Tracing Your Welsh Ancestors
By Beryl Evans
(Pen & Sword, 192 pages, £14.99) As anyone who has already tried to research their Welsh ancestry will know, the pitfalls become quickly apparent.
Identifying the correct Robert Davies out of a multitude of men of a similar age with the same name living within close proximity is a daunting task. Beryl Evans’ engaging book not only explains why there is a finite number of Welsh surnames, but also offers excellent guidance to overcoming such challenges. Her explanation of the ancient Welsh practice of patronymics, which named children after several generations of their ancestors, reveals ‘Dafydd ap Gwilym ap Rhydderch ap Thomas’ to be a genealogical gem of a name.
This very readable handbook covers everything from the basics, noting the peculiarities of Welsh civil registration and census records, followed by informative chapters on parish records, nonconformity placed to advise on accessing some of the more complex sources held there, including the records of the Court of Great Sessions. However, her advice is not solely restricted to documents deposited in Wales and also will help researchers get to grips with those complex place names in their ancestry. try.
A directory of useful websites follows each chapter and appendices include translation tables to assist with interpreting common Welsh words found in the records. All in all, this is a comprehensive guide to following a paper trail that’s more tricky than most out there.
Alltyblaca Unitarian Chapel, Llanwenog, Cardiganshire, Wales, c1885. Find Welsh kin with Beryl Evans’ new book