Ancestor Worship Turns Up Actors, Singers, and Public Enemy Number One in Net Trawl; MISSING LINKS: Website Offers a New Perspective on the Ones That Got Away

Article excerpt


WHAT links Elvis Presley, Tommy Cooper, Paula Yates and whisky distiller Jack Daniel?

Internet users logging on to a new website know the answer already - all the above are Welsh, or have family links to Wales.

Cooper was born in Caerphilly, Paula Yates in Colwyn Bay while Jack Daniel left his home in Swansea to found the world-famous distillers in Tennessee.

Famouswelsh. com offers people the chance to post entries - or memories - of any famous people with connections to Wales.

Those who thought Wales's music scene had suffered a blow from the demise of Catatonia may be cheered by the news that rock drummer Tommy Lee - briefly married to Pamela Anderson - has a Welsh father.

Another musician with Welsh roots, according to famouswelsh, is one Lewis Brian Hopkins-Jones, better known as Rolling Stone Brian Jones, who had a Welsh father.

The site also claims actor Cary Grant had Welsh ancestry.

Entries range from the eye-opening - Al Capone's right-hand man Murray the Hump had Welsh parents, apparently - to the tenuous: Elvis Presley, named after the Preseli mountains.

Murray, whose parents were from Llanidloes, Powys, became America's public enemy number one when Capone was imprisoned in 1923.

Australian entertainer Rolf Harris's links with the Merthyr area have been well documented, while Bob Hope's parents were from Barry, and songwriter Ivor Novello was born in Cardiff.

Some of the site's claims are inaccurate, however. The site claims World War I poet Wilfred Owen was born in Tonypandy when, in fact, he was born in Oswestry, Shropshire.

There are lots of interesting and more accurate pieces of information on the pages. Did you know, for instance, that 16 of the signatories of the US declaration of independence had Welsh roots?

And have you heard the one about the family from Mid Wales claiming they were left New York's Wall Street in a will? …