Celebrating Welsh Ancestry and St. David’s Day In Wales

map of wales

St. David is the patron saint of Wales, and those in Cymru celebrate his life on March 1 each year with concerts, parades, and perhaps an over-hyped sale on mattresses or cars or something that has nothing to do with Welsh heritage.

I assume that Penderyn, the Welsh Whisky, plays a large part in these celebrations.

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Tracing Your Welsh Ancestry

Historic castle in Wales

For the record, approximately 1.75 million Americans can claim Welsh ancestry. A big chunk of them settled in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Iowa. Seven signers of the Declaration of Independence were Welsh-Americans.

Bruce and I visited Wales to determine if the entry in my Grandma’s Bible claiming that our ancestors were Welsh was accurate. During our visit we worked with a delightful woman named Joanna Masters, who runs a business called “Where You Are From”.

Joanna Masters leads Welsh heritage tours in Wales.

In the print story I wrote about our time with Joanna, I described her as:

“an energetic and personable woman who specializes in Welsh genealogy. She loves digging in old church basements, searching through fragile documents, and climbing around long lost cemeteries. She celebrates in the stories of those who came from Wales, how they lived their lives and the reasons they did what they did.”

Artifacts from the archives of a Welsh Ancestry Museum.

It was a fabulous couple of days with Joanna, digging through not only our family history, but learning so much about the Welsh people.

Our search did not definitively determine that my ancestors came from the country we now know as Wales, but they did come from the southern part of the island we know as Great Britain.

Although we didn’t discover what I had hoped, perhaps your journey will be different. May the luck of the Welsh be with you.

Learn More about Welsh Genealogy


Pendryn Whiskey is made in Wales.

If you love all things Welsh, you’re surely a fan of Dylan Thomas. Read here about the Dylan Thomas Trail in Wales.