The genealogy of the Williams family has been gravely compromised by the loss of the St Andrew’s registers, so I’ve had to piece together bits and pieces of information to build up a picture of John Dignan’s offspring.
A record exists for the Irish marriage of John Dignan Williams and Mary Roberts in 1818, but she must have died young. John Dignan Williams married again, this time to Mary Law/Love, although Mary Roberts and Mary Law may well be the same individual....
(Of interest - in 1835 in St. George's Church, Dublin, J.D.Williams was a witness to the wedding of Robert Roberts of Drogheda to Penelope Battersby of Dublin. The three other witnesses to this wedding were John Battersby, Robert Law and Thomas Roberts. Was the J.D. Williams actually John Dignan Williams? Given that his first wife was a member of the Roberts family, and his second was a member of the Law family, this event interests me! Robert Roberts, who married Penelope Battersby, was the Drogheda agent to the Bank of Ireland, and John Dignan Williams' second cousin, Richard Williams, was notary to the Bank in Dublin. Robert Law, one of the witnesses, was a Governor of the Bank of Ireland - the Law family had moved to Dublin from Donegal, and had established Finlay's Bank on Jervis Street, before taking up work with the Bank of Ireland. They lived at Great Denmark St, and later moved to Kilbarrack House in Raheny. In 1813, a Robert Law of Brookville, Raheny/Coolock, married a Sarah Roberts. Penelope Battersby was the daughter of Robert Battersby of the wonderfully-named Bobsville, Co. Cavan. I can find no useful information about the family of Robert Roberts however.)
The earliest documented evidence for the children of John and Mary is a notice in the 'Dublin Weekly Register' of 17th April 1819 which reported the birth of John D. William's daughter at North Cumberland Street, Dublin.
The UK 1841 census describes the family living back in London at 34 Woburn Place in Bloomsbury. John Dignan was 50 and a merchant; his wife, Mary, was 40. Their children were as follows:
John Williams, aged 20 - born 1821 (The 1841 Census doesn't provide further info.)
Robert, aged 14 - born 1827.
Watkin Wynn, aged 12 - born 1829.
Elizabeth (later named as Bessie Law), aged 8 - born 1833.
Susannah (later named as Susan Amelia), aged 7 - born 1834.
This is a third daughter: Mary Antoinette Williams,born circa 1825, of Coolock, North Dublin, the daughter of John D.Williams, married Daniel Henry Rucker (9th December 1815 - 10th March 1895), the son of the London merchant, John Anthony Rucker, on 4th November 1847. John Anthony Rucker had married Anne Bencraft, the eldest daughter of Stephen Bencraft, on 8th May 1810 - the Bencraft family were business associates of the Rucker family.
Was Mary Antoinette Williams living at the home of her mother's family, the Laws of Raheny/Coolock, when she married?
In 1871 the Rucker family were living in Clapham; Daniel Henry Rucker was a colonial broker (the Rucker family had long been associated with the East India Company and had traded at 37 Mincing Lane since the end of the eighteenth century) and they had six children - Arthur William Rucker, born in Clapham on 23rd October 1848, who was a fellow and mathematical lecturer at Oxford; Edward Augustus Rucker, born Clapham on 22nd June 1850; Helen Louisa Rucker, baptised in Clapham Church on 11th December 1857; Reginald Wynn Rucker, born on 27th December 1854 in Clapham; Marion Constance Rucker, born in Clapham on 27th September 1852, and Adela Rucker who married the surgeon Edgar Duke in Clapham on 27th May 1884.
Mary Antoinette Rucker, née Williams, died on 26th August 1905 at St. Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex.
UPDATE 30th January 2013: A deed of 1878 (1878-55-12) confirms that Mary Antoinette Williams was the daughter of John Dignan Williams. The deed, dated 29th July 1878, was between Sarah Brereton of 3 Great Tower Street, London, a widow, and Watkin Wynn Williams Esq., Bessie Law Williams, and Susan Amelia Williams, all of 35 King William Street, London, and Daniel Henry Rucker and Mary Antoinette Rucker (aka Williams) of 37 Mincing Lane, London. They were all the grantors of Editha Hatchell of Salem Lodge, Upper Norwood (this was indecipherable), near London, spinster. The grantors were granting land in Wexford to Editha Hatchell.
Another daughter, Penelope Williams, was born at Woburn Place, Bloomsbury, London, on April 7th 1837, and this was recorded in the baptismal records of St. George's. Her parents were Mary Williams and the merchant John Dignam Williams, but I can find no further details on her and she was missing from the census in 1841. It is interesting that the family had a London address in 1837. John Dignan Williams must have divided his time between Dublin and London.
In 1851, Robert Williams was a student at Cambridge. When he graduated in 1854, his home address was given at 14 Endsleigh Street, Tavistock Square. He would emigrate to Canada, where he died in Vancouver on October 16th 1894.
In 1851 the family were living at 33 Argyle St., Grays Inn Lane, where John Dignan Williams would die in 1858. John himself was away on the night of the census, but the following were all present:Mary Williams, independent annuitant, born 1801 in Ireland.
