Hay view from Castle

Hay view from Castle
Hay-on-Wye, Powys (formerly Breconshire), Wales. The "Town of Books" (and Vaughans!)

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Christmas Eve Services, Llanfoist, 1841

It isn't much, but another missionary journal from Elinor's era in Llanfoist tells us:

“My next appointment was at Llanfoist where I found a steady and attentive congregation. This is a dark and sootey place owing to the vast amount of coal and iron works here.” 

James Palmer Reminiscences, circa 1884-1898 LDS CHL MS 1752_f0001_00071. 

This source must be based on a contemporaneous journal as there are dates that would not be remembered unless recorded somehow. James Palmer occasionally traveled with Elder John Needham who baptized Elinor Jenkins Vaughan on 17 December 1841, just one week before the Christmas Eve meeting in Llanfoist. Elder Palmer also visited the Branch at Llanthony in the Black Mountains and was the first missionary to preach in Abersychan in June 1841, apparently without much success.

Elder Palmer is credited with the first recorded baptism in South Wales. His Reminiscences records that on either the 23rd or 30th of November, 1840, he baptized John Preece and William Williams in the River Monnow at Skenfrith, Monmouthshire. It just so happens that I took pics there on my visit last Good Friday, not knowing about this history (even though it's recorded in Truth Will Prevail: the Rise of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles 1837-1987 (University Press, Cambridge, UK 1987), p. 240, as well as the Reminiscences at p. 13.)

The River Monnow at Skenfrith, Monmouthshire, Wales. First baptisms in South Wales near here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The SS Nevada of the Guion Line, Liverpool to New York, 1886 and 1887

The SS Nevada of the Guion Line or the Liverpool and Great Western Steamship Co.
Oil painting presumed to be by James Douglas, in the Mariners' Museum, Newport News, Virginia

Sometimes, playing around on Google pays off. I found this image of an oil painting from the Mariners' Museum in Newport News, VA. It is the ship that brought my Great Grandfather George Robert Vaughan and his family to America in 1887. His father, Thomas, arrived a year earlier on the same ship.

The color and detail are so helpful. Note the two rows of portholes along the line of the hull just above the water line. One of those might have been opened during calm seas to get some fresh air to my infant Great Grandfather. The black smokestacks with the red stripe were distinctive of the Guion Line.

The ship had only one propeller which necessitated the sails in case the engine failed. Steamships were soon outfitted with two engines and screws for additional speed and if one system failed, there was another for backup rather than having to rely on the sails. This artistic representation is a bit fanciful as the sails were rarely used especially if the ship was at full steam as appears here.

The Nevada was built at Palmer's Shipbuilding & Iron Co., Jarrow-on-Tyne outside of Newcastle, England in 1868. That was the same year that Mormon emigrants began using steamships rather than the slower, less-expensive and soon outdated sailing ships. Steamships were coming into their own just as the transcontinental railroad was close to completion across the United States. Steamships and railroads greatly facilitated and expedited the journey from England to Utah. The Guion line became the preferred company for organized Mormon emigrant passage because of the favorable treatment and reduced fairs arranged between the Guion agents in Liverpool and the Church leaders of the British Mission. The Mormons were organized and orderly passengers generally respected by the captains.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Old Postcard of Alexandra Dock


This undated postcard photo of the Alexandra Dock, Liverpool, is probably from the early 20th Century. The ships look like freighters with their derrick booms for loading cargo and no masts. The buildings around the docks appear to be old enough to have been there in the 1880s. Alexandra Dock was built in 1881.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Meet me at Alexandra Dock No. 3 on Saturday!

This just might work. If only it were Saturday, May 22, 1886, in Liverpool!

Ever the one to want to stand in exactly the same place where my ancestors have stood and to lead others to their ancestral spots, I had to know where the actual dock was where my Great-Great-Grandfather boarded the S.S. Nevada to come to America.

The Mormon Migration database is a great resource to find immigrant ancestors who came from Europe from the 1840s through the early 1900s. The Mormon immigrants were well organized by the British Mission with transport arranged at the lowest fares. The ships are documented with passenger lists and departure dates from Liverpool, England which saw no less than 1,695 Mormon emigrant ship sailings!

On my recent trip with Mormon Heritage Association, I found the Liverpool docks fascinating. Liverpool is on the Mersey Estuary with tides from the Irish Sea. The docks are not what I was used to in US harbors with piers sticking out into Elliott Bay (Seattle), San Francisco Bay, or the New York Harbor. Liverpool docks are more like rectangular pools of water separated from the Mersey by locks and short canals. As a tidal river, the Mersey mud is exposed at low tide. At high tide, the locks can be open and the ships enter and depart through the canals in or out of the various rectangular docks. "Sailing with the tide" now makes a lot more sense.

