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WHO WAS RICHARD MEYRICK?

 

The surnames MEYRICK, MYRICK, MIRICK, and MERRICK are derived from the earlier given names of Meurig and Meuric through the patronymic naming tradition in early Wales.  A very detailed account of the evolution of the surname MERRICK can be found at the following website:  http://users.erols.com/jmirick/geneology/mirick.htm.  MEYRICK is not a very common surname spelling in Wales or in the USA.  One reason is that the name, MEURIG, (with a hard ending) was gradually replaced by the more popular MORYS/MORRIS surname (with a soft ending).  In present-day Wales, there are far more people surnamed MORRIS than either MEYRICK or MERRICK. 

 

Richard MEYRICK and Margaret WILLIAMS, my second great grandparents, are listed as the parents of my great grandmother, Annie MEYRICK, on her Tennessee death certificate.  Richard is also mentioned by Philip FRANCIS as his father-in-law in “Seventy Years in the Coal Mines”.  Richard was described in the book as “an old 1849 California miner”.  He may be the Richard MYLOCK, age 30, in the 1850 census for Mauch Chunk, Carbon Co., PA.  The Richard MEYRICK family was found in Tuscarora, Schuylkill County, PA, in the 1860 census and in Mahanoy City, Schuylkill County, PA, in the 1870 census.  Richard was in the household of Philip and Annie FRANCIS in the 1880 census for Mahanoy City.  Richard’s US census ages (age 30 in 1850, 34 in 1860, 46 in 1870, and 58 in 1880) result in a range of potential birth years from 1820-1826.  The most accurate census age with respect to his age at death is his age in the 1880 census.  The next most accurate is the age in the 1850 census.  The least accurate age is in the 1860 census.  In 1860, Richard may have wanted to hide his actual age, as his new wife was 10-15 years younger.  So, it would appear that Richard was born ca. 1822.  All of the US censuses list his birth place as Wales.  Three descendants:  Mary Meyrick VAN HUSS; Phillip Meyrick “Mick” FRANCIS, Sr.; and Phillip Meyrick “Rick” FRANCIS, Jr.; have been named in honor of our MEYRICK ancestry.

 

He was called "Dakie" by his grandchildren, which is spelled based on the family’s pronunciation of the Welsh expression, Tad Cu (pronounced Tad kee), meaning grandfather.  Margaret “Maggie” (Francis) WILLIAMS told her grandson, John Philip WILLIAMS, Jr., that Richard returned from California with a large amount of gold.  (Of course, the family story about Richard’s gold mining in California could have been a “tale” that he told his children and might not be true.)  He suffered with “coal miner's asthma” for the last 15-20 years of his life and for that reason slept on a self-prepared mattress of washed corn shucks.  Richard moved from PA to the KY/TN area at some point after the 1880 census.  He lived with Philip & Annie.  His granddaughter, Mary (Francis) VAN HUSS, related stories about his living with them to her son, John Philip VAN HUSS.  Richard's family Bible record shows that he died 7 December 1893 in Jellico, TN, at age 71.  Philip and Annie had moved from Knoxville, TN, to Jellico, TN, between 1890 and 1893.  The location of Richard’s grave is unknown.

 

The date of Richard MEYRICK’s immigration to the USA is also unknown.  If he came to the USA after the 1841 Wales census, he should be one of the Richard MEYRICK names in that census.  There were only 8 Richard MEYRICKs, 1 Richard MERRICK, and 1 Richard MYRICK in the entire 1841 Wales Ancestry.com census index, and 8 of the 10 were in Glamorgan.  After extensive census and other research and the purchase of many Richard (and other) MEYRICK marriage and death certificates,  I was able to trace and eliminate all but one Richard MEYRICK found in the 1841 census, and that individual is rather unlikely to have been our Richard MEYRICK.

 

They are:

 

(1)     Richard, 11, in the household of William, 45, and Mary Ann MEYRICK;

(2)     Richard, 14, in the household of Ann MEYRICK, 55;

(3)     Richard 15, iron roller and lodger in the household of John LEWIS;

(4)     Richard, 16, in the household of David & Mary MEYRICK;

(5)     Richard, 20, in the household of Diana MEYRICK, 50;

(6)     Richard, 25, in household of David & Ann MEYRICK;

(7)     Richard, 70, pensioner, head of household in Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, (who died 18 Dec 1845 at age 75 in Gellygare, Glamorgan, based on his death certificate).

(8)     Richard MYRICK, 30, agricultural laborer, born in Glamorgan, and living with wife Mary, and children, William 2, and John, 1 month;

(9)     Richard MERRICK, 30, in Newport, Monmouthshire, who was married with children;

(10) Richard MEYRICK, 44, in Llanbadar Fawr, Cardiganshire.

