Morgan Griffiths [Griffiths-7546, GPH4-XND] appears to have been a son of John Griffiths [Griffiths-4800, GHBN-JBP] and Jane Steadman [Steadman-902, GHBN-TQ8]. However, there is a significant contradiction in the available evidence that throws this conclusion into some doubt.

Morgan was born on 25 July 1844 in Pontrhydfendigaid. His birth record is indexed in the September quarter of that year, Vol 27 Page 67, with the mother’s maiden name Steadman. As there appears to be only one family of a Griffiths and a Steadman in that area at that time – that of John and Jane, who have a gap of six years between their first and second known children in 1841 and 1847 – it is reasonable to suppose that Morgan was indeed their son. Unfortunately, his birth record (ordered as a digital image from the GRO) gives his mother’s name as Mary Griffiths (formerly Steadman), not Jane.

It is of course not impossible that the mother’s name was recorded incorrectly on the birth register, especially considering that the birth was registered by John (the father), who made a mark rather than signing. It is also not impossible that the mother’s name was recorded correctly, but transcribed incorrectly on the copy of the register sent to the GRO. It would be interesting (but probably unnecessarily expensive) to obtain a certificate from the local register office that holds the original register, to see whether it was recorded as Jane or Mary.

Ordinarily we might hope to resolve this problem by looking at the censuses. If we were to find John and Jane with their son Morgan on the 1851 Census, it would be very reasonable to conclude that the birth register has an error and that John and Jane were his parents. Unfortunately, the family does not appear to have been enumerated in 1851 (nor in 1841, although that wouldn’t be of any use in identifying Morgan’s parents), and by 1861 Morgan appears to be a servant and not with his birth family.

Further evidence comes in the form of newspaper articles mentioning Morgan’s relatives, as there are a number of articles about the funerals of John and Jane’s other children that mention Morgan’s children as nephews or nieces. Unfortunately there are none that directly confirm that Morgan was their brother, and the relationships mentioned in newspaper articles are frequently inaccurate – but there are enough that, taken together, they strongly suggest that Morgan and the other Griffithses were indeed siblings.

A further point is that when Morgan’s wife, Sarah George, died in 1874, her address was given as 12 Aman Street – the same address at which Jane and three of her other children were living on the 1881 Census. It seems unlikely that they would be living together unless they were very close relatives.

A final point is that there is no marriage record for a John Griffiths and a Mary Steadman that could plausibly be Morgan’s parents.

The conclusion therefore is that the birth record must be incorrect, and Morgan’s parents were indeed John and Jane.

It would be useful to have another record that would confirm this, but in the absence of the 1851 Census I can’t think of what this might be.

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