Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Hiraeth from 2016: Day Five, Cardiff Castle

We went to downtown Cardiff again. Well, at least on the same general route downtown. There were a few sites on the way.

That moment you realize your patriotism has been turned into some cheap,
 commercial stunt. Wait. I live in the US!
The big surprise was as we neared Cardiff University, we noted a large number of film production trucks, trailers, etc. It was Doctor Who! The guards were very friendly but didn't let us too close. We saw no stars and the Doctor was apparently off in the TARDIS somewhere (or in the vault in the basement with Missy). However, we did confirm that it was the Doctor's crew.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Hiraeth from 2016: Day Four, Cardiff

We woke that morning to one of the friendly and very noisy seagulls out our garret window.

A Cardiff Seagull. I've got to look up the species under "noisy" and "annoying."
Our Adjunct Professors of Welsh incorporated as British Expeditions have this system for summer student lodgings in Wales. They rent a different apartment house in Cardiff as the base residence every July when the University students are gone and rentals are cheap. But as it is a different house each year, they have a permanent attic rented. Yes, an attic--in another student house for storage of their non-perishables: bedding; kitchen pots, pans, and utensils; and a special box for Professor Tom who keeps a sports jacket in there for going to church in Cardiff. He also keeps one of those foldable bicycles up there in that attic. I know because I helped him get it down. Their method in reaching the attic is interesting. I have a pic:

Monday, November 20, 2017

Hiraeth from 2016: Day Three, Merthyr Tydfil, Blaenavon, Cardiff

We woke early so we could get to church on time. It wasn't far at all by miles and the new "Top of the Valleys" is a nice, divided highway. Unfortunately, it was so new, it was still unfinished and when we got pushed off I missed the detour which was called something else like "way around" and we ended up way down by the Usk almost to Crickhowell before we figured out way back up to the to the top of the Valleys. We finally made it back over the mountains and found the LDS Stake Center in Merthyr Tydfil still before meetings began. The members were wonderfully friendly.

Merthy Tydfil Stake Center, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Built above the old Carfarthfa Ironworks in some weird celestial irony.
After church, we took our picnic over to Cyfarthfa Park, the former estate of the notorious Iron Master, William Crawshay. Now the park and "castle" built for the Crawshays in 1825 belongs to the people. A much better arrangement.

Cyfarthfa Castle built on the bones and blood of industrial workers.
As we ate, we could look over the park and green valley of the Taff, reclaimed from the industrial wasteland of past few centuries that forged the steel and mined the coal for the "progress" of the world as they raped the Fair Country.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Hiraeth from 2016: Day Two, Hay, Llanfoist, Abergavenny

The beauty and joy never ended. Sure, Wales can be a little damp, but how else does it stay green? And two rainbows in two days had to be a sign.

We started off towards Hay on the Radnorshire side of the Wye so that we could stop at Llowes where Roger Vaughan and Elizabeth Powel were married in 1753. The Church was closed, but there were some great views of the Black Mountains.

St. Meilig's Churchyard, Llowes, Powys (formerly Radnorshire) looking across the Wye Valley to the Black Mountains
We went in to Hay because I thought I had arranged an appointment to tour the castle. My email communications were off, but we finally got it arranged by the end of the month. We did run into a wonderful children's parade for the local school.

The Rising Generation of Daffodils.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Hiraeth from 2016, Day One, Glasbury

I just can't blog on politics these days without going stark raving loony. So, we'll try a bit of this:

It's November which is Thanksgiving month in the US of A  and I am grateful for my Welsh Heritage and the blessings I have  had to travel to my ancestral lands where the bones of my ancient fathers and mothers lie. I've been twice in recent years, 2010 and 2016. Both trips were great adventures with dear family and friends.

"Hiraeth" meaning, homesickness, longing, or in Portuguese "saudades," as we have no adequate English translation, compels me to share photos with a bit of context. I hope to convey a bit of that Hiraeth to family and friends. My wife says we can return this next summer with the compelling need to visit the replacement headstone monument our extended family put up for my 4th Great Grandfather in Llanfoist Churchyard.

But we start the first day of our 2016 trip on the banks of the River Wye in the small, ancient parish of Aberllynfi, the mouth of the Afon Llynfi into the Wye, and the surrounding parish of Glasbury.

I woke early and went out in the mist to explore the churchyard at St. Peter's just down the road:

The back of St. Peter's Churchyard, Glasbury, Powys Wales (formerly, the Breconshire side of the River Wye)
The graves of my Sixth Great Grandparents, Roger Vaughan (1734-1797) and Elizabeth Powel (1732-1803) are in this picture, three rows back from the rear of the church, but I did not know it at the time. I walked right past it. We came to it later in the day with the wonderful help of the parish treasurer who had a plot map of the churchyard.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

How to Read a Welsh Mormon Church Membership Record from the 1850s

It appears that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon) in Wales first began using a standard ledger book form for membership records in 1849-50. I have seen them from the Branches in Merthyr Tydful, Tredegar (Bedwellty Parish), and Risca, Wales. The format covered two, long pages lengthwise. When the register book was open, the two pages formed continuous lines across the two pages. Fortunately, a few of them have translation in English. An example follows with some of the columns translated into English. I will attempt to translate and explain the rest. The first page:


"Cofres-LLyfr" means "Register-Book" and that's an interesting, gothic double "L" in "LLyfr."

"o Aelodau" is "of members."

"Eglwys Jesu Crist Saint y Dyddiau Liweddaf" should be obvious as "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." And remarkably for Welsh, in shorter form than most languages with Roman script. 'Saint" is in a singular form as there are nouns like "plant" for "child" that are often used to mean a plural group ("children") but remain grammatically singular in form.

Friday, November 10, 2017

A Slice of the Life: Documented

It was great to find this in the LDS Church History Library although a bit sad that it drops off in 1970. I may go back through again because there are a few more references to my Mom and Dad. And then there are whole histories of wards where my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents lived over the past centuries that could reveal some great stuff.

We start with my first mention in the newly organized Redmond Ward, Seattle East Stake. They had taken the Bothell and Kirkland Wards and made a third by slicing through the middle from Lake Washington on the West to the Cascade Mountains on the East. We had Finn Hill, Juanita, Kingsgate, Redmond, Duvall, and points in between. The folks from Duvall and Cherry Valley were not exactly in the suburbanite zone in those days and there were a few other areas that were more rural. It's all homes now except for the green, ag zones preserved in the Snoqualmie River Valley and along the Sammamish River which used to be called the Sammamish Slough before Microsoft gentrification.


This was the day after my 12th birthday. I'm not sure why they were not set up to ordain me that day. It came the next Sunday: