Monday, September 19, 2011

The Ebb and Flow

The ebb and flow of the forces that effect mankind make for some interesting genealogy. Having explored these forces "on and off" for many years [roughly 52 years now!], I often think I have made some progress in understanding what factors impacted our ancestors lives. What seemed to make them do what they did to survive!

Welsh genealogy has opened many doors to this exploration. It is certainly not a simple matter for those of us from this side of the great pond. Where to begin is a key questions, but where to end this tree climbing endeavor is a never ending one. [There is always another branch to climb out!]

For most of my years I had operated under the assumption that Welsh genealogy began with the fall of the Roman Empire. It was the withdrawal of this central Roman government that left the Celtic tribal groups to return to their own roots. [Starting around 410 AD.] It was then important to try and understand this Celtic culture that surrounded the folks who occupied the most western part of the Island. [Starting around 400 B.C.]

I then realized that it was this very Roman Empire that conquered the Celtic culture hundreds of years before, leaving the Celtics at the western fringe of the world. [Take that you Romans I thought.]

The earliest writers on the Island, (Gildas, Bede, and the like), begin the fall of the "Britons" [meaning those Celtic tribal groups left on the Island] with the arrival of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. However, it is clear that the Romans had already faced these folks across the Channel with their extensive coastal defenses called "Saxon Shore forts". [Some started as early as 300 AD!] It is now clear that these "Saxons" [By some the word means pirates.] were themselves being forced westward by forces beyond their control.

Originally called "Hsiung-nu" , these folks from Central Asia became the most feared military force to arrive on the central European theater. They became known as the "Huns". [It is believed that the "Great Wall of China" was built to keep these folks from moving eastward.] Thus, turning westward they forced the "Goths", who became the "Visigoths" (western Germany) and the "Ostrogoths" (eastern Germany) to moved further westward by 376 AD. It was some of these folks who sacked Rome in 410 AD! Thus begins the start of the Welsh nation and Welsh genealogy.

The ebb and flow...will it ever end?

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