TOMMY FARR 1913 - 1986
The Lineage of THOMAS GEORGE FARR

I have a great interest in genealogy and have, to date, proven my family tree back to 1685. There has long been a story within my family that Tommy Farr's family is linked by marriage to a great-aunt of my mother, named Margaret E.M.Coombes, who married John Farr in 1892, so I set about trying to prove a link, or not. 

Aside from early boyhood memories of the 1950s concerning Tommy Farr and boxing, coupled with the later knowledge that he was a Welsh boxer of great repute, I knew absolutely nothing more about him, the obvious starting point for my research was the internet, unfortunately, other than his meticulously documented illustrious boxing career, there is very little information about Tommy's origins and, crucially, much of what there is I have proven to be totally inaccurate.                        

I began my research with two items, his date of death and his place of interment. I also recalled that I owned, stored away somewhere, a video-tape recording of a TV programme from some 30 odd years earlier titled ' Maestro' and featuring Tommy, which was to prove useful.

PLEASE NOTE : The purpose here is to prove a lineage, not to create a family tree.

 

I began with the entry of Tommy Farr's death in the Civil Register of Deaths :-

March Qtr.1986 Thomas George Farr   71    Worthing     19 2663

 

According to various accounts I came across, he was interred with his parents at Trealaw Cemetery, Glamorganshire, Wales. The records show that he was :-

Burial No.31829  Sarah Ann Farr    39    1922    Plot V506                                                

Burial No.40440 GEORGE FARR    56    1932    Plot V506

Burial No.70673 THOMAS GEORGE FARR    71    1986    Plot V506 

            

With this information I was able to find the marriage entry for Tommy's parents in the Civil Register of Marriages, and obtain a copy of the marriage certificate  :-                       

Jun Qtr.1904  GEORGE FARR - Owen - Pontypridd -11a 909                                          

Cross referenced

Jun Qtr.1904  Sarah Ann Owen - FARR - Pontypridd - 11a 909

 

I could then trace the entry of Tommy's birth in the Register of Births :-              

Jun Qtr.1913  THOMAS G FARR - Owen - Pontypridd - 11a 1375                                

and obtain a copy of his birth certificate, details of which are :-

Born 12th.March 1913 at 3 Railway Terrace, Blaenclydach, Rhondda. a boy THOMAS GEORGE.  father - GEORGE FARR  haulier in a coal-mine, mother - Sarah Ann Farr formerly Owen.                                                                                                        

This proves, contrary to some claims, that THOMAS GEORGE FARR or TOMMY FARR was born in 1913.

                                                                                                       

Tommy's two younger siblings are also easily identifiable in the birth register :-

March Qtr.1915 Sarah H Farr - Owen - Pontypridd - 11a 1600      (Sally)                         

Dec.Qtr.1917 William D Farr -Owen - Pontypridd - 11a 1079      (Douglas)

 

The details on Tommy's parent's marriage certificate are :-                                            

12th. May 1904 at the Register Office, in the District of Pontypridd.  GEORGE FARR

age 24 - bachelor - brake driver - of 99 Jones Street, Clydach Vale.

father - WILLIAM FARR deceased -draftsman.                                                                

Sarah Ann Owen age 21 spinster - of 100 Jones Street, Clydach Vale.

father - George Owen - collier.

Witnesses, George Owen and BERTHA HAVARD.   

GEORGE FARR gave his age as 24 suggesting he was born in about 1880

 

14 years earlier, the 1891 Census shows the Owen family at :-

44 Clyde Road, Ystradyfowg, Glamorgan.

George Owen  head  age 31  collier   born - Upper Holl, Pembrokeshire.

Elizabeth Owen  wife  age 27             born - Rhymney, Monmouthshire.

Sarah Ann Owen  dau.  age 6            born - Trevofest, Glamorganshire.

Elizabeth Owen  dau.  age 4              born - Trevofest, Glamorganshire.

Eliza Jane Owen  dau. age 3             born - Trevofest, Glamorganshire.

Caroline Owen  dau.  age 9 months   born - Aberdare, Glamorganshire.

Thomas Davies  border  age 66         born - Rhymney, Monmouthshire.

GEORGE OWEN the witness at the wedding of Sarah Ann was possibly her father.

 

Trawling further through the 1891 Census I find a GEORGE FARR of about the correct age, but without a father present at :-

21 Howell Road, Ystradyfowg, Glamorgan.

Joseph Williams   head  age 52   bankerman     born - Llanafalagh, Glamorganshire.

