Welcome to
The Brynmawr Wales
History - Genealogy Project

Copright ©2010 by Jeffrey L. Thomas

History - Maps - Genealogy - Photographs


Welcome to the Brynmawr Wales History - Genealogy Project, a collection of online resources designed for those interested in the history of Brynmawr, and for genealogists attempting to trace their ancestors who may have lived here. Via the menu below you will find historical essays, maps, census records, church records, gazetteers, monumental inscriptions, and photographs, with an emphasis on Brynmawr's 19th century industrial history. Nearly all of the above-mentioned information resides on-site, however I do provide certain external links to nearby community web sites and other helpful Welsh genealogy resources. My Welsh-American ancestors came from Brynmawr, and I have also included essays about their lives, along with an examination of the close ties between Brynmawr and Scranton, Pennsylvania, where my ancestors and many others from Brynmawr and the surrounding communities settled in the mid to late 19th century.

Brynmawr lies on the northern fringe of the south Wales coalfield in what was formerly Breconshire, and was one of dozens of communities that was irrevocably transformed in the 19th century by the region's iron and coal industries. Like many industrial communities in south Wales, Brynmawr experienced periods of prosperity and hardship as the region's fortunes fluctuated with the price of iron and coal. It suffered greatly during the depression years prior to World War II, when massive unemployment threatened the peace and stability of the community. However, Brynmawr has made a remarkable recovery from those difficult times, and today its residents take great pride in the town's recent accomplishments. These include the recently opened Brynmawr and District Museum on Market Street, a valuable archive that pays tribute to Brynmawr's past.

How and why I created this site

In October of 2003 a 15-year search finally came to an end when I established beyond a shadow of a doubt that my Thomas ancestors came from Brynmawr. Having already spent several years studying the history and records of Scranton, Pennsylvania, the town where my Welsh ancestors settled, it was time to turn my attention to Brynmawr, my newly-discovered ancestral homeland. Fortunately a web site called Brynmawr Scene had recently been launched, which featured a brief history of the town that provided the basis for my further research. I was frustrated, however, in my efforts to locate a detailed history of the town or any type of useful online records, and the same was true for the nearby parish church of Llanelly, where my great-great grandparents were married in 1844. It was at this point that I decided to create a web site to correct these deficiencies in order to help other researchers and genealogists who might also be interested in the history of Brynmawr. In preparation for this project my wife and I made a trip to Brynmawr in April of 2004, where I was able to engage in my own research, and collect certain information regarding the history of the town. Soon after I began creating the pages that would become the nucleus of this web site. I hope you enjoy the materials you find here, and I look forward any comments, suggestions or additions to these pages.


Jeffrey L. Thomas
e-mail: jltbalt1@verizon.net


Table of Contents

Brynmawr History Brynmawr Photographs & Industrial Art
Brynmawr Maps Brynmawr and Scranton, Pennsylvania
1841 Census of Brynmawr Neighboring Communities
Brynmawr Church History & Records Other Genealogy Resources


Below: View of Market Square. The Town War Memorial stands to the right. As early as 1844 a Market Hall was built and after various alterations was replaced by a new and larger hall in 1894. The trade done in the market was largely wholesale, but in addition several local shopkeepers had stalls there, and applications for places in the market were received from as far afield as Sheffield. Christmas poultry fairs were held in the hall, and stock fairs on the adjoining ground. The new hall was built at the public expense and was opened by a civic ceremony and lunch to which two hundred guests were invited. (Jennings)


Brynmawr History

Excerpts from Hilda Jennings' 1934 History of Brynmawr.
The Brynmawr Heritage Trail - from the Blaenau Gwent County web site.
The Brynmawr Gunpowder Explosion of 1870.
Pigot's 1844 directory of Brynmawr and Llanelly Parish.
Decline and Depression in the 1920s: The Brynmawr Experiment.
Brynmawr 1862-1963: 100 Years a Railway Town, by Chris Evans
The Nantyglo Round Towers complex, near Brynmawr. (industrial history)

Brynmawr Maps

Modern road map showing the location of Brynmawr (multiMap.com)
Modern street map of Brynmawr (Streetmap.co.uk)
19th-century map of Breconshire, Wales
19th-century map showing the location of Brynmawr in Breconshire
Coal and iron mines/works in the vicinity of Brynmawr. (Jennings book)
Tramroads formerly radiating from Brynmawr. (Jennings book)
Brynmawr as key-point for distribution to the South Wales coal field, (Jennings book)
The development of housing in Brynmawr: The growth of the town, 1800-1930 (Jennings book)
1880 street-level map of central Brynmawr
Clydach Valley - villages and sites of former industry works. (Jennings book)

1841 Census of Brynmawr

Introduction & commentary by Jeffrey L. Thomas.
Enumeration District 6 (912 individuals)
Enumeration District 7 (518 individulas)
Enumeration District 8 (679 individuals)
Enumeration District 9 (494 individuals)
Enumeration District 5 (488 individuals) Brynmawr outlying areas

Brynmawr Church History & Records

Early history of Rehoboth Church, Brynmawr, by the Rev. W. Crwys Williams.
History & description of Llanelly Parish Church in (old) Breconshire, near Brynmawr.
Early history of Calvary Chapel, Brynmawr, by Judith Sylte
Church Records from Calvary Chapel, Brynmawr

Brynmawr Photographs & Industrial Art

Photographs of Brynmawr and surrounds (with history) by Jeffrey L. Thomas.
Artistic Impressions of 19th-Century Industrial South Wales.

Brynmawr and Scranton, Pennsylvania

Follow the links below to learn about the connections between Brynmawr and Scranton, Pennsylvania. Included here are discussions of the Brynmawr-Scranton connection, and stories of some of the people from Brynmawr and the surrounding communities who emigrated to Scranton. These two industrial communities had much in common, and it's no accident that there's a street named "Bryn Mawr" located in Hyde Park, the Welsh section of Scranton.

Essay: The Brynmawr - Scranton connection
John J. Thomas of Brynmawr and Scranton
David & Hannah Davies of Brynmawr and Scranton
George Hares of Somerset, Brynmawr and Scranton
Benjamin Hughes of Brynmawr and Scranton
Ann Prosser Hughes of Brynmawr and Scranton
David Aubrey of Brynmawr and Scranton
Elizabeth Edwards of Brynmawr and Scranton
David & Gwen Rosser of Brynmawr and Scranton
Dan Powell of Blaina and Scranton (Dunmore)
William Thomas, Nantyglo, Pontypool and Scranton
History of Brynmawr, Wales
History of Hyde Park/Scranton, with an emphasis on coal mining & labor disputes.
Washburn Street Cemetery Burials (Hyde Park/Scranton)

Neighboring Communities

Brynmawr Scene: The official Brynmawr town web site, and one of the best on the net.
Abertillery Online: An industrial community six miles south of Brynmawr.
Cwmtillery Online: Another coal-mining community between Abertillery and Blaina.
Old Merthyr Tydfil: Detailed site on the history of Merthyr Tydvil, another industrial community that had much in common with Brynmawr. Extensive collection of iron works photographs and industrial history.

Other Genealogy Resources

Visit the BlaenauGwent mail list page, to find others researching ancestors in the region
GENUKI page for Breconshire, Wales
The Breconshire RootsWeb Project page
John Ball's Welsh Family History Archive - The best Welsh genealogy site on the net!
UK Birth, Death & Marriage certificates direct from the GRO (online ordering available)
The Parish Chest, a convenient service for purchasing genealogical resources for Wales.
FreeBMD Web site: UK Civil Registration database for births, marriages and deaths.
Ancestry.com Welsh records section: Civil Registration, census & more
1881 Census of Britain online (Free!)


Visit the Thomas family GenWeb Site
Visit the Castles of Wales web site (my other hobby)


This web site is copyrighted ©2010 by Jeffrey L. Thomas, with all rights reserved.
e-mail: jltbalt1@verizon.net