Canning Dock in the very nice public space of the Liverpool Waterfront.
The Mersey at low tide with mud exposed outside the docks.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

A Visit to the Vaughan Home in Cusop, Church Cottage

Skipping dinner was no sacrifice for me. I had a car hire for just a few days. There was no gap in the tour schedule, so I just took off when I could. We were already in Merthyr, so I just headed over the Beacons past Brecon and on to the Wye, up the backside of Hay, and into Cusop Village.

The Cusop History Group had already provided some good evidence of the location of Cusop Green and the only house there in the 1830s is the only house there now, Church Cottage, across from the lower corner of St. Mary's churchyard. This is very likely where John and Elinor Vaughan lived in the 1810s-1820s. Several of their children were likely born there. Possibly, that included John Vaughan (1825) in my direct line of fathers' fathers.

Church Cottage, Cusop Green, Cusop, Herefordshire

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Isabella Bowman and Thomas Vaughan Connections in County Durham, England

Please note "5-mile" scale in key. This area is not large.
So I've been researching a bunch of ancestral sites for people going on our tour in a couple of weeks. I realized there is still a lot more work to be done for our own people.

Still kicking myself for not going north with my Aunt and Dad's Cousin in 2010, I will try to get there next summer. In the meanwhile, I am tracing Thomas and Isabella Vaughan who joined with the LDS Church in Stockton, County Durham in the early 1880s leaving for America in 1886 and 1887 respectively.

The 1871 Census finds Thomas still in South Wales working in his father's profession as a puddler in the ironworks of Abersychan. His first appearance is his marriage to Isabella Bowman in the Register Office, not a church, in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, England on the Third of August, 1875. They both gave their residence as Blue Row, which I assume was their first home. Sadly, Blue Row no longer exists. I did find an old picture of what it looked like:

Blue Row, South of Bishop Auckland, 1950s (from Facebook page on Bishop Auckland History)

Friday, June 1, 2018

An Apostle's Family Forged in Welsh Iron

Albert Ernest Bowen (1875-1953). LDS Apostle 1937.
Albert E. Bowen is not one of the big names in LDS Church leadership. He was a serious-minded, hard-working man. He appears to be best remembered and quoted in LDS General Conference for his teachings on Self-Reliance and the Church Welfare Program. He wrote a booklet entitled "Constancy Amid Change" that was updated in the 1980s as well as authoring a Sunday School course of study, "The Church Welfare Plan."

One of the more recent General Conference quotes attributed to Elder Bowen was in an address by Elder J. Thomas Fyans in 1982:
The only way the Church can stand independent is for its members to stand independent, for the Church IS its members. It is not possible to conceive of an independent Church made up of dependent members—members who are under the inescapable obligation of dependency. The Lord must want and intend that His people shall be free of constraint whether enforceable or only arising out of the bindings of conscience. It is not believed that any person or people can live from gratuities—rely upon them for means of subsistence and remain wholly free in thought, motive and action. History seems to record no such instance. That is why the Church is concerned that its members, who have physical and mental capacity to do so, shall render service commensurate with their capacities for aid extended. That is why the Church is not satisfied with any system which leaves able people permanently dependent, and insists, on the contrary, that the true function and office of giving is to help people into a position where they can help themselves and thus be free.
Elder Bowen knew a lot about self-reliance. Born on a farm near Samaria, Idaho, he worked hard in his youth. He spent a harsh winter with a brother homesteading a parcel of land in Star Valley, Wyoming. His mother, Annie Shackelton Bowen (1840-1929) shared her love of books and learning and Albert did well in school, served a mission in Switzerland and Germany, and studied law at the University of Chicago. He excelled in the practice of law and business in Cache Valley and Salt Lake City, Utah. He was called to be an Apostle by President Heber J. Grant in 1937.

What interests me is that his father was David Bowen (1837-1910), born in Blaenavon, Monmouthshire, Wales. He traveled to Utah in the Ellsworth Handcart Company in 1856 along with my 4th Great Grandmother, Eleanor Jenkins Vaughan (1789-1861). The Bowens and Vaughans must have known each other.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Traveling the Seminoe Cutoff on the Overland Trail to South Pass

The Wyoming State Historical Preservation Office (WSHPO, pronounced "Wyoming Shipo") and historians with the LDS Church interpreting the Devil's Gate/Martin's Cove area on the Overland Trail in Wyoming, have established that it was Charles (1812-1865), not his brother Basil LeJeunesse (1814-1846), who was known as "Seminoe" and established the fort at Devil's Gate.

