The Davis Ancestors

The Davises

This page tells the story of the Davis line of the family. If you want to see a detailed diagram of the Davis ancestors, then click Davis Tree. This will open in a new tab so that you can flip between this page and the diagram.

These are the ancestors on the maternal line of Grandad Edward Wragg. The surname Davis is derived from ‘son of David’ and it also has a Welsh derivation as ‘son of Dafydd’ The geographical concentration of the name is in the English counties bordering the mid and south Wales border, possibly indicating a Welsh origin. So, we may have a few Welsh genes, but I have not been able to get back far enough to prove that.

The Davises in our family came from Cheshire and then moved to Kingswinford in Staffordshire. They then moved again to Clay Cross in Derbyshire. The earliest reference I have found to the Davis ancestors was in 1784, so the story starts from there.

William and Anne Davis

The earliest reference was when William and Anne Davis had their son William christened on 2 Jun 1784 in Malpas Cheshire. I have been unable to find anything else about William and Anne. There were at least five William Davises living around Malpas at the time, so it is impossible to tell which is this William.

William Davis and Hannah Harrison

William was the son of William and Anne who was born in Malpas in 1784. He moved to Kinswinford Staffordshire and there he married Hannah Harrison in 1821. According to the 1851 census, Hannah came from West Bromwich. William’s occupation is shown as a labourer. They had 7 children.

Kingswinford is mentioned in the Doomsday Book where it is thought that the name came from it being a ford for the King’s swine. It was mainly a farming community although there are records of coal mining going back to the late thirteenth century and later ironstone mining.

William Davis and Emma Breakwell

William was a son of William and Hannah and was christened in 1822 in Kingswinford. He married Emma Breakwell in 1843 in Wordsley which is two miles south of Kingswinford. Emma’s family came from Ludlow Shropshire and she was christened in 1822 in Ludlow. They had 5 children. Emma died young in 1861 at the age of 39.

William worked as a blast furnace man while he lived in Kingswinford, possibly at the Corbyns Hall Iron Works. About 10 years after his wife’s death, William moved to Clay Cross in the early 1870s, presumably to get work in the coal industry. He came with his daughters Margaret and Maria. He died in Clay Cross in 1881.

Margaret Davis

Margaret was a daughter of William and Emma and was christened in Kingswinford in 1856. Emma moved to Clay Cross with her father. She worked as a charwoman.

In the 1881 census, she is shown as having two children, Edward and Emma, but no husband. I obtained Emma’s birth certificate and there was no mention of a father, suggesting her children were illegitimate.

Then two years later in March 1883, at the young age of 27, Margaret died of jaundice, enlarged liver and peritonitis. Her father had died in 1881 and there was no husband around, so this left her children orphans. Her son Edward went to live with his aunt, Margaret’s sister Maria, who was now married and living in Hucknall Nottinghamshire. Her daughter Emma stayed in Clay Cross (see below).

Emma Davis and Ernest Wragg

Emma was the daughter of Margaret and was christened in Clay Cross in 1879. She was just 3 years old when her mother died and she was left an orphan. Emma didn’t go with her brother who went to live with his aunt Maria. Instead, she was adopted by my great, great grandfather Simon Holmes. Simon lived on the same street as Margaret (New Street, now King Street), but I do not know why Emma stayed in Clay Cross or why Simon chose to adopt her. (Simon’s details are on the Holmes page). Emma lived with Simon until she married Ernest Wragg in 1897.

I have covered Ernest Wragg on the Wragg page. They were the parents of my grandfather Edward Wragg, so I have come to the end of the Davis ancestors.

Emma Davis
Emma Davis