|TJ (centre front) and the Coleg Harlech Council||TLJ at The Observer|
The oldest close "relation" we found before the internet pushed the boundaries back almost without limit was a 12th Century German Lord, part of the well-known Pfule / Pfuel / Pule family. We can also go via rather circuitous routes to Queen Elizabeth II, William the Conqueror, Alfred the Great, Robert Bruce and Charlemagne (although we've discovered an error in the original data: it now seems Charlemagne was NOT my parent's spouse's spouse's brother's spouse's spouse's spouse's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's father's mother's father's mother's father's father's father's mother's father's father's mother's mother's mother's father's mother's mother's mother's father's father's father's father's father's father's father - but an even more distant connection!). On a different route, we can follow links to the founder of Lloyds Bank and hence to the Kings of Powys (Rhodri Fawr, Hywel Dda etc.), Vortigern, Hengist/Horsa, Joseph of Arimathea and thus Mary, Jesus and God Himself (if you dispute that version, a different tree takes us to Adam & Eve)! We have yet to find links to Gengis Khan or the Japanese imperial family, but surely it's just a question of time.
The internet and DNA testing has suddenly revealed hundreds of relatives in America, 99% via a single route: Brigham Young, the first governor of Utah, but more importantly also the second president of the Church of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), in which role he had 55 wives and 56 children. We're open to enquiries from those looking to go back to Wales from Hannah Cook (1858-1932), wife of Brigham Angell Holbrook (1856-1923), but tracking Utah/LDS descendants on the US side is a futile task.
On a more serious note, our roots basically concentrate on the Salzburger Exulanten and Swiss Huguenots fleeing religious persecution as immigrants into post-Plague Prussia, and mid-Wales farmers gradually becoming economic migrants to the Valleys. In Japan we have very tenuous (unclear) links to some 16th century samurai. Any genealogists researching the names Wiemer, Hahn, Kugland, Schneller, Schoeckh or Gueffroi / Geffroi / Jephra in Salzburg or Ostpreußen (East Prussia) ... or Rigby, Brookfield, Brade, Parry, Woodcock in Liverpool, Shrewsbury, Chirk or Wales ... are welcome to contact me (I would say Jones, Morris, Lloyd, Evans and Davies too, but there are rather a lot of us!). Better still, however, search on GenesReunited and/or Ancestry as I have uploaded most of our records there (4500+ people; 195+ born before 1700, 395+ before 1800).
My paternal grandfather, Dr Thomas Jones, CH was once described as "one of the six most important men in Europe". Click on the link for more details on his life, and about a commemorative event in Rhymney in October 2005. I gave a talk on him at the Sixth John Briggs Memorial Lecture; a video recording was made by Dudley Hubbard, but we've yet to obtain a copy. The magazine Welsh Outlook, which he founded, helped foster Welsh nationalism from a more linguistic and artistic perspective, and many decades later, a cousin through marriage, the renowned economist Eurfyl ap Gwilym, became Chair of Plaid Cymru while Eurfyl's son Llywelyn founded "All Under One Banner Cymru", part of the YesCymru campaign for "Annibyniaeth" (Welsh independence).
Here is a 27-minute podcast about him from the Welsh Political Icons series:
His daughter — my aunt Eirene, Baroness White of Rhymney — was a Labour peer and had a distinguished political career: for details see her obituary in The Guardian, The Telegraph and The Times, as well as the Wikipedia entry linked above (The Times also had a notice of death and later one of her memorial service). Gregynog Press produced a 30 page tribute to her; Cardiff University also had a tribute; and the National Library of Wales had a photo of when she was first elected.
Her brother — my father, Tristan Jones — was Manager & Director of The Observer (despite what some sources say, he did not phrase it as 'Managing Director' nor was he the Editor). He was also a prolific collector of antiques and curios; his collection of commemorative ceramics (sold in 1991) was apparently the world's largest. His funeral attracted some attention in the local press (click for larger view):
The "Ford Escort" hand waving good-bye from the coffin:
Our ancestors the Lloyds of Maesgwyn, Chirk, such as Edward Lloyd (1813-1887), were apparently connected to both the banking Lloyds, e.g. Sampson Lloyd, and the shipping Lloyds, e.g. Edward Lloyd. The family home is now part of the Kronospan empire (who are quite unfriendly to visitors).
