By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2021-07-18
This is not a Welsh Not
but a Welsh is and always will be
raving over higgledy piggledy slates
with fingernails of demons scraping
screeching out a lost non rock and roll
and not a low flying bomber
in sight or sound
tipsy on communion wine
and a quick fumble
in the ecumenical jungle
dog tired dog collars loosen
to a beat of life lived
and not analysed
not a sermon planned
nor an afterlife awaited
submerge into sublime harps
inherited from the elders
but defined as Corvid
avoid their Larsen traps
and their booby traps
with our Weapons of Non Destruction
Peter Hurkos a Dutch psychic
and y Mab Darogan
(the Son of Destiny)
and how about a little of Twm o’r Nant
or David R Edwards ?
we have become strange bedfellows
but at least it is touching
I am not the National Poet
and I know it
I know my place
but not where to find it
we are all the National Poet
but don’t know it
we don’t know our place
nor where to find it
this is not a Welsh Not
a Welsh Not not
not Welsh not
I am not a Welsh Not
PoemsOur fibber whose art is craven furloughed be thy fame thy Brexit done broke times to come in Neath as it is in Devon give us this day our daily dread and forgive us our trust issues as we forgive them that are classist against us and lead us not into inflation but deliver us from shortage for thine is the kidding the poorer and the gory together or severed Amen
Read MoreOur felon who has paid his fine allowed is thy shame the playing dumb your japes undone unearth untruths so uneven give us this day your daily lie and forgive us our press passes as we forgive those that press pass against us and lead us not into Trump nation but deliver us from Priti for thine is the comedown the sour and the sorry never so clever amen
Read More2 CommentsJimmy Jangles would have liked to have been a highly-decorated warrior relaxing in a highly-decorated lounge but this was not to be instead he obsesses over his fetish for Dalek-like killing machines and how he is obliged to hand over money to bankroll violent regimes he doesn’t support by governments he did not help elect he tries not to get too hung up about about demarcation he has a door a gate a fence a scripture of passwords and a clear understanding of where his personal space ends he admits that he has at times fallen foul of the Trades Description Act existing on a small...
Read MoreScaffolding around an old church in scant countryside a skeleton encasing lungs and a heart that pulsate more weakly now at the wrong end of a millennium of belief and taxation birdsong and evensong are rarities nowadays so a disembodied choir of barbed wire and its round hollow metal posts murmurs low to a congregation of livestock a crew of crows guffaws for they know all about worms that abound the marvellous underground its secrets to keep kiss me quick kiss me dead
Read MoreI have not yet found God nor has He found me on another winter’s solstice but it’s a new day one that has never been before so it’s going to be alright the mounting illumination of its early morning a sky going through the shades of blue then pinks and reds there’s a ghost on my lawn a ghost of dawn maybe it’s only there before anyone looks that way before the stillness is scared off by the yapping of excitable dogs as I wait to be enveloped by a fog of unconsciousness waiting for no reason that’s worth knowing waiting for me to wake up to make up to shake up and when I have done...
Read More2 CommentsI used my lunch hour to eat lunch I went on breaks in order not to break on Bank Holidays I holidayed in abandoned banks and slept safe in their safes I am neither anti vax nor anti mask but I have my suspicions I was not a girl neither am I non binary I object to having to pay to withdraw my money at an ATM and getting a do not reply email there was a wondrous sunset yesterday people felt compelled to share images of it on social media I saw it too albeit from the corner of an eye and am sorry that I passed up that chance I abhor racists but am uncomfortable about residing in a...
Read More1 CommentsAs the light dwindles again and I am returned to that winter my baby face a horror show of scar and NHS stitches I spy a large spider on a Lino floor my mother christens the arachnid pida pw syllables I can almost parrot the invented dialogue of infancy delightful dictionary-free words that bubble and exist only in a certain time place and feeling the music of the mother tongue my boy imagination in Yuri Gagarin’s shed cosmonaut caught in dawning thought confusion my reverie when sleep was blessed and not timetabled foetus as astronaut tethered in the helmeted womb every...
