Monday, December 27, 2010

Tudor Trevor

My first encounter with the name Tudor Trevor was in the early 1990s in a reference titled: "Annals and Antiquities of The Counties and County Families of Wales", by Thomas Nicholas. It was first published London, 1872 and reprinted by the Genealogical Publishing Co., 1991. It has served me well in my Welsh genealogical research particularly for my surname JONES. There are at least 32 JONES families listed in the index. The JONES surname was connected to the TREVOR surname among several families, and this became the starting point for many of my tree climbing branches. Extensive information is given on several TREVOR family groups on pages 395-396, Vol.I; p. 411, Vol.I; pp. 415-416, Vol.I; pp. 456-457, Vol.I; and the most detailed connected to the surname JONES pp. 354-356, Vol.I. This reference started me on many adventures.

A second reference used frequently in my JONES family research was discovered on the self of a rare book store. It is entitled: "The General Armory of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales..." by Sir Bernard Burke. It was first published in 1884. The JONES surname is found on pp. 546-549, with 108 Jones families listed. On page 1035 is found:

"Tudor Trevor (Lord of Hereford, Whittington, and both Maelors; founder of the Tribe of the Marches, surnamed TREVOR, from the place of his birth, co. Denbigh, son of YNYR AP CADFORCH, Lord of Whittington and both Maelors, in Powys, by RHEINGAR, his wife, dau. and heir of LLUDDOCA AP CARADOC VREICHFRAS, Lord of Hereford, in South Wales."

Little did I know that after more than 20 years of genealogical research, this would be the source of my Y-chromosome. Much more to come.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Our Human Needs

Oxygen, water, food (sugars, fats, proteins), clothing, shelter, security, and social group, are all foundational to our human existence. The environment that surrounds one is often helpful or harmful in helping to provide for these basic human needs. This was especially true for our family's small piece of the world. The two previous posts have shown the water, and rocks which make up most of the environment in which our Jones family came to live. By itself, the weather would have changed around the priority for some of the items, making clothing and shelter perhaps more important. [During winter months especially!]

It has been estimated that about 5 hectares (a hectare is 2.47 acres) are needed to support one human. Of course this assumes the land can be planted or grazed upon. The map to the right shows roughly the land that might be best to live upon in our little part of the world. The water (ocean, lakes, rivers, and streams) would certainly provide a plentiful source of food and water. The land is another story. What parts could you farm or raise livestock upon? The geography appears to divide the land into regions that are separated by hills and mountains. There are four major land divisions that could support social groups (families). I have shown these by Roman numbers I, II, III, and IV. As family groups would increase in size, the demands on the land and sea would also increase. The families that gain control of the areas of "plenty" would have an advantage over others. As time would tell, these four geographic areas became the major settlement areas of our land.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Last Choice

Mountains, mountains, and more mountains seemed to form the character of the land. Surrounded by ocean (sea level) on three sides, the land quickly rises to over 600 feet. [see last post] Here billions of years ago, the first limestone, sandstone, and slate were formed. [Known as the Cambrian period which is thought to represent the earliest geologic period.]

The map to the right is my attempt to show the tallest mountain peaks and their geographic locations. The center of the compass is located approximately in the central Beacons. The highest peak is 2097 feet and in 1586 a writer named Camden called the Becons "Arthure's Hill". To the north shows the general distribution of the mountain peaks which slice the land into ridges, hollows, moors, lakes, forest and streams. The highest peak is Yr Wyddfa [Snowdon] which in the Welsh is Eryri meaning "abode of Eagles". Snowdonia refers to the whole group of mountain peaks that form a distinctive ridge which separates this part from the rest of the land. The mountain ridges run various directions, some north to south, some northeast to southwest, some east to west, producing a very narrow coastline and a quilt like pattern of land which could support farming and agriculture. You can certainly understand how the land provided areas that could be settled (family tribal groups) yet separated from one another by mountain ridges rather than by miles. You can also understand how this land might be the last choice in which to settle your family.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Straddling The Fence

