Friday, December 14, 2012

Jeuaf (JH-1)

The third son of Ninnian (JG-1) is the next branch along my JONES family tree.  He is the 8th generation from Gadforch (JA-1). [The 32nd generation from Beli Mwar.]  His wife was Efa (JH-18) [also spelled Eva] from Arwystli, which is a branch of the eldest son.  Thus the baby of the family, Dingad (JD-3) marries into the family of the eldest, Gronwy (JD-1).  [The eldest branch becomes known as the tribe of Elystan Glodrydd (JF-6) with a distinct history of its own.]

To place Jeuaf (JH-1) [also spelled Ieva ] in a larger picture, the following figure shows Ninnian(JG-1) in the family tree with his three sons.  The two oldest sons are not named, and most likely died before 1146 AD.  Jeuaf (JH-1) is united with the eldest branch which had settled in an area between the Wye and Severn Rivers.  This would place the land of Dingad (JD-3), north of the Severn, in continued support of the eldest branch.

This was certainly a period of conflict between the Normans, Anglo-Saxons, and Welsh.  But somehow, the family tree made its way through.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ninnian (JG-1)

The death of Cynrig (JF-1) must have been important to the early writers of Wales.  His death, and the reprisal from his 1st cousins, is recorded in a number of sources. [ See Maund : pp. 4, 6, 93, 94 ]
The figure below shows the sons of Cynrig (JF-1).  Ninnian (JG-1) is the branch to my JONES family.

During this time period, the fighting age among the Welsh culture was 14.  Since the 1st cousins of Cynrig (JF-1) carried out the family revenge on his killers, his sons must have all been under fighting age.  This would place their birth after 1060 AD [ 1073 - 14 = 1059 ]  Certainly a rough time to grow up in Wales.  The brothers of Ninnian (JG-1) each produce their own family lines which include the line of Broughton (Ednyfed JG-15), and the line of Lloid (David JG-13).

The sons of Rhys Sais (JG-4) are shown in the following figure.  They are through the second son of Tudor Trevor (JC-1) and would have become the senior branch of the family tree. [ Oldest son had daughtered out.]

There names are as follows:  Tydyr (JH-6) , Elidir (JH-5) and Bleddyn (JH-4).  This Tydyr is the one named in Domesday Survery!  I add their names to the books of history which to this time have only given them as "the sons of Rhys Sais".

Friday, November 16, 2012

Cynrig (JF-1)

The Normans had arrived into north Wales.  This certainly added another dimension to the Welsh tribal wars.  J.E. Lloyd in his "A History of Wales from the Norman Invasion to the Edwardian Conquest" describes a conflict between a chieftain from Powys [ Cynwrig ap Rhiwallon of Maelor ] and the folks from Gwynedd. (p. 17)  This conflict lead to his death around 1073 - 1075 AD.  The following chart shows this Cynrig [sp. Cynwrig, Kynfrig ] who is my Cynrig (JF-1).

His spouse is named Judy (JF-2) and in some records listed as Ann.  According to Maund (ref. 7) he was slain in 1075 AD, and according to Nicholas (ref. 6) he was killed 1073 AD.  His death leads to reprisal from some 1st cousins who are called "the sons of Rhys Sais".   The family feuds continue.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rhiwallon (JE-1)

The next branch in the family tree is Rhiwallon (JE-1) [also spelled Rywallon].  He was the son of Dingad (JD-3), who was the son of Tudor Trevor (JC-1) given in Burke p.844 as "Rywallon (Rywallon ap Dingad ap Tudor-Trevor, Lord of Bromfield, co. Denibigh".  He lived just before the Norman invasion when Wales was in grips of what could be call "Family Feuds".  Civil war, lots of head knocking, and killing of cousins to gain that upper position. [lived ca. 1000 AD - 1050 AD]

Bromfield was the land area that had felt the attacks of the Saxons, and the placement of those fences called Wats Dyke and Offa's Dyke.  It was part of Maelor Gymraeg (Welsh Maelor) and under Norman rule was to contain the ancient parishes of Wrexham, Gresford, Ruabon, Marchwiel, Eristock, Capelry of Holt, and Bangor-is-y-Coed. [on the left side of the Dee]   Back and forth the struggle must have been.  The term "wallon" means "ruler" and the word "rhi" means "too" or "very"... a "very ruler"?...or maybe a "too ruler"? meaning a ruler also?  Anyway, it was not a good time to be, or claim to be a ruler in Wales.

His spouse was named Lettice.  Her father was name Cadwaladr the son of Peredur Goch.  So goes the family tree.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dingad (JD-3) The Baby Boy

Being the baby of the family sometimes has it advantages.  Around 900 AD I am not sure it would be all that helpful.  Your older brothers would certainly be in battle before you, but you did have equal rights to claim your fathers lands and titles.  Dingad (JC-3) was the youngest son of Tudor Trevor (JC-1).  The following figure shows his documentation.  His wife was named Cicely (Sysli) (JD-7).

Generation 28 from the beginning of the family tree, but the 4th generation from Gadforch (JA-1) who seems to be the first to settle in this area of Wales.  As late as 1584, a field of Dingad is documented. [Eryn Dingad].   It was located near Selattyn - Porkington, and in the "muniments of title" Shropshire it is called " breath between the field called Eryn Dingad and the mountain their...".  This area falls between the narrowest part of the River Dee and the River Severn which has been shown in previous posts.  How the baby of the family settled in this very strategic location is yet to be uncovered, but this branch becomes the lineage of my JONES family between the field and the mountains there.

Reference found in: Muniments of Title, Shropshire, Selattyn-Porkington, Catalogue Ref. 894 and 1144, ref. 1144/9.  In a collection of deeds and papers relating to the Hanmer family of Pentrepant.  Future relatives, this Hanmer family!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tudor Trevor (JC-1) Founder of The Tribe

Tudor Trevor (JC-1) is identified as "Founder of The Tribe of The Marches".  He is perhaps the most well documented of the folks residing among the Welsh family groups.  There are at least 15 family surnames that claim their descent from this individual.  My own "Jones of Llwynon" being one of these family groups.  The figure below shows a listing of these family surnames, with several branching to multiple branches.

His wife is identified as Angharad, a daughter of Howel Dda.  Howel Dda has a great deal to do with Welsh history and codification of the laws of Wales.  It is perhaps this marriage that helps settle the dust of continual warfare between the "southern" and "northern" tribes.  At least before the Viking attacks, there was an attempt to unite the culture of Wales.

Tudor Trevor (JC-1) is described as being "Lord of Hereford, Whittington, and Both Maelors".  By this generation, it would appear that Oswestry has been lost [perhaps in exchange for Hereford], and a section of the "south" had been added.  Of course, Hereford was a very slippery slice of land to hang on to.  It must have been from this point that Whittington became the location of the families settlement.

              [Please note that you can click on the picture to enlarge the view.]

Friday, September 14, 2012

Providing Bread

Titles seemed to be an important aspect of name calling.  From the earliest time in English history, a title was taken (or given) in a variety of circumstances.  Ynyr(JB-1) ap Gadforch(JA-1) is given the title of "lord".  This title is applied to "both Maelors", "Oswestry", and "Whittington".  Now the word "lord" is derived from the Anglo-Saxon (Old English) word hlaford.  This word seems to be derived from the word hlaf which means loaf (or bread).  It certainly makes sense that the family group (tribe/clan) would look to the bread provider for helping the family to survive.  Having power or authority over others depended upon "bread".  Over time, this would lead to the fact that one became the provider (owner) of land or other real property and became known at "the lord".

Now the figure above is my attempt to show the geographic location of "both Maelor", "Oswestry", and "Whittington".  Both Maelors were part of "hundred of Exestan" from the Anglo-Saxon view.  [King Edgar of Mercia seemed to think that he owned it when he bestowed it upon St. Werburgh's Abbey, Chester in 958 AD.]  There seemed to be two settlement patterns were the Welsh kept control of the northwestern section (Welsh Maelor), and the Saxons took control of the southeastern section (English Maelor). [The name Maelor Saesneg is frequently used.]

Oswestry was the battle ground between both.  It is recorded as being founded by the "Britons" as Maes Usswalt around 500 AD. (Maserfield).  It became a swinging door between the settlement pattern of the Saxons and the land claims of the "Briton" (Welsh).  It took its present name from the battle fought 5 August 642 AD when the Pagans(Penda) won over the Christians (Oswald) and Oswald got chopped up afterward. [His body parts were place on several trees thus becoming "Oswald's Tree".

Whittington was equally as old being described as "drev wen" by a Welsh poet Llygar Gwr (Llowarch Hen) meaning "The White Town".  In the Topographical Dictionary of England, Vol.II, p.461, it is described as what was to become " and chief residence of Tudor Trevor...", but that is yet to come. [Tudor Trevor (JC-1)]

The red line roughly shows the relationship to Wat's Dyke, being the Anglo-Saxon line in the soil.  Both Oswestry and Whittington guard the entrance to the land bridge to Wales.  My Welsh family tree begins providing bread here before 900 AD.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ynyr (JB-1) Rooted in the Soil

The only recorded son of Cadfarch (JA-1) is Ynyr (JB-1).  In one record he is listed as Membyr.  It would seem that there was trouble dealing with this name since it is given as "Honorius or Ynyr" with Ynyr described as "Celtic". [See British Kings and Queens, p. 124, by Mike Ashley]  This name is utilized ca. 510 AD in southern Gwent, and would explain some of the connections to south Wales which appears in the next several generations of my family tree.  It becomes a "Welsh" name used occasionally, with Inigo Jones taking this name.[Much more will be said to document this finding.]  He is described as "Lord of Whittington and both Maelors".  This would simply mean a land owner, but much has been made of these titles.

His consort (wife) was Rhiengar (JB-2), who is described as "heir to Hereford".  Some of her lineage has also been recorded, but is not shown in the figure above.  The references which document Ynyr are given.[Dwnn, Burke, Nicholas]   It would seem that by this generation [second from Cadfarch (JA-1), but 26th generation from the beginning], identification with a specific geographic location had been made.  The family tree becomes rooted in the soil.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Lay of The Land

By the time of Cadfarch [ca. 850 AD], the reigns of power had been taken by several family groups.  Family dynasty had become the "norm" and developed into larger political units.

