Genealogy as you walk.

Genealogy as you walk.

I’ve been quiet for a little while, with the easing of lockdown and the need to get going again we set off for a break to N. Wales in the motorhome. Eva the Jack Russell needed occupying as she was not allowed off the lead. Somehow, I had the foresight to pack my walking boots and here’s a bit of the adventure.

1st stop was Llanberis, the obvious walk was to the top of England and Wales, yr Wyddfa (Snowdon). There is a railway line to the summit, but it was closed due to the pandemic. Got me thinking, the owner of the land which the line cut through was a Mr Assheton-Smith of the Vaynol estate, he wasn’t happy (about 1870) thinking the railway would spoil the scenery[1] some genealogy on that family Charles Gordon Assheton-Smith can be found in the London Gazette[2] appointed to be deputy Lieutenant signed by the Lord Lieutenant of Caernarvonshire in 1906.

A random look in the 1911 census shows some residents of the village of Llanberis viz. John E. Davies aged 48, Head of the family Married, born Llanberis, Carnarvon, Shop Keeper, an Antiques Dealer, bilingual speaking both Welsh and English, his wife Elizabeth Davies 47, married 27 years they had had 7 children, 6 were still living, she was born Llanidan, Anglesey, bilingual also. Living there too were Margaret Clara Davies 26, their Daughter, Single, born Llanidan, Anglesey, bilingual. Buddug A. Davies 16, their Daughter, Single, born Llanberis, Carnarvon at School, bilingual. Goronwy Owain Davies 13, Son, born Llanberis, Carnarvon at School, bilingual, and Maelir Glyn Davies, 12, Son, Llanberis, Carnarvon, at School, bilingual.[3]

The area is overseen by the slate quarries, so here is a family of that industry in 1911 note the form is in Welsh. Robert Henry Jones aged 59, Penteulu (head of the family pen) Priod (married), born Tygwyn Waenfawr Plwyf Llanbeblig, Carnarvonshire, Cloddiwr Mewn Chwarel Lechi (excavator at the slate quarry) gweithiwr (worker), Cymraeg (speaks Welsh only) his wife Ellen Jones 49, Gwraig (wife) Priod 27 years, born Murmawr Llanberis, Carnarvonshire, y ddwy (bilingual), their son John Evans Jones 19, Mab (son), Sengl (single) born Murmawr Llanberis, Carnarvonshire, Myfyriwr Mewn Coleg (student at college) y ddwy (bilingual). They lived at Minynant Llanberis[4], it would be a project to find both the address now…

 2nd a quick stop at Betws y Coed, the railway had a major influence on the development of this area, again an arbitrary look found a Mr. C.E Clarke, he was a booking Clerk at Bettws y Coed, he was born 21 April 1874, joined the company 6 November 1891, his annual rate was £60 5/-, he transferred to Blaenau Ffestiniog on 1 February 1898[5].

We transferred ourselves to Gellydan near Blainau Ffestiniog a newspaper search is useful for biography in genealogy…” BLAENAU FESTINIOG. MEDICAL SUCCESS.—The son of Dr R. D. Evans, Mr Thomas John Carey Evans, has passed the primary examination for the Fellowship of the College of Surgeons, England. F.R.C.S. at an examination held from April 3rd to May 5th, at The Examination Hall, London. -The subjects were: Advanced anatomy, advanced physiology, and comparative anatomy. He is 18 years of age the average age to go in for the examination is 23…”[6] . The Motorhome site was in Gellydan, a tithe map search shows Robert Pugh [7] in the Tithe maps of Wales so if your are related to him you can see area walked.

Finally, Devil’s Bridge a walk through the farm fields, bothies along the Mynach and into the forestry all covered in snow the next day. Prompted a look at some local history which can be used for genealogy. I was walking around the former estate described in 1848 “EGLWYS-NEWYDD, or LLANVIHANGEL-Y-CREIDDYN-UCHÂV, a chapelry, in the parish of Llanvihangel-y-Creiddyn, union of Aberystwith, hundred of Ilar, county of Cardigan, South Wales, 14 miles (S. E.) from Aberystwith; containing 1131 inhabitants…This place derives the latter of these names from its relative situation in the parish, and the former from the erection of a church, in 1803, by the late Thomas Johnes, Esq., on the site of a previous edifice built here in 1620, by the Herberts of Havod, for the convenience of the family, and the accommodation of the miners employed in the adjoining district of Cwm Ystwith. Havod, the seat of the late Mr. Johnes, was originally the residence of a branch of the Herbert family, who, embarking in the mining adventures of the neighbourhood, built a house here, which, from the nature of the ground and the badness of the roads, being inaccessible except during the summer, obtained the appellation of “Havod,” signifying a summer residence.”[8] So we have the Herbert’s  Mr Thomas Johnes and later in the article Henry Hoghton Esq. all eminently searchable.

There is always plenty to keep the genealogist occupied!

If you think you would like a tour of the places your ancestors lived in Wales, get in touch, once things are opening up we can make that happen.


[1]Wikipedia.SnowdonMountainRailway. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowdon_Mountain_Railway : accessed 08 May 2021

[2] Recorded in The Gazette (London Gazette), 23 February 1906 Issue:27889 Page:1356.

[3] Census records. Wales. Llanberis, Caernarvon. 02 April 1911. DAVIES, John E. (head). RG14 – PN34439 RD630 SD2 ED7 SN159. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. www.thegenealogist.co.uk : accessed 08 May 2021.

[4] Census records. Wales. Llanberis, Caernarvon. 02 April 1911. JONES, Robert Henry (penteulu). RG14 – PN34439 RD630 SD2 ED7 SN196. Collection: Census Transcript Search, 1841-1911. www.thegenealogist.co.uk : accessed 08 May 2021.

[5] Railway Employment Records, 1833-1956. CLARKE, C.E. Class: RAIL410; Piece: 1847. Collection: London and North Western Railway Company: Records;  www.Ancestry.co.uk : accessed 09 May 2021

[6] Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald and North and South Wales Independent (1903).  Blaenau Festiniog.  Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald and North and South Wales Independent.  08 May. p. 5a https://newspapers.library.wales/view/3606066/3606071/29/blaenau%20ffestiniog : accessed 09 May 2021

[7] The National Library of Wales. Map of Maentwrog parish in the County of Merioneth. http://hdl.handle.net/10107/4532461 : accessed 09 may 2021.

[8] Samuel Lewis. “Edern – Eidda,” in A Topographical Dictionary of Wales, (London: S Lewis, 1849), 320-328. British History Online, accessed May 10, 2021, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/topographical-dict/wales/pp320-328.

Yr Wyddfa
Near Pontarfynach
Star of the show mo madadh beag Eva the Jack Russell

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