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William Jones: Ancestral links
About The Author
Hello, my name is Tony Jones, and with my co-writer, Sapper Graham Mason, we have written for you, an article that we hope will both entertain and inform you, of our extensive research into the life of 593 Private William Jones VC. This section forms an adjunct to the main story and illustrates an example of how the past extends and touches the present. The trail of my discoveries has become a story in itself, and my original intention was to write only an account of William Jones VC's post-service life. I feel it important to relate to the reader the nature of the facts that I have uncovered. At times it has not been easy, at other times the hard - work was well worth the satisfaction gained when I unearthed fresh facts.
I was born in Manchester in 1961 and now reside in the South-East of England with my partner Annie. In the summer of 1965,my dad took me and my elder brother to see the film 'Zulu'. We all thoroughly enjoyed the film, but it would be 20 years - plus later that I would gain any insight as to the reason for that visit to the cinema all those years ago. In March of 2003,my dad, now well into his seventies, handed to me an article from the Manchester Evening news entitled 'The VC in a Paupers' Grave' that related details of the burial of William Jones VC in Philip's Park Cemetery in Manchester, in the year 1913. My dad explained that we were descended from William and that this VC awarded hero was our ancestor. No further details of lineage were elaborated upon. I felt proud that we had a member of our family who had gained the highest military honour and decided to research the story of William's life in greater detail; little did I envisage what lay in store for me as I set foot on a trail of intrigue and suspense that would keep me transfixed with wonder from the start up until the present.
My initial research involved a search on 'Google' where I entered the name William Jones VC, which produced a number of web-entries. The first entry that I noticed was entitled 'rorkesdriftvc.com' and I eagerly logged onto to the site to see what information it contained. I found William's name listed in the blue, left-hand margin and my pulse quickened as I entered William's section, eager with anticipation; I couldn't wait to find out the details of William's life. My initial reaction when I saw the faded photograph of William on his page was of shock. There, encapsulated in William's face, I could see facets of brother, father and myself. I was amazed how the genetic traits of an individual could remain intact in his descendants after 5 generations had passed. I sat back and took in the significance of William's features and it dawned on me that there was far more to William's story that either my dad or myself was possibly aware of.
I noticed in the article that William's birthplace was quoted as Evesham, Worcestershire and decided to pursue the matter further. My dad had told me, when I was young, that the Joneses came from the valleys of South Wales and moved to the cities of England to seek work. Evesham would have been a natural stop-point on the journey from Wales to Manchester . Luckily, I found a link on 'rorkesdriftvc.com', "The Keynsham Light Horse" website, that had details of William's burial place, and found a request posted on the message forum by Gerald and Helen Heath, the curator and secretary of the Vale of Evesham Historical Society, that they required more information about William Jones VC for their display in the centre. I contacted Gerald and arranged a visit to the centre in what would turn out to be a most cordial occasion. Gerald and myself exchanged information about our separate researches into the life of William Jones VC, and a thoroughly enjoyable day was had by all. Gerald explained that I was the first descendant of William Jones to visit Evesham, and I wondered why there had been no other visits to this picturesque Midlands town by other descendants and why they didn't share my enthusiasm about our hero of Rorke's Drift. I explained to Gerald that I would return to Evesham at some stage, to conduct a more thorough research of Evesham's local archives, to see if I could gain any further information about the life of William in Evesham. I intend to return to the Historical Centre in August 2005,an occasion that I look forward to.
Meanwhile back in March 2003,my early research would take me to the website 'VC Reference', a site which also featured a page about William Jones VC, and of immediate interest to me,
a 'relatives register', that at the time had 2 entries, one registered in 2001 and another from 2003,a great-great grandson and great-great-great granddaughter of William Jones VC.I printed this information off and sent the sheets to my dad for further comment. My dad replied that the person who registered in 2003,listed as the great-great-great granddaughter, bore the same name as my great grandmother Kathryn Carpenter, Carpenter was my great gran's maiden name before she married into the Jones family. For the first time I had links to relatives, but to my disappointment, found that both name entries were 'unconfirmed registrations' with no e-mail address listed to encourage any further contact. I felt deflated to say the least.
