A piece from overseas – referring to our twin up north ond yn dal yn berthnasol and it is a lovely read.
Families are special! They provide us with what we need to survive,both as children and as grown ups. If we’re fortunate enough, we inherit the stories of our families and the individuals, who can make the stories more interesting.
This can bring them to life well after they have passed on. My childhood was blessed with this legacy. My mother was the keeper of such stories and what a storyteller she could be! Her knowledge of family genealogy was tapped into by relatives who have now spread out all over the world.
As I enter my 60th year, I am drawn, more so than ever, to my mothers’ homeland of Wales. Advances in technology have given us the ability to connect with our families, some lost, misplaced, some still waiting to be found. These are those whose names and histories spring from our computer screen and with great enthusiasm we dive in to their lives and welcome them home.
My great grandfather was one of these ‘lost’ souls, destined to never be remembered or given his freedom to connect again to his family of today. It was by sheer chance that a good friend of mine who is a wonderful family counselor, made a remark regarding the work I’d been doing on Ancestry.com. She was especially impressed that my name, Ann, had been cherished and loved from mother to mother for many generations until it finally rested with me. We don’t often think about our names. Unless we’re filling out forms or introducing ourselves to new people. But whats in a name??? As it turns out, Everything!
It was Ann’s maternal grandfather, Owen Griffith, who, for some reason, caught my attention. ” Llansadwrn?”, I said to myself, ” Llansadwrn? Where in Wales is Llansadwrn?” It was such a pretty word and it rolled easily off the tongue. Might I just add here that my grandmother Laura Ann raised her three children with very little of her mother language. She raised them to speak English because she remembered being beaten as a child for being so bold as to say anything in Welsh and it was made even more difficult for her when her family packed up and moved to Liverpool. But I remembered a little of my mother’s use of the language, which were the basic words, really. So, I was pleasantly surprised when, in my very awkward pronunciation, I found ‘ Llansadwrn’ rolled off the tongue like honey? So, I looked it up on the World Wide Web.
By doing this I felt connected to Owen and I was excited to visit, via the computer, places and buildings he may have seen. In my research I found that Owen was born around 1760 in Llansadwrn, Anglesey, Wales and that he had married Jane and they lived, it seems, quite happily in Llansadwrn, where they are both buried. He was a farmer and, from what I have discovered, worked for a Wm Peacoke Esq. Jane passed away in 1838 and dear Owen only 4 years later, in 1842.
Their daughter, Elizabeth carried on the DNA, down the line to me. I have been blessed throughout my life with some fascinating and totally awe-inspiring moments but knowing that in a small space in Llansadwrn, there is a part of my heritage, a link to those proud Welshmen and Welshwomen who loved their country and their language and who, without knowing it, have passed it on in spite of any difficulties. It is now up to me to continue this legacy and teach my three grandsons the little I know. Perhaps one day I will be fortunate enough to honour Owen and Jane with my presence and pray over their graves in Welsh. Until then, however, my work continues. It is incredible to me that a little place like Llansadwrn is now spoken of and viewed by my family who live in Canada, Australia and the US. Oh, and by the way, I am enrolled in a language class to begin in March 2020…the language I’m learning? Why Welsh, of course!