PRICE-L ArchivesArchiver > PRICE > 2006-04 > 1144773373
Subject: Re: [PRICE] Looking for Prices Thanks to our Welsh
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 12:36:13 EDT
Our Welsh ancestors (bless them!) passed along their love for music, poetry,
drama and art, but they also cursed us with many common surnames and along
with the hard work of sorting out our families named Jones, Owen, Ellis, Price
According to J. N. Hook in Family Names: How Our Surnames Came to America, it
has been estimated that about nine-tenths of the Welsh population answer to a
total of a hundred names and that sometimes only a half-dozen names will be
shared by 20 or 30 families.
A number of Welsh names being with P which come form the Welsh way of
patronymics. That is, they said, "David ap Morgan ap Griffith ap Hugh ap Tudor ap
Rhice" — ap meaning "son of." The "a" in ap was often dropped, and that accounts
for the frequency of the surname starting with P. This how Hugh became Pugh;
Powell is from ap Howell, Pritchard from ap Richard, and Price from ap Rhys.
Surnames that end in just "s" rather than the -son suffix may indicate Welsh
ancestry even though the surnames sound English. Thus Williams and Roberts are
more likely to be Welsh than are the names Williamson and Robertson. Among
these types of surnames are: Rogers, Edwards, Phillips and Maddocks or Maddox.
The Welsh are descended from at least two distinct ethnic stocks — the tall
ruddy Celtic invaders of about 500 B. C. and the earlier "Iberians" (called
little black-haired people).
The first sizable emigration of the Welsh to America came in 1680-1720 and as
early as 1667 a congregation of Baptists from South Wales had founded Swansea
on the Plymouth-Rhode Island border. In 1681 a group of Welsh-Quaker
gentlemen obtained a tract of some 40,000 acres in Pennsylvania. By 1720 the Welsh
were settled in southeastern Pennsylvania and in Delaware. The middle of the 18th
Century saw the Welsh moving toward the Susquehanna frontier and into the
There was a mass emigration from Wales in the 19th Century. This was caused
by poor harvests in the old country in the 1790s. Many came to America to live
in the new industrial area with a few coming in organized parties.
There were Welsh settlements in Cambria County area of Pennsylvania in the
1790s; in Oneida and Lewis counties, New York; in several areas of Ohio; with
many of them moving on west to Wisconsin in the 1840s. Some went to both sides
of the Iowa- Minnesota border, northern Missouri or eastern Kansas in the 1860s
and 1870s, and finally many wound up in the Pacific Northwest in the 1880s
and 1890s. Utah also attracted many Welsh settlers due to the Mormons'
missionary work in Wales, 1840- 1870s.
Since many Welsh were skilled workers they found work in the iron-industry,
as coal miners, slate quarrymen or tin-platers. Some American employers
actively recruited in Wales. When a Welshman became a foreman or superintendent of a
mine or mill he could fill the best jobs by writing to a newspaper back home.
The immigration story of many Welsh families is similar to so many other
Europeans. Often the father came alone, obtained a job and then sent for the rest
of the family. In some cases the entire family made the journey. Often the men
returned to Wales for a bride. They typical immigrant farm family had six to
10 children, with the miner's family averaging about eight.
As early as 1839 there were some 46 Welsh churches in the United States, and
by 1872 there were nearly 400. You will probably find that your Welsh families
were Baptists, Wesleyan, Methodists, Calvanistics Methodists,
Congregationalists or Mormons.
Welsh was the native tongue of most of the 19th-Century immigrants. As late
as 1890 Welsh was still commonly spoken in the farming districts of certain
areas of Ohio. A Welsh-language press flourished in the United States for more
than a century with a dozen newspapers coming and going. The Drykch (Mirror) of
Utica, New York, which was formed in 1851, claiming a national circulation of
12,000 at its height. There were also a dozen Welsh literary magazines between
Two major Welsh characteristics are sentimentality — particularly a sentiment
attachment to yr hen wlad (the old country) — and a very extended family
relationship in which even the most distant relatives are known and the exact
relationships are known traced out in great detail, according to The Welsh in
Wisconsin, by Phillips G. Davies, which was published by the State Historical
Society of Wisconsin.
If your Welsh ancestors came in the 19th Century, they probably sailed from
Liverpool, England. In 1841 it was not uncommon for a trip to take three
months. However, sailing ships from Liverpool to New York normally took 20 days to
six weeks and steerage costs between three and five British pounds. Steamships
took from 10 to 15 days and third class cost eight pounds, eight shillings, or
approximately $33.00 (the pound then equalled to about $4, the shilling about
If your ancestors went to the upper Midwest in the upper Midwest in the
mid-19th Century, they probably landed in New York, took a steamboat to Albany,
then a railroad to Buffalo where they caught a boat which took them through the
Great Lakes to Racine, Wis. (Racine was one of the earliest Welsh urban
settlements in Wisconsin.)
There was a saying among the Welsh in America: "The first thing a Frenchman
does in a new country is to build a trading post, and American builds a city, a
German builds a beer hall, and a Welshman builds a church."
Churches were indeed central to the Welsh way of life and can be a great
source for genealogical information on Welsh families which will help while you
try to identify your Walters, Perkins, Rice, Evans and Jones ancestors.
Thanks to Genealogy Magazine