 

The last 4 names can be eliminated by age and other reasons.  The 6 remaining Richard MEYRICKs from the 1841 Glamorgan census are discussed below in order of increasing age (based on the census):

 

(1)     Richard, b. ca. 1830, son of William and Mary Ann, was also a son in his parents’ household in the 1851 census, and is the Richard MEYRICK who married Mary WILLIAMS 5 March 1853 in the Tabernacle Chapel, Cardiff, Glamorgan.  The family is in Llandaff, St. Mary, Cardiff, Glamorgan, in the 1861 Wales census.  The marriage certificate dated 5 March 1853 shows the groom as Richard MEYRICK, age 23, bachelor, laborer in the Iron Yard, residing at Peel St., Cardiff, son of William MEYRICK, laborer in the Iron Yard, and the bride as Mary WILLIAMS, age 24, spinster, residing at Peel St., Cardiff, daughter of Daniel WILLIAMS, collier.  Witnesses were William MEYRICK and Gwenny JAMES.  He is eliminated.

(2)     Richard, b. ca. 1827 in Glamorgan, in the household of Ann, was a saddler apprentice in the Cardiff District in 1841.  In the 1841 census, Ann MEYRICK also has a son, Thomas, born abt. 1822, who is the Thomas MEYRICK who married in 1848 in Bristol, Gloucestershire, England, Catherine Elizabeth PALMER.  This Richard could not be found in the 1851 census, and a death certificate 2 March 1849 shows that Richard MEYRICK, 21 years of age, saddler, died of phlebitis of 12 months duration.  Richard’s address at the time of death was 7 Ebenezer Street, which was the same address as the informant, Thomas MEYRICK.  In the 1851 census, Ann MEYRICK (erroneously enumerated as Elizabeth) was living at 8 Ebenezer Street, so this is almost certainly the same Richard MEYRICK from the 1841 census.  He is eliminated.

(3)     Richard, b. ca. 1826 in Glamorgan, lodger in the household of John LEWIS along with LEWIS’ wife and 3 other lodgers, was in the Merthyr Tydfil District as an iron roller.  He could not be found in the 1851 census.  However, he almost certainly is the Richard MEYRICK who married Mary Ann JENKINS.  The marriage certificate dated 9 August 1851 at the Parish Church of Merthyr Tydfil shows the groom as Richard MEYRICK, full age, bachelor, shingler, residing in Ynysfach, son of Rees MEYRICK, laborer, and the bride as Mary Ann JENKINS, full age, spinster, residing at Jackson Bridge, daughter of Robert JENKINS, “potatoe merchant”.  Witnesses were W. ROWLAND and Robert JENKINS.  The Richard and Mary Ann (Jenkins) MEYRICK family was living with Mary Ann’s mother, Sarah JENKINS, in the 1861 census.  Richard’s occupation was squezerman (squeezerman).  The occupations:  iron roller, (iron) shingler, and squeezerman were all related occupations in the iron industry in the 19th century.  He is eliminated.

(4)     Richard, b. ca. 1825 in Glamorgan, son of David & Mary MEYRICK, who were also in Merthyr Tydfil in 1841.  This Richard was still in his parents’ household in 1851 as a 25 year-old coal miner, born in Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan.  Since I could not find him in the 1861 census, this could be our Richard MEYRICK if he immigrated to the USA shortly after the 1851 census.  He is an unlikely candidate but still possible, if our Richard MEYRICK was not the Richard MYLOCK in the 1850 US census, and the 1849 California miner story is untrue.

(5)     Richard, 20, cordwainer, born in Glamorgan, in the household of Diana in the Cardiff District, Glamorgan, is probably the Richard MEYRICK who was christened 8 Dec 1817 at St. John and St. Mary, Cardiff, as the son of James and Diana MEYRICK.  He is the Richard MEYRICK who married Mary WOODWARD.  The marriage certificate dated 17 March 1845 in the Parish Church of Rudry, Glamorgan, shows the groom as Richard MEYRICK, full age, bachelor, shoemaker, residing in Rudry, son of James MEYRICK, gardener, and the bride as Mary WOODWARD, full age, spinster, residing at Rudry, daughter of James WOODWARD, weaver.  Witnesses were James WOODWARD and Eliza ______.  The Richard and Mary (Woodward) MEYRICK family was in the 1851 and 1861 censuses for Cardiff, Glamorgan.  He is eliminated.