Despite my disappointment, I decided next, that I would check the date of the article that my dad had handed to me, the 'VC in a Paupers' Grave ' article and wrote to the Manchester Evening News
to enquire if they had any more features about William's life. Thankfully they replied with both the date on the article, that I already possessed, and a stack of other stories. Although there was no indication of the sender, I sent a letter of thanks to show my appreciation. There was a number of names of relatives of William Jones VC in the articles, but these were new names, names that I had not come across before and again, with which I had no means of contact. My research into William's life was also a journey into the history of my own immediate family. I had never met my granddad Jones, neither most of my uncles nor my cousins on my dad's side of the family, but I knew their names and could account for them on my family tree. I guessed that the new names were part of William's extended family, and I had to try to fit these people into the 'Jones Jigsaw'.
Around this time I found an article online entitled 'Heroes of The North' a brief story of William's life written by the Gorton Historian, Mr Sid Riley. I wrote to Sid to find out what had inspired him to write such an informative story and from where he had gained these facts. Sid replied by letter then telephoned me to introduce himself. Sid explained that his cousin, Donald Partridge, had been married to a granddaughter of William Jones VC, called Violet Barlow, who was the daughter of Elizabeth Barlow, formerly Jones. Sid and myself immediately hit it off and exchanged details. We have, since that occasion, become good friends, and eventually met on a chilly February morning in 2005, in Philip's Park Cemetery at William Jones VC's grave. We had teamed up with Alan Critchley for the day, the author of this website, and Alan took a photo of myself and Sid stood at the rear of William Jones VC's grave.
I next decided to try to contact the other person listed on the relatives register on William's page on the 'VC Reference' website, a great-great grandson of William Jones VC and found an e-mail address on a re-enactor's website. By now the address was inoperative so I decided to post a message on the discussion forum of Rorke's Drift.com to see if I could gain a response from any descendants of William Jones VC. This message gained 2 responses, but not from any relatives, but from Sapper Graham Mason and Alan Critchley. I arranged to meet Graham Mason at the 'Military Odyssey' in Detling, Kent in August of 2004.Graham kindly sent me photo of himself so that I would recognize him at the event.
I turned up at Detling and there was Graham sat at a desk in full red uniform, a most splendid sight indeed. I introduced myself to see Graham take a good look at me: 'Good God you do look like him (William Jones),' he exclaimed.
We exchanged views and after an enjoyable day, I departed Detling to continue my research. I would work with Graham much over the next few months.
October 2004 would see me come into contact with another individual who was also engaged in research to try to establish a link back to William Jones VC, an introduction arranged by Graham Mason. My co-researcher had a wealth of information to offer that included family trees. We compared notes and my contact informed me that it was alleged that William Jones VC had 3 children, William Jones born to Elizabeth Goddard, and Albert Ulundi Jones and Elizabeth Jones, born to Elizabeth Frodsham. We both went through our respective parents and grandparents, and my fellow researcher went through his notes. My great gran, Kathryn Carpenter had been married to William Jones, the son born to William Jones VC and Elizabeth Goddard. We had now accounted for descendants of the 2 males listed as children of William Jones VC, me to William Jones jnr and my contact and the person registered on 'VC reference' to Albert Ulundi Jones. The descendants of Elizabeth Jones were accounted for through Sid Riley's cousin's branch. The pieces seemed to fit together nicely, or so I thought at the time. At least I now had some sort of framework, which would form the basis of more detailed research.
I knew, from my dad's accounts of his family, that his grandfather was born about 1876,and that my great grandfather had died when my dad was very young. My great grandfather had arrived in Manchester, from Wales, around the turn of the century 1900. My dad never mentioned his granddad's name and I took this as a sign that he had never met the man and was unsure as to the correct details or true identity of this individual. I decided to pursue the details of the birth of William Jones junior with full vigour. The dates of birth for my great grandfather and grandfather Jones seemed to fit perfectly into place, with William Jones junior being born around 1876 and my granddad around 1900, as related to me by my dad. I began to look into reports about the birth of William Jones junior and found a helpful reference in a book written by James Bancroft entitled 'Local Heroes' which featured a paragraph that contained details about a 'possible son born to William Jones VC and Elizabeth Goddard, in 1878, in South Africa, who was allegedly sent to live with relatives in Wales, after his mother had died'. I wrote to James, who kindly replied and who proved to be most helpful. James courteously revealed the source of his information unconditionally. I decided to engage the services of a professional researcher based in South Africa, Rosemary Dixon-Smith, to investigate the reports of a child born to the Joneses in South Africa. Rosemary confirmed that there was no child born in South Africa to William and Elizabeth Goddard, and there was the possibility that the child was born earlier in England, a correct assumption on Rosemary's part, which I later discovered to be true.
