Ancestral Wales

Our Stories, Our History


Memories of a Button Jar, A Photograph Box and a Mamgu who was Adored!


Tonight looking out of the window at the rain, memories of the button jar sweep through

Gran's Flat

Gran’s Flat

my mind

She kept it in her sideboard until I came to stay … and we talked of where the buttons came from – the uniforms that they had adorned

We sat so many hours in her small Welsh flat, with its smell of Imperial Leather soap,

Jim Reeves on the radio… an Agatha Christie tale beside the bed…

…and breakfasts of fresh crusty bread, butter, marmalade and tea


More childhood memories of bus rides with Grandad, and Aneurin the conductor singing nursery rhymes to me

The Sweet shop in Tre’r-ddol …

Picking blackberries…

Swimming in the cold, cold sea…

Lamb chops, fresh mint sauce, rice pudding and Corona pop on Sundays (Dandelion and Burdock when it was my turn to pick!!)

Welsh cakes, warm and buttery

A sixpence pressed into your hand from family and friends


Time and time again, we poured over family photos, buttons and the stories they told

I never tired of hearing about my ancestors who had travelled – and lived – and died – in a past I would never know…

… and her stories led to my passion of discovering the past and in doing so … discovering myself

The Cambrian Line from Bow Street © Copyright Nigel Brown and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence


I saw her last, waving to me by the fence as my train went by her flat one last time, and I left for travels overseas

… and there isn’t a single day that goes by, that I don’t think of her

Happy New Year

I love the freshness of the new year.  It reminds me of going back to school, with new pencils, rulers, pens and  best of all a fresh new lined writing book with no mistakes, corrections or red lines crossed through my words.  Must try harder, must be neater, must pay attention, must write between the lines.

Lovely thing about being older is that I don’t have to write between the lines!!  I can throw that ruler away, stray outside the lines -  I can even draw my own and use the red pen to create my own words.  Besides, as family historians we know we must constantly look outside the lines in order to move ahead with our research.

Bring out that fresh new genealogy writing book this year, but buy one without any lines and see where it leads you….

In my new writing book this year and written in red pen is:

  1. Me – I have a dream, but I would like to move it ahead from just the dream.  Because it’s my dream, I seem to allow it to get pushed down the list, but my goal this year is to keep it at the top.
  2. Order amongst the chaos!!  I cannot continue to save genealogy as paper, so I need to work on a digital remedy
  3. My own genealogy research.

I’ve purposefully kept my list short (not easy….but short!).

Dream big and write and research outside the lines.

~~and a very Happy New Year to you all!

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