Mom's family is almost entirely Welsh on her Dad's side. Her grand father Daniel Williams (1852 - 1920) was born in Wales and her family attended a church founded by Welshmen, The Congregational Church of Frostburg, Maryland. The original founding documents are mostly in Welsh. They were found in an attic, given to Aunt Betty who is a member there, and she gave them back to the church.
There's Mom in the church choir in the photo below, seated third from the left in the front row. Looks like she was in her teen years. And there's her best friend next to her on the left, and on the end her sister, Dot. Mom liked choir... she said so.
In doing some general background research on the Welsh people who immigrated and landed in upstate New York -- in hopes of understanding enough about them so that I could get a clue and find Daniel's siblings and mother who we have a photo of, taken possibly in the 1890s -- I googled around. What I found was a really nice write up from the Oneida County Historical Society about the Welsh community there. In it was this: "Pomeroy Jones wrote in 1851 that the Welsh are a nation of singers." And I learned about Welsh singing societies and their spring competitions called Eisteffods.
The Welsh immigrants who came to the Frostburg, Maryland area brought this love of music, and particularly singing, with them. Sometimes in the tiniest of details, the entire character of an ancestral line is revealed.
When I look at this photo and then look at the other musical folks in this line in particular, I can feel their love of music... and think it might be part of the Welsh character. How else do you explain that an immigrant coal miner, Daniel Williams, supported his son Joe's interest in music and somehow got him into one of the most prestigious music schools of the day? Amazing!
Thanks to Aunt Betty for this image.
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