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.

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