Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Dolgellau & Machynlleth


DSC04012Yesterday I drove from London to Wigan (to collect mail, and allow Bondi to visit vet for rabies and glucosamine shots) and then onto Dolgellau in North Wales. There I picked up the thread of family tree research from where I left it 6 months ago. On my prior visit the Dolgellau archives were packed up for moving to new premises adjoining the library.

This morning I rolled up to the archives and began trawling the birth and marriage records for new information on my great-great-grandfather Ellis Williams and his 5 children. Almost all of the detail that I have on them so far is drawn from census, birth, wedding, and death records. My goals are to identify Ellis’ birth information (including parentage) and any marriage records for his children – notably my great-grandfather Griffith’s 4 siblings.
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I spent about an hour going through parish birth records from the 1840s and marriage records from the 1880s-1950s with out turning up a single familiar name. The archivist said this probably meant that my ancestors were chapel rather than church and that I would have to go back to the county records office to see these segregated records.

That records office is only open 10-12 each day, so I sped over there and got handed around a bit due to the registrars’ prior engagements, and finally had to make a time for tomorrow. The main archives office is closed that day, so it’s lucky I’d allocated 3 days to bounce between records offices during the windows of time available to the public.
We drove down to Machynlleth for the afternoon, remembering that it was a particularly beautiful drive and at the end was a pleasant wholefood café to relieve me from the mainly stodgy Dolgellau café-fare. I also revisited the Museum of Modern Art, Wales gallery Y Tabernacl, which had an impressive collection before and didn’t disappoint this time. I particularly admired the pastel life-studies by Mihangel Jones.
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On the way back to Dolgellau, I turned off the road at Corris ( a link to Aussie author Peter Corris? ) to see some more of the Dulas and Dyfy valleys. I drove for about 40 minutes towards Aberangell, through some gorgeous countryside, supersaturated green overlaid with rouge and ochre scabs of dead bracken. Against the grey sky, some stands of red trees seemed to have pulled the blue from the sky to knit themselves a scarf of purple. Magic stuff.

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Before reaching the A470 again at Aberangell, pheasants began to invade the narrow lane, continually darting across the road just ahead of the car. Bondi found all of this wildly entertaining.
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