Gwynedd, a region which took its name from the tribe of the Venedotae, had settled the area to the northwest. [Cunedda and his boys are given credit for this.]

Powys was the dynasty along the upper eastern borders of what was to become Wales.  A branch of this dynasty came to be known as Rhwny Gwy a Hafren (between Wye and Severn) which becomes one branch of my own Welsh family tree.

Eliseg, in whose memory the still-existing monument, the Eliseg Pillar, helped re-establish the claims of Powys.  It is in the valley of the Dee that Cadfarch had his family.  It would have been around the time under the rule of Rhodri Mawr (Rhodri The Great, 844-878 AD) that the family began its settlement in this area.

The drawing to the right shows a general outline of the main "kingdoms" of Wales during its early period.  The southern sections were more divided into various kingdoms, but were about to see their rise under the grandson of Rhodri Mawr.   Fighting, fighting, war, war... Cadfarch's name would describe the time.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Cadfarch (JA-1) Leaf One...sort of

Starting a family tree can be a challenge.   Who's on they say.  After roughly 30 years of tree climbing, it appeared that Cadfarch was the first generation.   He became JA-1, and for years thought to be the top of my family tree. However, some years later, I found 25 more generations to add to the family tree.  Thus, number one, becomes in reality, the 25th generation of my Welsh family tree.  Oh well, I suspect there might be more tree climbing yet to come.

At any rate, the figure to the right shows my page from the family tree documentation notebook.  It is supposed to represent Cadfarch (Kadfarch) (Cadvarch) JA-1, and his partner (unknown) JA-2.  The references to his life are given in the listings underneath the "square and circle" drawn.  Dwnn and Nicholas give his name, and various other sources (later in time) spell it a variety of ways.

In the Welsh, "Cad" means war, and "farch" or "farch" means chair.  A War Chair I guess.   The Viking raids had begun along the northern coast of Wales, and I suspect this grandfather was looked to help fight.  The Anglo-Saxons were also being tied up with their own Danish invasion, and the Kingdom of Powys was able to gain back some of the border lands lost to the Saxons. (Offa's Dyke)   It would seem that from Cadfach ca. 850 AD, the family became established in Valley of the Dee...leaf one...sort of.

Additional references: Dwnn Vol.II, p.307, Nicholas, Vol.II, p. 354, and Burke p.1035 (1884 Ed.).

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

My Welsh Family Tree - Leaves and Branches

Leaves and branches are part of the family tree.  Just how one goes about figuring out all the connections help make up the tree climbing experience.  Then, putting everything together so that it makes some kind of record that can be followed, and examined, by anyone else who wishes to climb these branches, is just as important.  A map of the leaves and branches so to speak.  A family record it is.

This post tries to give the concepts utilized in my own Welsh tree climbing.  The past three post have given the major sources of information and documentation for part of this tree climbing.  The figure to the right gives the first page of my own family coding system which began many years ago.  I show it here to demonstrate one method that can be used to help keep the leaves and branches organized.  It is simple.  The letter "J" stands for my surname JONES.  The letters of  the alphabet are then used to represent the "generation", with "A" = generation "one", "B" = generation 2,...etc,etc.  Of course, this assumes that you have decided where the family begins. [I found 24 more generations after this was coded, so had to make adjustments!]  The number is then used to identify each individual that has been documented.  Thus a "leaf" [individual] is uniquely coded, i.e., JA-1 = Gadforch, and generations [branches] JA, JB, JC, identified.

Leaves and branches, a way to climb trees.  Thus the beginning of my Welsh family tree.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Welsh Family Tree (Part III) Personal Research

Needless to say, Welsh tree climbing can be as difficult as JONES surname tree climbing.  Connecting the ends to the middle can be quite an undertaking.  First you have to have a sense of both ends, and then some sense of how to piece these ends together!  The two previous posts list several references which have helped me get one end of the branch. [The Welsh Branch!]  This post list the research that has helped me get the other side of this branch. [The American Side!]

There are three foundations of this genealogy.   Documentation, documentation, and documentation.  No way around the brick walls.   Some 52 years of doing this genealogy has left me many, many, many, references.  My personal research has involved many sources and materials.   They started as piles and piles of notes, pictures, tables, charts, graphs, records, etc...etc..., and when ever I want to find a certain documentation,  I often failed to uncover its location among my stacks.   Thus began my notebooks.  They helped me organize my research into a specific, locatable source.  I place a subject title, and number on each notebook so that I could at least put my finger on a reference or research topic if needed.  Over the years I now have more than 250 notebooks!

I thought it would be helpful to at least outline these notebook topics, and give some idea of their content.  When I give the documentation of my Welsh Family Tree, the research/references can be found in these notebooks.   A blog called The Jones Genealogist Research Notebooks has been started. []  It can be used to give the genealogist an idea of the sources used during my own JONES tree climbing.  It can also be searched by topic using "search this blog" indicator along the top right of the blog site.  The notebooks are physically located in my personal research library, The Joseph Wheeler Jones Memorial Library, Danville, KY.  They are available for use if arrangements are made.   Please come for a visit.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Welsh Family Tree (Part II) The Sources

The first reference to draw me into the world of Welsh genealogy was Nicholas and his "Annals and Antiquities of The Counties and County Families of Wales".  It was first published London, 1872 and in the preface states:

"The present work may be considered in the light of a New Visitation of Wales, conducted, not under the auspices or authority of the College of Arms, but in obedience to a frequently expressed desire that a more complete and faithful account than existed should be provided of the great families of the Principality, combining as far as possible ancient with modern times."