Thomas Snape (1835-1912) was an industrialist and Liberal politician.
Richard John Lloyd (1846-1906) was a prominent linguist, who drowned in unexplained circumstances.
Silas Kitto Hocking (1850–1935) was a Methodist preacher, also known for his novel "Her Benny", the first to sell over a million copies.
Captain Edward Llewellin (1864-1934) ran the Central Hotel at Aberystwyth, was Mentioned in Despatches during WW1 (Royal Field Artillery), and later became Mayor of Aberystwyth - he is shown in a 1923 video unveiling the Aberystwyth War Memorial.
Richard Francis Lloyd (1871-1943) was primarily an organist and hymn writer, active at Liverpool College of Music.
Eric Rigby-Jones (1897-1952) founded a company that became known around the world - the story is told in Tintawn and Binder Twine: The Story of Eric Rigby-Jones and Irish Ropes and his earlier life is depicted in Best Love to All: The Letters And Diaries Of Captain Eric Rigby-Jones.
RAF Wing Commander Raymond Bowen Evans (1913-1979) was also mentioned in dispatches.
Lieutenant Brian Hugh Band (1916-1942), a submariner, was awarded the DSC (Distinguished Service Cross) while serving aboard HMS Upholder, then died on HMS Olympus, in the single biggest submarine tragedy of WW2. He, his brother Rigby and the rest of their family were also keen cyclists, as shown by copious references in Anfield Bicycle Club circulars.
Admiral Sir Michael Seymour KCB, 1st Baronet - and, of course, his son, another Admiral Michael Seymour GCB and the latter's nephew Admiral of the Fleet Sir Edward Hobart Seymour, GCB, OM, GCVO, PC - were, unsurprisingly, prominent seamen too. Conversely, back in 1798 a further relation (in their branch) had sailed on the disastrous 2nd voyage of the missionary ship Duff...
Moving away from Wales, rocket scientist Wernher von Braun is also in the tree; and on the Japanese side, the Nagasaka family are allegedly descended from the 16th Century general 長坂 光堅 (1513-1582).
|My aunt, Marlene Yeo, had a distinguished career as an anti-nuclear campaigner. Click on the image at left to get the full picture (262K), or here for the Leicester Mercury's own abbreviated text version, with a separate article here. Her memoirs of growing up under Hitler, in East Prussia, were published as Skating at the Edge of the Wood. She also wrote a children's adventure book, "Amina and the Moshi Makers" (pub. Longmans Arusha/Kampala/Nairobi, 1966 and still available over 50 years later).|
|My mother, the much loved Anneli Jones, also had a distinguished career as a Green Party candidate and peace campaigner. Click on the image to see a 2007 article about her in the local press. On the right is a photograph from a few years before, showing her on her way to the "2 million people" demonstration in London against the Iraq war. The 'funeral-style' placard she is holding bears a pun on the most famous phrase in Hagakure, the Japanese book of the Samurai. The Samurai were also known as "Bushi", and while the original says "The Way of Bushi is the Way of Death" (often phrased as "the way of the warrior is the way of death"), this version says "The Way of Bush is the Way of Death". (For those who can read Japanese, the original is: 武士道は死ぬことと見つけたり while the new version is ブッシュ道は死ぬことと見つけたり). The first volume of her memoirs, detailing her peaceful upbringing in East Prussia followed by a harrowing flight from the Red Army, is available from Ozaru Books as Reflections in an Oval Mirror.||
Her obituary in the local Isle of Thanet Gazette, appropriately published on Armistice Day, 11/11/11 (click to enlarge)
Immediate siblings & spouses include a professor of West African History, a concert pianist, aluminium window software/hardware company managers, a management consultant and a systems engineer. I myself run a translation / interpreting company specializing in oriental languages; we also publish books about East Kent, East Prussia and East Asia. We're based in St Nicholas-at-Wade, behind a famous gate with multilingual "Beware of the Dog" signs.
This page produced by Ben Jones