"WALES, a principality, adjoining the W of England. It was formerly more extensive than now; it included, besides its present area, all of what is now Monmouthshire, and considerable portions of what are now Herefordshire, Salop, and Cheshire; and it now comprises the counties of Anglesey, Carnarvon, Merioneth, Denbigh, Flint, and Montgomery, forming North Wales, and the counties of Cardigan, Radnor, Brecon, Glamorgan, Carmarthen, and Pembroke, forming South Wales. It is bounded, on the N, by the Irish sea and the estuary of the Dee; on the E, by Cheshire, Salop, Herefordshire, and Monmouthshire; on the S, by Bristol channel; on the W, by St. George's channel. Its length from N to S, is 136 miles; its breadth varies from 37 to 92 miles; its circuit is about 540 miles,-of which 390 are coast; and its area is 2,003,297 acres in North Wales and 2,731,189 in South Wales, or altogether 4,734,486 acres. The surface, in a general view, is imposingly mountainous in the N, grandly hilly in the S; aggregately a land of soaring heights and magnificent acclivities,-of limited plains, narrow vales, and gorgy ravines,-of endlessly diversified uplands, with interesting pieces of lowland, rich in the ornature of river, lake, and wood ....... More" [From John Marius Wilson, Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales (1870-72 on A Vision of Britain through Time.]
- Wales - Archives and Libraries - links and information.
Here is a substantial Wales related bibliography of books of General Interest for Family Historians
Theses collection at the NLW "includes approximately 50,000 theses and dissertations which have been presented for postgraduate degrees in higher educational institutions in Wales. The collection comprises theses and dissertations arising from all PhD and research Masters degrees, as well as taught Masters dissertations which have a Welsh interest or have gained a distinction.
You can view the full text of any electronic theses by becoming a member of the Library"
Manuscripts. The NLW's manuscripts collection. "Go back in time and walk in the footsteps of our ancestors through these digital versions of some of the Library's greatest treasures."
Printed material at the NLW. "Browse through the first Welsh book to be published, or review the state of education in Wales in the 1800s."
David Lloyd George's Diary for 1886. The National Library of Wales site.
The Dictionary of Welsh Biography presents the lives of eminent Welsh people who have made a significant contribution to Welsh life. It is an electronic version of the volumes published by the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion, together with new articles commissioned by the Society.
Gravestone Photographic Resource - an international grave monument directory
The Find-a-Grave (Wales) page gives details of the graves of the rich and famous together with biographical information.
Graveyard Welsh - a guide to interpreting Memorial Inscriptions.
Reading Monumental Inscriptions on the Clwyd FHS site
England and Wales - Census - links and information.
Wales - census aid - piece numbers etc to allow a TNA search (for area descriptions etc)
NHS 1939 Register Service - National Archives site. "The 1939 Register, taken on 29 September 1939, provides a snapshot of the civilian population of England and Wales just after the outbreak of the Second World War. The information was to produce Identity Cards and, once rationing was introduced in January 1940, to facilitate the issuing of ration books. Information in the Register was also used to administer conscription and division of labour, and to monitor and control the movement of the population caused by military mobilisation and mass evacuation."
The Churchwardens' Accounts of England and Wales The My Parish group are creating a searchable national database of all surviving churchwardens’ accounts from the earliest known (c.1300) to c.1850. This resource, although incomplete as yet, will be updated regularly as they continue to collect data
Hanes Eglwysi Annibynnol Cymru. Rees, Thomas & Thomas, John.1873 - here is a listing of the NAMES of chapels/places from each county's contents page from the CD of this 4 volume book published by Archive CD Books. There are also a complete extract of the chapel histories for 9 of the 14 Welsh counties - in Welsh, many with translations .
The Story of Non Conformity in Wales - Addoldai Cymru (Welsh Religious Buildings Trust) is a charity set up to take into ownership a selection of redundant chapels that are historically and/or architecturally significant to the story of chapel building and Nonconformity in Wales and that are valuable to their local communities.
Theological Colleges attended by Welsh ministers and priests. An exercise to discover which theological colleges Welsh nonconformist ministers and Anglican church priests attended in Wales (and England).
The Clergy of the Church of England Database 1540-1835 - "launched in 1999 and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, makes available and searchable the principal records of clerical careers from over 50 archives in England and Wales with the aim of providing coverage of as many clerical lives as possible from the Reformation to the mid-nineteenth century........."
Charles Surman's biographical card index of Congregational ministers .........
"was given to Dr Williams's Library in 1960. The Surman Index Online makes the contents available electronically via the internet for the first time. The index includes the names of about 32,000 ministers, and, where known, their dates, details of their education, ministries or other employment, together with the sources used. It covers the period from the mid-seventeenth century to 1972, and though it focuses on England and Wales, it includes Congregational ministers serving abroad provided they trained or served as ministers in Britain. Although intended as an index of Congregational ministers, it also gives details of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Presbyterians."
Unitarian Obituaries 1798 to date - The obituaries were published in journals which are held in the library at Harris Manchester College.
