The Williams and Roberts families of Conway, Newborough and Holyhead


The mountains of Snowdonia seen across the Menai Strait (Theresa Green)

The connection

Will is descended from the Williamses via his maternal grandmother Ann Ellen Williams 1892-1961. Ann’s mother was Margaret Roberts; this page also contains her family history,

The names

The Williams name means “son of William”. Likewise Roberts means “son of Robert”. Inventive lot, the Welsh.


Grandmother Ann Ellen Williams 1892-1961 was born in Holyhead and lived for several years in Newborough before moving to Liverpool.

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Ann Ellen’s mother and father, Robert Williams and Margaret Roberts. It was a second marriage for both of them. It was the Robertses that had the connection with Newborough.


The matmakers of Newborough. Will’s Roberts ancestors were among those who managed the matmaking business, which used marram grass grown on the nearby dunes.


Sir John Prichard Jones is pictured at the opening of the Newborough Institute in 1905. 


The grave of C Jones at the Ebenezer Chapel, Newborough. As far as we can tell, this is 4 x gt grandmother on the Roberts side.


Generations of the Roberts family lived in the village of Newborough.

Odds and ends

• Will’s gt grandfather Robert Williams was born in Conway. His father William Williams is believed to have moved to Anglesey to work on the railway in the late 1840s.

• The Roberts family lived in Rallt Gwta, a house off Church Street to the east of Newborough crossroads. In the early 1900s the property was central to a court case in which a great uncle tried to lay claim to land on behalf of his sister.

• Rallt Gwta was also central to smuggling in Newborough. In the late 1700s a William Prichard of Rallt Gwta ran “salt and other prohibited items”. The men are said to have hidden from the excise by "staying in the dunes” near the boundary of the parish of Llanddwyn. We cannot yet place William Prichard in the family.


• For years Will was fascinated by a family tale that he was connected to Sir John Prichard Jones, the Newborough boy who moved to London and became a partner in the Dickins and Jones department store in Regent Street (closed 2007).

• Will has traced his ancestry back to one of the managers of the marram-grass matmaking trade in Newborough. 

• Great grandmother Margaret Roberts died in the Spanish flu epidemic in 1919. Will’s mother, though aged just two, could remember having to stay with an aunt and uncle, presumably because her mother and father were ill. 

Read the detail

Want to know more about the Williams and Roberts families? We’ve put together these family history files.

The Williams family
The Roberts family
A note on Welsh names

This sampler was on a relative’s parlour wall in Newborough. It was stitched by Robert Williams' first wife Laura Prichad, b 1845. 


Will’s gt grandmother Margaret Roberts, at the back, with his grandmother Ann Ellen Williams, centre, and grandfather George Unwin. A young Lizzie Williams is top right.

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Hendref in Newborough pictured in 2018.  The cottage was home to Will’s 2x gt grandmother Ellen Evans in 1851.

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13 Greenfield Terrace, Holyhead, where Will’s grandmother Ann Ellen Williams was born in 1892.

Quick reference: Bramhill

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Quick reference: Hudson