These brothers were amazing as most Mountain Men were. They all knew each other; Basil traveling with Kit Carson and John C. Fremont's mapping expeditions. Basil was killed by Modocs at Klamath Lake. Charles abandoned his post at Devil's Gate in 1855 due to troubles with the Cheyennes. Cheyennes killed Charles in 1865 at Clark's Fork, Yellowstone. His half-Shoshone sons took their vengence by killing Cheyenne Chief, High Backed Wolf.

Generally aware of the Handcart stories, I knew there was a ramshackle trading post at Devil's Gate that served as a shelter in the miserable winter of 1856-57 for those guarding the freight emptied from the wagons to carry some of the handcart pioneers of the Willie and Martin companies to Salt Lake City. In the past couple of years, I also became aware that the earlier and more successful handcart companies of that year took the Seminoe Cutoff. It was only two weeks ago that I managed to put the two together to understand it was this "Seminoe" guy who explored the cutoff that saved some trouble for my handcart ancestors and had established the fort/trading post at Devil's Gate.

A portion of the archeological site with the reconstructed fort right next to it. And Devil's Gate behind.
Looking up the Sweetwater Valley from the original site of Seminoe's Fort. Martin's Cove is to the right.
Split Rock can be seen in the far distance.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Likely Vaughan House in Cusop

Forget the Thirty Acres!

Church Cottage, across the road and Cusop Green from St. Mary's Church, Cusop, Herefordshire
The Google view from the other direction. St. Mary's Church is on the right. The church car park is right behind this view.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Cymru, March 2018 XVII, The Final Adventure

This is the last post on my recent trip. I returned with a few good books for me to continue the intellectual adventures. One was a great survey of politics, social life, religion, and war (of course) in Medieval Wales:

A good read!
Reading along, I came across a person named Rhys Gryg. I said to myself, "I know that guy!" Well, at least I discovered his castle. And I'm getting ahead of myself in this story.

My old college professor and again my mentor for new adventures in historical travel sent me an email while I was still in Wales. He wanted help in finding a location of an ancestral farm of one of the individuals signed up for our Wales/Scotland tour coming up in August. It was in Carmarthenshire.

Great! I hadn't yet been to Carmarthen, the city of Merlin ("Caer Merddyn" in Welsh meaning "Merlin's Fort or Castle") It would be easy to swing by the town after I found the farm.

And I did find it way up on the highlands above Carmarthen. 

My question is: How did Mormon Missionaries ever find this place in the 1840s?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Cymru, March 2018 XVI, We're Still Here!

It rained and I didn't care. There was more to see and do, especially the Good Friday "fireside" at the Merthyr Stake Center. Until that evening, I was off schedule with much to do.

Starting at the Valley of the Rhiangoll, or Cwmdu, just above Tretower, I needed to stop and photograph the standing stone. There is one in the middle of that valley that I could never see because it forms part of a hedgerow and is covered in greenery during the summer. I thought I had seen it as I drove by on the narrow highway up that valley. At Tretower they told me I should just stop at a farm gate and walk along the highway to take photos.

It actually worked. Even on that narrow highway, the fast drivers slow down for pedestrians. There isn't much shoulder to walk on, less to park on, but I did find a farm gate and parked only halfway in a ditch. And I got it!

Well over two meters, it is higher and produces that bump in the hedgerow to look for.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Cymru, March 2018 XV, Hereford Weeps

Even if I was in Herefordshire for the day, I was still staying in Wales so it counts. And I found wonderful things in Hereford Archives and Records Centre (HARC)!

After exhausting my known sources, I sat on the banks of the Wye and had a late picnic lunch. This was the view:


Then I walked past and back over the old bridge


I wanted to see the Mappa Mundi and chained library. But they were closed as there was to be a funeral service.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Cymru, March 2018 XIV, Brecon Midst the Beacons

It rained hard that morning. As I still had a spot reserved at Powys Archives. After taking some pictures of where I thought my ancestor's flax fields might have been, I went back to check the indices and browse through the books on the shelves. Not having had enough time to digest what I had already found, I headed off to Brecon.

Pen y Fan, I believe, the highest peak in the Brecon Beacons.
Brecon is the old county town and I hadn't yet been and I needed to go. Unfortunately, the Brecon Museum is undergoing extensive renovations and is not open at present. I was still able to get a feel for the medieval city.


