Joseph Humphreys

It comes as an exciting surprise to find somebody born in America on the census for a small community like Bute Town - but that is what you find if you look at the 1881 census.

Joseph Humphreys wasHumphries 1881 born in America in around 1872 or 3 - he is 8 years old on the 1881 census. What is even more amazing is that there is an older and younger sibling who were both born in Wales - so we have some clues to work out when the family were in America.

The 1881 census shows that Evan Humphreys, the father, was 38, born in Montgomery and a Coal Young minersMiner. His wife Margaret was just a year younger and also born in Montgomery. The oldest child, Annie, is 16, a milliner and was born in Brecknockshire, whilst her oldest brother Thomas was 14, a coal miner and born in Glamorganshire. Then we have American born Joseph aged 8 and a scholar, and a younger daughter Margaret Jane who was born in Monmouthshire 3 years ago.

With this information we can see that the family could have been in America anytime between 1867 and 1878 - so we searched the 1871 census and cannot find the family anywhere in the UK - so we can assume that they were in America in 1871.

Bute Town today

The Humphreys Story

  • Joseph was born in 1872 in Pennsylvannia.
  • The family returned to Wales sometime before 1878, and were in Bute Town in 1881.
  • The whole family moved back to America in 1889 and ended up in Scranton, Pennsylvannia.
  • Evan, the father, died in 1894 in Scranton.
  • Margaret seems to have re married and had more children (Owens). She died on 17th March 1930 in Fairfield County,  Connecticut.
  • Joseph seems to have carried on living in Scranton – at least until 1900 when he is listed on the census.
  • Margaret Humphrey – the youngest sibling, is the route to the family tree built on Ancestry. She lived in Scranton 1900 and 1910, but by 1930 had moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut where she died in 1958.

A Brief History of Scranton

Scranton was established in around 1776 but it wasn't a major industrial centre until the 1840’s when brothers Selden T. and George W. Scranton blue_link_icon.png founded what would become the Lackawanna Steel Company blue_link_icon.png. This company produced T Rails for railways – the first American company to enter this market, thus removing this dependency with the UK. In 1901 the dwindling iron ore supplies lead to the city changing its focus to become the hub of the Anthracite Coal Industry in the area. The railways were also important to this city. In the 1920’s the city became one of the primary makers of phonograph records.

In 1900 Scranton had a population of 102,026 – making it the 38th largest city in USA and there was a significant Welsh population.

Lackawanna Wholesale Block

Scranton circa 1890 - the Wholesale Block that was the main commercial area for decades

Useful Links

Lackawanna Historical Society green_link_icon.png

A short history of Scranton green_link_icon.png

A Pictorial History of Scranton, Pennsylvania green_link_icon.png

Explore your Family History

It is fascinating to explore your own family history and in Wales it is really easy.

Explore your family history at green_link_icon.png


Pictures of Scranton, USA

© 2011. Can Do Team. Written by Kim Colebrook.