Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Measuring the Land (part 1)

One of the first things you might want to do with this land and earth is to measure it.  According to the law books of Hywel Dda, "Dyfnwal Moelmud" [Dyfnwal the Bald!] was king over the land "Before the crown of London and the sceptre were taken by the English...".  He measured the island in "...order to know its tribute and its mileage and its journeys by days."  The method he used was not changed by Hywel himself "...for he was the best of measurers".  The method he used is described as follows:

"And this measure Dyfnwal measured from the barleycorn. 

Three lengths of the barleycorn in the inch;"

[Apparently, the kernels of the barleycorn were uniquely the same size.  Each kernel would be 1/3 of an inch, and could be used as a standard instrument of measurement.  Barleycorn was a standard food source and would have been readily available for use.]

"three inches in the palmbreadth;"

[Nine kernels of barleycorn place in the palm of the hand would equal three inches.]

"three palmbreadths in the foot;"

[This would make what was called "the foot" around nine inches in length plus or minus.]

"three feet in the step;"

[This would give a method to step off a segment of land that could easily be check by another.]

"three steps in the leap;"

[So a leap would be roughly nine foot, which would be around 81 inches, or 243 lengths of barleycorn!]

"Three leaps in the land: a land in newer Welsh in a selion;"

[Leaps setting the bounds called a selion.  I wonder if this is where the saying "leaps and bounds" has its origin?]

Finally, "and a thousand lands if the mile. And this measure is still used here."

Wow, 3000 leaps in the Welsh mile.  Let's get to work.

The information outlined above is taken from p. 120 in the book translated and edited by Dafydd Jenkins titled Hywel Dda The Law, Gomer Press, 1990.  The legal acre is next!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Land and Earth

From the ancient tribal past, the laws that came to be called "The Law of Hywel Dda", was a foundation to the culture and society of Wales.  Certain basic concepts were contained within these laws that allowed social structure, and the survival of the folks who accepted them as their authority. [See last post which gives the first principle of their existence.] 

One basic concept was called "land and earth".  This concept had its origins from the belief that "In the beginning God made the heaven and the earth." [ Pentateuch - Genesis 1:1]  It was "God's Will" that was the ultimate authority within these spheres of existence.   Since God was in heaven, it was his will that man was placed upon earth.  Thus "man" was responsible for this land. 

In the laws, "land and earth" was a key sphere of existence.  No land was to exist that did not have a "proprietor".  This had meaning from Roman days which comes from the Latin privatus, meaning 'proper to a particular person'.  A "proprietor" had right to the land by "kindred and descent".  It is written:

"Whosoever wants to claim land by kindred and descent, let him show his pedigree as far as the stock from which he derives; and if he is there as fourth man he is a proprietor, for it is as fourth man that a person becomes a proprietor." [ from: Hywel Dda The Law, by Jenkins, p. 104.] 

Claim to land ownership was thus proved by giving a pedigree from the family tree.  Four generations of occupation by the family needed to be shown.   A deed to ownership was your family tree.  Wow...everyone needed to be a genealogist for this land and earth.

[The term "proprietor" is defined on p. 375 in the text by Jenkins.]

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Customary Principles

A living community changes over time.  From early family units, to larger tribal groups (clans) there is a common core of customs which develop.  These become the "laws" [spoke or unspoken] that begin to structure the obligations of the folks living within the community, and institute controls [often punishment] that establish authority within this cluster of folks trying to survive.  For the Welsh, this was well established by the mid-10th century.  This common core became associated with the name of Hywel Dda.

The figure above shows the cover of my copy, which was published by Gomer Press, 1990.  It contains a translation of the "Law Texts From Medieval Wales Translated and Edited by Dafydd Jenkins".  For the genealogist who wishes to understand the core principle of Welsh culture, this is a helpful test.

On page 71 it records:

"For the wise say that worldly law does not pursue any person (whether it is to heaven that he goes or to hell) save until he leaves the earth.  This is the reason for it:  Though there be law between persons and each other on this earth, there is no law between angles and each other, and there is no law between devils and each other, save the will of God."

Hum..."the will of God"...who would have guessed this would be a customary principle in the laws of Hywel Dda, around 942 AD.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Vale of the Dee

Welsh genealogy and the surname JONES can not usually be separated.   The following is a summary table of the first who are recorded as taking the surname JONES.  They are show by Welsh county and the dates that they were first recorded in the English legal records of the day.  The table is a figure taken from my blog called "The Jones Surname" [ thejonessurname.blogspot.com ].  This blog discusses everything you wanted to know about the JONES surname but were afraid to ask.


The date of each post, which presents a little more about each JONES for the Welsh county listed, is shown above.  The documentation of each JONES is given in the post.  I thought this might be an interesting topic for those who have been following this blog [Welsh Genealogy] since my 50 years of genealogy have brought me to the Vale of the Dee.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Henry Edward Jones (JAC-1)


Henry Edward Jones (JAC-1), born July 8, 1926, is the 53rd in direct male line to me.  He married Myrna Jean (JAC-2), May 8, 1948, and my older brother and I came along not many years later.



Here we are November 1953.  Henry Edward (27), Myrna Jean (23), Henry Lee (4), and me (2).  Smiles and our future are in place.  Hard to imagine that over 60 years have now past.  How about that!



Friday, December 6, 2013

Joseph Wheeler Jones (JAB-1)


"Jay" by his sisters..."Wheeler" by his wife...and "Pap paw" by me he was called.  Born July 5, 1898 in Clark Co., KY, he lived his life in and around Winchester.   Gertrude Patterson Monroe "Mam maw" was born the same 1904 and died March 17, 1989.  I often heard her friends call her "Gertie".



 Here they stand holding my father in their arms.  Many of my summers were spent in their home on Jackson street.  Say hello to the origins of my family stories.   [See my family stories at my blog
 http://thejonesgenealogist.blogspot.com]  They both still reside in my memories.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Edward Turner Jones (JAA-3)



The mouth of Red River joined three counties.  Estill, Madison, and Clark counties connected here.  All three of these counties played a role in the life of Edward Turner Jones.  He was born in Madison (Science Hill), married a gal from Estill (just across the river), and moved to Clark County. (Just across the river on the other side.)  This location was just "up river" from that place called Boonesborough were Ellen Dorcas Henderson had her roots from that fellow named Col. Richard Henderson.

Here they are.  My grandfather must have been in the oven when this picture was taken because his older sister Nona Lee was just about the right age of his birth.


A saddle bag can be seen lying on the porch behind.  Say hello to Edward Turner and Ellen Doras early in their married years near the mouth of Red River.