Read More(Curriculum vitae) he cuts the lawns of an empty property the cable of the mower in his hands is the microphone lead of a famous crooner on a 1970s television light entertainment show cracking the whip on kitten backing singers what will the neighbours think in their own private theatres? in the evening when it is more seemly he pours two glasses of rosé wine equally mainly by sound and during subsequent replenishment he thinks he can hear the chorus of the hymn mae’r Iesu yn geidwad i mi (Jesus is my saviour) in the meeting of drink and glass the music that follows work’s end in vino...
Read More1 CommentsThis is not a Welsh Not but a Welsh is and always will be raving over higgledy piggledy slates with fingernails of demons scraping screeching out a lost non rock and roll and not a low flying bomber in sight or sound tipsy on communion wine and a quick fumble in the ecumenical jungle dog tired dog collars loosen to a beat of life lived and not analysed not a sermon planned nor an afterlife awaited submerge into sublime harps inherited from the elders never understand but defined as Corvid not COVID avoid their Larsen traps and their booby traps with our Weapons of Non Destruction...
Read MoreNothing to see not much here just a disarray of stone and multi coloured corrugated iron splashes of spilt paint among the day to day ordinary rust it is our land where we always were out of the way but easily found when loot and recruits were demanded (Geraint Jarman sang of Ethiopia Newydd but where is that now?) it's a Sunday afternoon a half century ago at the home of a relative who was already old then they treat me well dose me up on sugar lumps and familial kindness it's sunny and dream-like and fruit fattens on slender branches but they failed to warn me about the rising...
Read More1 CommentsHe'd never heard of replacement theory but he was still sitting there cowled in a no good hoodie a cheap light grey like his complexion he who used to receive final demands by lowering a bucket from an upstairs window unhinged by losing the family farm to irresistible forces to inevitability those were the days narrow old men trying to get the most out of their narrow old tractors slim and puny workhorses when compared to the monsters that superseded them but still running on an idea of efficiency through regular oiling the treadmill of inheritance the hoped-for success of...
Read MoreOn his laden career bicycle Johnny Onions or Sioni Winwns meets paramours and cousins the names the lives of names the routes of commerce way from Armorica to corner Cymru an unnamed lorry driver flat cap trim moustache hooded eyes 1956 registration number PO 5384 brake lights brighten pre dawn hedgerows in the squeal of stopping on a stretch where the farm is unseen he carefully steers metal milk churns from the concrete stand to the flatbed of his vehicle replacing them with empties the mornings will lighten then darken then back again for this employee dependable essential...
Read More1 CommentsSo what if he'd won big on X Tractor that night with the other grinning hopefuls of the combined Young Farmers of his county but fame and its fickle flame didn't burn long with the fattening catalogue of demise and enough freshly signed death certificates to fill a library of uncomfortable learning he should have been sated busier than ever with the practiced condolences the pressing of the flesh and the liaising with the dependables of the funerary industry despite this unexpected windfall Tomb Jones was restless seeing no end to a career of infinite possibility and beginning to...
Read More1 CommentsHad a bit to drink so I began to think what had happened to my ancestors what is happening what has happened and is likely to happen to me the right to protect the half memory of half lives to live and earn a living among one's own kind to put a brake on the creeping amnesia that separates us from who we are who we are from who we were and where we came from in the longer view newly arrived faces discovered our legends animated as though they had known them all their lives and not told by their mothers as we had been in places our grandparents sold them in which we used to play used to...
Read MoreThey said "high" but how high turned out high enough to keep out the locals the subdued other types sufficiently lofty to conceal the life of the enemy and too tall for us to peer over even with the aid of a leg up the despised and the besieged the attacked and the defended the architecture of oppression blotting out the horizon and eclipsing the sun and moon the domination still tacit at times we sullenly embattled our invaders with haircuts language and time until they were redeployed to another outpost another link in the chain mail empire the arrow slits squint the curtain walls...