(6)     Richard, 25, engineer, in the household of David & Ann MEYRICK in the Neath District, is a little too old.  He is most likely the Richard MEYRICK who was christened 9 June 1816 in Briton Ferry, Glamorgan, as the son of David MEYRICK and Ann.  He is probably the Richard MEYRICK, 34, engineman, who was a lodger in Swansea in the 1851 census and shown as born in Briton Ferry, Glamorgan.  In the 1841 census, his family was living 3 households away from the Robert BODYCOMB family in which there was a teenage daughter named Matilda.  Almost certainly, he is the Richard MEYRICK, 36, engineer, son of David MEYRICK, who married Matilda BODYCOMB 9 October 1852 in the Parish Church of Llansamlet in the Neath Registration District of Glamorgan.  The family of Richard and Matilda (Bodycomb) MEYRICK was in the 1861 census for Swansea, Glamorgan.  According to the Cambrian Index, Richard MEYRICK, engineer, age 61, died 31 July 1877 at 2 Balaclava Street, Swansea.  His wife, Matilda, died 2 April 1888 at 6 Vicarage Terrace, St. Thomas, at 67 years of age.  He is eliminated.

 

It is possible that our Richard MEYRICK was in Wales in 1841 but not shown on the surviving census.  The entire 1841 census for Upper Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, was lost.  Also, he could have been enumerated in the census with the wrong surname making a search for him very difficult if not impossible.

 

OTHER POSSIBILITIES

 

International Genealogical Index (IGI) entry:

Richard MEYRICK, christened 11 Mar 1823 at Ewenny, Glamorgan, Wales, son of Rees and Lovic(sp?) MEYRICK.

 

There are only two Rees MEYRICK names in the entire 1841 Wales census, and they were father and son in Newcastle, Glamorgan.  They were also present in the 1851 census.  In 1841, the elder Rees was age 44, labourer, and in 1851 was age 55, railway labourer.  He was married to wife, Catherine, in both censuses.  They are probably the Rees MEYRICK and Catherine MORGAN who were married 20 Apr 1822 in Newcastle, Glamorgan.  There was a previous marriage of a Rees MEYRICK to Lovic PEADOW in 1820 in Ewenny, Glamorgan.  The actual record shows that Rees was a widower when he was married in 1820 as well as in 1822.  In the 1841 Glamorgan census transcription by the Glamorgan Family History Society, a Richard MEYRICK, age 25, b. Glamorgan, was in Rees’ household.  The actual census image shows that the 25 year-old is a female named Elizabeth and not Richard, a male.  So, if this Rees MEYRICK was the father of Richard, there was no son by that name in the family household in 1841 or 1851.  In FreeBMD, there are two Glamorgan marriages for Elizabeth MEYRICK between 1841 and 1851.  One was in Jul-Sep 1841 in the Newport district to Thomas JONES.  The other was Oct-Dec 1848 in the Bridgend district to one of four possible males.

 

If this is the same Rees MEYRICK, then his wife, Lovic died during or shortly after childbirth with Richard.  That would also mean that Richard was not baptized until 11 months after his father’s marriage to Catherine and would also suggest that Rees’ son, Richard, was born probably in 1821.  Since our Richard’s Bible shows that he died in Dec 1893 at age 71, that is only 1 year off from an exact calculation.

 

If this is a different Rees MEYRICK, then there is no trace of Rees & Lovic MEYRICK in the 1841 and 1851 Wales censuses, or the 1850 US census.  The only Richard MEYRICK not living with one or both parents in the 1841 Glamorgan census was age 15 (born abt. 1826), occupation iron roller, living in the household of John LEWIS and wife and three other presumed boarders at 062A Trevor Street, Merthyr Tydfil.  He was a son of a Rees MEYRICK, but his birth in Merthyr Tydfil instead of Ewenny or nearby towns suggests that he may have been a different Richard MEYRICK, and he remained in Wales at least through the 1861 census (see #3 above).

 

There is no Richard MEYRICK, born Ewenny, Glamorgan in the entire 1851 or 1861 census for Wales.  There was a Thomas MEYRICK, b. abt. 1816, at Ewenny, Glamorgan, who may be related, but would have been born 4 years prior to the 1820 marriage for Rees and Lovic.  This is probably the Thomas MEYRICK who married 1 Aug 1837 in Llantwit Fardre, Glamorgan, Hesther JONES, a widow, daughter of John BRYANT, laborer.  His wife’s name is shown variably as Hesther and Esther in the censuses.  I obtained their marriage certificate, and Thomas MEYRICK’s father is shown as Rees MEYRICK and appears to be the same Rees MEYRICK who married Lovic PEADOW and perhaps later, Catherine MORGAN.  Thomas and Hesther/Esther named their first son, born abt. 1841, Rees MEYRICK.  Our Richard MEYRICK named his first son, Thomas MEYRICK.  In 1851, there was also a Mary MEYRICK, b. abt. 1787 in Ewenny, who was a widow and servant in the household of 100 year-old William PARRY, born in Breconshire.  I have no additional information about her or to whom she was married.

