a post of his own, but I’m going to leave that to someone else.
If you’ve bothered to read through this little series of piecemeal tales about my ancestors, I sincerely thank you. I stitched together these various documents more for me than for anyone else. Still, there’s a chance — however slight — that I’ve inspired a few folks to look into their own genealogy. I’d love to hear about other people’s adventures in ancestry below.