A visit into the past: Day 6 - Ponty, Merthyr and Tredegar

For the last morning of our trip - a blustery morning with torrential showers falling as 'Storm Debi' blew across Wales - we travelled up the Rhondda valley to Pontypridd, a town that ties together the various threads of my paternal family tree. The famous old bridge in Pontypridd William Rees from Llansaint and Margaret Williams from Llansawel A marriage certificate that I have just tracked down shows that William and Margaret (already a widow) were married in Merthyr Tydfil in 1843. Whether they had first met in Carmarthenshire, or after they had migrated over to the Valleys, isn't clear. By 1851, William the 'Cabinet Maker' and his family had moved down the Rhondda valley to live in Pontypridd, and this is where my great-grandmother Sarah Jane Rees was born in 1852.   The town was still fairly small in the 1850s but was starting to grow rapidly . In the town museum, at the end of the old bridge, we found a model of the area of the town where William, Margaret and

A visit into the past: Day 5 - the Vicar of Griffithstown

Today’s trip to Newport and Griffithstown (outside Pontypool) was more of an afterthought, intended only to have a quick look at the places where my grandfather, Thomas Powell Davies, became a curate and then a vicar (an unexpected 'career path' for someone with such uncertain and humble origins ). Once again, the day turned out to turn up far more ancestry insights than we had ever expected. The picture of 'TPD' that used to hang in my parents' home We started by parking outside St. Woolo's in Newport where clerical records show he became curate soon after his ordination in 1918. Flowers had recently been lain outside the cathedral on  the anniversary of the death of over twenty Chartists, shot dead by troops in the town in November 1839. Outside St. Woolo's We walked the short distance to the house in York Place where the 1921 census shows the Powell-Davies family lived, including my own father, then aged just 10. 56 York Place, Newport  We then drove to f