Thursday, December 18, 2014

Edward VI

The Celtic chromosome saw its last days during the six year reign of Edward VI.  His young life [died at age 15 years] intertwined with a number religious, social, and economic concerns.  He was a pawn between a group of individuals seeking to advance their own goals.  The book by Jennifer Loach is a good example, and broad discussion of this period in time.

To be raised a protestant, he became a instrument of many to achieve these ends.  However, his half-sister Mary was to follow him, and attempt to return things back to the Catholic faith.

The book is published by Yale University Press, New Haven and London in 1999. The social and religious transition is an important issue in many among the branches of my own family tree.  Understanding this important period in history helped me around a number of brick walls.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Celtic Chromosome Continues

The political and cultural dynamics of the next Celtic chromosome were to change the course of English history.  The Welsh Y-chromosome passed down from Henry VII to Henry VIII can not be denied its place in history.  The following book by Neville Williams presents the story surrounding the court life of Henry VIII during his long and event filled reign.

Tree climbing [doing genealogy] during this period of English history, from the Welsh connections to this Y-chromosome, is certainly a challenge.  Many of my families connections to the Tudor court are involved in this process. [Many brick walls included here.]  An understanding of this convoluted  period of ones' family history is enjoyable.

First published in 1971 by the Macmillan Company, NY, it contains 48 pages of color plates and around 150 illustrations in black and white. [Love the color plates!]  Check it out.  A lot of Celtic chromosomes are involved here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Celtic Chromosome

The battle of Bosworth field would not have occurred if it were not for those Celtic chromosomes.  Owen ap Meredith ap Tudor was to pass his Y-chromosome down the line to a fellow named Edmund Tudor.  In turn, this Y-chromosome would be passed along to a fellow named Henry Tudor who started all these events leading to Bosworth field.  Henry VII he was to become.

The book shown above is a detailed account of the events surrounding this Celtic chromosome.  S.B. Chrimes was a Professor of History in the University of Wales, at University College, Cardiff.  Hum...a Welsh scholar writing about a Welsh Y-chromosome.  The University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, published this text in 1972.  The establishment of the "Tudor Dynasty" is the focus.

My own family tree intertwines among these branches, it being a Celtic chromosome.  Richard ap Howel of Mostyn, John Savage, and Rhys ap Thomas all played some role in these events.  What a deal!  These Celtic chromosomes were to continue among the branches.  Have a read.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Bosworth Field 1485

The dynastic conflicts between the families of York and Lancaster were ultimately decided on the 22nd August 1485.  Perhaps no other single battle has risen to the top from which Medieval England was transformed to Tudor England.

The Wordsworth Military Library published the book titled: "Bosworth Field & The Wars of The Roses", by A.L. Rowse.  [Cover shown above.]  The author states in his preface that history should be view as " important branch of literature."  A good read it is.

Of course, the Welsh were deeply involved in the advancement of the Tudor cause.  My own family history is interwoven here, and its story is wrapped among these pages of history.  [Owen Tudor had a little bit to say about all this Welshness.]

The book was first published in 1966, and republished in 1998.  A wonderful piece of literature it is.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Copyright Notice

This blog is intended for those who have an interest in the history and genealogy of the Celtic nations.

You may not use the contents of this site (blog and post) for commercial purposes without explicit written permission from the author and blog owner.  Commercial purposes includes blogs with ads and income generation features, and/or blogs or sites using feed content as a replacement for original content.  Full content usage is not permitted.

Jerry E. Jones, MD, MS, The Jones Genealogist.  Library of Congress No. 6192-01061064476. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Flower Power 1377 - 1485

A rose by any other name will still be a rose, so Shakespeare would say.  The historians would ultimately differ as to what name this period in history should receive, but hey... "The Wars of The Roses" it has come to be known.  The following book is a brief and very readable account of this period following the death of Edward III.

Written by Charles Ross and first published in 1977 by Thames and Hudson, NY, it is a well written summary of what as "by tradition" came to be name "The Wars of The Roses".  There are lots of illustrations (126), and lots of pictures, giving a visual addition to the story.

