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Our Powell Family History
Compiled By Harold Charles Powell, Last updated August 2012

Powell DNA

DNA codes are tested down gender lines. This is our Powell male Y chromosome haplogroup.

Harold's DNA code which is the same code for all Powell males in his family.

Map Showing the male Powell DNA line of evolution and migration into Europe.

Our Powell Families Ancient Past
Compiled By Harold Charles Powell, Last updated April 2012

Welsh History and Powell DNA

Our Paleolithic Ancestors
(Old Stone Age)

About 75,000 years ago, the climate of Britain became colder as ice sheets advanced to cover much of northern Europe. It is likely that no human beings inhabited Wales for tens of thousands of years. Those who did venture there during short mild spells sometimes found shelter in caves. The cave dwellers included the earliest modern human beings, our ancient ancestors.

The late Paleolithic era began in Wales about 35,000 B.C., when a wider range and better quality of tools came into use. Our ancestors of this period continued to live by hunting and gathering. Vast herds of wild animals, such as mammoth, musk ox, reindeer, and woolly rhinoceros, roamed wide-open plains and provided food for the cave-dwelling hunters. In southern Wales, archaeologists discovered the remains are of a young man, often called the Paviland Man, who died more than 25,000 years ago. His body had been smeared with red ocher, perhaps as part of a burial ritual.

Our Mesolithic Ancestors

Our Stone Age hunters and gatherers who lived in Britain as it emerged from the Ice Age about 11,500 years ago and over the next several thousand years are called Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) people. During this period, the melting of the polar ice caused the sea level to rise. About 8,500 years ago, Britain lost its land link with the rest of Europe and became an island. By about 8000 B.C., Wales had roughly the same shape as it has today.

As the climate became milder and the temperature rose, the countryside became covered with thick woods. The open grasslands with roaming herds of animals gradually disappeared. Our ancient ancestors gradually stopped living in caves and began to live in campsites made in forest clearings. They made such tools as axes and mattocks, large tools with a flat blade, used for loosening soil and cutting roots. Our ancestors tamed dogs and used them to help guard the camps and to hunt the small animals of the woodlands. They also used boats to catch fish.

Our Neolithic
Knowledge of agriculture was brought from the mainland of Western Europe to Britain. This marked the beginning of a new period in Welsh history-the Neolithic (New Stone Age) era around 4000 BC.
Our ancestors of this period built chambered tomb’s of stone called cromlechs or megaliths. The cromlech was both a place of burial and the center of the community's rituals and ceremonies. Our ancestral farmers of Neolithic Wales used flint axes to clear forests and open up land for cultivation. They grew various types of wheat and harvested the crop with flint sickles. They kept herds of cattle, sheep, and goats on the newly opened grasslands and also raised hogs.

Our Bronze Age Ancestors

The use of stone tools continued in Wales until about 1400 B.C. But between 3000 B.C. and 2500 B.C., our ancestors also began using metal tools. These early tools were made of copper, but later ones were made of bronze (copper hardened with tin). During the early Bronze Age, from about 2400 to 1400 B.C., the climate of Wales grew milder. It became possible to farm the upland regions of the country. The presence of numerous stone circles and burial chambers indicates that these areas could support large populations.
During the Bronze Age, distinctive wide-mouthed pottery vessels called beakers appeared in Wales and other areas of Britain. The beakers were often buried with the dead. Scholars once thought that large numbers of immigrants, whom they called the Beaker Folk, brought metalworking and the new beaker pottery to Britain. But archaeologists have not found evidence of large migrations. Many scientists now believe that small groups or individual traders and craft workers probably spread the new skills and ideas.
In the late Bronze Age (about 1400 to 600 B.C.), the climate grew colder again. Our ancestors living in the uplands of Wales abandoned their settlements and moved to lower ground. Metalwork flourished. Archaeologists have unearthed several groups of metal objects from this period, including swords.

The first hill forts appeared around this time. They range in area from more than 25 acres (10 hectares) to less than 1 acre (0.4 hectare). The largest were tribal capitals, and the smallest were farm enclosures or fortified homesteads. Hand mills were found which show that our ancestors who lived in the hill forts grew corn “wheat”. But large amounts of cattle bones suggest that cattle raising formed the basis of the economy.

Our Iron Age Ancestors
Around 700 BC the use of iron was introduced into Britain. Iron soon became a far more plentiful metal than either copper or tin, giving our ancestors an almost unlimited source of material for making tools and weapons. The oldest manufactured iron object found in Britain is a sword discovered in a lake called Llyn Fawr, in Rhondda, in southern Wales. The Llyn Fawr sword was made during the 600's B.C. The most notable belong to a group of objects that scientists found in a lake called Llyn Cerrig Bach in Anglesey. These objects, which date from between 150 B.C. and A.D. 50, may have been thrown into the lake as religious offerings.

Our Celtic Ancestors

Some historians believe that the Celtic language began to spread to Britain during the Bronze Age, perhaps as a result of trade with Europe. The various groups who spoke Celtic are known as Celts. Writings show that the ruling class of Britain spoke a Celtic language and that Celtic culture was dominant.

Celtic society was aristocratic, based on a government system in which the nobles or a privileged upper class ruled. Only two classes, the warriors and the druids (priests), enjoyed the full rights of free people.

By 50 B.C., Wales was inhabited by five Celtic tribes. The Silures occupied the southeast, the Demetii the southwest, the Ordovicii the northwest, the Deceangli the northeast, and the Cornovii held the middle reaches of the River Severn.

Our Ancestors and Roman Wales

The Roman emperor Claudius launched a full invasion of Britain in A.D. 43. By 47, the Romans had overrun southeastern England. Our Welsh ancestors continued to resist Roman rule, particularly the Silures, led by a prince from southern Britain named Caratacus, also spelled Caractacus, Caradoc, or Caradog, who was a Powell predecessor according to ancient texts. It was not until A.D. 75 that Wales came fully under control of the Romans, who then established the frontier system. Under this system, the Roman forces maintained control through a series of fortresses. The Romans built two legionary fortresses, housing foot soldiers and horsemen, at Chester and Caerleon. These were linked with more than 30 smaller fortresses by a network of roads.

By about A.D. 120, most of our ancestors had accepted Roman rule, and many of the fortresses stood empty. Latin was the official language of the Roman Empire, but the country's inhabitants also continued to use Brythonic, the form of the Celtic language spoken in Wales. The Romans granted the Silures a measure of self-government, and Caerwent became the Roman civitas (provincial capital). Carmarthen, in the territory of the Demetii, probably received the same status. These were the only Roman towns in Wales.

The upper classes in Wales came to consider themselves Roman, particularly after 212, when all free men throughout the Roman Empire were granted Roman citizenship. Further Roman influence came through the introduction of Christianity. In 304, two Welsh Christians, Aaron and Julius, were martyred (put to death because of their beliefs) at Caerleon. They were, along with the more famous Saint Alban, among the first British saints. Many Welsh people converted to Christianity after 313, when the Roman emperor Constantine the Great gave Christians freedom of worship.

Our Ancestors and Medieval Wales

The decline of the Roman Empire in the A.D. 300's and 400's brought the end of Roman rule in Britain. After the collapse of Roman rule, Welsh history is difficult to interpret for about 400 years, until the late A.D. 800's. The evidence available is scarce and confusing, and much of what has come down to historians is legend rather than confirmed facts. The Romanized British probably tried to retain most of the features of a Roman lifestyle. But by 500 A.D. Britain was divided into a number of kingdoms. Most of these were Brythonic in language and culture.

In the 400's and 500's, the Angles and Saxons, migrants from the mainland of Europe, set up small kingdoms in the east and southeast of Britain. The victory of the legendary British leader Arthur in about 496 temporarily halted the Anglo-Saxon expansion, but that expansion was renewed after 550. By about 700, the whole of southern Britain, apart from Wales and Cornwall, had become Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.

The Welsh language is a daughter language of Brythonic and is directly related to the other Brythonic languages, Cornish and Breton. Welsh emerged by about A.D. 600, when it was used by Taliesin and Aneirin, court poets in the Celtic kingdoms of southern Scotland.

Our Ancestors and
the Early kingdoms

Early Wales was divided into a number of small kingdoms. In the course of time, four major kingdoms developed: (1) Gwynedd in the northwest; (2) Powys in the center, the Powell Homeland at Castle Madoc; (3) Dyfed (later known as Deheubarth) in the southwest; and (4) Gwent in the southeast. The most powerful royal house was that of Gwynedd, which claimed descent from Cunedda, a leader who had migrated to Wales from the banks of the River Forth in Scotland.

In the late 800's, Rhodri Mawr (Rhodri the Great) a Powell predecessor, king of Gwynedd, united most of Wales under his rule. He also succeeded in defending Wales from the Vikings in 856. His grandson Hywel Dda (Hywel the Good) married the daughter of the king of Dyfed and united much of Wales, reigning for almost 40 years. Hywel issued an official currency and assembled the laws of Wales into a code. He recognized Athelstan, the king of England, as his overlord (ruler). Hywel's great-great-grandson Gruffydd ap Llywelyn brought the whole of Wales under his control, after a long series of battles in the south. Gruffydd was killed by Welsh enemies in 1063.

Harold, Earl of Wessex, invaded Wales in 1063, and Gruffydd's kingdom collapsed. After William of Normandy won the throne of England in 1066, Wales was again divided. William established three earldoms-Chester, Shrewsbury, and Hereford-on the Welsh border. He encouraged the earls to seize the territories of the Welsh along the border with England. These borderlands were called the Marches, and the barons were known as marcher lords. The marcher lords built castles on their lands and gradually expanded their estates. They soon controlled most of central and southern Wales.

By 1094, Welsh rule in Wales seemed doomed. But a great revolt in that year drove the Normans from Gwynedd and Powys and from much of Deheubarth. Among Welsh contenders for power were Madog ap Maredudd of Powys and Owain Gwynedd and Rhys ap Gruffydd (known as the Lord Rhys) of Deheubarth.

Our Ancestors and the English conquest
of Wales

The English kings tried to weaken the power of the Welsh rulers in the 1200's. The princes of Gwynedd reacted by trying to unite Wales. Llywelyn ap Lorwerth, also known as Llywelyn the Great, ruled the territory of Gwynedd in northwestern Wales and gradually expanded his control over Wales. In 1267, King Henry III of England acknowledged Llywelyn ap Lorwerth's grandson Llywelyn ap Gruffydd as Prince of Wales, with authority over all the other Welsh rulers. In return, Llywelyn recognized Henry as his king.

After Henry died in 1272, Llywelyn refused to accept Henry's son Edward I as his king. Edward's armies attacked Llywelyn in 1277. Edward forced Llywelyn to give up much of his territory but allowed him to keep his title. A new Welsh revolt broke out in 1282, and Llywelyn was slain in a battle with English troops the next year. After Llywelyn's death, the Welsh revolt collapsed.

Edward I gave the principality of Wales to his eldest son, Edward of Caernarfon, the future King Edward II, who in 1301 became the first English Prince of Wales. Since then, nearly all-English and British monarchs have given the title to their oldest son.

The 200 years following Edward's conquest of Wales saw many contrasting developments. Literature flourished. Poets wrote verses with a complex system of alliteration and internal rhymes called cynghanedd (pronounced kihng HAH nehth). Towns and trade developed. But, in 1349, a deadly plague called the Black Death greatly reduced the Welsh population.

Our Ancestors
and the Changes in Landholdings

Although the English conquest left most Welsh customs unaffected, the Welsh system of landholding gradually fell out of use. Before the English conquest, the property of a Welsh nobleman had been divided equally among his surviving sons. The subdivision of land had gone on for generations, and eventually the plots of inherited land became quite small. In the 1200's and 1300's, English and some Welsh landlords obtained batches of these small plots to form large estates. The new landowners were known as the gentry. The Welsh who were too poor to have their own land worked for the gentry as peasant farmers.

Many Welsh people came to accept the English conquest, and large numbers of Welshmen fought in the armies of the English kings. The Welsh troops won particular fame as archers. Not all Welsh people were prepared to accept English rule, however. There were revolts among the Welsh in 1287, 1294, and 1316, and several serious disturbances during the 1340's and 1370's. Finally, there was a great rebellion led by Owen Glendower from 1400 to 1410.

Our Ancestors and Glendower's Rebellion
Owen Glendower (Owain Glyn Dwr in Welsh), a Welsh prince, was descended from the Welsh princes of Powys. A man of culture, Glendower studied law in London before returning to live in north Wales. In England, he had been an ally of Henry of Bolingbroke, who later became King Henry IV. But when Glendower returned to Wales in 1400, he became angry over poverty and border disputes with the English. He decided to try to regain his country's lost independence. A violent disagreement with one of his English neighbors in north Wales provided the spark that led to Glendower's rebellion.

Glendower proved to be an inspiring leader, winning several battles against English forces. He quickly set up an independent parliament for Wales that passed its own laws on religious and foreign affairs. He also had plans for a Welsh university. In 1405, however, he suffered the first of a series of defeats. Henry IV's son, who later became King Henry V, led a successful campaign against Glendower, and by 1410, Glendower's rebellion was crushed. Glendower's struggles against the English-despite his final defeat-made him a hero of many Welsh people.

In 1455, a struggle for the throne of England broke out between the House (family) of Lancaster and the House of York. These wars were called the Wars of the Roses (1455-1485). During this period, the Welsh tried to find a Welsh leader among the various leaders of the Yorkists and the Lancastrians. The most convincing candidate was Henry Tudor (later King Henry VII). Henry belonged to an old Anglesey family and was a member, through his mother, of the House of Lancaster. Landing in Wales in 1485, Henry received considerable support from the Welsh. Welshmen represented about a third of Henry's army that defeated Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485. After that battle, Henry became King Henry VII.

Our Ancestores and the Act of Union

In 1536, Henry VIII, the son of Henry VII, joined Wales and England under a single government by the first Act of Union. Under the act, the March was divided into seven counties: (1) Denbigh, (2) Montgomery, (3) Radnor, (4) Brecon, the Powell’s Homeland, (5) Monmouth, (6) Glamorgan, and (7) Pembroke. The Act of Union also abolished Welsh law and prohibited the use of the Welsh language for official purposes.