Aberhonddu

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Cymru, March 2018 Xiii, Powys Records Office and Our Last Prince

The early walk around Talgarth gave me a morning rainbow which is always a good sign.


Then it was off to Llandrindod Wells, Wales (they really need to work on some of these names) for Powys Records Office!

A new facility since my last visit.
 They were waiting for me and were so very kind and helpful. And as I blogged here and here, I found what I came for. There's more to do now, of course, which will necessitate a return. Such is the nature of research.

Cymru, March 2018 XII, Aberystwyth and Men of Harlech

"Aberystwyth" rolls off the tongue with just a bit of Cymraeg training. And it has been a running gag like "Basingstoke" since Shakespeare, but with fewer roundabouts.

And no joke, it is one of the most gorgeous settings for a national library!


Yeah, Aberystwyth! Who's laughing now?
There was a great tour of the facility. Cymraeg was on every tongue. And they helped me find the one document my Mentor had tasked me with. So, it was a great success and done by lunchtime. This August I'll be back for more time in the town, the sea, and hopefully, the library.

Now to Harlech.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Cymru, March 2018 XI, Merthyr's Satanic Mills and Talgarth's Witch's Pool

It really was a blessed day. Imagine what at week of Spring does to the Merthyr Tydfil Stake Center.

Merthyr's Daffodils were just a little beaten down by the blizzard.
Church was great. They were on a theme of Palm Sunday. The Bishop announced the annual sing-fest with the Dowlais Men's Choir on Good Friday. Whoa! My plans changed so I could be there.

After church, I had a sandwich and some snacks with me. I wanted to find the remnants of the old iron forges that were supposed to be just below the chapel. I found them right behind the chapel!

The evil Cafarthfa Ironworks remain a black slash across the landscape.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

They Possibly Lived at Bryn

Using a different mapping system for the same area of the lands likely leased by Roger Vaughan (1734-1797) to grow flax, I found a cottage name: Bryn.



It is a simple name meaning "hill." The hill would be Pipton Hill with its wood on top where the Wye River comes close right in the area of Bryn Cottage and the field that was occupied by a John Jones on the 1840s tithe maps of Wales.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Yes, the day after Easter is a bank holiday making this a big weekend in the UK. Many of the Sacsens were like, "Oh, la-dee-dah, let's go to Wales, Dear! I hear it's so quaint. They even have books now!" So they all pile into their Rolls or Auston Martins or whatever and drive on over to Hay-on-Wye, the Town of Books.

Ha! They don't even know where to park for free.

I KNOW!
I apologize profusely to my many English friends and ancestors. But I do know where to park in Hay. I also know where to use the loo without paying 20p. And if you have to pay, put your 20p in the handicapped or gender-free loos because they are much cleaner and actually function.

Cymru, March 2018 X, the Long and Golden Valleys

Up early in the bright day before the time changed to daylight savings or whatever they call it here, I took a walk out from my new digs in the attic of the Castle Hotel, Talgarth, to visit neighboring Bronllys Castle. Held briefly by the Vaughans in the 15th Century, it is one of the classic, round keeps of the Southern Welsh borders (think Tretower). It was locked when I arrived but soon the keeper of the keys came. I told her that I would report her favorably to the lord. I meant the lord of the castle. She said she wouldn't presume to take St. Peter's job. Oops. Wrong Lord.

Bronllys (Hill Court) still to be revealed beyond a field of daffodils.
The gates are open! Castle exploring requires good stair exercise.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Cymru 2018, April 1 EASTER Edition


We're skipping a bit and I'll catch up. It's just that Easter is worth something on its own and out of sequence.

The sky was blue and bright this morning. Then the sun came over the Black Mountains (Y Mynyddeodd Duon). It was time to get up there. Originally, I had planned to go up on the Equinox and mark the shadow of our little standing stone. I was wise about the weather that day and stayed on lower ground. This bright morning, the shadow is still pretty close to due West, but then every shadow is, of course, with the sunrise. The question is, did our Neolithic ancestors know and mark that? You will see there is a rock on which the shadow falls. It is likely the standing stone was set straighter a few thousand years ago and most of the stones of the circle are missing, so who knows?

Still, the mountains were glorious!

Penybegwm (Pen-y-Beacon or Hay Bluff) on the left, Twmpa (Lord Hereford's Knob) on the right.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Hannah Vaughan lived in Cusop!

