Skyrme family and one-name study website Guild of One Name Studies :: One-Name Study Reg. No. 6232

News on developments in the research underpinning this website. See also snippets, for other interesting facts on the Skyrmes. Go the About page for updates on the study and of structural changes to this website.

July 2018

Alongside doing my geneaology research, I've also been doing an interesting online course Researching Your Welsh Ancestors run by Pharos Tutors and led by genealogist Eilir Daniels. I mentioned other courses I did with Pharos in the news updates of June and October 2104 below. Already this course has uncovered new ground for me as shown in the two examples below.

Dead or Alive?


Many Welsh agricultural ancestors were lured to the South Wales coalfields during the latter part of the 19th century. The Skyrmes were no exception with some of my distant cousins from Penally moving to the Rhondda (photo shows the colliery wheels at The Big Pit Museum, Blaenavon). Several then emigrated to Pennsylvania. But mining, as we know, is a hazardous occupation and the second worst mining disaster ever in the UK occurred at the Albion Colliery, Cilfynydd on 23rd June 1894 killing 290 miners. One of the resources we were asked to look at in our course was the Welsh Coal Mines website which has good historical notes of colliers across Wales (including those at Hook in Pembrokeshire mentioned in my Llangym publication). This website list the dead in the Albion disaster, and down the page is this entry:

So I searched my data base and found Benjamin Skyrme, born 1870 in Manorbier. He happened to be a 3rd cousin twice removed. But he was a policeman and alive in 1901, living in Pontypridd (he died in 1950 in Gloucestershire). So I checked Welsh Newspapers Online and found this article headed "Sympathetic Policemen at Penarth". It mentions "policemen who have been on special duty on the colliery premises since the occurrence of the disaster". The article lists the policemen involved (including Benjamin) and says that they contributed to the Western Mail disaster fund. So had I missed something or was the entry in the list of dead wrong?

I then found newspaper reports published just a day or so after the disaster that also list the names of the dead. No Benjamin Skyrme aged 23, but it does list a Benjamin Skym (no 'r' or 'e') age 29 whose occupation is a fitter. Checking censuses and birth registrations, there are no 29 year old Benjamin Skyms, but there is one born in Q3 1870, who would be 23. He was the 3rd son of collier Archibald Skym from Llanon, Carmarthenshire.

So one transcript had the name wrong and the other his age wrong! All of which goes to show that if you cannot find an official record of the time, you need to check as many transcribed sources as possible. The name Skym has intrigued me for some years. It is very localised in Carmarthenshire and I wonder if it is a variant of Skyrme, or has a completely separate origin. Perhaps something for the future. Before that there's still a lot of research still to do on Skyrm(e)(s)!

A Predecessor of a Trade Unionist?

Another set of records we were encouraged to look at on the course were the various collections at The National Library of Wales, including this Crime and Punishment database. There is only one Skyrme entry but it is nevertheless intriguing: