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.