The "Houses of Lancaster and York" they were.  Years 1377 to that battle as Bosworth Field in 1485.  Red rose verses white rose...hum...certainly flower power.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Jeanne D'Arc 1412 - 1431

Born the 6th of January 1412, and was burned as a heretic, May 30th, 1431, she was Canonised as a saint, May 16th, 1920.   "Saint Joan of Arc" she is most commonly called, or simply "Joan of Arc".  There is certainly much myth and legend  surrounding this individual.  The book by V. Sackville-West does much to help clear the mist.

The impression placed on the cover of my issue is shown above.  It was printed by the Country Life Press, Garden City, N.Y., 1936.  It shows an angle blowing a trumpet, and carrying a flag full of the fleurs-de-lis [symbol of France].  There is a sword angled across the knees.  The French symbol above the trumpet, above the sword...what a image.

Inside the book is a clearer imprint of this image.

It was in the context of "The Hundred Years' War" that finds Joan in the mist of history.  The author present a careful analysis of this figure in this context.  From the beginning to the end it is a story to be told and retold.  This book is a delight and a honest record of the literature of the time. [A detailed chronological table and bibliography it is.]  Come, blow the trumpet.

Sunday, August 31, 2014


In the course of human events, there is perhaps no other epidemic that changed the world like "The Black Death".  An inflammatory swelling of a lymph gland, especially in the groin, is called a "bubo".  Being a predominate feature of this epidemic, it came to be called "bubonic plague", and changed the existence of mankind on the surface of this earth.

This plague arrived in central Europe just about the middle of "The Hundred Years War". [See last post of 8/14/14.]  The book above is a good overview and summary of this event.  In his preface Ziegler states:
           " one would to-day deny that the Black Death was of the greatest economic and social importance as well as hideously dramatic in it progress."

Well illustrated [many color plates included], it presents 17 chapters on various topics beginning with "Origins and Nature" and ending with "The Effects on the Church and Man's Mind".  For my own family tree climbing chapter 12, "The Welsh Borders, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland", was helpful.

The book was first published in 1969, and reprinted 1993 by Alan Sutton Publishing, Inc., Dover, NH.

Yersinia pestis was the bug.  It was transmitted by infective fleas of rodents or other mammals; and/or direct contact with infected mammals or their products; and/or inhalation of contaminated airborne droplets.  Rats you might say!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Hundred Years War

The reign of Edward III begins 1337.    It was the same year that Philip VI of France took over the English head Duchy of Guyenne. might say...then Edward III claimed the throne of France.  Then began a long, long, struggle between France and England resulting in what has been called: "The Hundred Years War".  For the genealogist, a century is generally three to four generations of the family tree that must have been involved along the way.  The Welsh had something to do with period of history since the "long-bow" was Welsh.

The text above by Desmond Seward is a very readable book about this time in our JONES family tree.  The English in France 1337 - 1453 is the subtitle.  There is even a description of the "long-bow" pp. 54-55 and other types of weapons used.  The book was first published in 1978, and reprinted by Penguin Books in 1999.  A series of illustrations are used throughout the book which gives help to the visual learner.  A "Chronology" is given on pp. 271 - 273 which was helpful for my own tree climbing experience. [Joan of Arc had something to say about this period of history!]  A sweeping overview it is.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Greatest Traitor

To label someone a "traitor" is bad enough.  To describe or designate someone "The Greatest Traitor" is certainly going to distinguish this individual.  From one Mortimer (Ian) to another Mortimer (Sir Roger Mortimer) this book is titled as such.

The period of the three Edwards (see last post) was certainly one of turmoil.  The families of the Marches had much to do with this since they saw themselves as "free agents" against the world.  The family of the Mortimers were involved in a number of events that were to shape the history of Wales, and they managed to use both sides (Wales/Plantagenets) against the middle.

The life of Sir Roger Mortimer, ruler of England 1327 - 1330 is the subject.  He is described as "brutal, intelligent, passionate, profligate, imaginative, and violent".  Sounds like most of the feudal lords of the day.  Unpublished primary and secondary sources are used along with a host of published sources. [Given in a selected bibliography pp. 325 - 335.]  The sources are not tied to the text.

At any rate, the text is an interesting account of the times, and gives much detail of  the drama involved.
The book is published by Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin's Press, NY, 2006.  Anyone interested in reading about this "feudal lord, governor of Ireland, rebel leader, and a dictator of England" this book is for you.  But of course, you will have to decided if Sir Roger is indeed "The Greatest Traitor".

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Three Edwards

The period involving the three Edwards (1272 AD - 1377 AD) was a passive aggressive time for the family tree.  Edward I started thing off with his son Edward II being the first "Prince of Wales".  Edward III ended with a long reign (50 years) bringing a number of military activities to the pages of history.

This book by Costain, first published 1958, is a good, simple, overview of these folks. For Edward I, 19 short chapters are presented.  For Edward II, 11 chapters are written.  For Edward III, 20 chapters.

All "Plantagenets" they were.

A good overview this is.

Edward I, reign started 1272, lasted 35 years.
Edward II, reign started 1307, lasted 19 years.
Edward III, reign started 1327, lasted 50 years.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Struggle 1066 - 1284

To make violent strenuous efforts against opposition is one definition of struggle.  The conquest, colonization, and conversion of Albion between 1066 and 1284 is certainly one such struggle.

The peoples England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, were all involved in this struggle.  This book by David Carpenter deals mostly with the Welsh and Scottish against the Normans.   Since my own family tree climbing (genealogy) involved the struggle between the Welsh and Normans, it seemed like an important subject to try and get a handle.  The regions and political divisions of Wales were important for me to sort out.   Wales by 1200 AD was a back and forth between the Anglo-Saxon : Norman powers leading to the wars of Edward I.  This book covers the waterfront.

First published in 2003 by Allen Lane, it was then published by Penguin Books in 2004.  Maps and genealogical tables are helpful.  [Includes the dynasty of Gwynedd, Deheubarth, and Powys.]  A good read for those with Welsh genes among the trees...:-).

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Castles In Wales

" those interested in the spectacle and romance of the past.", this cover states.

First published in 1982, by a joint endeavor from the Wales Tourist Board and the Automobile Association, it contains reviews of over 80 castles.  Since Edward I started things off,  the Edwardian castles were intended to be a permanent reminder that "subordination" was the order of the day.

The castles "A to Z" is presented.  Abergavenny Castle to White Zs...are shown with pictures, history, and some stories.  What a deal for those romantics.  Time charts, motor tours, and road maps are included.  A reference and resource indeed it is.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Welsh Wars of Edward I

Edward I like to fight.  He was at war with France, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales all at the same time.  This of course cost a lot of money, and Edward I was the first to call the English people together to gain their continual support....and money. [The Parliament it was called.]

Wales had been a difficult problem for those folks from across the Channel.  It took Edward I military determination and castle building to subdue the Welsh.  "The Welsh Wars of Edward I" by John E. Morris is an account of this activity.  He was one of the first historians to apply modern methodology to medieval history studies.  The cover to my copy is shown below.

The book covers the period 1277 to 1296.  For the genealogist, it helps to understand the feudal period and the relationship between the people and the army of the day.  In great detail Morris examines the documents of the day, and evaluates the methods of warfare.  It provides lots of names and events which can help find some folks in the family tree.  At times, it is not what you would call an easy read, but for the detailed person seeking information surrounding this period in Welsh history, it is helpful.  The chapter titles are:
                                      I. England and Wales before 1277
                                     II. An Edwardian Army
                                    III. The War of 1277
                                    IV. The War of 1282 and 1283
                                     V. The Peace Settlement and Rhys's Rising
                                   VI.  The Custom of The March
                                  VII. The Last Rising; Madoc, Maelgwn, and Morgan; 1294 and 1295
                                 VIII. Events Leading from the Welsh Wars

There are a number of pedigrees of families involved in the conflicts which can be very helpful.

The book was originally published by Oxford at the Clarendon Press in 1901.  This copy was published by Combined Books, PA, 1996.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Edward I

Throughout my years of tree climbing (53 years and counting), Edward I is perhaps the one figure that seems to have impacted Wales more than any other English monarch.   His life spanned from 1239 - 1307 AD.  Between the years 1276 and 1296, he built (or inspired the building) of roughly 17 castles in Wales.  Edward was obviously determined that his military activity in Wales would last a very long time.

