Arthur Phillips married Edith Laura Holloway on 28th November 1918 at St John’s church in Swansea. The church was just down the road from Arthur’s mother’s house. Nothing curious about two people getting married you might think but my first question after finding their marriage was – did they have any children? One of the enduring tasks I have in researching my now rather large Phillips family was to see if my brother Adam, and now is son William who is two and a half years old, are the last in the line to carry on the Phillips name. Every line so far has died out for various reasons.
Arthur, and his brother Lloyd Phillips, are the last two lines I had to confirm and as you can imagine, researching the Phillips name in Wales has not been an easy task.
So the parish record for their marriage threw up a couple of more questions in addition to the children one.
1. Arthur’s profession was shown as “serving in the Canadian forces”. Canada? Long way from Swansea in Wales.
2. Edith’s home address was given as 7 Woodside Road, Portswood Park, Southampton. Southampton? Quite a long way from Swansea in Wales.
I learnt from a relative of Edith that she had been sent to Swansea to work in munitions as part of the war effort . OK, question 2 above solved!
The key to tracing Arthur and Edith lay in their home addresses. I was able to use these addresses to confirm the records I found related to the people I was looking for.
Albert’s home address was 39 Aberdybethi Street, Swansea
Edith’s home address as I have mentioned was 7 Woodside Road, Portswood Park, Southampton.
I found a passenger list that showed Arthur travelling on the Dominion from Liverpool 12th February 1914. He gave his home address as 39 Aberdybethi Street Swansea although he listed his father as his next of kin but his father, William, died in 1911. Curiously he stated he was a farmer. All the records I have found for him show him to have been a painter, a profession he resumed on his final return from Canada.
There is a second passenger list for the same journey to Canada. On this one Arthur has declared himself as Canadian and that he had been in Canada previously for a year between 1912-1913. Bit odd to say he was British on one and Canadian on the other – another mystery top solve!
I next found Arthur and Edith returning from Canada in 1920 when they sailed from New York on the Adriatic 15th February 1920. Their destination is shown as 7 Woodside Road, Southampton – Edith’s family home.
As they do not appear to be travelling with any children, curiosity got the better of me and I checked for any births in Southampton after 1920 with the surname Phillips and mother’s maiden name as Holloway. There was one entry and it was in 1920.
Their son, William Harold Phillips, was born in the June quarter of 1920. Edith was clearly heavily pregnant on that final return journey from Canada. What a journey that must have been for her. I am going to make a massive assumption that their son was named after Arthur’s brother, also William Harold Phillips, who sadly died at 7 months old. His burial to was another discovery I made when checking the parish records of Holy Trinity, Ystalyfera. This cemetery is becoming a bit of a major Phillips family resting place as we now have Mary Jane Phillips in 1874, Ruth Phillips in 1879 and William Harold Phillips in 1904.
Could William H Phillips born in 1920 give me a lead on surviving male heirs in the Phillips family? No. Sadly this was also to be another line that stopped with his death on 18th Dec 1945. He was a second Lieutenant serving with the Royal Engineers number 337673. He very sadly passed away in India not long before he was due to be repatriated to the UK. He was buried in Thailand and never married or had children.
I have learnt that Arthur did not take the news of his son’s death well. He too passed away shortly after on Christmas Eve 1946 although his probate record shows he died on 5th January 1947. I await the delivery of his death certificate and I assume that 5th January was the date his death was actually registered due to the holiday season. Arthur had remained in Southampton on his return from Canada and his final address was 1 Westfield House, Mansbridge Road, Southampton.
Probate was granted to his two brother-in-laws, Edmund George Musselwhite and George Frank Mansfield who he also worked with as a painter and decorator.
So my quest to find an additional male Phillips line to that of my brother and nephew does continue…… although I am rapidly running out of options!