Deans Family Page

dadWilliam Bernard DEANS was born on the 27th December 1914 in Cardiff. He was the son of Arthur David Alexander DEANS and Alice Maud DONOHUE. (see Donohue Family Page.)

Scottish Ancestors          Top of the page

During the 18th century the DEANS family lived in and around Dalkeith, Midlothian, Scotland.

Robert DEANS was born in Cranston, Midlothian on 5 December 1752 to William DEANS, a weaver by trade, and Jannet NESBIT. Jannet was probably the daughter of John NESBIT and Jannet FINDLAYSON, baptised at Saltoun, East Lothian on 13 September 1724. John and Jannet Nesbit had eight other children; Helen Dunbar 1726, John Dunbar 1729, Alexander Whitekirk 1731, Elizabeth Whitekirk 1734, Katherine Whitekirk 1737, Margaret Whitekirk 1739, Katherine Whitekirk 1743 and Thomas Whitekirk 1746. Nothing more is known about the Nesbit Family except that a Jannet Nesbit married Robert Deans at Haddington, East Lothian on 5 June 1741 and a son David was born to them 22 June and baptised at Saltoun on 27 June 1742.

Robert was baptised at Cranston 10 December 1752 and about 1771 he married Helen AMBROSE (see Ambrose page) Robert and Helen had 7 children: John (b 1772) Unnamed(b 1775), Elizabeth (b 1778), James (b 1779), Robert (b 1782), William (b 1783) and Robert (b 1787).

Two of Robert and Helen's grandchildren emigrated to USA in 1849. Robert and David were both sons of James DEANS and Christian WILSON. Robert born 1815 was a coal miner, he married Eliza LAIRD on 27 April 1937 at Newbattle. In 1841 Robert and Eliza are living at Uphill West Lothian. Robert is working as a coal miner and they have two children James aged 4 and Eliza aged 1. Robert's brother David married Helen HASWELL at Newbattle on 9 March 1844. They had two children James born 1844 and Isabel born 1847 before David died on 14 July 1848. About this time the Mormon Church was emerging in Scotland and it would appear that both Robert and David and their families became part of that Church. Robert and Eliza emigrated to USA in 1849 and David's widow Helen joined the family with her children. They all sailed to America from Liverpool on 4 May 1849 on board the Emblem bound for New Orleans.The ship's passenger list shows Robert travelling with Eliza and Helen. With them are Robert's children James and Eliza and Helen's children James and Isabel, also listed are Henry aged 5, Christina aged 2 and Isabella aged 2. Robert and Helen had twins Christina and Isabella born in 1847 after Henry born 1844. In 1852 David's family joined a wagon train and made their way across America to Utah. Helen had remarried by then. I believe Robert must have died either soon after leaving New York to voyage on to New Orleans, on the journey up the Mississippi to St Louis or shortly after settling in Missouri. He does not appear on the 1850 census with Eliza and the children and by the time of the 1860 census Eliza has remarried. More about the Deans family in the USA.

Robert and Helen's grandaughter Jean DEANS, daughter of James and Christian and sister to Robert and David married James COWAN on 3 September 1842 at Newbattle, Midlothian, Their eldest son William Deans COWAN was born at Newbattle in 1844 and married Cecil Callow CRAIG at Duddington in 1874. Robert had taken Holy Orders and had become a member of the London Missionary Society. Soon after marrying Cecil they went to Madagascar on missionary work and to teach school. They had several children born in Madagascar between 1875 and 1881. As well as his missionary work William took a great interest in the flora and fauna of the Island and travelled about Madagascar collecting species to send back to the Natural History Museum in London. He published a book, drew images of orchids that he had catalogued and had several species of birds, amphibians and mammals named after him. See the link to the Reverend William Deans Cowan.

William was born in Dalkeith on 10th December 1783 and was baptised there on 5th October that year. He was the son of Robert DEANS and Helen AMBROS (Ambrose) and was a shoemaker by trade, He married Janet ANDERSON on 15th July 1802 at St Andrew's Church, Edinburgh. Nothing more is known about the Anderson family other than Janet's father was a porter in Leith.

