Where is this mys­te­ri­ous Welsh parish lo­cated?

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - QUESTIONS & ANSWERS -

QI would be very grate­ful if any­body could help me trace a birth record for my 3x great grand­fa­ther, James Pugh. Ac­cord­ing to his Army pen­sion record, James served dur­ing the Penin­su­lar War in the 43rd Reg­i­ment of Foot and was born in 1791 in Tur­gan, Rad­nor, Rad­nor­shire.

In the 1841, 1851 and 1861 cen­suses James was liv­ing at 1 Ed­ward Street, Lam­beth, along with his wife Mary (born 1781 in Bewd­ley, Worces­ter­shire) and daugh­ters Han­nah (1821–1848) and Mar­garet Su­san­nah (1825–1880). He con­sis­tently notes his birth­place as Rad­nor, Rad­nor­shire (born c1791), but does not give any fur­ther de­tails.

Where ex­actly was Tur­gan lo­cated, and where would the lo­cal birth records be held? Loretta Lawrance

A‘Tur­gan’ is not fa­mil­iar to me as a parish name in Wales, and hav­ing checked Cofre­stri Pl­wyf Cymru/Parish Reg­is­ters of Wales by CJ Wil­liams and J Watts-Wil­liams, it does not seem that there are any parishes in Rad­nor­shire start­ing with ‘T’.

I have also searched for ‘Tur­gan’ within Rad­nor­shire in var­i­ous Welsh gazetteers, the main ones be­ing Welsh Ad­min­is­tra­tive and

Ter­ri­to­rial Units by Melville Richards and A Gazetteer of Welsh PlaceNames by El­wyn Davies. I thought it might well be the name of a vil­lage, town­ship or ham­let, but again had no luck.

It’s of­ten the case that Welsh place names are recorded in­cor­rectly, as the recorder may have been un­fa­mil­iar with Welsh pro­nun­ci­a­tion. For in­stance, the pre­fix ‘Tur’ could well have been ‘Tir’ (land) or ‘Tre’ (town).

It’s also im­por­tant to point out that Rad­nor was not a parish but a hun­dred in the county of Rad­nor, while the two as­so­ci­ated parishes were Old Rad­nor and New Rad­nor. New Rad­nor in­cluded the town­ship of Tre-wern and Gwaethla (for­merly in the parish of Llan­fi­hangel Nant Me­lan).

Hav­ing looked at the doc­u­ments you at­tached in more de­tail, James Pugh may well have been born as early as c1786. For in­stance, the 1841 cen­sus rounds ages down to the near­est five years, while his ser­vice records state that he was 23 years old on 2 April 1809, and 36 years old on 12 June 1822.

With this in mind, I checked the bap­tism records for the parishes of New Rad­nor and Llan­fi­hangel Nant Me­lan held at the Na­tional Li­brary of Wales ( li­brary.

wales) for a pos­si­ble en­try for James Pugh be­tween 1785 and 1792, but none was found.

The records of Old Rad­nor are held at the Here­ford­shire Archive and Records Cen­tre ( bit.ly/ HARChives), and I sug­gest you con­tact them to un­der­take a search on your be­half.

I’m sorry that I can’t defini­tively tell you where ‘Tur­gan’ was lo­cated, but it may have been the name of a res­i­dence rather than a parish. Beryl Evans

James Pugh’s Army pen­sion record states that he was born in the cryptic ‘Tur­gan’

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