At this stage, I decided it pertinent to research all the branches of alleged descendants of William Jones VC and to investigate reports that there were 2 later children born to William Jones VC and Elizabeth Frodsham, in a 'rose-coloured-spectacles' attempt to re-unite all the descendants of William Jones VC. The first alleged child born to William Jones VC and Elizabeth Frodsham was referred to as Albert Ulundi Jones, born 1881, and Elizabeth Jones born 1883.I bought a subscription on the pay-per-view website '1837online.com', to search for the birth references for these individuals. I was in for a tough search. A 20-year search from 1880 to 1900 yielded no individuals born under these names. I scratched my head and wondered; why wasn't they registered. I thought that there was the possibility that the children were born out of Wedlock and could have been born with their mother's name, another lengthy search was necessary to find out.
Whilst I conducted this search, I noticed a request on the website 'VC reference', in the message forum by a alleged great-great grandson of William Jones VC who had been produced down the Elizabeth Jones, later Barlow, born 1883, route, a resident of the USA, who required some assistance to register their name on William's page on this site, a task in which I assisted. The request still sits on the message forum to this day and I did have a couple of e-mails correspondence with this individual, and explained who I was, but since that time I have had no further contact, as the initial contact seemed to dwindle somewhat, rather quickly,' the other side of the pond'.
Meanwhile I continued my search on the GRO indexes for the elusive Albert Ulundi and Elizabeth Jones. At last I found them, as I suspected. born under the name Frodsham. Albert Ulundi Frodsham, GRO reference 6d 367,born June quarter 1881,and Elizabeth Frodsham, GRO reference 6d 304,listed September quarter 1883,both Aston, Warwickshire. This certainly wasn't the story that I had read, that attributed the birth of these 2 children to William Jones VC, via various accounts by individuals and in books, so I decide to order Albert Ulundi and Elizabeth Frodsham's birth certificates to find out who was the father of these two children previously quoted as Jones's. Whilst I waited for the certificates to arrive, I logged on to the website 'family search' to check out the claims that Elizabeth Frodsham was 'a widow with 5 children' at the time of Albert Ulundi's birth, and William Jones VC's arrival in Duddeston, Aston, around this period. To my surprise, the 1881 census revealed that Charles Frodsham, Elizabeth's husband, was alive and well at this time, resident in the same house as his wife and children. What were the implications of my discovery? I felt a weight on my shoulders and a sense of unease. These official government records were at odds with the stories that I had read about William Jones VC's post-service life. I noticed the 'previous household' option, on screen, and pressed to enter. There was William Jones: 'visitor', birthplace-Bristol, listed as the previous entry at the same address. I kept this to myself for a while unsure what to do with this information. Meanwhile, the birth certificates for Albert Ulundi and Elizabeth Frodsham had arrived, on priority order, at £28 a piece. Today was the 24th December 2004, but I had agreed to keep the envelopes sealed until 28th December until I had gathered a few friends around for the 'opening ceremony', to reveal the true identity of the father of Albert and Elizabeth.
The 28th December arrived. This was a tense moment in my research, and why was it I destined to confirm or deny myths that had become, correctly or incorrectly, cemented into legend after a century and some decades since William Jones VC's return home from Rorke's Drift. We were about to find out. I had become good friends with some people associated with this legend and had faced much difficulty in my attempts to contact others who claimed lineage from Jones through the Albert Ulundi and Elizabeth Frodsham route. Maybe this difficulty is not what William would have wanted, and perhaps why, after all this time the matter of claims of lineage were in the process of a sort out for once and for all. I stood up and slowly opened the envelope, then slid out the first birth certificate. It was Albert Ulundi Frodsham's. I glanced across to the father's column and noticed that the father of Albert was listed as Charles Frodsham and not William Jones. That sorted the matter out for the claim listed on 'VC reference' and elsewhere.