St. Mary's, Cusop, Herefordshire, with daffodils and yews.
The new Hereford Archives and Records Center (HARC) is an excellent facility! In ease of use and space, it surpasses the LDS Church History Library. And . . . they let you handle original documents! It was busy yesterday morning with a dozen or so patrons. And everything ran like clockwork in the new, suburban setting with large windows looking out into the woods.

Every archive has its own rules and style. HARC was much more efficient than any I have used to date. I have to say, though, that Powys's new facility is also very good, its staff most friendly and helpful, but it is much smaller. And Gwent Archives in Ebbw Vale still has my heart because the service there was the most personal and friendly. But that's the Valleys, it is.

The National Library in Aberystwyth is also very good and very professional. They also gave me some personalized assistance in the one task I was after. I now need to go back which I will do in August. But it is an intimidatingly formal place with its huge, stately appearance up on the hill with the fantastic view looking out over the town to the Sea.

They are all wonderful archives, even CHL. And I appreciate them all. But it was at HARC yesterday that I found Hannah again. And the Holy Yew continues to call.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Possible Discoveries: Roger Vaughan (1734-1797) and Fields of Flax

Leaving aside my Itinerary through Wales for a bit, let me explain what I have discovered so far on the possible area where Roger Vaughan grew flax in the area of Glasbury, Wales according to his petition for a bounty.

I apologize if my panic spread to my wonderful collaborators back in the States. I was frustrated that the document I long believed was in the archives actually was and did not give any field names. We have field names on the tithe maps of Wales now digitized.


So let's pause for a moment and see what this document does tell us. First off, our Roger is identified as a yeoman. That means he was a property holder and a leasehold would be adequate property at a basic value.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Cymru, March 2018 IX, The Vaughans are Back in Town!

Friday was the day I left the lonely bunkhouse for the last time. It had been interesting and most convenient to be the only one there the last couple of days. I headed deeper into the homelands of ancient Brycheiniog and moved into my new place high up in the garret of the Castle Inn, Talgarth.

First, I had to go to Hay to do some laundry as the coin-op is our second home-away-from-home (the first being the Waitrose in Llanfoist.) And even before that, I'm cruising up the mountains and realize it was almost 10 a.m. and I was almost at Tretower when it was to open. I couldn't help but stop. As I have posted before on our ancient home (here and here), I will only post pics that also have daffodils in them.


Cymru, March 2018 VIII, St Fagans, Tredegar House, and Newport

St. Fagans National Museum of History is the BEST living history place I have seen. This is the Place in SLC is really good, but St Fagans is free for starters. I had to go because the new main museum building is finished and they have new exhibits. Oh, and I had to buy the best bara brith my wife and I ever found. Initially disappointed that the fancy new entry building with very nice loos did not have any historical artifact exhibits, I was reconverted when I got to the new Iron Age House (well, the Iron Age isn't new). 


Friday, March 23, 2018

Cymru, March 2018 VII, Glorious Ganddyrys, Tearful Tredegar Town

Even though I have been to Garnddyrys before, even been by several times, I had to go back. I needed photos of Garnddyrys Row where a 4th-Great-Grandmother had lived and died in 1861. Garnddyrys is an important part of the Blaenavon World Heritage Site because while it was abandoned in the 1860s and much of the equipment and even stonework re-used elsewhere, the footprint of the industrial forges and housing is just as it was back then.

If these stones could speak!


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Cymru, March 2018 VI, Parking Problems, Tredegar Town

The day dawn is breaking and I don't need to go out hiking in the cold again. So I'll try to catch up a little.

Two days ago, the first day of Spring, started out so beautiful! I walked up to the "main" road to scout out the snow. I wasn't going to get out any time early. I waited until 11 a.m. and all was sufficiently melted.


But the views!
The Usk Valley curves from the left to the right.
The far valley is the Rhiangoll or Cwmdu and I think the peak in the distance, right, is Twmpa above Blaendigeddi Fawr.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Cymru, March 2018 V, Gwent Archives and Mountains

Merthyr has a really big Tesco Superstore. Failing the directions of the nice lady on my phone, I made a stop to take pictures of St. Tydfil's old parish church. It's not really as old as St. Tydfil, but it is the current in a series of Christian Churches hopefully built on the site where she was martyred, hence "Merthyr Tydfil."

