This post has been written as part of Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks series. The prompt this week is ‘Old Country’. The definition of Old Country, as given by Merriam Webster, is the original country of an immigrant. This led me to a problem. As far as I know (and my DNA results agree) my ancestors have always been within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland… particularly Wales & Cornwall. There is some Scotch and Irish in there too but yet to pin down the ancestors.
If I am honest with myself, my DNA results disappointed me.
I am rather pleased that I have Welsh/Cornish roots. Particularly given how closely linked the two areas are… The main disappointment was not being able to confirm if I have any Mediterranean ancestry. There are a couple of reasons behind my suspicions of Mediterranean descent, but none of them can be proved.
Some branches of my family have been traced through to the 16th century… others I hit a dead end in the early 19th century. Frustratingly, it’s these ones that I would like to confirm where they come from.
My Williams branch is one of those branches.
I’ve posted about William Williams before. That’s right, he’s the man who gave his father as “William Williams – deceased” on his marriage certificate. He actually turned out to be the illegitimate son of Hannah Williams and an unknown father.
I’ve always been curious about the heritage of the Williams’. All have olive skin, dark hair, and the most gorgeous brown eyes. Photos of William Williams and his son, Ivor show slight men, with the darkest of hair and small faces. They could definitely be compared with men from Italy or somewhere in the Mediterranean.
William was born in Porth, Glamorgan in 1883.
It was an area that, throughout the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries witnessed a considerable influx of incomers from those areas. The real arrival happened towards the end of the 19th century, and some of the villages in the South Wales Valleys developed micro-communities of Italians, Spaniards and more. Even now, there’s a vast number of Welsh Italians.
Whether my ancestors began as migrants into Wales or not, it doesn’t really matter. However, it’s a curiosity to me that I was once told that a part of my eye is Mediterranean (I can’t remember which section). Curiously, my Nan, William’s granddaughter, was once said the same too.