Read MoreSteam escapes from tears the dream of the sleep punk those guitar solos based on choruses lull me to lullaby absence my participation on the edge of the plantation of easy guilt trying to keep safe in the attacking air dry in the angered rainfall as water percolates from the eaves roads that meander through the forest and around its scraped-out mines its quarried foreheaded depressions also leak and leach generously they’ve left a few trees standing in the meadow to remind us of trees the mirage of a cared-for landscape the deception of orderly lifestyles the ludicrousness of plans...
Read More2 CommentsNear-deserted lanes mid way up low hills the sodden escarpments of unfashionable zones unvisited by most who know of their existence in this interlude when a shadow cajoles our attention the damp hushed houses of this year’s departed dust on shelves weeds between paving slabs awaiting tidying up and reinvigoration and the lengthy sigh of a decision reached (starling darlings lingering watch unwatched) among the personal effects in those corners not accessed in a period compromised by the seizing up of bones and the disorder of failing and forgetfulness an antique from the top of a...
Read More2 CommentsI listen to and learn from the eulogy for a poet from my village recognised in his death this awaits me or vice versa or verses versus verses a book is not its cover but a chimera to ward off stereotypification a taxi ride among a cavalcade of red tail lights to where the bokeh is okay I met Billy and his grandson Ryan in the x-ray waiting room his eyes had red circles around them as if he'd spent a lifetime crying he joked he'd been hiding behind a tent at the siege of Rorke's Drift and that I'd limped with a different leg on leaving not much chance to use the old language here where...
Read MoreWaterloo Peterloo portaloo no can do in Manchester Liverpool Newcastle Nottingham too no can do dead man's shoes dead man's hand do the right thing you and all hands face space waste of space new rules for scrubbed old hands I'll try to remember but feels like I'm back in work or school Eat Out to Help Out aka Eat Out to Help The Virus I was there too I took the money I dined at that trough like everything else masks constantly evolve from the Lone Ranger to the werewolf from PPE to mandatory wear whilst enjoying the retail experience to the jaundiced faces of our corrupt...
Read MoreFlop flip flop from one bad decision one delay to the next no fillip fulfilled but flopped enough flimsy filleted conscience flame grilled ideation sears the nation flannel fans the sidelined fans the tarts and flans the dollops lollop unable to gallop the plumped up propped up plops that rule rather than govern glib guff guilt gripped gulped ending griped top hat toffs lop off that lot lorded and loafed yet levelled little you're having a laugh
Read More2 CommentsOne two three tier lockdowns in a two tier country the second wave a two tier cake for the Great British Bake Off the Great British Shut Down tier suggesting structure when none is present Covidspeak curve and peak hands face space test and trace fear and inequality cases and capacity untruths and nepotism loss and pessimism please don't speak Covid to me I'm just waiting for a vaccine waiting for another year better than this one for the next TV presentation by the scientists with all the gravitas of a wartime broadcast of grown-ups telling us the worst of news the maps and graphs...
Read MoreA masked ball coverings of many colours patterns and materials those beautiful surgical gowns social distance dancing move those hips waltz away regrets trance into herd immunity as the local lowdowns creep closer more local be vocal about your future your survival dance on my lovely what will be will be hold my hand and promise to keep your balance try not to slip up in the ballroom of spores
Read More2 CommentsEdge of an armada liminal keels keening over the bay on a fateful day limping blooded wasped by frigates and hawk-faced wreckers trying to get away invasion doesn't always reward though this is not our fight this is our day and for this you will pay your cannons fall silent spiked by salt water to the depths you dive to the mystery of our bay
Read MoreI am looking out for a comet but I am distracted by what could be a fox maybe only its eyes or a suggestion of movement one is never alone in the dark a moon illuminated tree at the edge of a field bales of hay hedges reeds in sharp relief (I see the moon the moon sees me) that way they ask where we were what we were doing and who we were with on 09/11 the day that Princess Diana died or when the first lunar landing was broadcast the graininess of our discoveries on trembling flickering screens do people of different times recognise the changing face of the moon altered as...
