September 2008 Archives
Some months ago I wrote about the Society's journal, Gwreiddiau Gwynedd, published twice a year, and I'll now try to give you some more information. The Society has an office and Library in Canolfan yr Aelwyd, Stryd yr Eglwys, Caernarfon, LL55 1SW. The centre is open once a month on the third Saturday of the month between the hours of 2.00 pm and 5.00pm.
On these days members can come to use the research aids available and the library which now contains some 800 books that are relevant to people researching family history. Some of the books have been donated but most of the research aids have been purchased.
The Society produces its own publications for sale including the Journal, Gwreiddiau Gwynedd, which is written and edited by volunteers. The other important publications are the Memorial Inscriptions of churchyards and cemeteries throughout the area. Members go out and record what is written on every memorial stone in a churchyard. They record exactly what is written on the stone, even though the spelling may sometimes be incorrect. A careful plan is prepared recording the location of each stone and all this is transcribed into a comprehensive publication.
As an example, the plan of the churchyard of St Tudclud Church in Penmachno is shown. Here I've found 11 graves where my direct ancestors are buried ranging from great, grandparents to great, great, great great grandparents. The location of these graves is shown in the copy of the churchyard map. As an example, the inscription on grave B022 reads as follows:
"Er coffadwriaeth am JANE HUGHES, a gladdwyd yn 1795, yn 42 oed. Hefyd claddwyd dwy oi merchaid, MARGARET, 1785, yn 1 flwydd oed, ELIZABETH, 1795 yn 3 bl. Oed. Drachefn am WILLIAM PRITCHARD, a gladdwyd Medi 6ed, 1830 yn 43 oed. Hefyd GWEN PRITCHARD, ei wraig, yr hon a fu farw Mehefin 16, 1867, yn 80 oed."
William and Gwen were my great, great, great grandparents and Jane Hughes was Williams' mother. There are only two gravestones in this churchyard dated earlier than this.
Most of the transcriptions on the stones in a Welsh country churchyard are, of course, in Welsh but these publications have some translation guidance for the non-Welsh reader. Briefly the above stated that Jane Hughes was buried in 1795, aged 42. Also two of her daughters, Margaret in 1785 aged 1 and Elizabeth in 1795 aged 3. Then William Pritchard buried 6 September 1830 aged 43. Also Gwen Pritchard, his wife who died 16 June 1867 aged 80. Note that the exact dates are not given for the first three; the date of burial is given for William and the date of death given for Gwen. There will be variation like this on many gravestones.
You will see that the map shows the churchyard split into 3 sections, B and C, and each grave is numbered although the numbers will be too small for you to see on this map. Therefore, if you have the grave number and the map you can go directly to the grave, provided it's in a reasonably tidy condition! In my experience the St. Tudclud churchyard in Penmachno is well kept.
The publications also have an index by name so if you have a name you can find the grave number and read the inscription to see whether this is the person you're looking for. You will also see the names of the other people buried in that grave which may give you more information. If it's a common name that you're looking for you find that there will be a number of graves for you to check. In this Penmachno churchyard, for example, there are 30 graves where a John Jones is buried!
There is also an index by home names so if you know the name of the house where your ancestor lived you can find graves where people living at that address were buried and read the inscriptions. In the example given above there is no mention of the address where any of the individuals lived but the majority would have a house name. In some of the publications there is also an index by occupation.
I obviously purchased this publication as it contains so much information that is of interest to me. In addition to these 11 graves of the direct ancestors there are many more where their brothers and sisters are buried. You can buy these publications but if you're not sure where your ancestors are buried you can come along to one of the open days on the third Saturday of the month and look at the reference copies. You can then decide whether you wish to buy any publication.
Next Society open afternoon: Saturday 17 October, 2.00 - 5.00 pm
Yr Aelwyd, Church Street, Caernarfon, LL55 1SW
The Gwynedd-Liverpool Connections Exhibition continues at the Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery in the centre of Bangor until 25 October. The opening hours are Monday to Friday, 12.30 to 16.30, and Saturdays 10.30 to 16.30.
The GFH Society meetings for the next 4 weeks are:
Bangor, 7 October (first Tuesday of each month) 7.00pm at the Quakers Meeting Hall, Dean Street: Gareth Haulfryn Williams, "Using Probate Records"
Caernarfon, 25 September (last Thursday of each month) 7.00pm at the The Library, LÃŽn Pafiliwn: Margaret Dunn, "Adeiladau Tuduraidd yn Eryri"
Dolgellau, 9 October (second Thursday of each month) 7.00pm at the Royal Ship Hotel Mari Emlyn, "Llythyrau O M Edwards"
Llandudno, 13 October (second Monday of each month) 7.00pm at Capel Ebenezer, Abergele Road, Old Colwyn (please note new meeting place):
Angel Brabin, "Poison is a woman's weapon".
Llangefni, 16 October (third Thursday of each month) 7.15pm at Capel Smyrna, Ffordd Glanhwfa: Peter Brindley "Aspects of Bangor"
Pwllheli, 17 October (third Friday of each month) 7.00pm at Capel Seion, Lon Dywod:
Margaret Dunn, "Dyddio hen dai yn Eryri"