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The Wales Connection (The Early Kings of Wales)

Surname Convention

Surnames were not widely used by the Welsh until well after this period.  Instead the Welsh used a PATRONYMIC naming system whereby the children were identified with their father's name as a form of "after name," such as Cadwgan ap Bleddyn, Ieuaf ab Idwal, and Angharad verch Maredudd -- ap or ab meaning "son of" and verch (or ferch) meaning "daughter of"  ("ab" was used before a name beginning with a vowel, ap before a consonant or consonantal "i").  These "after names" are not really surnames as we now think of them, as they do not carry forward generation to generation, and provide a way of identifying family lines.

This leads to a dilemma for someone entering genealogical date in a modern database.  Many have chosen to treat the "ap name" as a surname for data entry purposes, while others have chosen to enter the complete "given-name ap father's-name" in the surname field (and no entry in the given name field).  I find it  easier for indexing purposes to have the entire name in the surname field, and this is the way my records are structured.

There is also relatively little variety of names among the Welsh nobility, leading to many duplicate names, especially among first and second cousins.  This is sometimes clarified by adding a second after-name, such as "name" ap "father's name" ap "grandfather's name."  Or adding a location identifier such as "of Powys."  More often, you just have to be careful of the lineages and sort it all out -- I suspect that the Welsh people then were much more contextually aware of the personages of the times then we are today.

Sarah Weaver, b. 1797, (wife to John Middaugh) is my third great grandmother.  According to Lucius Weaver in History and Genealogy of a Branch of the Weaver Family (The Du Bois Press. Rochester, New York. 1928), she is the 46th great granddaughter of Cunedda, the legendary "first" king of Wales. 

Descendents of King Cunedda

In this section, I trace the lineage of Cunedda to the "first" Wever, based on the documentation provided by Lucius Weaver and others.  This lineage covers about 30 generations of Welsh Kings and nobility.

I have concentrated on those families that are in my direct line; most sidelines are not included.  All direct ancestors are identified by the ^ symbol following their name, making it easier to track through the pages.

The lineage of the nobility of Wales, as one might imagine, is subject to much discussion among scholars—of which I am not.  What appears here has been obtained from several published works; they do not always agree with each other.  Where there is disagreement, I have tried to point it out in the notes and source references.  Some folks have written to me disputing my rendering—sometimes very imperiously.  Over the years I have made changes, especially where I have misread the source works.  But resolving disputes between scholars is not something of which I am capable.  This exercise was fun and educational, worked out over many cold winter nights.  I learned much of early Welsh and English history.  But a definitive work it is not.

As I have worked my way through these kings of Wales, I am struck by a number of lessons and parallels with modern times.  While their kingdoms were small by modern standards—really just about a good sized county typically found in the United States—they spent enormous energies in maintaining and extending their territories and influence.  Those families that were most often successful seemed to have been those that worked cooperatively together, rather than those that fought among themselves.  And many of the tactics used by the more powerful English and Normans to extend and maintain control over the Welsh are not unlike those used by the powerful today to control the less powerful.