Eleanor Williams   wife   age 54                        born - Pembrokeshire.

BERTHA FARR  niece   age 11                        born - Cardiff, Glamorganshire.

GEORGE FARR  nephew   age 14                   born - Cardiff, Glamorganshire.

Thomas Farr  nephew    age 15                        born - Cardiff, Glamorganshire.

John Williams  nephew   age 7                          born - Cardiff, Glamorganshire.

William Lewis  border   age 17                           born - Cardiff, Glamorganshire.

This GEORGE appears to be too old.......but he has a sister named BERTHA !

 

A search of the 1881 Census finds them with their mother at :-

7 Pellet Street, St.Mary, Cardiff, Glamorganshire.

PHOEBE FARR   married    age 40      born - Cardigan, Wales.

John Farr   son   age 12                      born - Cardiff, Wales.

Tom Farr   son   age 8                         born - Cardiff, Wales.

GEO FARR   son   age 6                     born - Cardiff, Wales.

BERTHA FARR   dau   age 3               born - Cardiff, Wales.

Phillip James   widower   age 44           born - Neath, Wales.

The ages of GEORGE and BERTHA are at odds with the 1891 Census but they agree exactly with their Birth Registration entries.. PHOEBE's husband is not present, but she is recorded as being married and not widowed.

 

In the 1871 Census PHOEBE has her husband WILLIAM present...PHOEBE does not show up in the 1891 Census...I can find no record of PHOEBE or WILLIAM's death.

1871 Census at :- 18 Godfrey Street, Neath, Cardiff, Glamorganshire.

WILLIAM FARR   head   age 30    coal trimmer     born - Herefordshire.

PHABE FARR   wife    age 29                              born - Cardigan.      (Phoebe)

John Farr   son    age 1                                       born - Cardiff, Glamorganshire.

 

I now have WILLIAM FARR married to PHOEBE with a son GEORGE FARR and a daughter BERTHA FARR....I also learn that WILLIAM was apparently born about 1840-41 in Herefordshire.

 

Register of Marriages :-

March Qtr.1869 WILLIAM FARR - Cardiff - 11a 294

cross referenced :-

March Qtr.1869 PHOEBE REECE - Cardiff - 11a 294

Details from their marriage certificate :-

25th.January 1869 at the Register Office in the District of Cardiff.

WILLIAM FARR age 28  bachelor - coal trimmer - of Whitmore Lane, Cardiff.

father JOHN FARR deceased - labourer.

PHOEBE REECE  age 28 spinster - of 10 Hornfray Street, Cardiff.

father Thomas Reece - deceased - farmer.  Witnesses Martha Lloyd and H.Noble.

 

Register of Births entries :-

December Qtr.1875 GEORGE FARR - Cardiff - 11a 250

June Qtr.1878 BERTHA FARR - Cardiff - 11a 278

Tommy's father GEORGE's age at death in 1932 was given as 56 making his birth year 1875...It is now clear that when GEORGE married he was about 29 and not 24 as stated on his marriage certificate.

 

BERTHA HAVARD was a witness at the marriage of GEORGE FARR and SARAH ANN OWEN.......GEORGE FARR son of WILLIAM and PHOEBE FARR had a sister named BERTHA.

The Register of Marriages shows :-

June Qtr.1897 BERTHA FARR - Pontypridd - 11a 819

cross referenced :-

June Qtr.1897 Thomas HAVARD - Pontypridd - 11a 819

BERTHA HAVARD, witness to the marriage of GEORGE FARR and SARAH OWEN was GEORGE's sister, again confirming that GEORGE and BERTHA FARR, born in Cardiff, and WILLIAM FARR, born in Herefordshire....are of the same family group.

 

The next search was for WILLIAM FARR born about 1840 in Herefordshire, with a father named JOHN FARR.

The Register of Births :-

September Qtr.1840 WILLIAM FARR - Hereford - 2b 153

 

1851 Census :-

John Watkins  head  age 24   Farmer of 86 acres   born Clodock, Herefordshire.

Elizabeth Watkins  wife  age 24                              born Clodock, Herefordshire.

Anny Watkins  dau   age 8 months                          born Clodock, Herefordshire.

Henry Powell  servant    age 14     Ag.lab'                born Rackton, Herefordshire.

WILLIAM FARR   servant    age 10   Yearly servant  born Rowlstone, Herefordshire.

Ann Farr     servant     age 12    Yearly servant         born Clodock, Herefordshire.