William and Janet had five children: James (b 1808), Robert (b 1817), Robert (b 1819), Jannet (b 1822) and Helen (b 1825). James died in 1929 from "inflamation of the bowel". He was a shoemaker by trade and was buried at the Old Ground in Dalkeith on 16 August 1829. Robert born 1817 died of smallpox and was buried in the churchyard at Dalkeith on 20 July 1818. Jannet possibly married John MERRILEES at St Cuthbert's Edinburgh on 21 May 1841. There was a male child son of John Merrilees baptised at St Cuthbert's in 1849 but no further records.

Robert Deans          Top of the page

Robert Deans was born and baptised in Dalkeith in 1819 and went on to join the Army becoming a soldier in the 1st Battalion, 21st Fusiliers.  His military career took him to Chatham, Kent where he met and married Elizabeth Price. The marriage took place on 16th December 1839 at Frindsbury in Kent, where Elizabeth's father was stationed (transcribed as Robert DENS). (see Price Family Page)

Soon after this Robert was posted to India. Elizabeth accompanied him there and they had several children born in that country: James, Jane, Robert Stephen and SelinaRobert Stephen was born in 1844 and died in 1846. Selina was born in 1846 , there is no record of her on the 1851 census so it is likely that she also died in infancy before the family returned to the UK.

In 1851 the census shows that Robert, Elizabeth, James and Jane were stationed back in Scotland at the Infantry Barracks in Glasgow. (Again there were errors in transcriptions which hampered research.)  Robert 1851, (Dalkeith/Bulkeith) Elizabeth 1851 , James 1851 (Deans/Deam, Dinapore,East  Indies/Dinapon et indies), Jane 1851.

Robert's military career then took him to Birr, Offaly, Ireland from where he was discharged with a pension, in 1859.  A daughter, Rebecca was born to Robert and Elizabeth in 1856.

 After his discharge from the Army Robert took up employment as a Docks Policeman in Cardiff. They had not been in Cardiff long when Rebecca died aged 3 years. Robert and Elizabeth made their home 33 Sophia Street, in 1861 they are sharing the house with a family called Brooks. Another son has been born to them, named Robert Sylvester.  Towards the end of the 1860s Robert appears to have relinquished his post as a Docks Policement may be as the result of a charge of being drunk and disorderly after being caught up in an altercation in Bute Terrace in 1869. The case was dismissed as witnesses attested to another man starting the fight.

By 1871 Robert and Elizabeth have moved to Castle Road, Cardiff with their daughter Elizabeth who was born in 1862 - Albert Edward had been born in 1864 but died, aged 5 years in 1869. Robert's occupation is now given as a gardener and he won a 4th and 2nd prize for his geraniums in The Working Men's Flower Show held at the Drill Hall in 1869 .

Robert and Elizabeth then moved to Tavistock Street, Cardiff.  Between 1875 and 1877 Robert applied for a victualler's licence for the Tavistock Arms but there is no evidence that this was ever granted. In 1878 Robert bought, by auction, a small holding at The Gilbert, St Andrew, Cardiff.  He paid £350 for The Gilbert and is living there in 1881 with his wife and daughter and a farm servant.  In 1884 The Barry Dock & Railway Company purchased some of the land.  They paid Robert £1039 2s 6d for the land and compensation for the loss of fruit trees and bushes farmed on the land.  Robert was still living at The Gilbert when he died in 1886 and is buried in the churchyard at St Andrew. Robert left a personal estate of £59 10s 0d..

James Deans           Top of the page

James was born in Dinapore, East Indies on 17th February 1841. He was baptised at St Luke's Church, Dinapore on 28th March 1841. One of his sponsors is a William Deans so it seems likely that Robert wasn't the only member of his family stationed in India at this time. On the 1851 census James is living in the Infantry Barracks in Glascow with his father, mother and sister Jane. (his name is transcribed as Deam)

I can find no record of James on the 1861 census, Robert and Maria are living in Cardiff but James is not with them. It is possible that James also joined the Army.  There is a transcription of a record for a J W Deans with the 1st Bat. Royal North British Fusiliers in Barbados in 1861 - so right time and could be a likely Regt. James reappears on the 1871 census and by this time is married to Maria Brabyn. (see Brabyn Family History)

James and Maria married on 7 May 1867 in Cardiff. In 1871 They have a daughter, Elizabeth, living with them at 33 Sophia Street, Cardiff, their son John Brabyn Deans born in 1868, had died in 1869. James occupation is given as a painter.

