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. [http://tjgresearchnotebooks.blogspot.com]  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 times...my 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.