As I write this, I am sitting in the hotel lobby of the Hand hotel in Llangollen, Wales drinking a pint. It’s a busy lobby. People are wandering back in forth, lots of them with dogs. We’ve seen dogs everywhere since we arrived it. It seems like every other person has one or two or three and they are apparently welcome in all the buildings. There are signs posted that say, “No dog fouling” all over the place. The dogs themselves are welcome, just not their – you- know -what.
There is a band playing in the next room. They are having a sing-along. Just a little while ago the Welsh choir was serenading us. It couldn’t be a more perfect spot to be. People stop by and have a chat. A drunken welshman with a cane singing, “Dixie” just stumbled by. It’s getting more interesting as the night goes on.
We arrived in Llangollen yesterday and were taken to dinner by my 4th cousin Alan Salisbury. He and I are related because we share the same 3rd great grandfather who lived here in Llangollen.
We were greeted at the restaurant by about 23 family members and a Welsh and Oklahoma flag.
Today, Alan came back and gave us a grand tour of Llangollen and tried several times to tell me how to pronounce that double LL sound. Llangollen sounds something like “clgothlin”…or maybe not. I can’t figure it out. The Welsh language bears no resemblance to English.
Our tour included all the known sites of our shared ancestry as well as some general historical sites.
We went by the address where Edward was living on a later census and it is now a Catholic Church but some of the parishioners came out and said it was the 50th Anniversary of their church and they had some old pictures inside! The photos were of the original building. The black and white photo could have been what the building looked like when Edward lived there.
From there we went to the place where Edward’s son, Evan, my great great grandfather lived on the last census before he moved to England. My great grandmother Elizabeth (Rees) Smith was most likely born on this street. She later emigrated to the United States when she was just 21 years old. We don’t know the exact address of Evan’s house but this was the street. The building could be from the same period but we don’t know for sure.
Then we drove up Horseshoe Pass to see the sites. Alan had sent me photos but seeing it in person is breathtaking.
Sheep wander back and forth across the road completely oblivious to the cars.
When we came down the mountain we stopped at Valle Crusis Abbey. It was built in the 1300’s.
At the end of the day after Alan left we walked up one of the hills above the town and visited the estate where my great great grandmother, Mary (Jones) Rees worked as a maid. Wish I could claim my ancestors were the owners. The topiary on this property was amazing.
That’s only a few of the hundred some photos we took here. It’s an amazing place! Tomorrow it’s on to Askrigg.