Sunday, November 19, 2017

Hiraeth from 2016: Day Two

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

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:

Monday, October 23, 2017

Welsh Mormon Hymns

John Sylvanus Davis, or Davies. (1822-1882)

Announcing a new blog, "Welsh Mormon Hymns" or "Hymnau Cymreig Mormon."

This is a lot harder than I thought it would be.

I wanted to know what my ancestors sang as they joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Wales. In 1852 while my Welsh Mormon ancestors still lived there, John Davis of Merthyr Tydfil published Casgliad O Hymnau, Caniadau, Ac Odlau Ysbrydol At Wasanaeth Saint Y Dyddyau Diweddaf, Yn Nghymru or LDS Welsh Hymnal. Yes, the language is as challenging as it looks.

There is no modern Welsh Hymnal in the LDS Church as far as I know.

Amazon will print and sale copies of old books for which the copyright has expired. You can buy this one and maybe help me out with this project. I know about a half dozen people who could maybe help. (Ffrindiau?) Or for no cost at all, there is a PDF version of the hymnal linked on-line at Welsh Mormon History maintained by BYU as established by one of my life-heroes, Dr. Ronald Dennis (ironically my professor of Portuguese nearly 40 years ago).

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Short Bios of Those Associated with the Ellsworth Handcart Company, 1856


Ellsworth Company, 1856. Brief Bios of those in the official Company list or are mentioned in the Journals of the Company

All information is gathered from the Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel Database (https://history.lds.org/overlandtravel/) or FamilySearch.org unless otherwise noted.


William Knox Aitkin (1819-1864) Travelled with the McArthur Co. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, returned and died there.

David Argyle (1818-1905) born in Leicester, UK. Came with wife Rebecca Jane Finch Argyle (1824-1890), and children, Joseph Jr. (1842-1927), Benjamin James (1843-1917), Mary Ann (1847-1922), Frances (1850-1939), Alonzo Lorenzo (1853-1940), and Priscilla (1854-1932). Rebecca was pregnant during the journey and gave birth to son Hyrum born 10 November (1856-1929). The Argyle’s settled in South Davis County. David and Rebecca both died in West Bountiful.

Thomas Columbus Armstrong (1817-1900). Traveled with his mother, Eliza Salt Armstrong (1792-1860), and his son Thomas Columbus, Jr. (1843-1892). Had one of the wagons that accompanied first Ellsworth, and then McArthur, from Florence, NE to Salt Lake City. They were from Stepney, London, England. Settled in the 2nd Ward, Salt Lake City.

John Ash (1820-1915). Born in Cheshire, England. Traveled with wife, Sophia Edwards Ash (1829-1863), from Birmingham, England, and their daughter, Ellen Matilda (1854-1954). They settled in Cache Co., Utah where John took two additional wives.

Henry William Attley (1832-1911) traveled with his wife, Christina Stuart Attley (1826-1913). Henry from England and Christina from Scotland were married in St. Louis, 1856. They drove one of the wagons that accompanied the handcarts starting out with Ellsworth and ending up with the McArthur Co. Childless, they adopted a little girl and lived out their lives in Salt Lake City.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Temple Service


Bountiful, Utah Temple at night. (although we're still missing our spire under repair and the scaffolding is still up.)

Last evening I did my regular service as a Veil Worker in the Bountiful Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is one of the great blessings of my life. 

I have no intention of discussing sacred ordinances. They are sacred to me in a covenant with God sort of way. There are many scholarly and not-so-scholarly writings on the various subjects and that's not what this is about.

What I want to say, with some caution so as not to unnecessarily trivialize Temple service, is how amazing it is to work in the Temple.