A-Z Challenge Surnames W


Alban Williams (birth/death date unknown)

Alban Williams married Flora Louise Macdonald in St. Andrew’s Church, on Rodney Street, in Liverpool, on August 22nd, 1854.

It was a good match as far as her father was concerned. He made an announcement in the local Liverpool Mercury newspaper.

flora & alban wedding announcement

Alban was a Spanish language teacher who was born in Gibraltar. We don’t know when he was born because I haven’t been able to access any information about vital statistics for the island. We don’t know when he died because after 1861 he disappears.

The history of Alban Williams and his father RN Surgeon Alban Thomas Williams, and his parents Surgeon John and Anna Eliza Williams of Newcastle Emlyn is extremely poignant and indeed is the subject of a fine article by the renowned writer Catherine Hutton written in 1829.

She obtained information and letters from the Williams family and used these as factual material in her article “The Surgeon’s Family” of 1829 which was published in a periodical. A copy of this article is kept together with her papers in the Birmingham City Archives (MS 768/40/2, see Surgeon’sFamily3.jpg, pg.156)e island.

In the article she explains how Alban William’s Sr. was the “favoured” son of John and Anna Eliza’s 24 offspring! He grew up to be a doctor and ending up serving on board ship in the Royal Navy.

Now here’s where the story gets interesting!  

On one particular day, Alban Williams M.D. R.N. was having a conversation with the captain of the ship, when a discontented sailor rushed past him and stabbed the captain in the side! The sailor was apprehended and Alban, who was only the assistant surgeon, managed to save the captain’s life. This captain became an Admiral. When he left his ship, he left Alban on board and made the highly unusual request to have Alban made the surgeon general of a first rate man-of-war!

Even though Gibraltar was but a rock, the society of the garrisoned officers was a lot of fun. He ended up staying with a local Jewish merchant named Ben Amor. This man had a beautiful daughter named Simlie. Simlie and Alban fell madly in love and although her father was absolutely against her marrying him, she did anyway. She converted to Christianity, and then married.

About 10 months later, Alban decided to join a gun ship which belonged to Alban’s vessel, on a trip to Tangiers to get fresh beef. There were 9 men on board. Off the coast of Tangiers they came under attack and Alban was fatally shot and died at only 25 years old.

Simlie was pregnant with Alban Jr. at the time. Her family welcomed her back to their home and she raised Alban in a Jewish household, but as a Christian. When Alban grew up, he moved to London, England to teach and eventually moved to Liverpool where he met and married Flora Macdonald.

Flora and Alban had 2 sons, Thomas Alban Williams and John Hugh Macdonald Williams in 1855 and 1856. Flora died at only 24 years old in 1858, leaving Alban with 2 toddler sons. He can be found in the 1861 UK census, teaching Spanish lessons in Manchester with the boys being looked after by a nanny. After that, he and his sons completely disappear!

I’ve searched for them in the UK, American, Canadian, Australian and Tasmanian records and not found them at all. They may have moved back to Gibraltar or some other country in Europe. In any case, this is a mystery I would dearly like to solve. I’ve love to tell the descendants of these 2 boys what an amazing family history they have!






About tiesthatbindsite

I'm a genealogist with a passion for Scottish and English ancestry. I'm trilingual so I can also do research in French Canadian records and Italian records. My love for family history began 35 years ago and continues to grow every day. My family is very important to me and I hope to instill in them a love for "where they came from" so that they can better understand who they are. I also want to share my love of family history with anyone who understands how important it is to not lose site of their ancestors. They all have a story to tell.
This entry was posted in April 2016- A-Z Challenge and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A-Z Challenge Surnames W

  1. Nilanjana Bose says:

    How terribly sad for Simlie to lose her newly married husband so early in their marriage. Her son suffered the same too. So much heartbreak in one family seems unfair. Poignant and interesting post, thanks for sharing.

    Ninja Minion, A-Z 2016

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lesley Drake says:

    I have news for you. He didn’t disappear, he changed his name from Williams to Guillermo. He came down to Islington in London remarried and had 5 more children. I stumbled over this by chance looking on Ancestry for Alban and realised Guillermo is Spanish for William. His second wife Ann and son Eustace Alban Guillermo lived in a house at the end of our street for 30 years.
    Alban himself died in 1895.


    • Thank you Lesley! I did find this out recently. This blog was done in 2016 and I’ve since discovered the surname change too. I do wonder who his son by Flora Alban Thomas Williams married and had children with, if at all.



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