Trac­ing Your Welsh An­ces­tors

By Beryl Evans

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(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

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