Saturday, 3 October 2009
A white knuckle ride
Some of you may recognise the bridge in this photograph. For those that do not it is the bridge at Dolgellau, in Wales. A few weeks ago husband, when he was having a week off work, which became a month and is now two months, took me off to the archives in Dolgellau, to help with some more research into his family tree. This time it was the paternal, Welsh branch of the family that he was pursuing. Husband had previously been to the archives in Dolgellau, on his own back in April. He thought that I might enjoy he trip into Wales and that two pairs of eyes might be better than one when viewing the microfiches of the old parish records.
Our journey to Dolgellau was slow and we only managed about an hour in the archive before they shut for lunch. We ventured into the centre of Dolgellau for a pub lunch then it was back to the archives for more research into the ancestors. Security is tight at the archives. We had to sign in and sign for the microfiches that we looked at. Only pencils can be use for writing, not pens and eating and drinking is not permitted. We were looking at the parish records for births, marriages and deaths for the village of Mallwyd and the parish of Llanymaddwy for the 1770s. The quality of the microfiches varies and depends on the hand writing of the recorder, the condition of the paper and the binding of the pages. We were fortunate in that we managed to find the recording of the births that husband was looking for, amongst the pauper burials, illegitimate births and the issue born to concubines. Although he was surprised to find that the particular ancestor that he was interested in was born out of wedlock. Having spent a total of two and a half hours in the archive husband then wanted to visit the graveyard in the church at Llanymaddwy. There amongst the graves of the Thomases, Lloyds and Williams we were unable to find the graves that he was looking for.
The sat. nav. was given the honour of guiding us home and chose to take us via the scenic route of a single track road. If husband ever tries to take me via that route again I shall be walking home. Not only was the road single track but on one side the was a sheer drop down the mountain side which happened to be on the passenger side (i.e. my side) of the car. At times I was nearly in the driving seat with husband! My heart was in my mouth and I did not dare close my eyes. It was quite frightening and I thought that we might never make it home especially when we met two cars coming the other way. Luckily there was a passing bay.
The scenery is beautiful in a peculiar grey/green sort of way. On this particular day the sky was grey. The hills looked very green and the landscape was only relieved by the occasional traditional grey stone or white pebble dash houses with slate roofs. It is incredible to think that, hundreds of years ago, husband ancestors would have looked out on a countryside not too different from what we still see today.
For those of you who are wondering where this fits into a blog about renovation and relocation. This is relocation, which has allowed us to make day trips into Wales.