From the passing of Vortigern around 480 AD, until the arrival of Tudor Trevor around 900 AD, there was a great deal of change in the home of our grandfathers. The Saxons by their military conquest and colonization, drove the Britons who did not want to comply into the highest parts of the island. The most western part of the island is shown in the picture to the right. The green areas roughly shows the land above 600 feet. This land then rose rapidly to peaks of 3560 feet in the northwest, following a central ridge to 2906 feet in the south central area. Surrounded by ocean on three sides, and two rivers on the other, this rock and water world became the home to our Jones family. The two rivers almost joined on the eastern side, but had a narrow land bridge which connected the more fertile plans to the east and the limestone ridges to the west. This land bridge became the battle ground for many during this 400 year period.

The Welsh language had its beginning during the years 500 AD - 600 AD. It became a distinctive branch of the Brythonic language tree separating from the Irish and Scottish tongues. Understanding the geography of the land helps one understand the multiple tribal divisions that occurred during this time period. This land produced a large number of isolated pockets of settlements which were able to survive among the rugged terrain. One of these tribal groups became our Jones family.

By 600 AD the Saxons were knocking on the door. They built their first fence called Watt's Dyke sometime during this period. It began at Oswestry Old Fort and extended north to provide a boundary and cattle fence. As time will tell, this fence straddles much of the land that became our Jones family land. As during the Roman occupation, our family must have maintained a trade business between the two cultures. We survived, and we must have managed to walk this fence.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Infamous Vortigern. What more can one say. Manuscripts published around the time that Tudor Trevor was born ca. 900 AD, continued the accounts of Vortigern. A Welsh manuscript translated by William Cooper contains more stories about grandfather Vortigern. This manuscript, written in Welsh, first sets the stage:

"And when Constantine was dead, there arose a great dispute amongst the nobles of the realm concerning the election of a new king. Some wished to have Ambrosius for their king, but others were swayed towards Uther, whilst yet others wished to make one of their own friends be king."

Constantine III was proclaimed emperor in Britain 407AD and led a revolt against central Rome authority. He ruled from Arles, and Britain revolts from his claims around 409AD. He falls 411AD, thus completely ending any Roman rule in Britain. It was after this year, that the "nobles of the realm" met to discuss what was to be done.

The manuscript continues:

"But at the last, when no agreement could be reached between them, there came Vortigern before them. And he was one of the elders of the land of Britain whose wisdom was deemed the highest."

As far as I know, this is the best words that any of the writers had to say about Vortigern. A wise elder of the land! From this point all else is down hill. Vortigern is given credit for setting up one of the sons of Constantine as the new king. He then gets the Picts to kill this new king because he (Vortigern) really wanted to be king himself. He then leaves the Picts to their own blame who get hung by those Britons who blame Vortigern. This action then excited the Picts to take vengeance upon the Britons, who then need the Saxons to help fight the Picts. When the Saxons succeed, the Britons then rebelled against the Saxons and Vortigern, led by the very sons of Vortigern. This throws Vortigern out of power, only to return after his eldest son is killed by poison from the hand of Vortigern's Saxon wife. The Saxons and Vortigern return to power, only to have the Saxons drive Vortigern to the western most part of the island...where the world ends!

Wow, sounds like one of those soap operas on afternoon T.V. At any rate, when Tudor born at a small hamlet called Trevor (Trefor) around 900 AD came into this world, you might understand how the family would not want to advertise that they were a direct descendant from this Benedict Arnold of the Welsh world!

The Welsh manuscript is called "Brut y Bryttaniait", "The Chronicle of the Early Britons". It is found at Jesus College MS LXI. An annotated translation is given by William R. Cooper MA, Phd, ThD. The story of Constantine III is given in the text by Peter Salway, "The Oxford Illustrated History of Roman Britain", starting p. 303.