Our Ancestors and the English Civil War
In the early 1600's, the English monarchs came into conflict with Parliament. These disagreements resulted in the English Civil War (1642-1648), a struggle between supporters of King Charles I and supporters of the English Parliament. During the war, most of the Welsh supported the king. The war ended with the triumph of Parliament, led by the Puritan general Oliver Cromwell. With the victory of Parliament, the Welsh Puritans received encouragement to press for religious reforms. Vavasor Powell, a leading Puritan, was a powerful and effective preacher.

Our Ancestors and the Economic Changes in Wales

The late 1600's and early 1700's were the golden age of the landowners. Wales became a land of large estates, and the estate owners dominated local government and parliamentary representation. The upper classes became increasingly English in speech and culture. As a result, Welsh language and culture was led by the middle classes, mainly yeomen (small landowners and farmers) and craft workers. The economy remained largely rural. Carmarthen and Wrexham, which in 1700 had about 3,000 inhabitants each, were the largest towns in Wales.

The lack of fertile land in Wales caused great economic difficulties among many farmers. The small landholders, who made up as much as half of the population, lived simple lives. The classes below them, the laborers and the poor, endured extreme poverty. With so little fertile land, the raising of cattle and sheep was the backbone of the economy in the 1600's and 1700's.  Many decided to they their luck in America’s including our Powell ancestors.

Our Powell Ancestors and the British Colonies of America

Our ancestors are believed to have settled in the New York City area in the mid to late 1600’s. One source has the family moving to Albany, N.Y. soon after arriving in the colonies. In his diary, William Henry Powell records his place of residence as Williamsburg, Long Island, New York, but since William did not leave behind the names of any of his relatives our connection to them and to our ancient roots remains clouded in mystery. Nonetheless, this history is our family history and DNA testing has confirmed this. With luck DNA genealogy will one day connect us person to person with our rich and ancient history.

Our Powell Family History
Compiled By Harold Charles Powell, Last updated May 2014

Click on Image to view profile.

Powell Family Patriarch's and Matriarch's
Honor given to the oldest Powell living
Photo's Name's and Places Title and Time Line Years with Title Generations

William Henry Powell
of Bradford, Pa.

Oldest Known Powell
July 29, 1829
Dec. 30, 1895

66 Years
5 Months
1 Day


Lloyd Swartwood Powell
of Bradford, Pa.
At age 22 became the
2ed. Powell Patriarch on
Dec. 30, 1895
Aug. 08, 1948

52 Years
7 months
9 Days


Maude Pearl Lucy
of Erie, Pa.
At age 64 became the
1st. Powell Matriarch on
Aug. 08, 1948
Aug. 22, 1953
5 Years
14 Days

Harold James Powell
of Bradford, Pa.

At age 55 became the
3ed. Powell Patriarch on
Aug. 22, 1953
April 22, 1966

12 Years
8 Months

Mildred Annabelle
of Buffalo, N.Y.
At age 65 became the
2ed Powell Matriarch on
April 22, 1966
March 25, 1979
12 Years
11 Months
3 Days

Jean Harritt
of Buffalo, N.Y.
At age 62 became the
3ed Powell Matriarch on
March 25, 1979
July 24, 2007
28 Years
3 months
29 Days

Francis James Powell
of Lake City, Fl.
At age 83 became the
4th. Powell Patriarch on
July 24, 2007
May 11, 2009
1 Year
9 Months
17 days


Wanda Sharyn
of Homosassa, Fl.
At age 63 became the
4th. Powell Matriarch on
May 11, 2009-Present
Fifth Year Fifth
Photo's Name's and Places Title and Time Line Years with Title Generations
Powell Family Patriarch's and Matriarch's
Honor given to the oldest Powell living

Our Powell Family History
Compiled By Harold Charles Powell, Last updated December 2013

13 Powell Family Fun Facts
Oldest Living Powell
Wanda Sharyn Powell-Smith
Youngest Living Powell
Logan James Powell
Oldest Living Powell Descendent
Youngest Living Powell Descendent
Rylan James Crocker
Most Senior Powell In-Law
Betty Jane De Groat-Powell
Newest Powell In-Law
Rob Penley
Number of known Powell Males Descendents
Number of known Powell Females Descendents
Total Number of all the known Direct Powell Descendents
Number of Generations Listed
Number of Generations Living
Our Families First Geneologist
Helen Irene Sincerny-Powell
Last Years 2013 Winner of the Powell Quest History Quiz
Betty Jane DeGroat-Powell
Past Winners of the Powell Quest History Quiz
2012-Helen Elizabeth Powell-Hartung
2011-Betty Jane DeGroat-Powell
2010-John Henry Powell Sr.

Contact: thegenealogist@powellquest.com

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