Have you ever looked back into your family history at all? I’ve spent some time this week looking through old census reports, birth and death certificates, and any info I could find trying to trace back my roots. It’s something that’s been bugging me for a long time. My parents don’t really talk about their time growing up or their parents, grandparents, etc, so I finally decided to look into it on my own.
I traced back through my father’s side. I’ve discovered quite a bit. Fortunately for me, my family line (it turns out) connects with an important line, so there was a whole lot of information out there.
It turns out that my great-great-grandfather, James Polk Evans (1847-1916) served in the 20th Light Artillery out of Indiana in the Civil War. This is a picture of him.
His great-grandfather, David Evans (1760-1809?), moved to Kentucky (where my immediate family has roots) from Virginia in 1785. This was only seven years after Daniel Boone blazed the Wilderness Trail into the region.
David’s great grandfather, John ap Evan (1683-1737/38) was the first of my family to reach America. He was born in Wales and moved to Pennsylvania. His grandfather, Evan ap William Howell (1610-1687) had bought some land there and intended to move there, but died in Barbados after falling sick at sea. Apparently Evan had become a Quaker and had been referred to the community in Pennsylvania.
Evan’s grandfather, Howell ap Griffith Dewas (1550-1600) had been squire to the body of Henry VIII.
Howell’s 12th great-grandfather (my 26th great-grandfather), Bleddyn ap Cynfyn (1025-1075) was prince of the Welsh kingdoms of Gwynedd and Powys. He fought against William the Conquerors’ invasion.
My family line continues confidently down to my 43rd great-grandfather, Casnar Wledig (born around 440). After this the line becomes slightly less reliable, but it seems that it would continue on to Afallach ap Lludd (b. 68 BC) who fought against Julius Caesar’s invasion in 55 BC. His father, Afleth “Lludd” (b. 100 BC) was the supposed founder of London. Afleth’s father’s name comes down to us as Beli Mawr (b. 130 BC). This is probably not his real name since the Celtic people have a god named this, but it seems that, whatever his name was, he was a real person. If the line does go back this far, he would be my 61st great-grandfather.
Past that point it becomes a whole lot less reliable as we would have to rely upon Geoffrey of Monmouth’s work, The History of the Kings of Britain (c. 1136). However, if there is any credibility to it (which is unlikely) then my line would go back another 60 generations to a man names Brutus I (from which Britain supposedly takes it’s name). He was the supposed grandson of Aeneas. Aeneas fought with Troy against the Greeks (as is told in the Illiad). Virgil (in his Aeneid) tells us that his offspring also founded Rome.
Still further, Aeneas’ lineage goes back another five generations to a man named Dardanus (who was a supposed son of Zeus). Dardanus would’ve lived sometime around the 15th/14th centuries BC.
It seems that I can certainly trace my family back to about 440 AD. Still it’s cool to think that maybe, just maybe, my family line continues back farther to a time before the events of Troy. That would be something around 130 generations or 3400 years.