Ancient with modern kind of fellow I though.

The text also provided a detailed account of the various counties of Wales.  It gives the chief physical features, its ancient history, and medieval accounts.  A list of "High Sheriffs" for each county is also given, and many times the members of Parliament for that county.  Many family histories are also given.

It was among these pages that I explored the origin of the JONES surname among the Welsh.  My own JONES family tree was hidden among these pages.

It is published in two volumes. First printing: London, 1872, and second printing 1875.  It has been reprinted by the Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, 1991.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

My Welsh Family Tree (Part I): The Sources

Documentation is the foundation of genealogy.  They are the sources you have researched and reviewed to provide the information you are using to define your family tree. The "proof is in the pudding", and the "devil is in the details" as some are apt to say.

There are many sources which can be used to document the facts regarding a particular family tree.  This becomes more important as you travel back in time to search for those ancestors.  The above figure shows the front page of one major source for Welsh family tree.  "Dwnn", as it is most commonly referenced, is a primary source (document) for those doing Welsh genealogy.  His "Visitations of Wales" dating between 1586 and 1613, records the many, many families who claimed a lineage under the "Deputy Herald At Arms". Transcribed from the original manuscripts, this source records the families in Wales during this period of history.  These records were then edited and numerous explanatory notes (including errors and corrections) were added by Samuel Meyrick and published in 1846.  This becomes the standard reference for those doing Welsh genealogy.

 A second source is shown to the right.  It is most often referred to as "Burke's Armory".  It is titled as an record of "Armorial Bearings" from the earliest time to the present.  Of course, the present was 1884.  This document contains families from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales who record "Armorial Bearings".  Many folks in the academic world seem to disregard Burke as full of errors and mistakes.  These errors are certainly not clearly identified, but for many, this is a valuable source for the genealogist.
 Finding a reliable source for genealogical research is necessary as one goes out the branches of any family tree.  These two I have necessary for Welsh genealogy.  More to come.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


This is the forth blog to post my copyright notice.  Maps, drawings, tables, figures, pictures, graphs, and all content are included.

You may not use the contents of this site (blog and posts) for commercial purposes without explicit written permission from the author and blog owner.  Commercial purposes includes blogs with ads and income generation features, and/or blogs or sites using feed content as a replacement for original content.  Full content usage is not permitted.

Jerry E. Jones, MD, MS, The Jones Genealogist, Library of Congress No. 6192-01064476.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Swinging Door

An impressive site, this Norman built fortification.  Yet before the Normans, the Romans had already occupied the site some 1000 years earlier.  The Silures [those Britons who occupied the area before the Romans arrived] had beat up the Second Legion... which was to make those Romans pretty mad.  Defeating the Silures, the Romans built an eight-acre fort on the banks of the river Taff taking advantage of this strategic military site.  Thus, it became one of the key military strongholds for the occupation and control of this southern area of what was to become Wales.  A "front door" so to speak.

Of course the Normans who could quickly grasp any military advantage, saw the importance of this location, and under Robert FitzHamon [Robert fitz Hamo] built a castle on the site of the prior Roman occupation.  Here, a "borough" was established by 1100 AD making those French speaking folks king of the mountain.  All sorts of "settlers" were invited to this area, and it became one of the first "swinging doors" of Norman, to Saxon, to English occupation.

Glamogran it was to become. [Robert fitz Hamo became know as "conqueror of Glamorgan"]  Divided into three ; West Glamorgan (Swansea), Mid Glamorgan (Rhondda), and South Glamorgan (Cardiff), it is shown geographically in the figure above.  It is here that the first JONES surname appears in Wales 1496.  I suspect this fact reflects the long history of this "swinging door".

[The photo above was taken by me in 1998.  I am sure the area has changed since then, but the impact will remain the same...:-).]

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tiny Town of Trefor

The small town (village) of Trefor (Trevor) is located about 1.5 miles east of the hill fort Dinas Bran.  It is nestled in Vale of the Dee, on the north side, just down river from Llangollen. [See p. 112, A Gazetteer of Welsh Place-Names, #33/2642.]  It is here that Welsh genealogist identify the location of the birth of the "Founder of The Tribe of The Marches", Tudor... thus, Tudor of Trefor, or Tudor Trevor (Tydyr Trefor).  It is a fairly uncommon Welsh naming that identifies a child with his place of birth. There must have been some significance to this location, since its identity is forever attached to this individual.

The figure to the right tries to place the River Dee in relationship to both Maelors, since in Burke, Tudor Trevor is identified as "Lord of Both Maelors".  The Dee seems to split this area, with what was to become "Welsh Maelor" to the northwest, and "English Maelor" to the southeast.  The town of Wrexham becomes central to the Welsh side, and the town of Overton to the English side.

The second drawing shows the approximate location of the village of Trefor.  The Viking raids had begun along the north coast of Wales, and it is possible that these "Black Gentiles" had caused the small village of Trefor to become a hideout.  The geographic relationship to Oswestry, Hanmer, Bangor, Chirk, Bersham, and Llanfair, are also shown. In time, these additional towns and villages will all become part of the "Tribe of The Marches"...starting from the tiny town of Trefor!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Limestone Caves and Tums

Limestone caves and Tums...hum...what do they have in common?  Growing up in Kentucky, there were certainly a number of limestone caves to learn from.

My first experience with total darkness was given in Mammoth Cave some 105 feet under ground.  The lights were turned off, and suddenly there was darkness... darkness like no other.  I even poked myself in the eye trying to see my fingers in front of my face.  Wow, darkness like I had ever seen before. [Or not seen in before.]  How could someone live in this sort of environment? 

Limestone caves were indeed one of the earliest environments that human life experienced.  The darkness was broken when that fire came under control.  It must have seemed pretty bright at the time since I remember seeing a cigarette glowing in the darkness of Mammoth Cave that day... a flood light in the blackness.

Water and limestone must have been part of the secret.  Being a sedimentary rock, it is composed of 95% calcium carbonate.  Water, melting and freezing, would leave its trail along the way.  Lime water would result, and would give a source of water in a milky looking aqueous solution.  You could soak hides and skins in this "milk of lime" causing them to swell.  This would help the removal of hair and such from these skins making a much better style of cloths.  Lime putty could be made and ultimately lime mortar [ a mixture of hydrated lime, sand, and water].  You could then start putting things together.

In Wales, human existence started in these limestone caves.  Certainly after eating all that meat to get to those skins, you would have to digest a great deal of things.  The diet must have been pretty rough.  When that late night "heart burn" would start, you would only have to take a little extra sip of that lime water [calcium carbonate], the Tums of our day!  Seems like very little has changed.

"Tums" Ultra Strength 1000 = Calcium carbonate USP 1000mg...Antacid!

Saturday, May 5, 2012


The geography of the land will often help define the cultures that have settled upon it.  Hills, valleys, rivers, low lands and uplands will allow certain activities that give advantage to some, and a disadvantage to others. Understanding these factors will give an insight to the realities of life of the ancestors.   The drawing to the right is an outline of my families homeland.  The head waters of the rivers (Dee and the Severn) are shown, allowing a land bridge to form from the highlands to the low lands.  Cattle, sheep, goats, and those animals necessary to life would find their way along this land bridge to the summer grazing.  The seasonal movement of livestock between mountains and lowland pastures would of course be accompanied by herders or their owners who made this activity a part of life.  From the east to the west, and back again, would be the direction of this pattern.   Pathways are roughly shown on the drawing, giving an idea of  how this might have worked.  The hillforts are shown along the ridges of the high ground.   A summer home, a winter home is the idea.   Transhumance it is called. It would work reasonably well until someone put up a fence. [Shown in red.]   Perhaps this was the primary reason for such a change the culture you wished to conquer.  That Offa did not completely get his way.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Last Curtain Call...maybe...

Human occupation of my family's homeland has been dated from around 12,000 BC. In the limestone caves of Cefn-yr-Ogof, Cefn, human bones along with flint flakes [along with the bones of extinct animals] has place this in the earliest period of man's existence in Britain. [The fancy term is Palaeolithic] The rising of the last ice curtain left the land separated by a watery passage now called "The English Channel"!

Left to their own design, i.e., no easy way to escape, the folks appear again around 5,700 BC leaving signs of summer camps among the hills. [Those hunters you know.] Signs of continued occupation continues in the area with Moel Y Gare (several sites) and Brenig (archaeological trails at Brenig, Clwyd) giving record of the continued human occupation.

The figure to the right is my attempt to show the approximate location of the sites listed above. The cluster is in the hills of Clwyd. I have place the modern locations of the boarder towns north to south. Chester in the north, to Gloucester in the south. It must have been the road that allowed access to the mountains where I imagine copper, and those animals would be the major drawing cards.

The last ice curtain has risen, believed between 8,000 - 6,000 BC... is it indeed the last curtain call?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Devil's Ditch

The land of my ancestors is shown in the figure to the right. No names, no descriptors, just the land and the rivers are shown. The tracings in blue represent the river Dee. [The head waters to the west.] The tracings in green represent the river Severn. [The headwaters to the west.] They begin their long journeys to the sea, the Dee flowing north, and the Severn flowing south. The black stars are the locations of iron age "hill forts" that represent the locations of defensive positions arranged by the family units occupying the land. They seem to cluster in a certain pattern, four to the southeast, two in the middle, and three to the north. The red dashed line shows the position of Offa's Dyke as it runs north to south. In some cases, the dyke ran right through a hill fort. [Believed by most to be built during his reign 757 - 796 AD ] Some are to the west of the dyke, and some are to the east. At the time of its placement, this must represent those who came under Offa's control, and those stayed on the other side of the fence. It certainly fits the geographic location of the Kingdom of Mercia moving up the Severn to the northwest. At completion, the ditch was 6 feet deep, and from the bottom of the ditch, the rampart was 24 feet above. [The ditch facing west of course.] The Welsh were to call this "The Devil's Ditch".

