Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Our Trip to England & Wales Part II

The next day we got up and had an authentic English breakfast. Brandon ordered the whole thing and it was HUGE! I'll be honest and say it's not my favorite thing to eat for breakfast, but it was good and VERY filling.
We spent the rest of the day doing family history research. We first went to Beddgelert (the dd has a "th" sound so it's pronounced Beth-gelert). It's about 10 minutes away from Prenteg. Beddgelert means Grave of Gelert. Gelert was a dog - if your interested in the story (it's kind of sad) you can read it here.

The town is a beautiful place. It has a quaint little bridge in the center of town and is right at the base of these pretty little hills.
Finding the parish church was fairly easy - it was just off a little side road near the center of town. When we got there it was locked so we just kind of looked at the headstones for a while.
Soon these nice people came and opened it for us and this one teenage girl acted as our tour guide and told us all about the history of the place.
She took us down to Gelert's grave. It was fun to see.
This town definitely had a lot of charm and won our hearts. Again we didn't find any of our ancestor's graves while we were there, but we were able to find a clue - we asked about the cemetery inscriptions for the headstones while we were there and were directed to the Gwynedd family history society which preserves all these records and publishes them in books. While we were there Brandon e-mailed the head of the society (isn't technology wonderful?) And we were able to meet with him later that day (but I'm getting ahead of myself now)...

After Beddgelert we went up to Llanllyfni about 20 minutes away (yep with the crazy ll sound). This is the one place I figured I'd be successful at locating some graves because it is the ancient parish home for the Eames family (which is not a very common name there). The town literally consists of this one main road with houses lining it with maybe 2 or 3 very short side roads.
It's kind of crazy how small these little parishes are. But there were 2 churches and 5 cemeteries! (We only actually found 3 of them). We found 3 of our ancestors buried near the church of St. Rhedyw. That was exciting.

While we were there this little old welsh lady stopped us and started speaking welsh at us. It was about 10 minutes into the conversation before she realized that we only spake English. It was kind of funny. She was cute and very friendly and nice. She didn't speak much English and it was hard to understand her.
For those of my family dying to know what I found at the cemetery - here's a couple of images of the graves that we found.
One of the other cemeteries that we found there was just outside of town. It was quite new and there were no graves of the dates we were looking for. Another cemetery was across the street from the other church and it looked really old. Unfortunately it was badly disintegrating and they locked the gate to protect it. We mad several inquiries to see if we could get inside, but no one knew who had the keys. We're hoping to be able to use the internet to find someone who is willing to search that cemetery for us. Here's a picture of it that I took by putting my camera inside the gate.

After that we went to a couple more parishes - Dolbenmaen and Penmorfa. The Church in Dolbenmaen was easy to find, but the one in Penmorfa was more hidden off on this road and we had to inquire to find it. Both Churches were locked and so we just went through the cemeteries. Didn't find anything helpful at those ones either.
Here's Dolbenmaen
Here's Penmorfa
After that we drove to Porthmadog - mostly just to see the town. We stopped at a beautiful church that we could see from the road. The pastor was there and he invited us in and talked with us quite a while. He found out that we were in the area doing family history research and he was very helpful and even gave us this book listing the history and pictures of many of the churches in that area.
I'll be perfectly honest and tell you now the real reason we went to Porthmadog - it's because it's right next to Criccieth and we had to go back there for more fish & chips for dinner :). We loved them just as much as the day before, if not more. This time there was a huge line of people waiting - we got there 15 minutes before they opened for their dinner fry time. We waited in line with everybody else and then once again enjoyed the delicious meal on the beach.

After that we went up to Caernarvon to meet with the director of the Gwynedd family history society that I mention earlier. He had e-mailed back and said he could meet us in Caernarvon at 8:00 p.m. Caernarvon was about 30 minutes from our hotel. We went early so we could be sure to find the place before we had to meet him. It was a good thing too cause it took us a while to find the place.

Most of the city of Caernarvon is built within the outer walls of the Caernarvon castle.
It's really neat and the bay is right on one side of the city.
Here's us pouring over the cemetery inscription books. He was very helpful and we learned a lot through our meeting with him. I'm glad it worked out for us to meet him.
He spent a long time with us so it was late by the time we got back.

And that's all for now...o be continued....

1 comment:

Sheriece said...

What a FUN adventure! :) I'm loving your pics!