Where We're From – Wales

My maternal grandmother's parents were both born in Wales before the turn of the century, though they did not meet until they were both on the West coast of Canada. Grandma was even named for her father's home town of Merthyr Tydful. Until recently, I believed that this side of the family had always been in Wales. I've since come to learn that there are rumours of a line that traces back to the Huguenots, but I've no actual proof of that yet.

I'm very fond of this side because I have a fondness for the Celts, though I couldn't tell you if the fondness came from knowing my family were Welsh and Gaelic, or if I'm fond of those branches because they are Celtic. But either way, this is one of my favorite branches of my family tree.

For a small country, Wales has its own divisions, just like any other. In this case, there is Northern Wales, and there is Southern Wales, and the dialects are distinctly different for each. My family keeps part of this tradition alive in the name my mother chose as her "grandmother" name when my niece was born: Nain (pronounced like the number nine). This is the Northern Welsh word for "grandmother." The Southern version is Gu (pronounced Gee). Her own maternal grandmother, whose parents were from Northern Wales, went by the name Nain, and I'm very glad she's keeping that tradition alive.

Most of this information came from family documents, and though I do have a good amount of locations, most center around Nain's side of the family, as I have almost nothing about her husband's family before his birth in Merthyr Tydful. The locations are what I was able to determine to the best of my knowledge, though boundaries and names have changed over time, just like everywhere else. Anyone who thinks they might have more information on this line, I would love to talk to you. I have so many gaps here that it's hard to know where to start looking, especially given the very common names in my family—Daniel, Hannah, Benjamin…and the worst of all, Jones. But the Howells side is only a little better. I keep looking, though. Just in case. At least, until I get rich enough to go to Wales myself to look up the records.

A map of the locations (and do check back at the old maps—I've updated them all to embed them in the entries now):

View Welsh Ancestry Map in a larger map

1. Merthur Tydfil, Southern Wales
This was where Daniel Jones, my maternal great-grandfather, was born, and both of his parents (and most or all of his siblings) died here. The location is far from where is parents were born (they were closer to the west coast of Wales), but I believe his father came here looking for a better place to farm.

2. Towyn, Monmothshire, Northern Wales
This is where my great-great grandfather Gabriel Howells was born. His mother also died here, many years after Gabriel and his family had left Wales for Canada.

3. Penrhiwceiber, Southern Wales
My great grandmother Eliza was born here in 1885, and her family lived here for many years, her father working as a stonemason for the coalmine nearby before he decided that the work was too unhealthy, and the whole family moved to Canada.

4. Castel Bach, Northern Wales
This is where Hywel Gabriel, my great-great grandfather's father died, in 1871.

5. Caio, Southern Wales
This is where Benjamin Jones, Daniel Jones's father, was born in 1865.

6. Newcastle Emlyn, Southern Wales
This is where Hannah Griffiths (later Jones) was born in 1863.

7. Barmouth, Northern Wales
I believe this is where Selina Roberts (later Howells) was born in 1846.

8. Dolgellau, Merioneth, Northern Wales
This is where Hywel Gabriel was born.

9. Hafod Y Meirch, Northern Wales
This is the place where Lewis Edwart, a craftsman who was returning to his home after a job, died.

And that's all I have at the moment. Still one more location than the US map, and I do hope to find more information to expand it as time goes on.

Almost all the information I have came directly from family or photos, but I do hope at some point to get more information on this side, as my information is scant at best. I did have one location I wasn't able to place—Gabriel and Selina's wedding took place somewhere in Northern Wales, but I wasn't able to find the location on the map, so I'll have to keep looking for that one.

As always, if any of my family reading this knows more about this branch, particularly if you have any records or documentation, I'd love to get together to exchange info.

Next up: Ireland! (Will probably be tiny, though, especially compared to these last two)


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About this blog

This blog is maintained by two sisters who have had a life long interest in geneology.
Mika writes here mostly about our family (Hansen, Hillinger, Bordewick, Park, etc), and her search for more information.
Shannon mostly uses this space as a place to make the many stories written about and by her husband's family (Holly, Walker, Walpole, etc) available to the rest of the family, present and future.

Our blog is named Oh Spusch! mostly because Shannon is bad at naming things. The first post I put up includes a story about the time Walker's great grandfather took his whole family out to see a play and the littlest kept saying "Oh! Spusch!" No one ever figured out what she meant by that.