Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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GRIFFITH , JOHN EDWARDS ( 1843 - 1933 ), naturalist and antiquary ;

b. 18 June 1843 . With a prosperous pharmacy at Bangor , he was able to take an early interest in archaeology and natural history which in time accounted for his volumes on the Flora of Anglesey and Caernarvonshire , published in 1894 , and his Portfolio of Photographs of Cromlechs in the same two counties, published in 1900 ; at his death he was one of the oldest members of the Cambrian Archaeological Association , having joined in 1888 ; he was, from its inception, a prominent member of the Anglesey Antiquarian Society and shortly before his death he supplied to its Transactions lists of Anglesey clergy and extracts from the diaries of William Bulkeley , Brynddu (q.v.) . Griffith was extremely painstaking in all he did, and it was, therefore, an auspicious moment when he took up the hobby of pedigreemaking , of which his natural bent and his family connections made him an ideal devotee. His father, Griffith Griffith of Taldrwst in Llangristiolus , was a descendant of the Penhesgin family of Llanfaethlu , his mother derived from the Hugheses of Plas Coch , an uncle had married a daughter of William Williams ( 1738 - 1817 ) (q.v.) of Llandygái , while he himself had m. (as second wife) a daughter of Glasfryn by Llangybi , a marriage which brought him close acquaintance with a fresh batch of squires and clerics . Doors easily opened for him to search family papers . He made himself at home with the Dwnn transcripts, with genealogies collected by bishop Humphrey Humphreys (q.v.) and was especially fortunate in securing the pedigree collections of John Ellis of Tai Croesion in Llechylched , a noted antiquary and genealogist , who brought his researches down to 1721 . In addition, the records of the diocesan registry and of the probate office (in his time both at Bangor ) were heavily drawn upon, and confirmed by the examination of numerous parish registers. The fruit of all this activity was the truly monumental Pedigrees of Caernarvonshire and Anglesey Families , with their branches in other counties of North Wales , published in 1914 , a work of outstanding merit, a godsend to researchers . No such work could be perfect, and the great influx of family papers to library repositories has exposed many errors both of commission and omission. But the piling up of such errata by fortunate acquirers of the latest information can never impair the basic importance of this great work. Griffith d. 4 July 1933 , at Bryn Dinas , Bangor .

Sources:

  • Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families , 1914 , introduction, and 6, 31, 210;
  • Transactions of the Anglesey Antiquarian Society and Field Club , 1930 (86), 1931 (28-102, 113), 1932 (105);
  • personal knowledge.

Author:

Thomas Richards, D.Litt., (1878-1962), Bangor

Published date: 1959