Read MoreAre locksmiths key workers? is the curve flattened yet? is it flat as I understand flat to be? will I feel any different? and what about people who had been cooped up for months in tiny flats? my father died the month before the lockdown feels like a hundred years ago that man in a spring and summer of national mourning what should we do? let's plant a new arboretum of remembrance with statues of nurses doctors delivery drivers supermarket staff carers postal workers my father I'll lay a posy of daffodils at his feet and dig my spade into the flinty mud of his settling grave how...
Read More3 CommentsOutside little moves save for divorced foxes corner-of-eye birds and abandoned face masks breathing in a confident breeze indoors TVs cover walls broadcasting shows of people who used to be famous for being used to be famous but he's safe here he thinks high above the plain of the Great Pandemic the lifts still work he doesn't remember the last time he travelled in them though each Friday he waits at the gaping shaft for food parcels from the charity whose appeals fall on his deaf ears charity begins and stays at home he disposes of his waste in bags that plummet to a ridge of refuse...
Read MoreA disease that largely affects the elderly now they're targeting the young as they too are succumbing to the virus and could pass it on to old people as they enjoy newly relaxed freedoms "don't kill Granny" the latest deadly catchphrase in a whole literature of them and on the subject of our grandparents over 20,000 people died of Covid-19 in care homes in the UK despite Public Health England stating in February 2020 that the pandemic was unlikely to affect that sector and despite the "ring of steel" the Secretary of State for Health claimed had been installed in order to safeguard our...
Read More(Jeff Bezos Mark Zuckerberg Tim Martin Sir Phillip Green Sir Richard Branson Sir Alan Sugar) he sees them on the TV reads about them in news apps he declines to subscribe to he thinks they're contemptible and wouldn't urinate on them if they caught fire all vocal all opinionated all money grabbing modern style barons with no shame or few scruples the unacceptable faces of capitalism the unacceptable faces of humans three of them are titled wonder what the Queen really thinks about that when he’s tired he thinks “titles” reads a little like “titties” maybe he needs new spectacles...
Read More2 CommentsPlease keep your distance I don’t want to catch anything from you and I'm sure you feel the same way staying indoors like a rained-off summer holiday but this time with endless advice on how to fill our days as if we can't be trusted to function outside the tethered thinking of workplace diktats I tell you how I will spend my time I will memorise the confusion incompetence and untruths that have led to this moment while I fashion my response among the sawdust of my lockdown lock-up I will weaponise a disarticulated wooden garden chair leg convert it into a crude war club a coup stick...
Read More2 CommentsIn the pews mouths open to out spew the hymns known off by hearts in heaving chests the rote the rota the cheeks redenned and redeemed corrugated teeth framed by yellowed collars and furtive eyes on servant girls and recent widows this interior world is shadow and that which inhabits its shade the weight of the Bible its brass clasp keeping the colour pictures of faraway places tight until the right moment the envy the avarice so many reputations at stake in Adam's grove where Lucifer takes over the sêt fawr sitting side by side with the faithful as the Word is heard but no longer...
Read More2 CommentsIf someone says the word "unprecedented" one more time I will not be held accountable for what comes next what about the Spanish Flu the Black Death and other plagues including the Bible ones? did they not happen? did they "unhappen"?~ does no one read history books any more and did no one look at what was happening in China in these supposedly connected times? what about those warnings from the World Health Organisation? are we no longer a part of the world? do we think that we exist in a bubble and that nothing or no one will burst it? what about our own scientific community? what were...
Read More2 CommentsOn twenty two consecutive days in April 2020 over 1,000 people died of Covid-19 in my country though Ministers daily downplayed this abomination with figures of three digits my country in need of care though you wouldn't know it from the way it is treated by its careless rulers those leaders that morph into cheap game show hosts Brylcreemed three digits knowing winks and prizes you can't use my country a bump on the earth a thing of beauty radiating from the smiles that come gladly to the faces of the low paid and short changed I applaud them I applaud anyone who has not swallowed...
Read More2 CommentsMunching a Crunchie bar he splutters as the daily death figures don't come down quickly enough for him when the total reaches 44,000* he starts to feel a bit like it's Medieval days again only this time with apps that don't always deliver and the act of dying more private splutter splutter mutter mutter stutter stutter he gets restless as the deaths are now at least twice the amount the scientists said would be an acceptable outcome not so long ago who can you believe? who can you trust? thank God for TV remotes pity they can't switch off his mind too and those of the others though...
