According to family legend, James had been brought up in a children's home in Port Madoc. The area had been ravaged by the Spanish 'flu outbreak in the early 1920s, and it was thought that James's parents might have perished. The only other clue to his origins lies in a letter written from Garn Dolbenmaen in 1935 from Will, who signs himself as 'your brother' and refers to other relatives including 'my sister Alice'.
There was time to trawl the civil registration birth indexes in the hope of finding James Oscough Jones; however, we couldn't find an entry between 1903-1908. Since his middle name was highly unusual, we also searched the 1901 Census. No Oscoughs were found in the region, confirmed by a manual search for the parish of Garn Dolbenmaen.
We ruled out four of the five families with heads of household named Hugh Jones, but one family looked promising - Hugh E Jones (elementary teacher, 27), his wife Jane (21) and daughter Eifirma (three months) - unfortunately, the evidence wasn't really conclusive. This line of research needs further work, and we talked about further leads that Jeanette could follow up in Wales, such as: a search of parish registers for baptisms, marriages and burials; a trawl of the death indexes to
see if a suitable candidate for Hugh Jones appeared; and a search for an Oscough-Jones marriage.
These are all highly speculative, though, and the solution to the mystery may well lie outside Wales. Oscough does not appear to be a local name, and taking into account surname derivatives, it might be possible to trace other branches of the family -assuming, of course, that this thesis is correct in the first place!
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