Dylan Thomas was born on October 27th 1914 and died on November 9th 1953 at the age of 39. He lived in Wales and England and travelled to Ireland, Italy, the Czech Republic, Iran and America. Though his life was short he completed a wealth of work including: hundreds of poems, surreal short stories, beautiful broadcasts about his childhood,  a novel and a play-for-voices… all of which were written before he was forty.

In this section you will learn about Dylan’s life and discover the young writer, the actor, the film-maker, the broadcaster and the director, but also observe that he was a meticulous craftsman, ambitious, industrious, contemporary, hugely talented and, at times, introverted. See how the legend of Dylan Thomas was first created by Dylan himself and then how it has been developed and exaggerated since his death.

Photo © Gabriel and Leonie Summers

1910s & 1920s

Dylan was born on October 27th 1914 in Swansea. Learn about the impact his early years in Wales had on his development as a writer and discover why in later years he wrote so much about his childhood.

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Could you be related to Dylan Thomas?

1930s

This was one of Dylan’s most productive periods as a writer as he wrote hundreds of early drafts of some of his most famous poems.  Discover how he ambitiously made a name for himself in the literary circles in London, and at the same time, met his wife, had his first child and accepted the fact that the world was at war once again.

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1940s

Dylan spent this period living between England and Wales.  He was working as a film-maker during the war and observed the blitz in London and on his hometown, Swansea. He wrote poetry to try to comprehend what he had seen, while also producing nostalgic broadcasts about his childhood for the radio.    Discover the lasting impact of the war on Dylan and why he was keen to permanently return home to Wales.

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1950s & beyond

The last few years of Dylan’s life were mainly spent completing his play-for-voices, Under Milk Wood and taking part in four reading tours of America.  Discover the fatal impact of these trips abroad, and that how over sixty years since his death, we still remember Dylan.

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Dylan’s Family Tree

Could you be related to Dylan? It’s certainly possible! He came from a very large family – his grandparents and great-grandparents, for example, had more than thirty siblings between them.

Both Dylan’s maternal and paternal ancestors came from Carmarthenshire in west Wales. His mother’s family were from the Llansteffan peninsula, farming in the countryside around Llangain and Llanybri. His father’s family came mostly from Brechfa and its hinterland and they, too, were farmers.

The most useful starting point in understanding Dylan’s family tree is chapter one in the book Dylan Remembered 1914-1934. It provides basic genealogical information on family members from Dylan’s great-grandparents onwards, for both sides of his family eg dates of births, marriages and deaths, names of children and occupations.

Dylan Remembered 1914-1934 was published in 2003, and since then a good deal more work has been done on his mother’s side of the family. Two sets of Dylan’s maternal great-great grandparents have now been identified, as well as three sets of his great-great-great grandparents, and this has produced a large volume of new genealogical data. You can find this material, together with family trees, at https://sites.google.com/site/dylanthomaspeninsularity/home

You should also go to this link if you think you might be related to Dylan’s family through marriage. For example, it has a number of pages on the family tree of Jim Jones Fernhill, who married Dylan’s aunt Annie.

The pages on this link will also help if one of the clues to your family’s history is the name of a farm. There’s a map at the link that shows the main farms in which Dylan’s maternal relatives lived. You can also use the search function to search for the names of these farms in the various papers at the link.

The census returns for most of the family farms are given at the following two links: https://sites.google.com/site/dylanthomasandhisaunties/returns-of-the-census-for-the-family-farms

https://sites.google.com/site/dylanthomasandtheedgeoflove/returns-of-the-census-for-the-phillips-and-harries-families

Information on Dylan’s Ferryside, Llandyfaelog, Pontardulais and Port Talbot relatives can be found at https://sites.google.com/site/dylanthomasandhisaunties/home

Dylan also had relatives in New Quay, who had moved there from St Thomas in Swansea; information on these is available in The Dylan Thomas Trail (Y Lolfa, 2002), pp105-109 with photos on pp112-115.

Dylan Thomas Centre timeline

Dylan Thomas birthplace timeline

Rock and Roll Poet timeline

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