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Thread: Miscellaneous Welsh Odds and Ends

  1. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnHowellsTyrfro View Post
    Difficult to know. Of course here you have a Welsh, Early English and Norman (of various sorts) mix.
    Someone whose ancestors maybe arrived in 1066 or around that period or earlier might be pretty assimilated 400 years later, inter-marriage and so on.
    It could though just mean someone "anglicised" maybe brought up in England or with an English education possibly as a sort of slightly insulting nickname. "Gam" as in Davy Gam was a nickname meaning lame it wasn't his real name.
    Lots of these descriptive nicknames were quite insulting weren't they? Perhaps Sais is an exception though. The entry for "Sais, Sayce, Seys" in Welsh Surnames by TJ Morgan says that "... as an epithet attached to a pers. name it [Sais] probably meant 'able to speak English'." It goes on to say "There is no reason to believe that it had any meaning of contempt."

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  3. #112
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnHowellsTyrfro View Post
    Difficult to know. Of course here you have a Welsh, Early English and Norman (of various sorts) mix.
    Someone whose ancestors maybe arrived in 1066 or around that period or earlier might be pretty assimilated 400 years later, inter-marriage and so on.
    It could though just mean someone "anglicised" maybe brought up in England or with an English education possibly as a sort of slightly insulting nickname. "Gam" as in Davy Gam was a nickname meaning lame it wasn't his real name.
    As a side note, "Gam" also could be embarrassing for a man as it could mean shapely, attractive woman's leg! In fact there was an attractive 1960s French singing group Les Gams. The name was formed from the first letter of each singer's first name and no doubt arranged as gams because that also meant legs in French. This is a fun video from 1963 of their version of the US group The Exciters' "He's Got The Power". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnNqL_r1uP4
     
    Estimated ancestry after reviewing Ancestry.com, 23&Me, FTDNA My Origins, Living DNA and known family history:
    33% English, 27% Scottish, 18% Welsh, 18% Irish, 4% German/Netherlands

    Y-DNA leads to Isle of Skye, Scottish Highlands: R1b>M343>L278>L754>L389>P297>M269>L23>L51>L151/L11>P312>Z290>L21/M529>DF13>L513/DF1>S5668>A7>Z21253> S7834 > S7828 > BY11203 > BY11186 (about 320-550 years old)

    MTDNA leads to Glamorgan, South Wales: K1a4a1f

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  5. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phoebe Watts View Post
    Lots of these descriptive nicknames were quite insulting weren't they? Perhaps Sais is an exception though. The entry for "Sais, Sayce, Seys" in Welsh Surnames by TJ Morgan says that "... as an epithet attached to a pers. name it [Sais] probably meant 'able to speak English'." It goes on to say "There is no reason to believe that it had any meaning of contempt."
    Maybe it had only that meaning.
    At the same time on the other foot "Welsh" was not neutral.
    As in the rhyme "Taffy was a Welshman", although that comes back to bite the teller, it is still an insult: don't steal from a Welshman who has nothing.
    And when I did not shut the door as a child "Are you Welsh?!" implied that the Welsh were too poor to have doors and only had cloth doors that shut themselves or lived in tents (this may have come from a mining town my ancestors came from that had parts named for their Welsh, Cornish, Scottish inhabitants : neighbourhoods of Kooringa (local native name), Llwchwr, Aberdeen, New Aberdeen, Redruth and Graham, when my ancestors had worked their way up to renting a stone cottage).

    Perhaps the Welsh were more noble people and did not retaliate.

    Certainly in modern times "Sais" can be a term of opprobrium, but some English worked hard to earn the right to that. Unfortunately.
    Last edited by Saetro; 01-19-2018 at 04:59 AM.

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  7. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saetro View Post
    Maybe it had only that meaning.
    At the same time on the other foot "Welsh" was not neutral.
    As in the rhyme "Taffy was a Welshman", although that comes back to bite the teller, it is still an insult: don't steal from a Welshman who has nothing.
    And when I did not shut the door as a child "Are you Welsh?!" implied that the Welsh were too poor to have doors and only had cloth doors that shut themselves or lived in tents (this may have come from a mining town my ancestors came from that had parts named for their Welsh, Cornish, Scottish inhabitants : neighbourhoods of Kooringa (local native name), Llwchwr, Aberdeen, New Aberdeen, Redruth and Graham, when my ancestors had worked their way up to renting a stone cottage).

    Perhaps the Welsh were more noble people and did not retaliate.

    Certainly in modern times "Sais" can be a term of opprobrium, but some English worked hard to earn the right to that. Unfortunately.
    In modern times it's often used in the context of Saxon/English and not usually complimentary. I'm not a Welsh speaker but I guess languages evolve and meanings can change over time. The surname Seys is supposedly derived from a Welsh origin.
    Certainly in past times the Welsh were literally second class citizens denied the same rights as English people.

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  9. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert1 View Post
    As a side note, "Gam" also could be embarrassing for a man as it could mean shapely, attractive woman's leg! In fact there was an attractive 1960s French singing group Les Gams. The name was formed from the first letter of each singer's first name and no doubt arranged as gams because that also meant legs in French. This is a fun video from 1963 of their version of the US group The Exciters' "He's Got The Power". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnNqL_r1uP4
    As far as I know it's not the same usage in Welsh. The term "gammy leg" meaning lame was used in my youth but I don't hear it now. It could also mean something like a squint I believe. Some say Davy Gam Ap Einion Seys was the inspiration for Fluellen in Shakespeare's Henry V and in Olivier's film of the play Fluellen is portrayed with a squint.
    "If your Majesties is remembered of it, the Welshmen did good service in a garden where leeks did grow, wearing leeks in their Monmouth caps, which, your Majesty know, to this hour is an honorable badge of the service. And I do believe your Majesty takes no scorn to wear the leek upon Saint Tavy’s day."

    Fluellen.gif

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  11. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lirio100 View Post
    I hadn't realized Bowen was so localized (quick look at a surname map). I suppose I was lucky it was!
    Slightly off - topic but because of your Nantyglo connections I thought you might be interested in this Video (part 2 should follow on).
    An American gentleman visits Nantyglo, I assume he has connections. I think he struggles a bit with the local accent. Trevor Rowson who appears in the video was a well-known local historian who advised author Alexander Cordell ( Rape of the Fair Country etc).


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  13. #117
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    Gam as in Davy Gam is from cam, the Welsh word for crooked. So a squint fits. The term gammy probably comes from an Irish source though. Again from cam meaning crooked.

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  15. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnHowellsTyrfro View Post
    In modern times it's often used in the context of Saxon/English and not usually complimentary. I'm not a Welsh speaker but I guess languages evolve and meanings can change over time. The surname Seys is supposedly derived from a Welsh origin.
    Certainly in past times the Welsh were literally second class citizens denied the same rights as English people.
    Yes of course you are right - I could have expressed myself better. The statement "no reason to believe that it had any meaning of contempt" is only about the use of Sais as an epithet attached to a personal name (of someone who is Welsh).

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  17. #119
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    Thank you, John! I watched both. I think Hermon Baptist church must have been the one my great-grandmother attended. The shot at the end of the second part showed some miner's lanterns hanging from the ceiling--I have a reproduction of those, from Aberstryth. Christmas present

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  19. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lirio100 View Post
    Thank you, John! I watched both. I think Hermon Baptist church must have been the one my great-grandmother attended. The shot at the end of the second part showed some miner's lanterns hanging from the ceiling--I have a reproduction of those, from Aberstryth. Christmas present
    Unfortunately Hermon has been demolished but I knew it well - it was on my street.

    cneta0ms00ii.jpg

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