In 1881 James and Maria are living at 50, Elm Street, Cardiff and have four more children, Robert, Effie, James (Edgar)  and Ernest (William) and James is now working as a coal tripper at Bute Docks. By 1891 they have moved again, to 12, Helen Street, Cardiff and have 3 more children Florence, Arthur and Catherine.  1901 census sees them living at 6, Helen Street and James is now working as a locomotive fireman.

After his father-in-law's death in 1866, John and Maria, along with Maria's sister and her husband,  were involved in court case against his mother-in-law, Nancy Brabyn.

James died on 12th February 1909 and was buried at Cathays Cemetry on 17th February 1909.  It seems that he died of a heart attack while at work for the Cardiff Railway Company.

Arthur David Alexander Deans           Top of the page

Arthur David Alexander Deans was born in Cardiff on 20th March 1885, the youngest son of James William Deans and Maria Brabyn. He was probably born at their home, 12 Helen Street, Roath, Cardiff.  Arthur started school in Helen St before being admitted to Stacey Road School in March 89. His younger sister, Catherine (Aunty Kitty, Blanche Street) had joined him there by 1892. By 1901 the family have moved into 6, Helen Street and Arthur is employed as a foundry labourer.

On 12th March 1904 Arthur  married Alice Maud Donoghue at St David's Roman Catholic Church, his address is given as 6, Helen Street and his occupation as Railway Fireman. Their daughter Catherine Maud is born soon after at Neath. Next born was Violet Mary Jane in 1906, and dLily May in 1909.  The 1911 census shows the family living at 6 Helen Street.  Arthur's occupation is given as railway servant in the coal tipper industry, in fact, he had joined the trade union "The Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants" in 1909 . Also living at 6 Helen Street are Arthur's sister Catherine and her husband Robert McElvenny, a ship fitter from West Hartlepool, along with their 2 children Maria and Rose.

Another daughter,Eileen, is born in December 1911 followed by a son, William Bernard, usually known as Bernard, in December 1914. However, before Bernard's birth, Arthur took the decision to join the Army. He enlisted with the 7th Glamorgan Corps of Royal Engineers on 30th April 1913 for a period of 4 years but remained with them throughout WWI until being medically discharged in 1919. 

Most of Arthur's military career seems to have been spent guarding the fortresses and defences around Milford Haven and Pembroke Dock. He had two misdemeanours whilst serving: In October 1914 he was caught drinking in the bar during prohibited hours, for which he received an admonishment;  At the end January 1917 he was AWOL for 24 hrs and given 3 days jankers. In 1918 he spent 3 days in hospital in Angle, Pembrokeshire suffering from severe pain in his shoulder. From the medical notes with his discharge papers we learn that this is arthritis associated with some wounds and scars from previous disease and operations.  Arthur, sometime previously, had suffered from empyema, and had the scars to prove it, it seems as though exposure had led to the pain and disability he was feeling from 1918 and which led to his discharge.  Also noted on the medical records is that Arthur had the tops of two fingers amputated on his right hand.  There is no mention of this happenening during his service career so may have happened when he was much younger.

Alice is noted as being Next-of-Kin on the discharge papers and her address is given as 8 Helen Street, Cardiff but on discharge Arthur states his address as 19 Blanche Street, Cardiff.  Alice had died in 1918 a victim of the Spanish Flu pandemic that started that year. It is likely that NOK details were entered early in Arthur's service and 8 Helen street was where Alice and the children lived while Arthur was deployed. When Alice died the children were taken in by relatives, Arthur probably returned to Cardiff to live with his sister Catherine who, by now had moved to Blanche Street.