Watkins W., Merchant's Clerk/West India Merchant & Shipping Agent, aged 22, born Ireland.
Susan W., aged 17, born Ireland.
Bessie, aged 18, Independent Annuitant, born Ireland.
Two of the daughters of John Dignan Williams appear and reappear on the English censuses, living with their brother and his family in England - Bessie/Elizabeth Law Williams, born Dublin circa 1833 (and her middle name would suggest that their mother’s maiden name was Law), and Susan Amelia Williams who would witness her brother’s marriage.
Watkin Wynn Williams, was born in Dublin to John Dignan Williams in about 1828. Watkin Wynn Williams married Amelia Louisa Roberts in St.Pancras chapel, London, on 20th November 1858. This was only 6 months after the death of John Dignan Williams. At the time of the marriage, Watkin was living in London and working as a ship agent.
Amelia Louisa had been born in about 1836 in Dublin to Thomas Roberts, a gentleman, of Hillsborough, Co.Waterford. This may be Captain Thomas Roberts of the royal navy, but I’m as yet unsure about this.
The witnesses to the wedding in 1858 were somebody with an impossible squiggle for a signature, and what seems to be Susan Louisa Williams - the ‘Susan’ is illegible but the ‘Louisa’ is clear enough. This must be Watkin’s sister.
Amelia Louisa Williams died at 23 Upper Phillimore Place, Kensington, on 19th January 1905; her husband, Watkin Wynn Williams, died at the same addess on 11th June 1920, and probate was granted to his unmarried son, Francis Ernest Williams.
(The name ‘Watkin Wynn’:
A deed exists in the Registry of Deeds in Dublin, dated 25th February 1782, which details a property deal done by Thomas Williams of the Bank of Ireland, and which was witnessed by his brother, Watkin Wynne Williams. This then, is a family name, Thomas and Watkin Wynne being the great-uncles of Watkin Wynn William’s father, John Dignan Williams.)
Watkin Wynn Williams Junior was born in Stockwell, Surrey, to Watkin and Amelia Louisa, on 11th March 1860.
Francis Ernest was born 14th Feb 1864 in Stockwell, Surrey.
Hugh Howard Williams 29th July 1866 in Stockwell, Surrey.
Watkin’s son, Watkin, was a cleric. He was the curate of St.Peter’s, Battersea 1883-1886; the vice-prinicpal of Dorchester Missionary College 1888 - 91; a fellow and tutor of St.Augustine College, Canterbury 1891 - 1904; the vicar of Monckton 1904 - 1915; dios. Exam. Of Secondary School, Roch. 1902 - 15; Honorary fellow of St. Augustinne, Canterbury 1907 - 1916; the rector of Drayton, St.Leonard 1915 - 1928.
In 1932, he was living at Wellington House, Great Malvern, Worcestershire.
Rev. Watkin Wynn Williams was also an author and scholar, writing ‘Studies in St.Bernard of Clairvaux’ 1927; ‘Letters of savonarola’ 1907; ‘Maxim of the Mystics, translated from Fénélon’ 1909.
He married, on 7th September 1905, Charlotte Philippa Stephanie Warren in Ramsgate, Kent, and they had three children, the schoolmaster Watkin Wynn Williams (the 3rd), Mary Fanny Williams, and Frank Williams.
Watkin’s brother, Hugh Howard Williams, was also a clergyman, He received a BA from Worcestershire College, Oxford in 1895. Among his posts were Dundee 1900 - 1904; St.Jude’s, Bradford, 1905 - 1908; St. Aid., Middlesborough 1908 - 1911; St. Stephen’s, Smethwick 1912 - 1912; Mafeking 1916 - 1919; Stechford 1919 - 1922; Solihull 1922 - 1925.
On the 1911 UK census, Hugh Howard Williams can be seen living at Knipton Rectory in Lincolcshire, along with his paternal aunt, Susan Amelia Williams, aged 76.
Susan Amelia Williams died at Little Horsted Rectory, Uckfield, on 27th February 1927; the probate was granted to Hugh Howard Williams.
Hugh Howard Williams died on 5th January 1937 at Horsted Parva rectory, Little Horsted near Uckfield. A second address was given: 23 The Drive, Hove, Sussex. Probate was granted to the schoolmaster, Rev.Watkin Wynn Williams, either his brother or his nephew.
On the 1911 UK Census, the brother of Watkin and Hugh Howard, Francis Ernest Williams, was living at the family home of 31 Phillimore Place in Kensington, London; he was single, living on private means, and aged 47. His widowed father, Watkin Wynn Williams, was present, as was his paternal aunt, Bessie Law Williams.
Earlier, in 1871, Bessie L.Williams had been living as a lodger in the Hastings house of an Eliza Philcox. Ten years later she was living at the home of her brother,the ship-builder, Watkin Wynn, and his family at 8 Devonshire Terrace in Chelsea.
Elizabeth Law Williams died at Watkin’s home in Kensington, 32 Phillimore Place on 28th December 1916, probate to her nephew, Francis Ernest Williams.