Wednesday, December 27, 2017

More Pioneer Research, Winter Edition

Centerville Ward Chapel, Davis County, Utah (1879). Centerville Canyon behind.
Only the center part is original. There have been several additions over the years.
Strolling the streets of Centerville, Utah today, it was nagging me that I still haven't solved the problem of where in town the Thompson Family lived for a few years in the 1860s when my 2nd Great Grandmother, Annie Thompson, was born April 3, 1863. She died as a young mother in 1890, leaving my Great Grandfather at age seven. He died in 1963 and I knew him well, so there is some responsibility here.

Hitting the internet when I got home, I checked out the listing of historical sites for Centerville to see if there is a record of a pioneer home built by a Thompson Family. I'm suspicious there was not. They were hard-working but not with much financial means in life and they likely boarded or shared space with another family in their brief time here. Or because they were here for a few short years, any home would not have been long remembered as belonging to them.

Monday, December 25, 2017

More or Less a Christmas Poem by Cousin Henry Vaughan

A little historical and literary context here for my distant cousin, Henry Vaughan (1621-1695). He came from a conservative corner of Wales that was mostly loyal to the King in the English Civil War. He did not like Puritanism and his allegiance to the King was both religious and political. This poem gives feeling to the sentiment of the old church (High Anglican wasn't much different from Catholicism out where he was) that was passing away. He was a religious purist sometimes admonishing the excesses of the conservative church and sometimes the harsh, judgmental heresies of Cromwell's Commonwealth governed by Puritanical values.

There is a Christmas sentiment here: The Shepherds seeking a new Christ Child for restoration of the True Christian Religion. And what is this about "westward hence thy course will hold?" There is the obvious astronomical reality of the light or sun setting in the west, but the New World was discovered and inhabited by Europeans before the time Henry Vaughan lived. Could he have been holding out hope that a new revelation or restoration could come there away from corrupt Europe and England? Maybe so.

The problem is that current political and religious power in the United States leaves me in the same despairing worry as Vaughan.

Maybe somewhere in the West there will be a new Nativity of True Christianity.

Cochiti Pueblo Nativity by Louise Suina

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Disney Pixar's Coco, highly recommended

Coco is the Christmas movie I would recommend. I haven't seen the new Star Wars yet, but my son-in-law has tickets for us to go the day after Christmas. I understand there are controversial surprises in The Last JediCoco surprises in its unique presentation of the Mexican traditions for Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, or the celebrations, yes, celebrations around All Saints Day.

The altar in Coco with photos of deceased family members

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 29-30, The Valleys, Cardiff, Farewell

We had a morning appointment to arrange for a replacement monument for the grave of our 4th Great Grandfather, John Vaughan (1789-1851). The place was in the outskirts of neighboring Newport. Across the street, I noticed a Reliant Robin, the amazing three-wheeled British car! I went over to snap a few pictures at various angles. A group of tough looking mechanics came out of the garage and demanded to know why I was taking pictures. I explained that I had never seen a Robin before except for, you know, that show about cars on TV.

"Top Gear," one of them said, and we all started to laugh which defused the situation to avoid me becoming a rugby ball.

A Reliant Robin in all its glory.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 27-28, Hay, Blaenavon, LLantilio Crossenny, White Castle, LLansantfraed.

There is a strange reluctance with me to finish projects that I enjoy. But finish we shall even if the hiraeth is overwhelming.

The 27th day in Wales was a work day as my wife and I helped pack up and clean the BYU House. We wanted to earn our keep to stay a few extra days until the lease expired. My wife did break away to go back to the antique mall Professor Tom showed us in Cardiff to purchase the best example of what we think the teapot was like that my ancestor may have carried across the plains of America.

Mid to late 19th Century, inexpensive pewter teapot similar to what we imagine would have survived a handcart journey
tied to an apron string

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 26, Welsh National Museum and Cardiff Bay!

It was sad to break the fellowship of British Expeditions 2016. As our time wound down, Professor Tom headed off for an adventure hiking the Pembrokeshire coastline trail. The rest of the group had a drawn-out farewell in Cardiff.

First we went off to the National Museum Cardiff. What a place! Dinosaur bones to masterpieces of art! And am ddim! (free entry).

My fave, the Blue Lady or La Parisienne, 1874, Pierre-Auguste Renoir
No, I think this was my favorite:

Friday, December 15, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 25, Stourhead, Stonehenge, Winchester, Avebury

The last day of tour was a whirlwind! We went back into England, but as we visited ancient megalithic sites, pre-saxon, pre-roman, likely even pre-celt, it was cool.

First we had to visit another grand estate. Stourhead was interesting, though, because of its grand gardens that have been used for filming many a movie including the Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley and some dude.


Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 24, Ogmore, Coity, Ewenny Priory

It was another Sunday, so we took off for sites in Glamorgan after church.

This is the day I knew my wife really loved me because she visited castles in the rain and was smiling!

Coity Castle in the rain.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 23, St. Davids

St. David is the patron Saint of Wales. Many legends and a cathedral have sprung up on him, but the essence of the Saint is his teaching:
"Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd"
"Do ye the little things in life"
I'm with you there, Dewi Sant! While he has a grand cathedral, the essence of the man permeates the soul of Cymru.

St. David's Cathedral, Pembrokeshire

Monday, December 11, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 22, Tretower! and Llanthony

It was old home week back in Wales and back to the ancient home of the Vaughans at Tretower Court and Castle (check the link if you don't believe me!). While not the most impressive castle or manor house in Britain, it still has its unique charms besides being the ancient seat of my surname. Cadw, or Welsh Heritage, has done much to recreate the late medieval hall most impressively with the art work of Tony Barton who based his wall hangings and other representations of the Vaughans and their half-brothers and cousins, the Herberts, in contemporaneous styles.

Tony Barton emailed me and said that as he was commissioned by the Welsh Government,
he considers the Tretower art to belong to the People.
Thus, I have used his representation of the Vaughan armorial for my personal symbol. I am one of the Vaughan People.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

DNA 2: The Y-DNA Test

It's likely that I have a Y Chromosome as it's been working for me so far.

Frustrated by the imprecision of the test, as good as it is. And with more people taking it the better it gets. I still need some info on my direct paternal line. That's what I've been researching and we have that one illegitimate birth. We have circumstantial evidence for the father, but it would be nice to pin it down.

There's also the question as to whether we can pin down the medieval Vaughans who were sufficiently wealthy and of the gentry with even a few knighted to sire significant offspring legitimate, illegitimate, and otherwise. I mean, everybody in the Glasbury/Talgarth area of Breconshire are probably related anyway. The most likely multiple-great-grandsires are those who had the monetary means and power to get away with it.

And then there's the tantalizing mystery of ancient origins. My son's test from 23-and-Me said his Y Chromosome "looked like" it came from Irish strongmen, one of whom we know established the Kingdom of Breichniog that become Brecknock then Breconshire.

So, I ordered a detailed Y-Chromosome test from Family Tree DNA. It's the mid-range test as the top-of-the-line seems to be for establishing a common father with a male sibling, My brother and I already accept what our parents told us.

The kit comes in a smaller package than the test.

The scribbles are my poor attempt with "Paint" to redact my personal identifiers

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 21, Edinburgh, Sore Feet, Hadrian's Wall, and Hamilton

After getting home I was officially diagnosed with bone spurs. While they may help to keep me out of Vietnam and make me President some day, they are an extreme pain. The hike up Yr Wyddfa (Mt. Snowdon) did me in. After wandering around Edinburgh for a day, my feet would go no further. I went and sat in the Museum of Scotland (free internet). My wife went with the group to climb Arthur's Seat (still on my bucket list with better shoes and ibuprofen).

Our group with healthy feet on Arthur's Seat
I did see a few more sites in Edinburgh.

To prove I was in Scotland

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 20, Edinburgh (in a clearly Celtic land)

Scotland is full of our Celtic Cousins, so we're fine. I have a maternal line that goes back there. And Edinburgh is a very unique city. For one thing, it is built on several different levels like three-dimensional chess or maybe an Escher drawing.

We've got about about three street levels here.
It is also dark, enlightened, and ancient. Monuments to philosophers, poets, and warriors abound.

And there is a beautiful cemetery across from where J.K. Rowling wrote some Harry Potter. She took names from the monuments for some of her characters.

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 19, Bangor and Conwy

Had a bit of my own adventure going off to the archives at Bangor U. Professor Ron dropped me off and I took the train to Conwy in the afternoon to meet back up with the group.

I found some documents that appear to be from ancestors of mine. But I still have some work to get it all tied down.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 18, Caernarvon, Snowdon, and Dolbadarn

This has to be in the top 100 days of my life. North Wales did not disappoint. We drove up and around fulfilling the unfortunate explanation we heard from more than one of  the Cymry, "If you want to get anywhere in Wales, you have to go out to England and back in." There is no north-south M-highway in Wales. That doesn't mean if I had my way, we wouldn't wander the valleys, mountains, and seashore. But then, it would have been hard to fit all this in one day.

While Caernarvon was established by Edward I to put down the Welsh, today it is thoroughly Welsh.

Walking to Caernarfon Castle
You just can't beat this. (At least not until the next day.)

Caernarfon Castle. The round dais is where the current Saxon pretender to the title, Prince of Wales, was invested by his mother.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 17, Church, Beaupre, Tinkinswood, and St. Lythans

It was Sunday, so we went to LDS church services in Cardiff again. There were some missionaries leaving for home so the members stood to sing them the "farewell and come back again" song (I didn't get that quite right). And I couldn't resist snapping a phone pic in church.

"Farewell and Come Back Again"
And what do you do after church on Sunday? Why, visit ancient sites in surrounding Glamorgan, of course!

First up was Beaupre Castle.

We climbed over a sty and hiked across a field to Old Beaupre

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 16, Big Pit, Blaenavon, Romans at Caerleon

It was good that I was uploading my pics every day as on this day, back in Cymru in the land of my fathers, my SD card failed. I only have a few that I took with my cell phone. We couldn't take pics in the coal mine anyway, and I had already been to Blaenavon. So really, only Caerleon out of Newport was lost. Well, so was the Round Table.

Our group readying for a trip down the mine.
This idea just came to me, but I wonder if "lift" for "elevator" in Britain comes from the industrial use of the 19th Century in these pits. One had to get out of those by lifting up to the surface while in America, we started building skyscrapers to "elevate" us.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 15, St. Michael's Mount, Cotehele, Scorhill on Dartmoor

St. Michael's Mount is the little brother to Mont Saint-Michel. I mean, I'd heard of Mont Saint-Michel in France or at least off the Normandy Coast thereof. I didn't know Cornwall had a its own little one going.

St. Michael's Mount at low tide.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 14, In which we travel to West Wales (AKA Cornwall)

Cornwall was known as West Wales in medieval times because the Saxons recognized they were up against another plucky group of strange little people with pixies. It is a Celtic country, if only a county of England now. And it is a strange, mysterious place.
We started off at Tintagel, the legendary birthplace of King Arthur. Here I am excited beyond belief at Merlin's Cave at the Sea below the Castle!

"You're a Wizard, Merlin!"
This place was just astounding, the ruins of the castle are high above the cliffs dropping off to the Sea.

My wife at Tintagel Castle

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 13, Kenilworth, Tolkien, Stratford-upon-River

Woke to a glorious Cardiff morning:

Went to Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire, bastion of Simon de Montfort, John of Gaunt (Father of the Lancasterians), and Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who wooed or not Elizabeth I (It depends on what "woo" means, not to mention "virgin" Queen).

We approach Kenilworth, a beautiful, red-sandstone castle.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 12--Seeking the Welsh in Oxford (and the Cotswolds)

Once more over the Severn Crossing, we headed to the nearby Cotswolds. The first stop was some little church I'm going to need help with in remembering the location (all I had to do is Google "hobbit door church in the Cotswolds"). It is in Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire at St. Edward's Church.

Very Tolkienesque or C.S.Lewisy

Friday, December 1, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 11, Harry Potter in Lacock and Roman-Georgian Bath

We left Wales again (sigh) but saw some great places.

The A-Team
The village and abbey of Lacock, Wiltshire is mostly preserved in its bygone eras. It has been used as a setting for many a film and BBC series including, ta-dah! Harry Potter. Yes, welcome to Godric's Hollow:

If you throw some dirt, mud, and straw on the street, you can get to "Old English Village" pretty quick.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Y Chromosome Ancestor: Niall of the Nine Hostages

Skipping the Itinerary of Wales from 2016, my mind is processing the results of the DNA test my son took. DNA is good, but it doesn't do an analysis of the Y Chromosome. My son did 23 and Me which does and the results are positively Celtic. Here's a summary:
You share a paternal-line ancestor with Niall of the Nine Hostages.
The spread of haplogroup R-M269 in northern Ireland and Scotland was likely aided by men like Niall of the Nine Hostages. Perhaps more myth than man, Niall of the Nine Hostages is said to have been a King of Tara in northwestern Ireland in the late 4th century C.E. His name comes from a tale of nine hostages that he held from the regions he ruled over. Though the legendary stories of his life may have been invented hundreds of years after he died, genetic evidence suggests that the Uí Néill dynasty, whose name means "descendants of Niall," did in fact trace back to just one man who bore a branch of haplogroup R-M269.
The Uí Néill ruled to various degrees as kings of Ireland from the 7th to the 11th century C.E. In the highly patriarchal society of medieval Ireland, their status allowed them to have outsized numbers of children and spread their paternal lineage each generation. In fact, researchers have estimated that between 2 and 3 million men with roots in north-west Ireland are paternal-line descendants.
Niall of the Nine Hostages apparently burning one of them,
or at least someone not likely to reproduce much more.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 10 - Church, Gadfield Elm Chapel, British Camp

As it was nominally a BYU trip, British Expeditions will take you to church (LDS) in a ward in downtown Cardiff on several floors of an office building. I don't know what happens if you decline to go. I doubt they'll report you to the BYU Honors Code Office which itself is significantly, if not entirely, removed from the religious wars of history.