Say hello to Offa. The drawing to the left is my attempt to picture this fella. It is taken from his image on the silver penny he introduced for the first time to the pockets of those in the land. He appears fairly young with quite a hair do! It appears that he had a beard, and certainly looks like would want to take charge of things around him. He had contact with Pope Hadrian I, who allowed him to establish a church center at Lichfield. It was out of this center that much of Charlemagne's educational institutions were derived. [Was to change the world as we know it.] There was certainly a lot of international intrigue surround Offa and Charlemagne! [Marriage of sons and daughters, and trade and such.]

It would appear that my family managed to walk this fence through out the generations to come. Hello Offa... you devil you.

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's a Small Word After All

Cultures are held together by their language. It is their language that binds people together and identifies their presence to others. For the genealogist, trying to understand a language that differs from our own is sometimes a complex task. This is especially true for those of Welsh descent who face a language (Welsh) totally different then the one spoken to the ear of the researcher. Words change, and their meanings change, and their common usage changes, and...on and on it goes. The following is such an example of words that have become confused for the genealogist.

Let's begin with the descriptor(adjective) "small". This would seem a simple thing, naming a "small island"...a "small tree"... a "small man". In the Welsh, the word "small" is "bach".(1) It was often used in a Welsh name to distinguish the smaller of two individuals that happened to share the same name, for example " Ievan ap Rhys"[ who would be bigger ] and "Ievan ap Rhys fychan"[who was the smaller by size]. It was written in the Welsh this way because the sound "b" was mutated [changed] to an "f" and word "bach" became "fach".

The Welsh also had different words for "younger" = "ieuaf" or "ifanc", and "young" = "ieuanc" and to make matters worse a word for "the younger" = "leiaf"! [The Normans also threw in their word for "young"= "jeune".

Now these adjectives appear very similar to the proper names "Ieuan", "Ievan", "Yevan", and "Ioan". Now just imagine if your name was "Ieuan fychan ap Yevan ieuaf". Were you the smaller, younger, or junior, and in which order?

It has become common for the genealogist to assume that the name "fychan" means "junior". [the youngest son of ] In reality, this may not be case. Likewise, several surnames have developed from the use of these adjectives among those writing down the records. "Fychan" has become the origin for the surnames "Vaughan" and "Jenkin". Wow, it's a small word after all.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Unto These Hills

Furnaces reaching temperatures of around 2800 degree Fahrenheit were needed to melt iron from ferrous ores. Special drafts from blowpipes and bellows were needed, and the use of charcoal in shaft furnaces helped things along. From common oxide ores, the production of iron was accomplished. These developments seemed to center in Anatolia, and greatly advanced by the Hittites. Of course the Hittites past their knowledge along to those folks who became known as the Celts.

By around 800 BC these Celts began their exploration and settlement of the area which was to become Wales. This new material produced some of the most destructive weapons of the day. What was one to do? The widespread replacement of bronze produced a new strategy for survival. The "Hillfort" it was called.

The drawings above are my attempt to try and visualize this environment. These fortifications helped defend the farms, and settlements of what was to become Wales, The Marches, and Northern Britain. A ditch and wall to stand behind was the principle. Throw things down, not throw things up. Drawing labeled #1 is the simple plan. Let the enemy come to you. Let them climb up a slop A, to fall down to the ditch B, while facing a sharp wall C, and the wooden defensive wall D. Stand behind D, and throw down on those helpless folks trying to throw upward some 10 - 16 feet. Wow, nice plan if your standing at the top looking down. Drawing #2 gives a little more sense of the depth A to B, to C. Sketch # 3 tries to show a lateral view with the platform and wall. Stone could also be used for the wall. There could be many, many ditches and walls constructed around the hill top.

Ring the bell, and come. Save yourself...come unto these hills.

A wonderful reference is The Iron Age Hillforts of England, A Visitor's Guide, by Geoffrey Williams, Horace Books, 1993.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Spellin' Llywelyn

The spelling of words often change over time. This is especially true when two distinct languages collide over the pages of history. Such is the case with the name "Llywelyn"... "LLewellin"... "Lewelyn"...or however you spell it. A good Welsh name it is. It appears to be derived from the Welsh word "llen" meaning "lion". [ A word often found in pub names!] Among the Welsh, it was taken as a given name, and in the earliest English records spelled it"Leulin". [ Patent Rolls, 1216-1225 AD.] The following is a table showing the spelling of Llywelyn as used over time. The sources are listed in general terms, but a detailed reference is available if requested. The source of the spelling is listed first, followed by the date of publication, followed by the spelling as recorded in the source. Various spellings may have occurred in the same source. Brackets are used to identify center of word. Here goes:

Patent Rolls - 1216-1225 AD - L-E-(U) - L-I-N
LL-E-(WE) -L-I-N

Patent Rolls - 1301 AD - L-E-(WE)-L-Y-N

Dwnn - 1586 - 1613 AD - LL-E-(W{n}) n written as superscript
1846 edition LL- E-(WE)-L-Y-N

Nicholas - 1872 AD - LL-E-(WE)-LL-Y-N

Burke - 1884 edition - LL-E-(WE)-LL-Y-N

Wood - 1903 LL-E-(WE)-LL-I-N

Lloyd - 1911 LL-Y-(WE)-L-Y-N

College of Arms - 1988 LL-E-(WE)-L-Y-N

Maund - 1991 LL-Y-(WE)-L-Y-N

Ashely - 1998 LL-Y-(WE)-L-Y-N

Carpenter - 2003 LL-Y-(WE)-L-Y-N

Mortimer - 2003 LL-Y-(WE)-L-Y-N

From Welsh to English, so go the names.

Research done by The Jones Genalogist, 1980-2005. Any additions please add.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Reader's Choice: The Top 10 Posts

This is the second article which outlines the posts that the readers of Welsh Genealogy have selected to view. They are listed in order from #1 to #1o. They can be viewed using the column titled "Blog Archives" on the page outline shown. The title of the post and the date of the post are given. This blog is intended to help those who have an interest in Welsh Genealogy, but have no real connection to Wales. [Like us Americans.] Here goes:

1) Words of Life - Aug. 8, 2011.
2) The Palatinate - Sept. 7, 2011.
3) Welsh Adjectives as Names - May 15, 2011.
4) Eyri (Land of Eagles) - Dec. 13, 2010.
5) Tribes to Territories - Apr. 3, 2011.
6) Welsh Genealogical Research: The Foundation - Dec. 15, 2010.
7) The Flow and Ebb - Sept. 26, 2011.
8) The Ebb and Flow - Sept. 19, 2011.
9) Wat's Dyke - Oct. 25, 2011.
10) A Penny for Your Thoughts - Aug. 27, 2011.

Based upon 4,424 views as of 2/16/2012.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


Human existence on the stage of mankind has depended upon many factors. On our little part of the world, a major factor was an "ice curtain" that rose and fell over time. Ice Ages they are called, but they could be viewed as the ice curtain that rose and fell upon the stage of mankind's existence.
At least eight major warm-cold cycles are felt to have occurred. (1) The most severe curtain fall was felt to extend all the way down to the Alps. Moving up and down the continent of Europe leaving its geological trail, it appears to have risen to the shores of Wales at least by 25,000 BC. The drawing to the right is my attempt to shown the human evidence which has been discovered.
Goat's Cave (Paviland) appears to be the remains of the earliest human occupation of the coastline of Wales. Buried some 16,000 years ago are the bones of a young man covered in red. (2) Animal bones have been dated to around 25,000 BC, documenting the fact that life came to occupy this cave at a very early period. (3) By 15,000 BC the ice curtain had lifted to above the river Clwyd since human remains have been found in caves noted on the drawing. [Cefn-Yr-Ogof, Ffynnen Beuno, and Bonthewydd ] (3) The curtain must have fallen again to the coast line of Europe since the land bridge that connected the island is felt to have disappeared around 6,000 BC. By 5,700 BC folks seem to have lived again on the stage of north Wales in the area around Brenic (3). Dinas Bran in the valley of the Dee shows occupation during the Bronze Age [ 2,500 - 2,000 BC] (3). All these acts occurred before Old Oswestry which waited until the need for fortified hill forts of the iron age starting around 800 BC. Certainly, the Ice Capades have been preforming for years!
These actors provided outstanding performances. Shakespeare would have been proud.
(1) Hadingham, E., Secrets of The Ice Age, A Reappraisal of Prehistoric Man, John Wiley & Sons, Ontario, Canada, 1979. pp. 17-23.
(2) Mackenzie, D.A., Ancient Man In Britain, Blackie & Son, London, 1922. pp. 19-22.
(3) Dyer, J., Prehistoric England and Wales, Penguin Books, New York, 1982. pp.321-328.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Rural Deaneries

A "deanery" is defined as the office, jurisdiction, or official residence of a clerical dean. The dean is one who is the head, or who supervises one district of a diocese. This post list the names "...from parishes in the rural deaneries..." surrounding Sweeney Hall, Shropshire. This was recorded by the Leighton family as part of the returns of the "Clergy Defence Association" relating to "tithe-rent charges". Many of these parishes are connected to one another by my own JONES family. Understanding this connection helped me overcome several "brick walls" when I realized that many of the names [parishes and towns] were organizationally related. This helped explain why many of my JONES family seemed associated with these parishes. Initially, one would look as these geographic locations and wonder if there would be any connections between them!

Rural deaneries listed: 1) Oswestry, 2), Bangor-is-Coed, 3) Hay, 4) Llanrwst, 5) Llangollen, 6) St. Asaph, 7) Dyffryn Clwyd, 8) Holywell, 9) Denbigh, 10) Rhos, 11) Caedwen, 12) Caereinion, 13) Penllyn, 14) Edeirnion, 15) Wrexham, 16) Pool, 17) Mold, and 18) Llanfyllin.

List is taken from Shropshire Archives, Leighton (Sweeney), Catalogue Ref. 177, ref. 1060/319-488, undated. [file just before this is dated 1886]

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Maes Usswalt - Maserfield - Oswestry

Welsh names frequently have different meanings and origins. This adds to the difficulty in doing genealogy for those of us not familiar with the "landscape" surrounding such words. For example, the word Oswestry can mean a borough, a market town, a parish, a hundred, or a lordship. When the name Oswestry is given today, you automatically assume it is referring to the town located in the county of Salop. [ 17 miles N.W. from Shrewsbury, and 180 mile N.W. from London.] However, when listed in a historical document, it may mean any one of the items listed above. Thus, determining these distinctions may make the difference in shaking the correct family tree branches!

First called "Maes Usswalt" after Ussa, the son of Cunetha Wledic (Cunedda, known as Cunedda "The Lion".] , it became called Maserfield. This meaning "the field" of Ussa. On August 5, 642 AD, a battle was fought here between Penda [pagan king of Merica 632-654 AD], and Oswald [Christian king of Northumberland]. The story goes that Oswald was slain near a tree, and his body was divided, and fixed to three crosses. [ Derision of Christianity by a Pagan king!] The Welsh called it "Croes Oswald" and a monastery was formed coming to be called "Oswald's Cross" = Oswestry! It was annexed to the Kingdom of Mercia following Offa's Dyke, and a castle was built 1149 AD by Madog ap Meredydd. By this time "Oswestry" had become a "borough" [Norman influence], a "market town" [trade influence], a "parish" [Church influence], a "hundred" [state influence], and a "lordship" [monarch influence]! Thus, "The Lordship of Oswestry", was located as "The Hundred of Oswestry", in the "Parish of Oswestry", as a "borough" and "market town". The "Hundred of Oswestry" contain the townships of "Llan-forda", "Maesbury", "Middleton", and "Weston".

Wow! Who would have thought that the name Oswestry could have such a meaning?

A helpful reference is: A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis, Vol. II, p. 458-460. [Originally published in four volumes, London, 1831.]

Monday, January 9, 2012

The "Y" of It!

The lineage of Tudor Trevor (JC-1) is given in great detail in Nicholas, Vol. I, pp. 354-356. It is recorded here that he (JC-1) took this name because he was born and nursed at Trefor. [b. ca. 900 AD] His title is given as "Lord of Hereford, Whittington, and both Maelors, and founder of the Tribe of the Marches"...[Nicholas, p. 354] The drawing to the right is my attempt to put this geographic area into some sort of visual picture. The small settlement of Trevor (Trefor) is just east of Llangollen in the valley of the Dee. The relationship to Wrexham and Oswestry is shown giving the picture of two large "Ys" connected. Whittington is just east of Oswestry. Offa's and Wat's dykes run right down the middle. Ruthin to the northwest is near Llanfair Dyffyn Clwyd [summer home called Llwyn-ynn], and Wrexham to the northeast is the location of the winter home also called Llwyn Onn. The River Dee flows just south of Trevor, and as discussed this was a strategic land bridge between the Serven and Dee. Chirk Castle played an important role in the control of this door way to north Wales. Oswestry was to feel the flames of wars for many generations... the why of it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Early English Records

Just as the "Welsh Rolls" were actually English records, much of what is used in researching the family tree in Wales are English records. The context and titles of these records are often very confusing to the genealogist (especially American) who has little background or exposure to their history. A "big picture" is frequently helpful to view things in historical context. The following is my attempt to put many of these "early" [starting 1086 AD] records into a historical framework. The framework is the name, date, and when the record(s) are generally initiated. These items are placed under the name of the English monarch who was responsible for their beginnings. This also gives a historial context to the records which can be helpful to the genealogist when a name like "Pipe Rolls" appears. So here goes.

William I 1066 AD reigned 21 yrs.
Domesday Book 1086-1087 AD

William II 1087 AD reigned 13 yrs.

Henry I 1100 AD reigned 35 yrs.
Pipe Rolls 1129-1130 AD [became continuous 1155-1832 AD]

Stephen 1135 AD reigned 19 yrs.

Henry II 1155 AD reigned 34 yrs.
Red Book of the Exchequer 1166 AD
The Black Book of the Exchequer 1166 AD
Feet of Fines 1182 AD [continued until 1834 AD]

Richard I 1189 AD reigned 16 yrs.
Curia Regis Rolls 1193 AD
Assize Rolls 1195 AD
Receipt Rolls 1196 AD [continued until 1782 AD]

John 1199 AD reigned 17 yrs.
Fine Rolls 1199 AD [continous 1216-1641 AD]
Chancery Records 1199 AD
Charter Rolls 1199-1516 AD
Liberate Rolls 1200-1436 AD
Patent Rolls 1201-1920 AD
Close Rolls 1204-1903 AD

Henry III 1216 AD reigned 56 yrs.
Memoranda Rolls 1217-1884 AD
Issue Rolls 1220-1797 AD
Inquisitions post mortem 1235-1660 AD
Curia Rege Rolls 1236 AD
Gascon Rolls 1253-1467 AD
The Wardrobe 1257 AD

Edward I 1272 AD reigned 35 yrs.
Hundred Rolls 1273-1279 AD [The JONES surname first appears here!]
Scutage Rolls 1277 AD
Feudal Aids (taxes) 1284-1431 AD
Scotch Rolls 1290-1515 AD

The Welsh Rolls begin under Edward I.

So there you have a chronolgy of English records that will have some dealings with Wales, that is before Wales became under English jurisdiction. Certainly John [1199-1216 AD] had his hands full. The Magna Carta had its roots here! Please make any corrections to the dates listed above if found to be in error.