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. Ancestry.com 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: