John CONWAY – Master of “Outer Gabbard” light vessel (LV50) 1911

Born in Holyhead, Anglesey in November 1849, the son of John (a sawyer) and Elizabeth JONES who married 30 Oct 1848 in Holyhead

Father, John, was born in Liverpool ca. 1817, the son of another John, also a sawyer. This was a time of development around Holyhead harbour and John would probably have moved to Holyhead for employment. (The Menai bridge was opened in 1850)

Mother Elizabeth died in 1850 Q1 when John was a few months old, and he was brought up by his maternal aunt Ellen, and grandmother Elizabeth JONES. He was living with them at 25 Baptist Street, in Holyhead in 1851 and 1861. Their circumstances were very poor. In 1851 when grandmother was 74 she was described as “midwife & pauper” and aunt Ellen a laundress. By 1861 when John was 11 they were all on Alms.

Merchant marine records are scant, and nothing certain found, but there is a John Conway born Holyhead, on crew list for ship Lorena from Jun 1867, birth year given as 1851. (There is not a John Conway recorded as born in Holyhead in 1851 so likely ‘our’ John)

He was not found on either 1871 (by which time he would be 21) or 1881 census returns – as a mariner, if he was at sea on census night he would not be found.

John married Elizabeth Ann WILLIAMS Q4 1881 in Bangor, Wales.

Elizabeth was living at 9 Edmund Street in Holyhead on census night 1891, with her 4 year old son John. Described as “Mariners wife” (presumably husband John was at sea), daughter Ellen (7) was visiting a family in Birkenhead on census night with aunt Ellen aged 71.

By 1901 they had moved to Harwich, living at 5 Myrtle Terrace. John, now 51 was a Mariner in Trinity House Service, and living with wife Elizabeth, daughter Ellen aged 17, John 14 and Joseph D aged 4. The children had all been born in Holyhead, meaning they moved to Harwich between 1897 and 1901.

In 1911 John was on board “Outer Gabbard”, his wife Elizabeth at 9 Coke Street, Harwich with her son Joseph David now aged 14, and daughter Beatrice Mary aged 8, born in Harwich.

The 1921 Electoral Register lists John and Elizabeth Ann CONWAY at 17 Park Road, Harwich, which was John’s place of residence when buried 20 Aug 1921. His occupation on the probate records “retired Master of a light ship” .

Of his children:

Little was found with certainty for Ellen (b. Q4 1883 Holyhead). An Ellen CONWAY is recorded in Queen Mary’s Army Aux. Corps (no. 33125) on 1914-1920 medal index cards. The 1920 Electoral Register lists an Ellen CONWAY at Maldon Road, Whickham Bishops, Essex.

John (b. 31 Jul 1886 Holyhead)
Married Clara HILLS in 1910 Q4 in Harwich. He followed his father into Trinity Service, serving on “North Goodwin” light vessel on 1929 Electoral Register (absent voters list) residence 5 Park Terrace, Harwich. No children found.

The couple are listed at 5 Park Tce from 1921 to 1939.
The 1939 Register shows the household as: Clara b. 31 Dec 1885, married / Lily M HILLS b. 18 Jan 1870, single (her sister?) / Elizabeth A CONWAY b. 18 Dec 1858 widow (John’s mother)

John died 8 May 1973, residence Alexandra House, Marine Parade, Dovercourt, Harwich.

Joseph David (b. 25 Feb 1897)
Joseph served in the RNVR in 1915. Enlisted to Sea Service 4 Oct 1915, where his occupation was telegraph clerk. He was promoted to AB 4 Jan 1916 and discharged to reserve in 1919.

He married Mary Maud JEATER 4 Jul 1921 at Tendring, Essex (Harwich) she was daughter of Herbert and Maud JEATER In 1925 they were registered as living at 60 Fernlea Road in Harwich, but by 1931 were at 13 Pelham Road, Wanstead & Woodford district, where the 1939 Register shows Joseph working as a railway clerk and with 2 daughters.

Joseph David died in Bournemouth Q4 1974, aged 77.

Beatrice Mary (b. 24 Aug 1902)
Beatrice married Frederick George JEATER in June 1924 – he being brother of Mary Maud who married Beatrice’s brother Joseph.

They are listed as 3 Una Road, Parkeston in Harwich on 1929 Electoral register, but moved to 2 Lombardy Place, Bishops Road, Chelmsford by time of the 1939 Register.

Frederick was a Railway loco fireman. They had a daughter.

Beatrice died Q4 1989, registered Colchester

Frederick died Q4 1986, registered Colchester

Contact with Descendants:

Contacted Peter, (great grandson through Joseph b. 1897) in January 2020 and this was his reply:

I believe you are right. I am certainly the grandson of Joseph David Conway and son of Doreen Mary Harrison (Conway). I was aware of Grandpa Joe’s nautical background but don’t remember much talk of his Dad. Unfortunately my Mum is still with us in body but has significant dementia (96 years old) and although her memories of the 1930s and 40s are far better than anything short term, it probably still could not be relied on. On the plus side her sister Christine (92) is still alive, living in Bournemouth and she has much better mental capacity. Also her children might still have some of Joe’s family papers as he finished his days with them in Bournemouth.

Their cousin, my Aunt (also 92) is still alive and she has the best mental capacity of the three and is closely linked to this as brother and sister of the Conway’s married brother and sister of the Jeaters so this gentleman would be her grand dad also.
I will forward your email on to anyone who may be able to help you.

A further email from another member of the family confirmed the 1911 Census information, emailed that person to ask for any other information. (March 2020).