Arthur remarried in 1921, another Alice - Alice L Davies. By all accounts it was not a happy marriage and Arthur and Alice are living apart when the 1939 register was undertaken.   In 1922 Arthur had become Licencee of the White Swan in Shakespeare Street. Living with Arthur at The White Swan in 1939 are 2 of his daughters, Catherine (Kitty) and Lily and also his grandson Bernard Hughes, son of Violet and Billy Hughes.  Arthur died in 1944. His son Bernard was serving overseas in the RAF at the time. Probate was granted to his daughters Kitty and Lily. His effects amounted to £1691.12s.2d. The Licence for The White Swan passed to Kitty Deans.

William Bernard Deans

Born William Bernard Deans on 27th December 1914, he was always known as Bernard or Bernie. At the time of his birth his Father and Mother were probably living at 8 Helen Street, Roath, Cardiff. After his Mother, Alice, died in the 'flu epidemic of 1918-19 it is likely that Bernard and his sister, Eileen went to live with an Aunt, in the same street. In 1921 Bernard's father remarried and also became licencee of the White Swan Hotel, Shakespeare Street, Roath, Cardiff. When Bernard left school he had various jobs, including delivery boy for Woodley's butchers, before going on to help his father in the licensing trade.Bernard tried to join the RAF and went up to London for examinations and interviews but was not allowed to enrol because he had flat feet.

However when war broke out in 1939 it was a different matter and he reapplied at the beginning of the war and was accepted. He joined as a fitter and worked on Blenheims and Spitfires and saw service in Africa, Palestine and Italy before being discharged in 1946. He was awarded The 1939-45 Star, the Africa Star and Clasp (North Africa 1942-42), The Italy Star, The Defence Medal and The War Medal 1939-45.

A little time prior to this his Father died and as Bernard was still serving overseas his sister Kitty took over as licensee of the White Swan. On discharge Bernie, Kitty and Lily managed the pub until Lily married Reginald Newman and later Bernard married Vivienne Burton. Bernie and Viv went to Live in Ty mawr Road, Rhumney where there first child was born but two years later they moved out of Cardiff and went to live in a cottage with a smallholding at Welsh Newton Common, Herefordshire.bHe lived there for the next 35 years, working where he could find employment until joining British Nylon Spinners (ICI Fibres) in 1955 where he remained until he retired at 65.Bernard and Vivienne had three more children born at Welsh Newton Common.

In 1987 Bernard and Vivienne moved to Wickham Lodge, Little Birch, where he spent a contented retirement before dying suddenly, but peacefully, in his own armchair.  After returning from a social afternoon spent with neighbours and friends, he walked home, sat down and fell asleep on 4th April 1997. We are not sure whether he wished to end a financial year nicely or if he just could not face the prospect of another General Election! He was buried on 10th April in the churchyard at Much Birch on a lovely spring afternoon.

"We Will Remember Them"          Top of page

More about the Deans Family           Top of the page

Gallery           Top of the page

dadfamily Bernie with his children, Pamela, Eileen, Kathleen and Raymond wickham Bernie enjoying his retirement airman Bernie as a young airman
RoyalArms Dad enjoying a drink at "the local" - The Royal Arms, LLangrove with Clive Palmer, Keith Preece and John Lewis WhiteSwan The White Swan Hotel, Shakespeare St, Cardiff. Run by the Deans family.  BarWhiteSwan The bar of the White Swan.
alicekids Bernard as a baby with his Mother, Alice and sisters Kitty, Violet, Lily and Eileen arthur Arthur David Alexander Deans kitty Catherine (Kitty) Stevenson (nee Deans)
arthurswan Arthur outside his pub, The White Swan,  Shakespeare Street, Cardiff vi Violet Hughes (nee Deans) arthureileen Arthur with his daughter Eileen
lily Lily Newman (nee Deans) with her children David and Peter and her niece Pamela greatauntKit Catherine McElvenny (nee Deans) - Great Aunt Kitty GrAuntKit Catherine McElvenny (nee Deans) and daughters
MariaBrabyn Maria Deans (nee Brabyn) robertdeans Robert Deans elizabethDeans Elizabeth Deans (nee Pryce)
(c) 2020 Pamela Deans