Were you bursting with Welsh pride as Welsh singer Katherine Jenkins asked the Mormon Tabernacle Choir if any of them had Welsh ancestry? (You can watch the entire Pioneer Day Concert 2012 at LDS.org.) If so, there’s a fantastic free website where you can explore your heritage: Welsh Mormon History.
Many early members of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, as you’re probably aware, were from Wales. Even today, in answer to Katherine Jenkins’ question, most choir members raised their hands to show they had Welsh ancestors.
On the Welsh Mormon History website, you’ll find photos, journals, and biographies for many of the more than 6,000 Welsh men, women, and children who were part of the great Mormon migration from the British Isles to Utah and Idaho in the nineteenth century. The project, under the direction of Dr. Ronald Dennis, professor emeritus of Portuguese and Welsh languages at Brigham Young University, is sponsored by the Center for Family History and Genealogy at the same institution. Dr. Dennis led tour groups to Wales for many years and photographed homes where early Welsh Mormon converts had lived before migrating.
The ten most popular Welsh surnames are Jones, Williams, Davies, Evans, Thomas, Roberts, Hughes, Edwards, Lewis, and Morris.
Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah is one of the only institutions in the United States that offers Welsh language courses. In the Winter 2012 semester, for example, an evening class from 4:00-5:50 on Tuesdays and Thursdays is available.
There are also some amazing organizations that celebrate the Welsh heritage of Americans, such as the Welsh-American Genealogical Society who say Croeso (Welcome!) to all who wish to join. Perhaps you have cousins who ventured to the Welsh colony of Patagonia in Argentina. You can read more about this region on Wikipedia.
So come, celebrate your Welsh ancestors!