Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Language

Being able to communicate with another is key to a culture's survival.  As family groups clustered [the kindred], their ability to get along with one another would certainly increase this survival rate.  A common language would accelerate this process, and as the family groups isolated themselves among the geography that surrounded them, a core method of communicating sounds and expressions would develop.  The following table gives an outline [over time] for the folks who were to become the Welsh.

The language that was to become Welsh had its roots as shown above.  From 1800 BC to around 500 AD, the Welsh tongue did not exist.  The Celtic folks who scattered themselves about the Hibernia and Albion islands formed distinct language branches around the method they formed their sounds.  Lips, or the roof of the mouth, became a distinctive way their sounds were made.  Sounds like "pe", and "be" involved the lips; and sounds like "ma", and "qa" pushed the sound to the roof of the mouth.  Thus, "P-Celtic" verses "Q-Celtic" became the branches.  Interestingly, it was this difference that formed the distinction among the male naming process.

The earliest form recorded appears to be "Brude mac Muthut (fl. 330 AD) in the kingdom of the Picts (1), and "Cynan map Eudaf" (fl. 420 AD) in the kingdom of Dumnonia.(2)  The next appears to be "Cynlas ab Owain" (fl. 530 AD) in the kingdom of Powys.(3)  For the Picts and Scots the form "mac" is used to means "son of", and "ap" is used among the Welsh. [The Irish also used the form "mac".]
Thus begins the language roots to the lineal male descent among the kindred groups scattered about the islands.

The book by Mike Ashley, "British Kings & Queens", Barnes & Noble Books, 1998 was the source of this analysis.
(1) = p.169
(2) = p.114
(3) = p.150

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Kindred

From the beginning of time, the structured family group has been a significant part of human existence.  The immediate operative family unit [nuclear family] became the foundation for future generations necessary to pass down that genetic material needed for survival.  Father, mother, sister, and brother became the ideal family which often included grandfather and grandmother ...aunts ...uncles...cousins...and other individuals that were joined to the group.  As generations passed, the position [status] of the individual family members became more significant, and an interest in the degree of relationship between each member became paramount.  The position of one family member to the next formed the bases for relationships and inheritance from one generation to the next.  The remembering and recording of these relationships [lines of descent] became the task of some, and played a major role in keeping and transmitting the family's story.  The defining principle in determining family composition [thus status] became the roots of many cultures.  For the Celtic peoples that were to become the Welsh, the idea of the kindred [a functioning family unit] became its social foundation.  The fact(s) of descent were given in the Welsh naming structure.  It is this "kindred" matrix that forms our understanding of Welsh surnames.

Much more to come!

Dr. Wendy Davies has discussed this in her text: Wales in the Early Middle Ages, Leicester University Press, 1982.  The family is found on p. 3, under the title "Social Ties and Social Strata". It is the best and most complete discussion of the Welsh kindred that I have found to date.  Her work is a must for any that wish to understand this important concept to Welsh naming and Welsh genealogy.  Thank you Dr. Wendy Davies for your contributions to our understanding of our Welsh descent.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The Purpose

Welsh surnames are often difficult to research for the genealogist.  To have a place to share and discover information that surrounds many of these associated surnames seems like a good idea.  Exploring the history and origin of the Welsh naming system is one goal.  To determine the association between the history and chronology of the six-generation patrilineal kindred is basic to the understanding of the relationship to Welsh surnames.  The various Welsh discover and to enjoy in a central location it is.  Each post will present a topic/subject that pertains to Welsh surnames.  Write your ideas or add your knowledge in the comment section of each post.  Identify any topic that you have an interest, or you feel important to discuss.   Let's begin and let's enjoy.