 

Thus, this Rees MEYRICK appears to have married three times, and the first two wives died in childbirth or shortly thereafter.  The first wife’s name is unknown.  His third wife, Catherine, died in 1855 in the Bridgend District, Glamorgan.  The elder Rees MEYRICK died 5 Jun 1856 in Llangewyd Higher, Neath District, Glamorgan, at age 59 when a horse he was riding fell on him.  Their son, Rees, died 17 Apr 1879 in Stormy, Lythegstone, Bridgend District, Glamorgan, at age 50, of cancer of the rectum. 

 

IGI Entry:

Richard MYRICK, b. 16 Aug 1825 and christened 10 Sep 1825 at the Soar

Calvinistic Methodist Church, Llanddarog, Carmarthenshire, Wales, as the son of James MYRICK and Ann SAMUEL (IGI births & baptisms, 1811-1837, Llanddarog, Carmarthenshire, Wales).

 

This IGI entry shows the surname spelling as MYRICK.  All of the Richard MEYRICK names in the correct age range in the 1841 census for Wales were born in and living in Glamorgan.  None of these are likely to be the son of James and Ann, so their son Richard either died or left Wales before the 1851 census.  Hence, he could be our Richard.  He would only have been 68 years of age in 1893, the year that our Richard died at age 71; however, this is close enough to merit consideration.  Our Richard was unable to read or write, so he could have been wrong about his own age.  Since our Richard named his first child, Annie, that could be a clue to his mother’s given name.

 

The 1841 census for Llan Non, Llanelly, Carmarthenshire, shows Anne MEYRICK, 56, next door to David SAMUEL, 55, collier.  In David SAMUEL’s household is Mary MEYRICK, 14, who may be a daughter of Anne.  All were born in Carmarthenshire.  A few households away, Jane MEYRICK, 9, female servant, is in the household of Joseph EVERETT, Publican.  She may also be a daughter of Anne MEYRICK.  If this is Anne (Samuel) MEYRICK, David SAMUEL is probably her brother, and her son Richard is no longer in the household.  The only person in Anne’s household is Eleanor THOMAS, 6, possibly a grandchild.

 

Other data:

 

Richard MEYRICK born 1830 in Trevethin, Monmouthshire, Wales, whose father was John and mother, Anne. (Personal communication from Ted MEYRICK 27 March 1998 based on research in Cardiff)

 

The 1830 birth year is not consistent with the likely age of our Richard, but he cannot be eliminated as a possibility.  I could not find him in the 1841 census or a John and/or Anne MEYRICK family.  The interest in the mother’s name, Anne, is similar here as discussed above.

 

Richard MEYRICK, born ca. 1817 in Tredegar, Monmouthshire, in 1851 Wales census.

 

In the 1851 census, there was a Richard MEYRICK, coal miner, born ca. 1817 in Tredegar, Monmouthshire, who was a prisoner in Swansea, Glamorgan.  He is a little old to be our Richard if his age in the census was correct (especially since people whose ages were over 20 in 1841 were rounded down to the nearest multiple of 5).  I could not find him in the 1841 census.  If the prisoner was our Richard, he would have been released from prison after the 1851 census and traveled to the USA and married by 1852 in PA (and the story about being an 1849 California miner would have been a fabrication).  The Cambrian Index dated 19 October 1844 shows a Richard MEYRICK of Llansamlet charged in Neath by David WILLIAMS for poaching, game offences, and trespass.  This could be the same Richard MEYRICK who was in prison in 1851.  The only MEYRICK name in the 1841 Glamorgan, Wales census for the Swansea Registration District was Margaret MEYRICK, age 70, of independent means, not born in Glamorgan.  She had other families living at her address who were probably boarders.    The Cambrian Index also shows a Richard MEYRICK who, on 9 October 1874, was charged in Swansea for being drunk while driving a horse cart down the High Street.  If this is the same Richard MEYRICK, he cannot be the Richard MEYRICK who immigrated to the USA.

 

Since Margaret WILLIAMS’ family was in Blaina, Aberystruth, Monmouthshire, in the 1841 census, it is possible that our Richard MEYRICK was raised in the same general area of Monmouthshire, could have known the Evan WILLIAMS family and rekindled the relationship in PA.  This, however, is pure speculation.

 

 

P. Bailey Francis

Revised 15 May 2010