Family Trees and the Griffiths Family
Researching one’s family history has become a popular pastime, especially as there have been many television programmes about celebrities tracing their ‘family trees’. Over the years, the History Group has had many requests for help, tracing family ancestors from the Parish. Few people realise how difficult this can be. Imagine a typical family in the 1800’s with 8+ children. Now assume that many of these survive to have 8+ children of their own. Now, you may have 60+ names to search for in the Baptismal, Marriage and Death, Parish records. Many of the earlier records reveal names only and it is only in the later ones that you find addresses and occupations to help the search. Factor in all of the common Welsh surnames and names which have been reversed and you can appreciate the difficulty.
Many of the requests for help have inevitably led to at least one member of the family belonging to the Griffiths ‘clan’. From Sharon Meek, a contributor to this magazine and a descendant of the Griffith family, we had already discovered William and Eleanor Griffiths living at Blaenig in the 1800’s, where William worked as the Talley Blacksmith. William’s grandfather was Tomos Lewis, the man who wrote the famous hymn, ‘ Wrth gofio’i riddfannau’n yr ardd’. They had 8 children and one of their daughters, Elizabeth Griffiths married another Griffiths called John. John’s father was a farmer called David Griffiths. David could have been a grandson of Thomas Griffiths, Trewern, from whom Annie Griffiths of Cwmdu Inn was descended but we have not yet confirmed this. John and Elizabeth lived in Alma Cottage before moving to The Edwinsford Arms, which their children took over, on the death of Elizabeth in 1898. You can find more information about this family in an article we wrote in Issue 39 of Y Llychau.
Our most recent enquiry was from a descendant of another of William and Eleanor’s daughters, Mary, who married into the Phillip’s family at Ffoslas. Her husband, David, was the son of Thomas Phillips who had 3 wives and 16 children, whose descendants spread throughout Wales, East Anglia and New Zealand. Like his father, David was the Relieving Officer of the parish, whose job was to keep the rates down and pursue those responsible for the upkeep of children and aged parents. They lived at Llangwm and had 3 daughters, one of whom was Susan Catherine, the grandmother of the enquirer. Further information about the Phillips family can be found in Kate Arblaster’s book ‘Walking through Time’ copies of which are available in Cwmdu shop. In this book, Kate wrote about another member of the Griffiths family, who had also married into the Phillips family. She was Anne Griffiths, Penrhiwgeingen (the sister of J.P. Griffiths of Cwmdu Inn) who married William, the fifteenth child of Thomas Phillips in 1891. Unfortunately Anne’s only child, also called Anne, died in childbirth and Anne herself died 3 years later in 1932. According to Kate, William made an arrangement with the Davies family from Bwchyrhyd, Talley that they should buy his farm at an advantageous price in return for looking after him for the rest of his life’. She wondered if this arrangement proved to be beneficial to both parties. Incidentally, the grandmother of Jack, Tom and Benji Thomas of Cwmdu was Elizabeth Davies, Bwchyrhyd, who married Benjamin Griffiths, another brother of J.P., Cwmdu Inn.
Daniel Griffiths, an Uncle of J.P., was the grandfather of Dr.T Gwynfor Griffiths, who wrote about him in an article for Y Lllychau (Issue 4). T Gwynfor wrote that Daniel was a Baptist Minister and Farmer living in Llety Einon, Cwmdu. He and his first wife, Elizabeth, had no children but after she had died, he married Mary, who bore him five children, the fourth of whom was the writer’s father, William Rees. Daniel lived in the period of temperance in Wales and T Gwynfor wrote that he found the following Welsh entry in an accounts book. Translated it said, “September 12.1873. The last drop unless medicinally required, the Lord my witness Daniel Griffith”.
There are many more Griffiths’ families recorded in the parish registers but it is not easy to clarify which ones are related. To make it easier, we have begun recording the extensive family trees on a sheet of wallpaper showing all of the links between the different families. As the Griffiths married into the Phillips, Morgan, Price, Jenkins, Jones and Thomas families amongst others, this ‘sheet’ will be very long when finished. The history group would be very grateful for any additional information about the Griffiths’ family, which would extend our knowledge of this family and others.
Pat Edwards (with much help from Kate Arblaster).
Pat can be contacted by E mail – history03@my postoffice.co.uk or by phone, 01558 685779.
The Talley Parish History Group has a small number of photographs, relating to both World Wars, which we intend to display at an exhibition, later this year. We would be very grateful to anyone who would let us scan any military photographs they may have, and also help in identifying the local people pictured, in the photograph copies we already have. We hold regular sessions in the Cwmdu Inn on the first Saturday of each month (between 10 and 12) but can arrange other times, if more convenient. Please telephone, 01558 685779 to speak to Pat.
The group was established in 2003 in order to research the history of the parish and create a digital archive as an on going record of the cultural heritage of the parish. The archive consists largely of photographs and documents with attached text and oral reminiscences.
As a community project, all gathered information will, in the future, be added to the People’s Collection, Wales. Two photographs from our archive have been added already and the group are currently working on a system to upload the remaining 500 in one action. The website to view the Talley and Cwmdu items go to Peoples collection wales.
The group consists of a general membership and an elected Management Committee membership. Currently the Secretary is Celia Parsons and Treasurer and Archivist is Pat Edwards.
Exhibitions and talks are held during the year and the AGM is held in March. We have also started running a drop in session, between 10.00 and 12.00, on the first Saturday of the month, in the Cwmdu Inn. Everyone is welcome to come along to view the archive and/or to bring along material which can be scanned and added.
Anyone interested in joining the group can ring Pat on 01558 685779. Should you like to view the archive at any other time, please call Pat.