GENERAL INFORMATION RELATING TO THE USE OF THIS WEBSITE
Those who have been using this website since its inception, over fifteen years ago, and following its evolution over the years, may remember that it was originally based upon what was at the time a revolutionary new open-source software package known as PhpGedView (or PGV). Until that time, the vast majority of websites on the Internet had been created using basic HTML computer language and very few had yet evolved to take advantage of what was still a new and evolving server-side scripting language known as PHP. In doing so, PGV not only leaped ahead of all existing genealogy programs and website-generation tools, it also offered function and flexibility that was seen in few leading commercial websites at the time. The brains behind PGV was a university lecturer by the name of John Finlay, and I was fortunate in having one of the early PGV websites which were hosted by John on his own server, the great advantage of this being that not only did John maintain the underlying software at the latest level but he was also sure to tune the server to provide optimum performance for websites using his PGV code. Sadly, this was not to last, as John reached the stage at which running a website hosting service was taking more of his time than he could devote to it, so he sold his hosting business, and I was back to maintaining my own site software! More important, though, was the fact that the new operator quickly expanded its offering to include much more than just hosting PGV websites, so the PGV-favoured server tuning that John Finlay had been doing was no longer there and the site started to experience occasional performance and availability problems.
The next step in the evolution, following concerns about future PGV development plans, was the decision by a number of the PGV developers to break away, to form a new team and set about a different development direction for the software package. This PGV-derivative was named webtrees, and as I agreed with the aims of new development team, I chose to adopt webtrees for this site in place of PGV, and continued to use webtrees until March 2015. By that time, I had established a good relationship with, and a great deal of respect for, one of the key members of the webtrees team - Nigel Osborne, living in New Zealand. Nigel had his own ideas about how webtrees should evolve, and finally he decided to branch out on his own to develop a further derivative of the software and concept - which he named kiwitrees. In March 2015, I adopted kiwitrees for this site and have upgraded it regularly since, to keep abreast of Nigel's developments.
Now, the lastest stage in the evolution has arrived, and in one important respect it takes this site in a full circle to the situation it was in 15 years ago! Because, apart from being the brains behind the kiwitrees software, Nigel also offers a website hosting service, exclusively for websites using kiwitrees software. And just as John Finlay did for PGV sites that he hosted, Nigel ensures that all websites on his server are using the latest level of software, that any problems are fixed without the site owner being involved, and that the server is optimally tuned for running kiwitrees. I'm pleased to announce that this website is now running under the care of Nigel's kiwitrees hosting service. I can confidently predict that you will experience the benefits ... and if you have problems, now you know who to blame!!
Early in the life of this website, I introduced narrative material relating to some aspects of the Family History, in order to enhance and expand upon the basic facts held in the database. This was material I had prepared to describe the results of my early research - into my direct Davies, Powell and Brough ancestral lines in particular - in order to produce a hardcopy document which I distributed to cousins with my Christmas mail in 2002. I turned the content of that document into a number of pages which I attached somewhat crudely to the 'front-end' of the website, and in time it was my intention to expand upon it, not only to cover the Prentice line, which was the only one of my four personal ancestral lines (those of both of my father's and mother's parents) not mentioned, but also to broaden the scope, particularly of the Davies and Powell families and numerous other families with which they intermarried, in order to cover branches from which a number of cousins and regular users of this site are descended. Like so many good intentions this has not yet really come to fruition! However I have finally made a start!
In preparing the site for the transfer to the kiwitrees hosting service, I discussed with Nigel how we should handle this 'front-end' narrative material, which technically didn't fit very neatly, so that I could continue to maintain it directly - that is to say so that I could eventually do what I had planned to do with it all those years ago! He advised me to transfer it into a new structure, using features of kiwitrees that he had introduced with just this type of need in mind, and with his help I have just completed that restructuring exercise. Although there is plenty of change under the covers, there is one main visible change:
The five navigation buttons, which previously appeared in the centre of the Home Page, have disappeared. Instead, access to existing narrative material and to the new sections that I shall be adding shortly, is from a new icon named 'The Ancestors' in the main menu bar at the top of every page.