I mentioned, at this stage, that if the father of Albert Ulundi Frodsham were Charles Frodsham, then it would be the case that the father of Elizabeth Frodsham, born 1883, was also one Charles Frodsham; indeed it was. As I pulled out Elizabeth's birth certificate, the name 'Charles Frodsham' in the 'father's column' could clearly be seen. That settled the claim from my contactee 'across the pond'. Is there a chance that William Jones VC fathered these children? The evidence on Albert Ulundi and Elizabeth's birth certificates, and the reluctance from descendants of these individuals
to respond to this writer's efforts to contact them present a slim claim of lineage from William Jones VC.
One way to find out is by a DNA comparison. The writer has conducted his own DNA test to sample and chart the 'Y Jones Genome' and it is hoped by the author that it can be arranged, at some stage, for a male descendant of Albert Ulundi Frodsham, later Jones, to come forward and contact the writer, for DNA verification purposes. The DNA test has been conducted by professional testers, for the bargain price of £71,as part of the 'National Geographic Human Genome Project', a small price to pay to settle this matter without question. Despite the failed and lapsed contacts that the writer has encountered from descendants of these branches, the option of re-union and a DNA comparison will remain open as long as the matter is unresolved, and it is felt that at the price of £71, a DNA test is well within the means of all persons who claim to be descended from 593 Private William Jones VC.
A male descendant of Albert Ulundi Frodsham, later Jones, who would be prepared to come forward to submit themselves to a DNA test would also, potentially, solve the alleged claim of descendancy from William Jones VC through the Elizabeth Frodsham, later Jones, born 1883 route. But what of other claims that have been made down the years of lineage from Jones. There is another category of claims to consider and the author has discovered one such claim at www.manchesteronline.co.uk that features 2 stories entitled 'Return of VC hero's memorial' and 'VC hero's grave attacked by vandals' you can type these titles into the search engine on this site to gain access to a claim of 'great grandson' of William Jones VC, where you, the reader, can investigate the claim for yourself. William Jones died in 1913 at the house of Emily Frodsham, then called Goodwin, the wife of Thomas Goodwin. Emily Frodsham was born in 1868, to, as listed on her birth certificate, Charles and Elizabeth Frodsham, a time when 593 Private William Jones was on duty in Rangoon, Burma. In 1913 Emily Goodwin was 45 years of age, and the claim seems to rest on some kind of ' fostering' arrangement, the facts seem to indicate that it was impossible that William Jones VC fathered Emily Goodwin. The onus is on any individual who claims lineage from William Jones VC to prove his or her own case 'without doubt'.
Finally, we will deal with the writers' claim. Kathryn Carpenter was married to William Jones, the son of the Elizabeth Goddard and 593 Private William Jones marriage. This is the line that produced my grandfather, father and uncles. It has been mentioned in the main article about the fallout that ensued, in Manchester, when William Jones junior faced his father for an explanation as to why he was left with the Goddards whilst his father got on with his 'new life'. I believe the nickname that William junior chose to conceal his identity, and to disassociate from his father, was the first name of 'Edward' after his great grandfather, therefore William Jones junior was known on a day-to-day basis as Edward Jones, a possible reason why he disappears after the 1891 census and is absent from the 1901 census. The legacy of that line, the line of William Jones junior, remains in the looks of myself, brother and father, and is the only clue that remains as to the eventual whereabouts of the son born of 593 Private William Jones VC and the ill-fated Elizabeth Goddard. Ironically, despite the gap that opened up between father and son, William Jones VC and William Jones junior, it is rumoured that William Jones junior is also buried alongside his father in Philip's Park Cemetery, Manchester; separated in life-reunited in death and eternity.
The main story, family trees, and 'about the author' sections will be updated as fresh facts are discovered. This account is a dynamic and ongoing story of the research conducted into the life of William Jones VC. Once again, we invite you to contact the writers with your views at [email protected] the best.
Tony Jones (593.5 Jones)
© Tony Jones July 2005.