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Reference: NLW MSS 12359-12361

These three manuscript volumes contain indexed pedigrees of the ancient families of south-west Wales compiled by Alcwyn Caryni Evans, a highly thorough and industrious antiquary from Carmarthen.

NLW MS 12361D - Index

NLW MSS 12359D - Book A-C

NLW MSS 12360D - Book D-H

Alcwyn Caryni Evans (1828-1902)

Alcwyn Caryni Evans was born in Carmarthen on the 14th May 1828, the son of Evan Donard Evans (1796-1877), and his wife Sophia Evans (1800-1844). Like his father, Alcwyn Evans became a schoolmaster, and kept 'The Carmarthen Academy' in Lammas Street for about 40 years, and later at the old Quaker house, his father's school.

From a young age, Alcwyn Evans was interested in local history, and at the Carmarthen National Eisteddfod in 1867, he won the chief literary prize with his "History of Carmarthenshire". This history (NLW MS 12369-12371B) was possibly one of his most valuable possessions, and he continued adding details to it until his death.

A methodical and painstaking compiler, Alcwyn Evans did more than anyone else to record and research the antiquities of Carmarthen town and county during the second half of the 19th century. He died on the 11th March 1902 at his home in Carmarthen. In Alcwyn Evans’ obituary, the Rev M. H. Jones, a Carmarthen antiquary, stated that "Mr Evans was undoubtedly one of the few authorities to consult on pedigrees, ancient wills, documents and other references to the past history of the county" (Transactions of the Carmarthenshire Antiquarian Society, 2, p.110).

His collections were dispersed after his death. His "beautifully written and carefully indexed volumes of manuscripts" passed into the library of Sir Evan Davies Jones of Pentower, Fishguard and in July 1939 were purchased at Sotheby's of London on behalf of Alderman R. J. R. Loxdale, Castle Hill, Llanilar, Cardiganshire, who presented them to the National Library of Wales (NLW MSS 12356-88)

The Manuscripts

These three manuscript volumes contain indexed pedigrees of the gentry of the counties of south-west Wales gathered from manuscripts and other sources by Alcwyn C. Evans. In an article in the Carmarthen Journal, 11 August 1939 a certain E.J.W. states ‘that to the genealogist these books are of inestimable value, inasmuch as they bring the pedigrees of the Welsh gentry up to date.’

How to use the manuscripts:

Readers should begin their searches by consulting the index volume (NLW MS 12361D), which contains indexes of the places and people contained in the pedigrees in NLW MSS 12359-12360D, and a list of contents of NLW MS 12356E (Bonedd y Cymry). This index volume is divided into three sections: pages 1-109 is a place name index; pages 124-214 a surname index; and pages 216-234 the index for Vol. 1 of Bonedd y Cymry.

Section 1, the place name index is divided into 4 columns:
column 1: residence / place name;
column 2: place / parish name;
column 3: page reference number to NLW MSS 12359-12360D;
column 4: references to other family names and genealogies

Section 2, the surname index is divided into 6 columns:
column 1: surname or patronymic name;
column 2: related place / parish name;
column 3: line of descent;
column 4: page reference number to NLW MSS 12359-12360D;
column 5: references to other family names and genealogies;
column 6: miscellaneous notes and cross references.

Section 3 is an index to Vol. 1 of Bonedd y Cymry (NLW MS 12356-7E), and is arranged by kings, rulers, chiefs and nobility.

It is important to note that this is not a complete index of all the families and places found in the manuscripts as it only lists the most eminent families, and several other family histories which are not indexed can be found within branches of these pedigrees.

After consulting the indices you should have a reference number (eg B125) to direct your search to the relevant genealogy in the other two volumes - NLW MSS 12359-12360D.

These volumes are divided into sections as follows:

NLW MSS 12359D:
Book A ('The British Genealogist of the Gentry of Carmarthenshire');
Book B ('The British Genealogist of the Gentry of Cardiganshire'); and
Book C ('The British Genealogist of the Gentry of Pembrokeshire').

NLW MSS 12360D:
Book D ('Brychan Brycheinog');
Book E ('The British Genealogist of the Gentry in some parts of Glamorgan, Brecknock, &c.');
Book F,
Book G ('The Sixth Booke of ye Brittish Genealogist of Brecknockshire'); and
Book H.

Therefore, if your family is referenced in the index volume as A100 you should go to NLW MSS 12359D, and locate section A, page 100, or for F98, you should go to NLW MSS 12360D, and search for section F, page 98.

Further reading:

  • E. Vernon Jones, 'Alcwyn Caryni Evans 1828-1902', Carmarthenshire Historian, 6 (1969), pp. 37-46
  • E.J.W., 'The Alcwyn Evans Manuscripts – compilations of a former Carmarthen Pedagogue,' Carmarthen Journal, 11 Aug 1939
  • Francis Jones,Historic Carmarthenshire Homes and their families, Carmarthen, 1987