Read MoreHe dreams of capital cities the pyramids of money the cut-price labour that raised them now laid off in quarantine blacked out streets avenues squares lanes the underground and overground railway tracks emptied no children at play no vehicles in motion parked forever a sky reprieved and exonerated is reflected in lakes fountains and tributaries where fish nervously return and dolphins are anticipated sea eagles ravens and sparrows rule the high buildings their glass blue in the reconditioned atmosphere quaking in expectation learning to breathe again sleeping cities are...
Read MoreThe much vaunted app that seems to be no longer so vaunted if at all the commitments that wither almost as soon as they're uttered the NHS Track and Trace tsar a baroness who had formerly been the chief executive of a telecoms company when there was a breach of thousands of its customers' data and who left with a full year's salary of £550,000 despite working only two months of that financial year and who as a Jockey Club board member argued against cancelling the Cheltenham Festival as Coronavirus cantered towards us allowing a quarter of a million people to congregate be socially...
Read MoreA five year old patient with underlying health conditions diminutive in her intubation and her chariot-like bed nameless to us victimised beloved in this scary place of scary-looking people the sounds of ongoing urgency of breathing big as a country it's hard to read a person's face when it's behind a covering they say that with this bastard you die alone no one to hold your hand no one to lie that everything's going to be alright no one to say goodbye goodbye
Read More1 CommentsBrit holidaymakers in Malaga at the start of the outbreak herded by the police as they're falling foul of developing public health restrictions singing and slurring "we've got the virus na na na na na!" as they grin and stagger clutching their tumblers close the wit and the swagger the representation of a stereotype abroad caroused but not often aroused hope they stay safe on a plane with one way tickets to embarrassment when they arrive home they find that the world has changed they blink in a newly relegated and regulated third world country that still thinks it rules the waves...
Read MoreChildren's rainbow pictures in windows Thursday evening national applause fests with saucepan percussion accompaniment guards of honour for those discharged from Intensive Care Units joyous scenes of a joyful population the best of us in the worst of times acts of kindness of selflessness sacrifice and courage the rubbed-out outline of community becoming visible once again through the paper-thin official effort the erasers in temporary abeyance frightened by the zoo tiger rattling its cage bars let’s be tigers once again and as for so-called “protection” for our care and health...
Read MoreHospital ship a sailing cathedral that brings its crosses and enormous floating decks of sick beds beautiful impressive hopeful and quietly terrifying cruise ships suddenly no one wants or wants to be aboard no port in this health storm the talk the imagery is of hospital wards I've spent too much time this year in the halls of our National Health Service but I wasn’t to know entertainment is replaced by the thirst for information which in turn is replaced by a thirst for entertainment anything that will blank out the unfolding horror every day we sit down turn on our...
Read MoreOur World King who art in Heaven abhorred be thy name thy fiefdom scum thy will be dumb in slums as it is in Number 10 give us this day our daily dead and forgive us our trepassses as we forgive those that trespass against us and lead us not into infection but deliver us our Hermes for thine is the freedom of power and fake stories forever and never amen
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My Lost Tribe
By Paul Steffan Jones AKA, 2021-03-08
The Welsh traditionally were interested in their genealogy. From the endless “aps” and “ferchs” that preceded the edicts of the Act of Union to the closely penned family trees contained in homemade prefaces to prized Bibles, they felt connected to their predecessors and homeland through collections of names and monuments.
