Day 7 and 8 Llangollen

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.

River Dee in Llangollen, Wales.

We were greeted at the restaurant by about 23 family members and a Welsh and Oklahoma flag.

Welsh flag and Oklahoma flag. We get to take the Welsh flag home! That's cousin, Karen, sitting there.

Family group, descended from Edward Rees. These are the Jacksons? I'll have to ask Alan...

Alan and Walter Salisbury and me.

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.

Canal near where Edward Rees' first house may have been in 1841.

Church where Edward Rees, his wife Elizabeth and other family members are buried.

Only a genealogist would get excited about tombstones but this is my family and it was exciting.

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.

Photo of original building which was once the home of Edward Rees.

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.

Evan's street.

Then we drove up Horseshoe Pass to see the sites.  Alan had sent me photos but seeing it in person is breathtaking.

Horsehoe Pass

Sheep wander back and forth across the road completely oblivious to the cars.

Sheep grazing along side the road.

When we came down the mountain we stopped at Valle Crusis Abbey.  It was built in the 1300’s.

Valle Crusis Abbey

This was a beautiful place.

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.

Plas Newydd


That’s only a few of the hundred some photos we took here.  It’s an amazing place!  Tomorrow it’s on to Askrigg.


9 Responses to Day 7 and 8 Llangollen

  1. Karen Walker says:

    Oh, I wish I could have heard the singing. And what a beautiful countryside. We are enjoying your blob very much.

  2. Karen Walker says:

    Blog–I meant BLOG!

  3. Kathy says:

    I am so glad that you finally got to meet Alan and his family. I know you really enjoyed it. I love the photos of the old cemetery and I am so happy to know that you found your ancestors buried there. That is a neat picture of the Abbey

  4. Alan Salisbury says:

    I don’t want to be picky, but the picture with the caption “Llangollen Canal” should read “River Dee”.
    It was an honour, and a pleasure, to be your guide for the day.
    Don’t worry about pronouncing Welsh place names, it just takes practice, and I still get them wrong!
    “Croeso i’r Gymraeg” – Did you spot this on the signs, as you crossed the England – Wales border.
    You are more than welcome to return, any time, for a little more practice.

  5. Alan Salisbury says:

    Family Group picture…..from left to right.
    Andrea Ellis (Jones) [side view!!!] – wife of Steven Ellis.
    Faye Ellis (daughter of Keith & Sue Ellis)
    Sue Ellis (Hallam) – a link between Hallam & Salisbury families already exists
    Keith Ellis
    Lydia Roberts (daughter of Julie Roberts (Ellis) & Kevin Roberts)
    Derek Ellis (Head of family)
    Julie Roberts (Ellis)
    David Jackson

    The family connection to the REES ancestors, is via our 4 mother’s, who were the daughters of REUBEN GRIFFITHS (Linked via GRIFFITHS > TAYLOR > REES)
    Unfortunately, our mothers have all passed away, so the baton has been handed on to the the next generation, SCHOLFIELD (sadly did not attend), JACKSON, SALISBURY & ELLIS

  6. Alan Salisbury says:

    Correction – SCHOLFIELD should read SCHOFIELD.

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