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My Family History

My Great Grandparents

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Robert Ball

Great Grandpa Ball

Robert BALL (1820 - 1898)

My great grandfather was born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, in 1820, the son of James Ball (silk weaver) and Martha Ball (née Cheatham). He was one of seven children born in Nuneaton to James and Martha between 1806 and 1823. He was raised at a property in Abbey Street, Nuneaton with his parents James and Martha, and was still living there, with his parents, in 1851. All three were described as silk weavers; the other children had left home. Robert was then 30 years old. In May 1856, Robert married Elizabeth Adie, daughter of Thomas Adie and Elizabeth (née) Horton. At the time of his marriage, Robert, ribbon weaver, was still living in Abbey Street, presumably with his widowed father (his mother Martha died of "natural decay" in December 1851 aged 72). Robert's occupation was "ribbon weaver", as also was his wife. His father, James, living on his own in Abbey Street, aged 84, died of "biliary diarrhoea and old age" in December 1861.

Robert and Elizabeth's first three children, Mary (1857), James (1859) and Emily (1861), were born in Nuneaton, but by 1863, when their daughter Jane was born, the family had moved to Birmingham. It seems that the ribbon weaving industry was in decline and the family moved to Birmingham to find work.

When his son Frank Ball (my grandfather) was born, in 1867, the family was living at 33 Edmund Street, Birmingham, and Robert was working as a porter. By 1875, when his daughter Ada was born, the family was living in Weaman Street, which joined Steelhouse Lane to Bath Street, near Snow Hill Station in Birmingham. At the time of the 1881 census Robert was 60 years old and he and his family were living at No 5 House, 17 Court, Great Charles Street, in the centre of Birmingham. He was described as a jeweller's porter. Seven of his eight children are still at home, but his son James, aged 22 and newly married (to Emily), was living at 5 Guildford Street in the St Stephen's district of Aston, about a mile away from his parents.

The last census in which Robert and Elizabeth appear was held in 1891 when Robert was recorded as 71 years old, living in Soho Wharf (off Park Road in Hockley, Birmingham) with his wife Elizabeth and daughter Ada (then aged 16). Robert was described as a caretaker.

Robert died in November 1898 at Back 208 Park Road, Hockley. His death certificate indicates that the cause of death was unknown. His daughter Emily was the informant, "present at death". Robert's wife Elizabeth died two months later.Ball grave - Key Hill Cemetery My dad was only two years old when his grandparents died, so he would not have had any direct memories of them. However I have a vague memory of his mentioning that his grandparents were buried at Key Hill Cemetery, which he used to walk past on his way to and from work at Lucas's in Great King Street in the 1940s and '50s.
Both Robert and Elizabeth were buried in a public grave. Their names are listed on a monument (S17) that was resited in 1999 prior to the construction of the Birmingham Metro line. The monument includes the following entry:

In loving memory of: ...ROBERT BALL. DIED NOV. 28. 1898. AGED 76 YEARS. ELIZABETH BALL. DIED JAN. 31. 1899. AGED 66 YEARS. ...

In October 2011, Dick Empson, of the Jewellery Quarter Research Group, e-mailed:

I have looked up the cemetery records for Robert and Elizabeth [Ball]. They don't give much information save for the fact that they both had lived at the same address — Back of 208 Park Road — from which you might infer that they were not too well off. Robert was 76 year old and buried on December 4th 1898 (there were seven other interments that day). Elizabeth followed him two months later, aged 66 years on February 4th 1899 – three others were buried that day. Both ceremonies, if there were any, were conducted by John Edmonds who was the cemetery Chaplain at the time. From this you could infer that they were not regular church/chapel attendees who often would have their own minister to conduct the ceremony.

I inherited photographs of Robert Ball and his wife from Dad's sister, my Aunt Alice.


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Elizabeth Adie

Great Grandma Ball

Elizabeth ADIE (1833 - 1899)


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Great Grandpa Stenson

Charles Lacey STENSON (1835 - 1913)

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Great Grandma Stenson

Jane HUGHES (1838 - 1898)

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Sarah Ann Thompson

Great Grandma Evans

Sarah Ann THOMPSON (1848 - 1924)


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Alfred Evans

Great Grandpa Evans

Alfred EVANS (1840 - 1906)


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Elizabeth Corlett

Great Grandma Kelly

Elizabeth CORLETT (1833 - 1917)

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John Kelly

Great Grandpa Kelly

John KELLY (1839 - 1916)

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John Ball, Brecon, Mid Wales - Contact me

This page last updated 2 October 2012
Details of each website feature (for newcomers) Direct links to each website feature (for regulars) Advance news of new developments on my website Summary of all the latest updates Gateway to Welsh Family History Archive Help for those having problems accessing my website A link to the main 'gateway' page to my entire website