On a separate page of this same new structure - the page you are viewing now - I have grouped a number of General Information items, including this What's New? section, which, as the name suggests, will be updated regularly to inform you of important new content and kiwitrees developments.
New content has been added to the Davies Family History narrative - extending forward in time to cover our grandparents' abortive farming venture in Canada (see 'Attempted Emigration'), their return to UK and move to Bristol. I have also added a brief reference to the newly-found Davies branch in ... Sicily! I have written to several cousins asking for - and, I'm pleased to say, gained their agreement to produce - input that will allow me to expand these family narratives further.
At an individual level, I plan to expand the use of the kiwitrees 'Stories' feature, to add narrative material that can be accessed via a 'Stories' tab on the individual page. You can see the first examples which I have added for my father, Jenkin Davies, and his eldest brother William Powell Davies. Much more of this type to follow. And, let's make this a joint effort - if anyone reading this has suggestions, or proposed content, please let me have them.
27 September 2018 The National Library of Wales has just announced their recent purchase of some early War Poems, personal war diary and a number of other manuscripts of our fourth cousin, famous War Poet (Philip) Edward Thomas. See under 'Manuscripts' on his individual page
13 May 2019 A new 'story' has just been added for Primrose Fairmaner Saw - by Gwen Thomas
23 August 2019 Patrizia Barraco has completed an Italian version of the Davies Family Story - translating sections that I had written on our mutual DAVIES ancestors and extending with more information on her branch of the family. This is now available to view and/or download as a PDF file.Read the Davies Family Story in Italian
There has been much talk about the use of DNA testing in FH research. I admit that I was sceptical but when fourth cousin Rob Peterson sent me a 23andMe test kit a few years ago, I happily cooperated and supplied a sample. The results have surprised and impressed me. Amongst the 1166 potential DNA relatives identified so far (mainly “fifth to distant” cousins) several second, third and fourth cousins have emerged, whose immediate ancestors my traditional research techniques had failed to trace. These include second cousin Gwen Thomas in British Columbia, whose grandmother Charlotte “Lottie” Wiltshire Davies was our grandfather's sister. Until 23andMe brought Gwen and me together, all I knew about Lottie's son Henry Whitfield Smith is that he had emigrated. Now Gwen has told me where he went, what he did, who he married, and all about his four generations of descendants. Other DNA 'finds' have included second cousin Peter Graham, grandson of Ellie Brough, our maternal grandfather's twin sister. We knew that 'Auntie Ellie' and her husband John James Graham, had emigrated to Ontario, and as a child in post-war Britain, I remember that we received Christmas food parcels from them, but after the death of Ellie and my mother, all contact with this branch of the family was lost, so now that 23andMe has brought Peter and me together, I look forward to expanding the information I have for this branch of the family.. There are several other third and fourth cousins with whom I now have contact thanks to this DNA service, and who are helping me to expand the information in the database for their branches of the family – these include Evan Flaschen, 2xg grandson of our g grandfather Jenkin Davies, and Evan Hunden, g grandson of Evan David, whose brother Griffith David was our 2xg grandfather (Powell line). In short, I am now a convert! And as more and more people participate in the programme and send in their DNA samples, the more DNA relatives are likely to emerge. So watch this space!
15 September 2019 In kiwitrees 3.3.6, just installed, Nigel has added a 'DNA Connections' feature, which allows for the addition of summary DNA information from DNA testing organisations such a Ancestry DNA and 23andMe. I have started to add the information I have received from 23andMe, as mentioned above, for those who have taken DNA tests with 23andMe and have a demonstrated connection to me. As this relates to living individuals, it is clearly only viewable by logged in users, who should start at my individual record, and click on the 'DNA Connections' tab. If you appear on the database and have taken a DNA test, but you do not appear in the list of DNA Connections on my individual record, please contact me and let me have details of your DNA test.