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Black Welsh?

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#1
My maternal grandmother who's ancestors were from Denbighshire and Montgomeryshire told me she and her Hughes and/or Evans family were 'Black Welsh'. I have posted several messages on forums but nobody so far has heard of this. Recently a cousin sent me a photo of the Robert Hughes and Elinor Lloyd family. Robert was born in Abergele, Denbigh. and Elinor was born in LLandulas, Denbigh.both in the early 1820's. This family may have had Asian ancestors, I remember that my grandmother, mother and one uncle had somewhat darker skin coloring than the usual European. Perhaps an Asian admixture was responsible for the term 'Black Welsh'.

I have read that there are a few Welsh people who have similar genetics to American Indians. I have not been able to find much information about this.

I hope that somebody here has heard of the 'Black Welsh'.
 

Robesur

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Perth, Scotland
#3
I have heard it told that the Cardiff Bay area of South Wales was a multicultural district hundreds of years before black and coloured immigration became commonplace throughout the UK, as boats sailied to and from all corners of the known World. Denbigh is though in North Wales but not far from Liverpool where I am sure that a similar situation existed as in Cardiff. I quite expect that some of these early immigrants settled in the UK and families gradualy moved outwards into nearby areas of the countryside.
 

Elwyn

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Randalstown, Co. Antrim, Ireland.
#4
I live in Ireland and I sometimes see similar enquiries (usually from the USA or Canada) about the term “black Irish”. (Granny always said we were black Irish etc). The term “ Black Irish” is completely unknown in Ireland, as it is apparently also pretty well unknown in Wales. It means nothing to anybody I have ever met here. It’s clearly not something that has a clear dictionary definition and I have a feeling it must just be one of those funny linguistic terms that has been created over the years, and across the Atlantic. But I don't think you can draw any meaningful information from it.
 
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#5
Thanks for the information. I have wondered what my grandmother would have called herself if she had been speaking Welsh. She grew up in a Welsh speaking community in Ohio but she refused to teach her children Welsh so we spoke in English.

Both my brother and I have had autosomal dna analysis and we do not have any African ancestors but we do show up as being about 6% Asian - not uncommon in people from the British Isles as after the last ice age the area was repopulated by some people from what are now Iran and surrounding areas. Our mitochondrial dna, Haplogroup T2b, came from that area thousands of years ago.

From what I have read about the Black Irish it is apparently an American term but does not seem to refer to an admixture of dark skinned people - Native American, African or even Southern European. For instance the American Blackfeet Indians were not a tribe but a group of tri-race people who tended to migrate together.
 

ianto73

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#6
Hello, based on your "6% Asian", this would not surprise me at all. During the last part of the 18th and nearly all of the 19th century, very many British Infantry Regiments spent years in the area now known as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka. I know from my own Regimental History that Welsh Regiments were there and 15/20 years would not be unheard of. Probably a bit of useless information, but that's where the connection to Wales could have emanated from at some point in your family history.
Best Wishes
Brian
 

Lirio100

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Falls Church, Virginia
#7
'Black Irish' probably is an Americanism, I've heard from an Irish American family I knew. It referred to members who had very tightly curled hair and an olive complexion. Oral history tradition was that showed there were Spanish Armada survivors back in the family tree that passed on that coloring, but even years ago when I heard it they also said it was just a story. I don't think the term is too common these days.
 
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#8
Thanks everybody for your comments. I have posted an image of the Robert R. Hughes and Elinor Lloyd family in my profile. From the ages of the children it was taken in the late 1860's before they immigrated to Ohio in 1869. They were living in Henllan, Denbighshire in the 1861 Wales census. They left 2 of the children in the care of Elinor Lloyd Hughes' sister, Mary Lloyd Roberts in Conway, Caernarvonshire. One of the boys in back is my g grandfather Edward R. Hughes, the other is his older 1/2 brother Joseph.
 

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