My Welsh Ancestry

I say in my bio that my ancestors came from Wales. While Woodbury is a Saxon name, my umpteenth great grandfather, William Woodbury, self-identified as a Welshman when he came to Salem in 1628.  I discuss the origins of the name ‘Woodbury’ and its Welsh possibilities here:

I am also descended from a host of Morgans, Thomas’, Kemries, Johns, Rhuns etc.  The line I’ve researched most successfully descends from Llywelyn ap Ifor born around 1300.  Six generations later, Sir John Morgan (1448) was knighted and is featured here:

One of his sons, Thomas, married  Elizabeth Vaughn and had Rowland (who became sheriff in 1588).  The line then goes Henry-Thomas-Robert to Samuel, who had two children:  Anna and Robert. Anna, born in 1685, married Hezekiah Ober.  Their child, Joanna, married Elisha Woodbury, 8 generations up from me through my father.  In turn, Robert married Mary Thorndike. Their son, Paul, is also 8 generations up from me, through my mother.

In addition, a reader was kind enough to inquire about my ancestry and explained that Llywelyn ab Ifor’s wife was descended from Rhydderch ab Iestyn, whose father Iestyn is thought to be another son of Owain ap Hywel Dda. The line from Rhydderch comes via his grandson Caradog ap Gruffudd. Caradog married Gwenllian, daughter of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, King of Powys and later also of Gwynedd. Llywelyn ab Ifor’s father, Ifor ap Llywelyn, married Tangwystl, who was the daughter of Rhys ap Hywel ‘Sais’. The father of Hywel ‘Sais’ was Rhys ap Gruffudd, The Lord Rhys, Prince of Deheubarth. (So it goes: Lord Rhys – Hywel ‘Sais’ – Rhys – Tangwystl). Llywelyn ab Ifor’s grandfather, Llywelyn, married Nest, daughter of Hywel ‘Felyn’, Lord of Senghenydd, son of Gruffudd ab Ifor ‘Bach’, Lord of Senghenydd. Ifor Bach’s wife was Nest, daughter of Gruffudd ap Rhys and sister of The Lord Rhys ap Gruffudd.

Some of these people can be seen here (in 2nd chart from top, begun in first chart):

He explains that this is yet another example of how dynastic lines became entwined, which makes many Welsh people kinsmen. It also (particularly in the example of Rhydderch ab Iestyn) provides a better sense of how battles between various lines began, each claiming some inheritance from a common ancestor.

This is the family tree of the Kings of Wales, also very much a matter of intertwining lineages:

In addition, while the above ancestral lines indicate that I am a descendant of many medieval kings, including Gruffydd ap Cynan, King of Gwynedd; Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, King of Powys; Brian Boru, High King of Ireland; Lord Rhys, Ruler of Deheubarth; and Sitric Silkbeard, King of Dublin, imagine my delight to learn that I am also descended from King Henry I of England through his illegitimate eldest son, Robert of Gloucester. Robert’s illegitimate daughter, Mabel, married Gruffydd ab Ifor Bach, Lord of Senghenydd (above, son of Ifor Bach and Nest). I descend directly from one of their children. As my son is wont to say, how cool is that?

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8 thoughts on “My Welsh Ancestry”

  1. Sarah,
    I’m another fan of your books. Just finished Castawasy in time, hope you keep continuing the series. I’ve been working on my family tree and was excited to find that I am descended from John Price, the first Price in the United States and his ancestry (and thus mine) can be traced back to Elystan Glodrydd ap Cyhelin ap Ifor (b: 933 – aft. 1010) (b: Prince of Ferllys, Founder of 4th Royal Tribe of Wales)
    Your books sparked my interest in Welsch history. Can’t wait to see if I can find more Welsh ancestors in the tree.

  2. Hi Sarah
    Please could you let me know where I can find a hard copy of The Good Knight other than Amazon in West Sussex, or London.,

    Secondly I too have just found out there family connections to Rhodri mawr,Cadell, Hywel,Lord Rhys down to present day. Very exciting.

    Look forward to hearing from you

    Regard Sian

    1. Hmmm. In the UK, I am not sure if it’s available anywhere but ordering by mail through Amazon. I’m sorry! It may be that your local bookshop can order it for you …

  3. It was with great delight that I recently discovered your books. I was reading my first one – Daughter of Time (yes, because it was time travel and it was free:)) As I read along, I suddenly stopped and said, “What was that name?” It was Humphrey deBohun and I thought that sounded familiar. Whipped over to my trusty Ancestry site and sure enough – there he was! My 20th Great Grandfather (the one born in 1249, which seems to be the main one in the novel). From there on, it was more a matter of who I was NOT related to! I thank you for making Humphrey a honorable character. I enjoyed your story all on its own and would be reading all the rest anyway, but this was such a lovely surprise. What a fun way to flesh out (however imaginative) these distant ancestors that I had no idea had anything to do with Wales!

    Best regards,

    1. I’m so glad you are enjoying my books. There’s a lot more to come about Humphrey! He gets a little more complicated as he gets older 🙂

  4. Hi Sarah, I like you come from Welsh roots. We came a litter later, around 1659. We don’t know what John’s last name was in Wales. It was Rudderow here. I love your books. Our son who has been a High School teacher for 20 years got me on them. Whem is the next The After Cilmeri coming out? I just finished Garth & Gwen books We need more of them also. Keep up the wonderful books.
    Yours, Amos

    1. Thank you! Thank you! The next After Cilmeri will be here before Christmas, and the next G and G in the spring.

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