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We almost didn’t find Ty’n y Mynyndd. But luck (or a druid) put three people in our path who were able to help us. There was one long, discouraging moment near the top of Mynyndd Bodafon (Bodafon Mountain) when we nearly got stuck in a giant rut that passed for a road. I thought we wouldn’t find it, that this trip would be a fun sightseeing trip, but not the trip in which three generations traveling together find the home my daughters’ great- great-grandfather had left. But then the third person, a white-haired man, mackintosh coat whipping in the wind, came striding around the corner of the rutted dirt road we’d parked on, his dog running circles around him. And he gave us the final piece of the puzzle.

We started the day we found Ty’n y Mynyndd, by driving to Llangefni to the Isle of Anglesey County Council offices. We walked down into the base

ment of a gothic-looking council building. No one was there–but there was a sign.In English and in Welsh it read: “To Register Births and Deaths, Please ring the bell and wait.”IMG_0972

So we did.

And that’s how we met Katie Lewis, whoe produced Owain Thomas’s birth certificate. There it was, a signature next to the name of his father, also Owain Thomas, and an X by the name of his mother, Ellen. The birth 

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certificate said that he was born in the Ty’n y Mynyndd in Penrhoslligwy village between Moelfre and Llanerchynedd. So Katie Lewis dug out an old map and with her finger, traced a ring around the area the birth certificate described. And then she helped us figure out our route on our current map.


We drove toward Moelfre (already a destination we intended to visit because it’s an adorable little village), and stopped for lunch at the Kimmel Arms.

And there, we had another stroke of luck. The barman, Anthony Hargreaves

IMG_0977whose family runs the Kimmel Arms, used to drive a courier truck here, delivering packages on all of these narrow, winding unmarked roads. He didn’t know Ty’n y Mynyndd, but he knew the general area and road conditions and called a colleague. And then, using Google Earth, he printed out a map and made some of his own alterations to it. He looked at the map and looked at us. “You can drive to the top of Mynyndd Bodafon(Bodafon Mountain),” he said. We’d see a small lake, he said. The road to Ty’n y Mynyndd would be there–but he told us to walk down, not drive. It was that kind of road.

We headed out, followed the map, found the lake, almost got stuck, found plenty of cottages, some under renovation, but no Ty’n y Mynyndd. Then we sat, discouraged. That’s when that white-haired man appeared. He knew where Ty’n y Mynyndd was, exactly. First he corrected my pronunciation. We followed his directions, back down the road, up a rutted lane, round a corner and there it was! –

The old farmhouse is now clearly being renovated. The attached farm buildings, are now vacation rentals! Joanna Masters , of Where You’re From, had discovered this for us, but that sounded too mainstream for the remote farmhouse my mother and I remembered. We needed Joanna, Katie, Anthony and that dog walker to get us there!

And the surroundings, stunning. More shades of green than you can imagine. Sweeping vistas of sky, land and sea. Nonstop wind. Windfarms in the field below. Above, a rocky mountain crest loomed. My older daughter gazed around. “He left this for Wisconsin?” she said in disbelief. “Bad harvests,” I guessed.

My daughters hiked the trail to the top of the mountain above Ty’n y Mynyndd. On top, you feel as thought you can see the whole world.

My ten-year-old was running with the wind, pretending she was flying. Then, she sat down to rest and gaze about her.

“This is where the Huhes part of you is from,” I told my 16-year-old.

 

IMG_1004“This is pretty cool,” she said.

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