 

1851 Census :-

at Crossways Cottage, Rollstone, Herefordshire.

JOHN FARR   head   age 60   Ag.lab.         born Ewyas Harold, Herefordshire.

Sarah Farr   wife    age 51                      born Clodock, Herefordshire.

John Farr    son     age 14    at school     born Rollstone, Herefordshire.

 

Baptisms in the parish register of Rowlstone, Herefordshire :-          

8th.May 1836   John Farr   parents    JOHN FARR/Sarah  at Rowlstone, Herefordshire.

28th.Aug.1837   Mary Farr   parents   JOHN FARR/Sarah  at Rowlstone, Herefordshire.

2nd.August 1840 WILLIAM FARR   parents JOHN FARR/Sarah at Rowlstone, Hereford.

 

Marriage (pre Civil Registration) :-

9th.October 1834 JOHN FARR and Sarah Griffiths  at Clodock, Herefordshire.

I cannot find them on the 1841 Census.

 

To sum up at this point, TOMMY FARR's full name was THOMAS GEORGE FARR  and he was born on 12th.March 1913, not as claimed elsewhere Thomas George Paul Farr born in 1914. 

His father GEORGE FARR was born in Cardiff, Glamorganshire, Wales and not Ireland as is also claimed.

His grandfather WILLIAM FARR and his great-grandfather JOHN FARR were both born in Herefordshire.

At the start of my research I also traced TOMMY FARR's marriage in order to cross reference his father's name and occupation.

I have in my possession a video-tape recording of a programme titled 'Maestro', this particular recording features TOMMY FARR, in it he states that his wife's maiden name was Muriel Montgomery Germon, a Devonian, affectionately known always to him as "Monty". 

After some considerable searching I eventually found their marriage in the Register :-

December Qtr.1941 GEORGE FARR - Germon - Norwich Outer - 4b 257

cross referenced

December Qtr.1941 Muriel Germon - FARR - Norwich Outer - 4b 257

Details from the marriage certificate :-

10th.October 1941 at the Parish Church of Brandon Parva, Norfolk.  by licence.

GEORGE FARR  age 27  bachelor - commercial dealer - of The Rectory, Brandon Parva.

father GEORGE FARR - brake driver.

Muriel Germon  age 23  spinster - of 13 Caledon Road, Carshalton, Surrey.

father Herbert Nicholas Germon - engineer.

Witnesses - Dorothy Llewelyn and William John Churchill*.

Rector W.H.Llewelyn.

(*was this Tommy's friend and trainer ? Joby Churchill ?)

 

The certificate confirms TOMMY's father's name and occupation as being exactly the same as on his father's marriage certificate, and in turn confirms that this marriage of GEORGE FARR is in fact the marriage of THOMAS GEORGE FARR....even assuming that it may have been possible for two different Muriel Germons to marry two different FARRS during the same period, Germon is a particularly uncommon surname.

 

'Monty' and Tommy had three children :-

Rosalind A. (Dody). Thomas R. (Rikki). and Gary A.

 

On the 'Maestro' tape Tommy says he lived in Tonypandy and worked "just up the valley in Clydach Vale". He was "the third youngest of eight, four boys and four girls". He "bought 59 Court Street, Tonypandy, for £109 when I was just 16 and 9 months" and lived there "deliriously happy" as "father figure" to his two younger siblings "Sally and Douglas", "by this time my older brothers and sisters had married", he said.

When he first left Wales he travelled by train to Slough, Buckinghamshire, where he said "there was a large contingent of Welsh people," and he stayed in the Dolphin Hotel. (He obviously did not walk from Wales to Slough and quite clearly had more than the few shillings in his pocket referred to on some internet sites.)  He was very amused by a thought he had at the time, He said he was walking from the railway station to the hotel when he passed a Lloyds Bank and thought to himself "My God ! They've even got a Welsh Bank here!"

 

To date I have failed to find any link between mine and Tommy's family.  Nevertheless my time has in no way been wasted and I sincerely hope that the distorted record of TOMMY FARR's family lineage can now be amended accordingly.

Terry Smithers   19th.November 2007

 

"The man, or woman, who feels no sentiment of veneration for the memory of his forefathers, who has no natural regard for his ancestors or kindred....is himself unworthy of kindred, or remembrance." DANIEL WEBSTER.

 

Tommy died at Shoreham, near Brighton, Sussex.....My Brighton and Hove's website has more information about him.  http://www.mybrightonandhove.org.uk 

There is also an entry at. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Farr