Tydfil was a daughter (or granddaughter) of Brychan Brycheiniog (This all ties together).
And there's this really cool monument that I had to search to find out that it is a fancy Edwardian fountain commissioned by Lord Merthyr Sir W.T.Lewis in honor of coal barons or something. So I'm glad I didn't drink from it as it was probably frozen anyway.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Cymru, March 2018 IV, Dreaming of a Merry Merthyr

The snow wasn't that deep on the road and the Merthyr Road, just down the block was pretty clear. I figured I could make it just fine.

My Fiat in front of Ty Pinc already brushed off and ready to go! The Blorenge rises to the storm.
Someday, the Heads of the Valleys divided carriage-way is going to make a very fine road. That day is not yet. The multi-year construction did not lead me on a wild detour like it did in 2016. It was easier to navigate going more slowly in the snow and with very little traffic.

It was also fortunate that I had practiced the route a bit on Google Earth. I hadn't realized until then that it goes up the Clydach Gorge as it enters the Brecon Beacons National Park. All I had to do was follow the extra roundabouts as it guided you on and off the new road and much of it was against oncoming traffic on just half of the new road. I've got the feel for the left side down pretty well. There would be pictures if I could have stopped.

The snow started to blow across the road as we got up to a sign that read, "Pwynt Uchaf," the highest point. I got that right off even if the English translation was below it. And my little Fiat kept on going, no problem at all. Avoiding all the tricky exits and roundabouts, I began to doubt after the first Merthyr exit. We came this way several times in 2016, but things do look different in the snow.

Trip to Wales, March 2018 III, Blorenge Rhymes with Snow Range

 Cold is colder in a humid climate. Oh, yeah. And the wind helps cool it down. And an old house heated by radiators too.

It only got just below freezing and there wasn't much snow except for wet little clumps. The mountains were pure and white.

The Blorenge from Abergavenny, out my back garden.
The excitement of visiting Grandma Elinor's likely baptism site on the Brecon & Monmouthshire Canal motivated me to go out in the cold. I wore my wool socks over some Nike comfort socks.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Trip to Wales, March 2018, Day II, Abergavenny, Blaenavon, and Llanfoist


There was time for a nap this afternoon as I felt so much contentment from having achieved my main purpose. It wasn't just visiting the replacement headstone we had put up, but I cleaned it and planted daffodils too.

There remains one more thing on my to-do list in Llanfoist. We'll see if tomorrow works out. It may just be perfect! Otherwise, I would stay in bed. (Check the weather forecast.)

At four o'clock, GMT, I seemed awake enough to call my wife at home. I then went back to bed and slept two more hours arising with the dawn and discovering the key to the back garden in this little place I'm staying for the first weekend. Out in the garden (backyard), I found the postcard pic for the Blorenge, the mountain that begins the Welsh Industrial Valleys to the West.

Trip to Wales, March 2018, Day I: Raglan and Llanfoist

The plane wasn't bad but a good night's sleep is out of the question which helps in a way because I'm so tired I will sleep all night. It's dark here now at 2 p.m. back home. And I have to wait until at least 10 to have a chance to sleep until the sun comes up.

I wandered the streets of Avergavenny tonight and will have to go back with my camera in the daylight having found the "town house" of the Vaughan's of Tretower. It's really something, but I don't want to oversell. I had to buy another Cadbury and asked for change in coin which seemed like the right way to phrase it as the Tesco checker gave pound coins. They are a necessity here for parking in some places and many other uses. Oh yeah, I found where Tesco is in Abergavenny. It's just a small grocery one.

I had to stop at Raglan to buy my Senior Cadw (Welsh Heritage) Pass. I can't even get the Park Service's Golden Eagle yet, but I'm good here! I only have to visit three sites to break even and I can cover that. And, I'll be back in August!

So the first pics are at Raglan looking for those new angles. And they are there:

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Isabella Bowman Vaughn's Testimony

They must have liked the hymn "How Firm a Foundation" in the Ogden Third Ward Relief Society. They appear to have sung it at least every other meeting.

My 2nd-Great Grandmother, "Sr. Isabella Baun was sustained into [their] society" on 1 August 1888, a year after her arrival from England. In those days, it wasn't automatic that LDS ladies would be members of the Relief Society. You had to join and apparently be "sustained" regardless of whether the secretary could spell your name.

The Ogden Third Ward had a meeting house on the Tabernacle square, but the Relief Society often met in the "vestry of the tabernacle." That was a grand building indeed!

Ogden Tabernacle, on the block where the Temple is today.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Y-DNA Is In!

And, my fathers' fathers do appear to be Welsh. Remember, Y-DNA only traces the direct, male line.


DNA doesn't lie.

Which brings us to the next problem. . . .