I was an awkward and sullen youth, not really interested in my tribe beyond those I could see, my parents and their parents, my uncles and aunts. I grew into an awkward and sullen adult albeit one with a developing fascination and preoccupation in what came before. I recall the afternoon when I realised that a lot of my future time would have to be devoted to the past. I was at the graveyard of a chapel called Pensarn on the outskirts of the village of Caerwedros in Ceredigion, Wales. With me were my mother and sister. My mother had been born and brought up in this little, out of the way village and we were there to visit the grave of her grandmother. What struck me about the grave’s headstone was the story it contained, an account of people with names crammed and carved into stone. I learned the name of my great grandfather who had died three years before my mother’s birth. I also discovered that there were two children I was not aware of. One, a man, had lived into his twenties, the other, a girl, had not even made her second birthday. I was impressed by the wealth of information, the tragedy and the triumph, the self-assured use of the Welsh language, the poetry enshrined in slate. I remember disturbing a lizard that was basking in the sun in the vicinity of a glass jar I happened to move near the grave. I was to return to this tranquil spot many times, identifying about a third of its graves as those of my family members.
My search for my ancestry began in earnest with interrogation of my parents. One of the reminiscences that my mother had carried with her since her childhood was of oranges that her mother used to receive from the USA each Christmas in the late 1940s and 1950s. My mother didn’t know the identity of the thoughtful person who made these presents available to this family of seven children at a time when such luxuries were quite rare in that place.
About ten years ago I paid a visit to my mother’s cousin who had moved from her village to the isle of Anglesey. He was older than my mother and as a result had more history to share. He gave me a copy of a document called The Families of Davies and Evans, a history including a detailed list of American and Welsh names and addresses from the early 1800s to the late 1960s that had been given to his father Daniel Davies by a man called David Wendell Hughes. He was from Lincoln City, Nebraska and had come to Caerwedros in about 1969 to look for his Welsh family. The visitor believed that he and Daniel were related but could not say exactly how. He was descended from Reverend David Davies and Mary Jenkins. Rev Davies was closely connected to the little chapel I visited at the start of my search and Mr Hughes believed that the minister’s family was instrumental in providing the land on which the chapel was built. Daniel related that his father who had been born in 1851 also claimed a connection with a family that left the village for America in the time before his birth. On leaving my cousin that day, he shared with me that he didn’t subscribe to this theory despite what his father had said.
Armed with dozens of names of the descendants of a Welsh Calvinist Methodist preacher and his wife, I set to work trying to fill in the missing pieces of this Atlantic jigsaw. I obtained a copy of the certificate of the marriage of my great great grandfather, another Daniel Davies. His father was named as David Davies whose occupation was described as preacher and Daniel’s address on this happy day was Tirgwyn, the ancestral home of the migrant Reverend David Davies. Although this was some evidence, it was mostly circumstantial: after all, why hadn’t Daniel sailed away too?
I like my history and I like the history in my family history. I decided to research why a southern Cardiganshire family in the 1830s might choose to leave their country and never return. I ordered a very informative book from my local library, Calvinists Incorporated: Welsh Immigrants on Ohio’s Industrial Frontier by Ann Kelly Knowles. This publication explained that about 3,000 people, mostly Calvinist Methodists, had left the sparsely populated county of Cardiganshire for Ohio between 1818 and the middle of that century. They had been persuaded to make that long and dangerous journey because of religious persecution, oppressive taxation following the end of the Napoleonic Wars, an increasing birth rate, and disputes with landlords. David and Mary Davies of Tirgwyn in the parish of Llandisiliogogo are mentioned in this account which said they arrived in Ohio in 1837 then moved on to Minnesota in 1856. It seemed to be an organised sort of exodus, the Welsh, to start with at least, sticking together on the other side of the ocean. Once again I had the feeling I had often experienced, that sense that I had been denied some of my history, that somehow it was not important for a West Welsh boy to learn of significant events that occurred in his impoverished county in the century before he attended school.
