Using Welsh manorial estate records to prove identity and origination: Robert Davis/Davies


  • Stephen B. Hatton



The article sets out to discover from where in Wales a nineteenth-century American originated. Because of not being able to match the more commonly used identifiers such as marriage and baptismal data, more infrequently used identifiers are sought and analyzed. This requires a thorough search of U.S.-based records in government and society archives, careful correlation of data, and resolution of conflicting data. These records are used to learn as much as possible about the immigrant to ascertain clues and form hypotheses. The FAN (friends, associates, neighbors) method is used to progress. Researching an ancestor’s friends, associates, and neighbors often leads to discovery of evidence that enables one to overcome obstacles encountered when focusing solely on the ancestor. After the immigration year, birth month, and association with the Watkin family are determined, the Watkins are backtracked to Llanerfyl parish in Montgomeryshire, Wales. Focusing on the fact that the immigrant was a farmer who likely rented in his early years in the U.S., the article turns to Welsh estate manorial records to find and prove an identity match using land status, age, immigration year, and association with the Watkins. This leads to the discovery of the specific geographic origin of Robert Davis who after his move lived in Radnor Township in Delaware County, Ohio.


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