This book by Michael Prestwick, is an expert analysis (manuscript sources given) of this period in the Middle Ages.  My copy is a bit smudged and a little worn since its publishing by Yale University Press 1997.  He remains a controversial figure, and even much hated by some folks. [William Wallace fans especially!]   He certainly had impute into the beginning of Parliament and its early development.  It was his conquest of Wales that was to effect my own family tree.

The book is 618 pages, and can be used as a reference source for primary documents.  It is also good reading if you like in depth knowledge of the culture and society which moved about during this period of time.

The book was first published in Great Britain in 1988 by Methuen London Ltd.  This edition was published by Yale University Press in 1997.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Henry II

Gerald of Wales [see previous post] had a few things to say about Henry II.  It would seem that in 1184, Gerald was appointed "Court Chaplain" to old Henry, and served as a "liaison-officer" between the King and the Welsh princes that were in direct conflict with Henry.  The following reference (book) is about Henry II.

I present it here since it became a source of help during my own tree climbing experiences.  Gerald's connection to St. Asaph had opened a number of bridges to my family tree, and a better understanding of this historical period was my goal.  This book by W.L. Warren help place Wales into a historical context.  It seems that Scotland, Ireland, and Wales were undergoing a significant process of change.   This complex period for Wales was important to grasp for my own family tree. [A good section on Wales is pp. 153 - 169.]  Warren states:

"Henry II's relations with the leaders of the Welsh were marked for eighteen years by good sense and goodwill. Wales, both native and marcher, was an acknowledged dependency of the English Crown" (p.169)  Hum...wonder what the Welsh felt about this? [Conclusion based upon "oaths of homage in 1177 AD., p.169]

 A lengthy tome (693 pages), it is well written and referenced for those of us who like to see the documentation and sources.  Son of Matilda and Geoffrey Plantagenet, he was the first of the Plantagenet race.

My copy was first published 1973, by Butler & Tanner Ltd, Frome and London.  It was then published by Eyre Methuen, London.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Journey Through Wales Revisited

The record of a fellow touring through Wales during the year 1188 AD has a number of things to offer to the genealogist.  Understanding what this world was like during the Crusade period [3rd Crusade] is why this book is revisited here.

Born around 1145 AD, Gerald of Wales became part of the religious establishment of the day.  From his Benedictine Abbey background, he became a avid writer publishing some 17 books.  His Pembrokeshire birth and upbringing gave him a particular interest in his maternal Welsh heritage. [His father's side was Norman.]  He recorded his journey through Wales with Archbishop Baldwin during the year 1188 AD.  They were trying to drum up business for this 3rd crusade, and preached at the major Cathedrals. [Llandaff, St. David's, Bangor, and St. Asaph] which resulted in some 3,000 men of military age coming out of these hills. 

Gerald of Wales considered himself a historian, and tried to present the Welsh culture as he saw both the good and the bad.  For my own JONES surname tree climbing, it presented the local environment around St. Asaph where my own family was deeply involved.  

Those of Welsh descent will appreciate this cultural travel guide.  I have presented this reference in a previous post of  February 15, 2013, but feel it fits better into this chronology of the Crusade years.  The copy shown is published by Penguin Books, 1978 and reissued in 2004.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Crusades

Urban II (Pope 1088 - 1099) is given the credit for getting the events started which were to change the Middle Ages.  Earliest writers seemed to call it a pilgrimage, but it was the special privilege to carry weapons that change this into what has become called "The Crusades". [ ca. 1095 - ca. 1291]  The following are readings that give several views into this period of our history.  I call them, a picture book, a story book, and a study book.

A picture book:

     For those who like lots of pictures (like me) this book is for you.

Written by Martin Erbstorsser, and published by Leipzig, 1979, it contains pictures.  The three civilizations involved ; 1) The Arabian Caliphate, 2) The Byzantine Empire, and 3) Western Europe and presented.  The book was translated from German by C.S.V. Salt.

A story book:

A book by Alfred Duggan, it was first published by Pantheon Books, 1963.  It tells this story in an easy manner, covering this topic.  A number of drawings and maps are included.

A study book:

For those who like to dig a little deeper, the book above is recommended.  This is the cover to second edition published by Oxford University Press, 1990.  It was first published in German 1965, by Hans Eberhard Mayer, and translated by John Gillingham in 1972.  It has been reprinted five times.  A good book to study on those long winter nights.

Sunday, February 9, 2014


Feudalism is a term that often seeks a definition.  Good old Webster states:

 "the system of political organization prevailing in Europe from the 9th to about the 15th centuries having as its basis the relation of lord to vassal with all land held in fee and as chief characteristics homage, the service of tenants under arms and in court, wardship, and forfeiture"

[Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, p.421, 1981 edition.]

Wow...a neat little package...lord...vassal...and land... in some fixed social the concept.  For those who might like a little more understanding the following is recommended.

From Charlemagne's vast empire, to the French Revolution, is the real story.  This text by Jean-Pierre Poly, and Eric Bournazel (first written in French, translated by Caroline Higgitt) presents the complex story behind the word "Feudalism".

Power and control are the founding forces which bring social change to a chaotic period of human existence.  Who owns and controls the land is the decision that rules the environment of the day.  Beginning with "What is known" [Part I] to "New Interpretations" [Part II], the authors provide an in depth analysis to this period of our history.  French society leads the way, and as shown on the cover above, it was the Normans [from northern France] who brought these ideas to Albion.  The book is a broad overview of these changes that were to form a new social order.

Book was published by Holmes & Meier Publishers, Inc., New York, 1991.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

England Under The Norman and Angevin Kings 1075-1225

Say what?  Angevin Kings?   England under Angevin Kings?  The Norman name is well known...but Angevin?

Well here it is.  A broader view of the early English world.  A book by Robert Bartlett entitled none other than "England Under The Norman and Angevin Kings 1075 - 1225".

According to Bartlett (p. 22), "The territorial realignment of the years 1150 - 4 was one of the most sudden and far-reaching ever to affect the political map of twelfth-century Europe."  England and the wider world is the theme under the Norman conquest and the rulers that were to follow. [William I to Henry III]

It is a hefty book, some 772 pages.  It serves well as a reference, but is easy reading on a variety of significant subjects that dealt with the world of what was to become England.  Chapter topics include:

 1. Political Patterns
 2. England and Beyond
 3. Lordship And Government
 4. The Aristorcracy
 5. Warfare
 6. The Rural Foundations
 7. Towns and Trade
 8. The Institutional Chruch
 9. Religious Life
10. Cultural Patterns
11. The Course of Life
12. Cosmologies

For the genealogist it deals with "Naming Patterns" (p. 535) during this period of English life.  A good topic for those who are tree climbing out these branches.

This text appears to be part of "The New Oxford History of England", Clarendon Press, Oxford,  first published 2000.  General Editor, J.M. Roberts.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Domesday Book

Hostile takeovers can be a messy thing.  The chief executive officer, operating officers, along with the board of directors, can make a number of changes to the new acquisition.  A complete inventory is often necessary to understand the holdings and materials contained within.

It was William I [chief executive officer] who wanted to "inventory" his new "acquisition".  It was certainly a "hostile takeover", and things were getting quite complication by 1086.  The Anglo-Saxons had organized their holdings into shires and the like [an existing administrative system] and things like resources, raising money, laws, customs, and taxes were getting out of hand.  It was Christmas 1086 that William had enough of this and ordered high-ranking and trusted men [operating officers] to scatter about and collect a host of data about this new acquisition of 1066.  Within two years this "inventory" was put together and came to be called "The Domesday Book".

A useful text, edited by Thomas Hinde, is an excellent way to begin to understanding this unique book of English history.

For the genealogist, this gives in one source, an alphabetical listing of the English counties involved in the Domesday book. It gives the land holders (a kind of census) and much of the context of the data obtained.  This list the names of the shires and who was responsible for the land which surrounded each.  There is a list of the major Domesday landholders, and a historical summary of each county.

For me, it was helpful in understanding the context of my own families connections during this hostile takeover.  [Even found documentation of my own family in the Shropshire area!]  Lots of fun it is.

The book is titled: The Domesday Book, England's Heritage, Then and Now.  Editor: Thomas Hinde, Hutchinson, 1985. [ISBN 09 161830 4]