Using the tools available to the seeker of family history, I unearthed records of baptisms at Pensarn Chapel of a number of the Davies children who had gone to America with their parents. I was however, unable to find one at that chapel for my Daniel Davies. It transpired that he was baptised in Llanarth Church which is about two miles from Pensarn Chapel. This record showed his father as David Davies, Methodist preacher, of Tirgwyn, Llansilio. I assume that Llansilio was shorthand for Llandilisiogogo. The mother’s name is oddly missing from the actual record though in the modern transcript she is named as Mary Jenkins. The baptism was in 1820, seven years before the birth of the oldest of the Ohio-bound children. I found that David and Mary were married in 1826 in St Tysilio’s Church near Caerwedros. This would suggest that the boy baptised as Daniel was born out of wedlock. This would have been a scandal in the narrow beliefs of the participants especially as the Davies family was heavily involved in the Methodist movement of the time and perhaps Daniel may have initially been brought up by his grandparents. This, coupled with his age at the time of decision making, may have led him not to want to leave or even not being given the choice. Maybe Ohio was too much of a potential lion’s den for this Daniel. However, it could also have simply been a case of him intending to join his family at a later date, something that occurred from time to time among other Cardiganshire immigrant families. His uncle Jenkin Davies, a renowned preacher and the only member of my family with an entry in the Dictionary of Welsh Biography, died in 1842. Perhaps he too was planning to join the Calvinist Methodist exodus and travel to the States with his own family including his nephew. There is no evidence for any of these theories though one of them is likely to fit. Daniel is not mentioned as a son of David Davies and Mary Jenkins in the document The Families of Davies and Evans but then this was compiled at least a century after the event and memories can become unreliable at that distance. I guess the story of a journey is of those who made it, not those who did not. These were unexpected conclusions, ones that did not seem to provide enough corroboration.
An exciting new tool available to the researcher is DNA. I had submitted a sample of mine to the Ancestry.com website some years ago and I was delighted to learn that a woman living in Oregon and whose name was included in the document The Families of Davies and Evans was a match to me. She was descended from David Davies and Mary Jenkins. This in my view validated my hunch which was further reinforced by another DNA match, also of a person in the The Families of Davies and Evans document. This distant cousin lived in Maryland but had been brought up in North Dakota and his mother had been born in Minnesota.
I have yet to unmask the identity of the kind soul who regularly provided my grandmother and her seven children with a much needed seasonal treat. My cousin in Anglesey believes he has an old postcard "somewhere" from someone who could have been called Betty and who could have posted the card from Florida.
Delving into one's family's roots and migrations can be frustrating and lonely, a sort of "minority sport" like poetry, something people know that they should enthuse over but just haven't got the time or the tools to comprehend the sheer weight of numbers that lead directly to them. I am glad to report that my family on the whole is receptive to my findings. My uncle revealed that in my great grandparents house in Caerwedros was a Black man money box. This uncomfortable cultural artefact was mass-produced in the USA and exported to Europe in the late 19th century. Could this have been another gift from our New World cousins?
I am pleased that many Americans hold dear their Welsh heritage. In my search I received crucial information and support from the Great Plains Welsh Heritage Centre in Whymore, Nebraska, the University of Minnesota in Mankato, and the Blue Earth Genealogical Society, Minnesota.
That long forgotten branch of my family had many adventures and were among the earliest settlers in what was to become the state of Minnesota. I will watch movies featuring depictions of Sioux Indians somewhat differently in future. Reverend David Davies became Reverend Doctor David Davies and two of his sons and five of his grandsons also became Ministers of Religion. One of his Caerwedros great grandsons also followed in his footsteps, albeit unwittingly perhaps.
In Wales, at least, the land remembers. At the funeral, at the graveyard of the disused Pensarn Chapel on a bright summer day in 2017, of the last Davies cousin to live in the village, I lazily made conversation with one of the bearers, a local man I had not met before. I was amazed when he recognised what I told him about the ancestors of the cousin of mine he had just helped to inter, that they had emigrated from that village to Ohio in 1837. One hundred and eighty years later and the people still remember though the story had slipped from the consciousness of the affected family for a number of potential reasons: my grandparents left the village while their children still lived with them; my grandmother died at the age of 48; my great grandfather had been 20 years older than my great grandmother and as a result was not around to share the tale of the grandparents and uncles he had never met with very many of his family; in the rush and distractions of our continuing diaspora, we were in danger of forgetting who we were.
I was born in Cardigan, Wales and honoured to be so. I could so easily have been born in Lake Crystal, Minnesota and would have been equally honoured with that outcome.