Who do you think you are?

I put on my genealogist hat this afternoon and went for an adventure to the land adjacent to Albion; home of the red dragon; Torchwood headquarters… known to the rest of the world as the country of Wales.

I know I’ve got Welsh blood because my beautiful nan was born and raised there and she rests peacefully with her parents on a hill above Maesteg. Growing up I knew my great-grandfather was a coal miner and almost every Welsh cousin since has taken on the job so I figured hey I must come from a long line of coal miners… cool. Until, dad mentioned that his grandfather actually came from Ffestinog – a slate mining town near Snowdonia in the north. So I took a deep breath, and began the search…

And after an afternoon tapping away at ancestry.co.uk from my desk in Melbourne, Australia I traced our line back a couple generations:


Between 1881 – 1901 they seem to be around Glynillfon Street, Bleanu Ffestiniog which is interesting since the street itself dates from the 1870s – I wonder if they were the first residents there? Robert Snr (1843 – ?) and Robert Jnr (1863 – 1932) are both listed as Slate Quarryman so it is only natural to assume they must have worked in the nearby quarries.

Here are the names of a few…

– Lord Quarry

– Fotty Quarry

– Maenoffren Quarry

– Welsh State Company Quarry

– Hollands Quarry

– Llechwedd Quarry

The street names and the quarry themselves seem to be namesakes for the farms that once worked the land. History & progress hand in hand. It’s quite an interesting afternoon of reading and researching.

When I sit down to this family history stuff I usually have a question in mind – today’s journey seemed to spark more questions than answer them. The biggest of them all is Why did the family suddenly move from North to South Wales? I was trying to figure out which quarry they had worked in to see if it would provide explanations of why they moved and then I realised the sheer quantity of quarries in North Wales. However I did manage to narrow it down to somewhere between 1904 and 1911.

I’d love to think there are some other reasons apart from the nomadic traits that seem to have spilled its way through the generations. It is safe to say I do come from a family of nomads. Some times we roam that little isle north of Europe and sometimes we fly to the far reaches of the planet.  They say the sun never sets on an English man. Well, the sun certainly never sets on an Alford-Edwards person.

If you have been kind enough to read my ramblings and know anything of researching Welsh family history or can even enlighten me on the lives of quarryman particulary in North Wales I shall be all ears, as my journey into the past has only begun…




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