Cyfeiriadur A-Z diddorol o enwau lleoedd yng Nghymru a thu hwnt sy'n fannau geni enwogion Cymreig a rhyngwladol mewn meysydd amrywiol, yn y celfyddydau a gwyddoniaeth, addysg a llenyddiaeth, crefydd a chwaraeon, gwleidyddiaeth a diwydiant.
An interesting A-Z gazetteer of place names in Wales and further afield that are the birthplaces of Welsh and international persons of repute in various fields, in art and science, education and literature, religion and sport, politics and industry.
John May obviously enjoys compiling information of this kind since he has already put together The Yearbook Of Welsh Dates (very useful), Reference Wales and A Chronicle Of Welsh Events, among others. The list of birthplaces includes not only those in Wales but elsewhere for those Welsh people who, due to circumstances beyond their control, arrived in the world outside. It also lists the birth-places of non-Welsh people who, because of their work, had an important influence on Wales in some form or other.
The book is arranged as a gazetteer so it is easy to turn up one's native place to see who has made the list. Distinctive districts of larger cities are separately entered - for Cardiff, Swansea and Wrexham. Within the gazetteer format, names are not in alphabetical order but chronolgical, with brief biographical details provided for each entry. An alphabetical index to personal names is also included. A list of the main sources trawled is mentioned in the acknowledgements.
Inevitably one will find omissions, but several blank pages are provided at the back for additional notes and the range is truly comprehensive, from artists to politicians and, this being Wales, a lot of educationalists, poets and sportsmen. The Welsh gazetteer is followed by the 'Rest of the British Isles', 'Rest of Europe' and the 'Rest of the World', though the last two lists are brief.
Unlike heavier reference books, you will find here many entrants in their twenties - pop stars and TV personalities among them. Browsing through it is great fun, even if you find yourself muttering 'never heard of him /her'. But therein lies the purpose of this little book - one is informed of the existence of a lot of really useful people if not famous and there are plenty of the latter too.
'The Man Who Never Was' was Welsh-born, at Aberbargoed. An interesting fact that emerged from the compilation is the narrowness of the surname range in Wales still: only fifteen names account for half the entries and, unsurprisingly, one quarter by just three: Jones, Williams and Davies.
It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgement should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council.
Gellir defnyddior adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatâd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru.