We're just back from a conference in Dublin discussing the important work that's going on in the field of Place Name Studies in Ireland. As well as the chance to learn more about Irish Place Names, we also got to discuss the various systems and websites used by those working in the field in order to collect and protect the names. Several fascinating websites exist in Ireland, from the hyper-local Oidhreacht Loch Chon Aortha: http://www.oidhreachtlca.ie/mapa.php to the national, www.logainm.ie. As well as this, we heard from Dr Rebecca Gregory of the English Place Names Society about the work she's been undertaking to complete the Staffordshire Place Names Survey. Check out the project blog if you'd like to find out more! https://staffordshireplacenames.wordpress.com/
In addition to this, we've been carrying on with the Parochialia, and are reaching the end of the first volume. Currently there are over two thousand names from this important source in the List, and we'll keep on adding more until it's finished. Also, we'll be receiving data from Perci Penfro, a project run by Menter Iaith Sir Benfro before long. This was a project to record the county's field names, and as such will bring in hundreds more interesting names. Watch this space!
Part of our work with the list of historic Place Names is to encourage people from all parts of Wales to send their place names in to us. These names will not only be included in the List and kept safe there forever, but the public will also be able to search for them according to source on the website. As you’ll see when using the Advanced Search function, the ones we have currently include names of houses, farms, fields and the like, which were sent in by people from Ceredigion. These were either the fruit of local place name projects, or were drawn from maps owned or compiled by the families who sent them in.
More than thirty names have already been collected by three people in Ceredigion, and there are more on the way, so come on rest of Wales! Don’t let the Cardis take all the glory! We’ve already got names from Ffos y Ffin, Pont Siân, and Aberystwyth, with Cwmystwyth soon to follow, but what about Bethesda, Halkyn, Maenclochog or Patrishow? What about Sully or Abertillery? You can send your place names in either through the enquiries form, which can be found on the website, by emailing us directly, or by speaking to our Place Names Officer, James January-McCann after he’s given a talk on the List in your area. (Of course, you’ll have to arrange for him to visit first... he doesn’t charge an appearance fee!)
So what are you waiting for? The List belongs to the people of Wales, and it’s vial that you take ownership of it. There are thousands and thousands of place names which only exist in speech, without any written record, and the only way for us to upload them to the List is for you to send them in to us. So, speak to your grandparents, ask your local historians and experts, and send the names in!
For those of you who missed James' interview on Radio Cymru this week, or if you fancy hearing it again, here's the link below to listen again:
The talk lasts from 40:50 to 57:05, and includes a discussion of the current state of place names in Wales, of the process which led to the creation of the List, and the sources which were used to compile it. If you haven't yet had the opportunity to attend one of the talks James has been giving across Wales, this will provide a good introduction to the history and contents of the List.
A brief note for those of you who are learning Welsh - both James and Dei speak fairly slowly throughout the interview, so don't be afraid to listen in. Enjoy!
James will be interviewed by Dei Tomos at 6 o'clock on Radio Cymru, Tuesday 30th January, about the List. Listen in for an interesting discussion about some of the names and sources which appear in the List.
Happy New Year to you all! It’s possible that you’ve already noticed that a few things have changed on the website and the List since Christmas. As well as adding roughly seven hundred more names from the Parochialia, we’ve also added more options to the search engine. It’s now possible to search by more sources than just Cymru 1900 and Cynefin, as was previously the case, by going to Advanced Search and choosing the source you want to use from the list.
As the year goes on we’ll also be adding sound files to the glossary, to help non-Welsh speakers with pronouncing the names, and a group of student volunteers from the Department of Welsh at Aberystwyth University will be checking all of the names to get rid of any mis-spellings or mis-transcriptions. Needless to say that we’ll be continuing to add more new names to the List throughout this process!