Sunday, May 20, 2012

When We Were English, Part XIL

A Visit with Distant Cousins
by Glenn N. Holliman

After visiting Bob Hollyman-Mawson in Carnarvon, Wales, United Kingdom in November 2011, he and I drove over to the quaint village of Porthmadog to rendezvous with a retired chemist (that's a pharmacist in the U.S.), another Hollyman.  Peter Hollyman's family left Somerset in the 1800s and moved to Cardiff and other cities across the channel from England.

Peter Hollyman on the left below and Bob Hollyman-Mawson do what Englishmen do when in Wales (or England or Scotland) and that is enjoy a glass of bitter at lunchtime.  This picture and others were taken in Porthmadog which lies at the foot of the Snowdonian mountain chain.
Peter is retired after a career as chemist and owner of several shops.  His grandparents hail from Somerset, but the family moved to Cardiff in the 1800s.  In time, Peter matriculated at the University in Cardiff, Wales majoring in pharmaceutics.  After a stint in London, he moved his growing family west to Wales in the middle 1970s.

Below, three distant cousins in Wales on a blustery day in November 2011.  Left to right and enjoying life after six decades are Bob Hollyman-Mawson, Glenn Holliman (the writer of this blog) and Peter Hollyman.
What I learned from Peter is, that like Bob, his family came out of Somerset near Bath, England.  Unfortunately the family research cannot take either back past the early 1600s.  Question - how are the Somerset (and now Welsh Hollymans) related to the Holymans of Buckinghamshire in the 1500s?  Did the Rt. Rev. John Holyman (1495-1558)  take along some nephews with him when in 1554 he assumed the Episcopate in the Diocese of Bristol?  Bob has some hints he and I will share later in other posts.

Another theory is that Hollymans in Worcestershire floated down the Severn River (easy enough to do) and landed in Somerset.  As I wrote last year in this space, we have records of Hollymans (spelled several ways of course) inhabiting the west country of England.

Below, Peter Hollyman points to Transportation Island in the Porthmadog bay where ships used to drop their ballast and load Welsh slate from the Snowdonia mountains.  Peter is pointing also to the east, and to the east I drove to learn more about the Somerset Hollymans.

In later writings, more about our United Kingdom roots thanks to cousins such as Bob and Peter....


  1. Do you have any information about a Pleasant Hollomon, born in Tennessee?

    1. If you will send me your email address at, I will forward the names of Holliman (Holloman) historians who might be able to answer. There are several branches of Hollomans (various spellings) in Tennessee who migrated from North Carolina and later Alabama.