Walking to LDS Church services in Cardiff
After church (we call it "church" even if it might be referred to as "chapel" as "church" in Britain is reserved for the Queen's Church of which she is oddly the head. In Wales, it is known as "The Church in Wales." Seriously. Because they have to avoid the "England" bit as in "the Church of England." Other Protestant denominations are referred to as "Chapel." I'm pretty sure it's the Catholic "Church." And we, of course, are something else entirely. Fine by me.

Anyway, after the "block" (3-hour church service of Sacrament Meeting, Sunday School, Relief Society/Priesthood/etc.), we still climbed in the van for touring.

Professor Tom lecturing from the driver's seat. He is full of knowledge, whimsy, and has little tolerance for those who can't keep up.
Professor Ron. Also very knowledgeable, but more the type to make sure everybody is in the van.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 9 - St. Fagans Welsh National History Museum, Castell Coch, Caerphilly!

We didn't travel far at all with British Expeditions to see some great places just out of Cardiff.

The first was the St. Fagans National History Museum. This should be done in a whole day. We had just a couple of hours to run between the living history exhibits of relocated or restored buildings of various periods of time. Although we did take time to visit with the docents about teapots.

This is a cock-fighting pit. Mormon Missionaries preached in these because they were such natural auditoriums
and they generally weren't welcome in churches or chapels.
We visited the row of houses refurbished in different periods of time. They were similar but more complete than the exhibits at Blaenavon. I missed a pic of the 20th century plumbed bathtub in the kitchen, but we were interested in the 1840s.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Dydd 8 - Llundain

If you're staying a month in Cardiff, you might not think of popping off to London for a day. But that's part of British Expeditions. BYU officially does the inverse, putting all their attention and resources into the London Study Abroad Program with maybe a day or two visit to Wales. Oh, shame on them for neglecting Welsh Studies! Dan Jones and all the rest of their Welsh ancestors (25% of Utahns have Welsh Heritage!) are looking down on them from above unhappy with this failure of turning hearts to the neglect of Cymru!

Well, I'll get off my bones-of-the-ancestors box and get on with the tour.

We started out early and got back very late. The professors know just where to park on the outskirts of Greater London (and I'm not telling!) to pay reasonable all day parking fees and catch the tube into town.

We got out near the restored Globe Theater where we were to meet up that night for the play and the return to Cardiff the way we came.

Synchronizing watches (no, that would be the old days) at the restored Globe Theatre

Friday, November 24, 2017

Hiraeth 2016: Day 7- Chepstow, Tintern, Raglan, Usk

Now the British Expeditions BYU Professors' tour begins in earnest. Three castles, an abbey, and a couple of other quick stops and it was a whirlwind. So you will see why I was not able to blog contemporaneously. 

We started early every morning piling into the hired van. Professor Tom was the driver/narrator. His niece and friend attempted navigation but Tom usually found his way just fine. He's been around the castle block a few times. Professor Ron had his family with him so he drove in a separate car.

First stop: Chepstow Castle on the cliffs above a wide turn in the Wye before it heads to the Sea.

Orientation by Prof. Tom
Chepstow Castle: No kiddin' built on the cliffs!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Hiraeth from 2016: Day Six - Shakespeare at Tretower

We got in on part of the "official" British Expeditions tour of Cardiff once Professor Tom was in town. He's been going back to Wales pretty much every year since he was a missionary there (He's my age).

Here in front of Cardiff City Hall, we heard a full description of the Cardiff City Crest. First of all, the two red creatures on either side of the post are Wyverns, not Dragons. if I remember the rest of this correctly, the crest has a goat for the one that accompanies Wales at War (I can't remember why, though). The seahorse is for the Port of Cardiff that sent power to the world as the capital of coal transport. The Red Dragon is in the center holding aloft the flag of the Bute Family (pretty sure, or maybe Glamorgan). On the bottom left it says "Y DDRAIG GOCH" ("The Red Dragon"). And on the right is "DDYRY GYCHWIN" ("Will lead the way" referring back to the Red Dragon). The three white ostrich feathers on top are the "Ich Dien" crest that Edward the Black Prince (of Wales) won on the field at Crécy. Centered in the feathers is a Tudor rose with red Lancaster in center on white York. At the bottom on top of the scroll are leeks, because, Wales (look it up or watch Shakespeare's Henry V).

Professor Tom explaining the Cardiff Crest
We finessed our way into Cardiff City Hall and saw the statuary of the Heroes of Wales. (This has also been a filming location for Doctor Who including some of the statues).

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:

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 ( or 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.