No 3 Records in the family and Cemetery records
Because of my close contact with my grandparents during childhood I had a good understanding of my family background but it was following my fatherâs death that I discovered the wealth of information that was on record within the family. My father died suddenly in 1993 and I had to deal with his affairs. His financial affairs were very straight forward but in going through all the drawers in the house and boxes in the attic I discovered some amazing documents mainly from my motherâs family in Penmachno. Amongst them was a fascinating letter which my great grandfather had written to his sons in 1913 and the will of a great great grandfather written in 1895.
From the personal papers, articles, journals and booklets that I found I was able to sketch out my family tree on the Penmachno side back to the great great great great grandparent stage. My wife, Margaret, had been a member for the Gwynedd Family History Society (GFH Society) for several years and had spent hundreds of hours in the Gwynedd Archives researching her family history but I had suddenly discovered that this valuable information was already available in the family!
Many of us have had the sad task of clearing a house after a loved one has passed away and itâs so tempting to throw things away thinking that they are of no value. I would urge you to study all documents carefully before throwing anything away. Look through old journals carefully as there was probably a good reason why they had been kept. Youâll probably find, as I did, that there were articles about your ancestors in those journals. I found copies of two editions of âYr Eugrawn Wesleyaiddâ? (monthly journal of the Welsh Wesleyans) dated May and June 1897. These contained tribute articles on the life of my great great grandfather William Williams who was a leading member of the Wesleyan chapel in Penmachno who had died in 1896. These were invaluable to me in building up the family tree. I might have found these articles through painstaking research through journals but finding them with the family papers saved me dozens, if not hundreds, of hours of research work. Even if you yourselves are not interested I would still urge you to keep such documents as your children may become interested and they wouldnât thank you if they discover that youâve thrown valuable information away.
I knew from Margaretâs research that the GFH Society published Cemetery records. The Societyâs volunteers spend hundreds of hours in cemeteries recording the inscriptions on the gravestones which give valuable information on date of death, age, address etc. The volunteers then type this up into a publication which available to be purchased. These publications contain a plan of the cemetery with each grave indexed and there is an index by name and also by address.
I purchased the transcriptions for St. Tudclud churchyard, Penmachno, and I was able to add many missing dates to the family tree that I had started building. Iâve now discovered that there are 11 graves in this cemetery where my direct ancestors have been buried with the earliest death dated 1795. It was after this experience that I decided to join the Society.
The GFH society meeting for February are:
Bangor, 5 February (first Tuesday of each month) 7.00pm at the Quakers Meeting Hall, Dean Street: Peter Brindley, âAspects of Bangorâ?
Caernarfon, 28 February (last Thursday of each month) 7.00pm at the The Library, LÃŽn Pafiliwn: Hywel Roberts, âTom Bach y Gwigaâ?
Dolgellau, 14 February (second Thursday of each month) 7.00pm at the Royal Ship Hotel: Noson yn Archifdy Dolgellau
Llandudno, 11 February (second Monday of each month) 7.00pm at The Library, Mostyn Street: Vivian Parry Williams, âOwen Gethin Jones â Bridgebuilder and Heartbreakerâ?.
Llangefni, 21 February (third Thursday of each month) 7.15pm at Capel Smyrna, Ffordd Glanhwfa: Dave Wilson, âCivil Registrationsâ?.
Pwllheli, 15 February (third Friday of each month) 7.00pm at Capel Seion, Lon Dywod: Maldwyn Thomas, âTeuluâr Herald, Caernarfonâ?
Gwynedd Archive Services
The following courses are being organised by the Gwynedd Archive Service:
One day Family History Course in English starting at 10.30 am:
Saturday, 19 January 2008 Caernarfon Record Office, Caernarfon
Wednesday, 30 January 2008: Meirionnydd Record Office, Bala Road, Dolgellau
Courses are free, but it is ESSENTIAL that you book your place with the record office where the course is to be held:
Caernarfon Record Office: (01286) 679095/679092
Dolgellau Record Office: (01341) 424681
Anglesey Archive Services
Following the popularity of the Ask your Archivist sessions around Anglesey libraries the Archive services are offering advice sessions in the Record Office in Llangefni over the winter. These will take the form of 20 minute individual sessions between 2.00pm and 4.00pm on Wednesdays
Next sessions Wednesdays 6 and 20 February 2008
This will be on an appointment only basis -book early! 01248 752083
If you have ever wondered whether the Anglesey Record Office can help you find out more about the history of a subject, your house, place or person on Anglesey or how to use the Anglesey Record Office then this is your chance to find out! They can also give advice on looking after your old documents and photographs.