A listing of JONES entries from the clergymen's database on Crockford's Clerical Directory of 1885. Compiled by Gareth Hicks from the CD published by Archive CD Books.
Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1066-1300: volume 9 - The Welsh cathedrals (Bangor, Llandaff, St Asaph, St Davids). On the British History Online site
Fasti Ecclesiae Anglicanae 1300-1541: volume 11 - The Welsh dioceses (Bangor, Llandaff, St Asaph, St Davids). On the British History Online site
Welsh Abbeys and other Religious Sites - information and photographs provided by Jeffrey L. Thomas.
Independent Chapels of Wales: History Books and Pamphlets On the NLW's site
National Synod of Wales The National Synod of Wales of the United Reformed Church, is one of thirteen Synods that cover England, Wales and Scotland.
The UK Church Directory Information on 35,000 Christian churches and chapels
See also under Religion and Religious Life below
National Library of Wales
- An online searchable index of Marriage Bonds and Allegations. It contains details of some 90,000 marriages by licence which took place in Wales between 1616 and 1837.
In early 2016 the NLW made changes in its online catalogue and now the only apparent method of finding these bonds is to search the main catalogue
- Search here for wills proved in the Welsh Ecclesiastical Courts before 1858.
Parish registers in the library of the Society of Genealogists.
"Members can gain access to the exclusive Society of Genealogists facilities on the website. Online Data will provide access to all of the SoG Data published on line through findmypast.co.uk plus more specialised data from the Library in the form of transcripts, indexes, PDFs of books and images. Also available are electronic versions of the Genealogy Magazine. Check out what is currently available online before joining
- "In 1944 the Church in Wales began to deposit the records of every Welsh diocese in the National Library of Wales, for the benefit of the nation. These included the records of the four ancient dioceses of Bangor, Llandaff, St. Asaph and St. Davids, and the two modern dioceses of Monmouth and Swansea & Brecon. Documents, manuscripts, maps and drawings were deposited initially, and the Library continues to receive regular deposits to this day."
The A2A database of pre 1858 probate entries for the Welsh dioceses is at the National Archives site.
- Wales - Civil Registration - links and information.
The Crime and Punishment database on the NLW site comprises data about crimes, criminals and punishments included in the gaol files of the Court of Great Sessions in Wales from 1730 until its abolition in 1830. The Court could try all types of crimes, from petty thefts to high treason. In practice, most of the petty crimes were heard at the Courts of Quarter Sessions, whose records are held by the Welsh county record offices. Details about these records can be searched at Archives Wales. The records of the Court of Great Sessions do not include cases tried in Monmouthshire since that county formed part of the Oxford Assize circuit, whose records are held by the National Archives. There are, however, a number of cases of Monmouthshire interest on this database.
There is a Wales related Crime and Punishment section on Wales - Genealogy Help Pages
- Wales - Description and Travel- links and information.
Held at Ceredigion Archives;
- Slater's Trade Directory 1858-9 for Monmouthshire, Gloucestershire, North and South Wales. And some other directories for the period 1830 - 1926.
Throughout the Wales county pages are transcriptions from the CD of Samuel Lewis's Topographical Dictionary 1833 by Archive CD Books
Kelly's Directory South Wales 1910. Sections from this CD by Archive CD Books are extracted as follows;
Follow the Leader: My Welsh Ancestors' Immigration An article on the Family Tree Magazine site by Vanessa Wieland dated June 2018
The Mimosa - on Clwyd FHS. "The Mimosa was a clipper ship best known for its voyage to Patagonia in Argentina in 1865, carrying the first Welsh emigrants. Their aim was to establish a Welsh colony which would preserve the Welsh language and culture, which they felt were under threat in Wales................."
Welsh in Australia - on the NLW site
History of the Welsh in Minnisota - A list of short biographies from "The History of the Welsh in Minnesota, Foreston and Lime Springs, Ia. Gathered by the Old Settlers". Editors: Rev. Thomas E. Hughes, Rev. David Edwards, Hugh G. Roberts, Thomas Hughes. Published in 1895
On Caryl Williams's site - Passenger list of the Barque "Gwen Evans" of Wales 1842 entering the Port of Boston, 15th August 1842
The British Presence in Southern Patagonia (Argentina & Chile). A really useful site - lots of databases and history
The Welsh Settlement in Patagonia - on the NLW site
THE DIARY OF KETURAH DAVIES. Part of the Welsh Family History Archive. " A transcript of the original diary written on board the emigrant vessel Schah Jehan which departed from Plymouth, England, 23rd August 1860, and arrived at Port Adelaide, Australia, 2nd December 1860. "
Researching from Abroad A Genuki page
The Wales-Ohio Project a NLW sponsored site
Australian Newspapers online - historic Australian newspapers 1803-1954 (work in progress)
Newspaper notice in the 'Cambrian' Newspaper 29th August 1873.
- "New South Wales Government - Emigration; The New South Wales Government has resumed Emigration. The classes for whom passages will be provided are those who can pay one-third of their passage money. Married couples, not exceeding 35 years of age, mechanics, farmers, miners, vine-dressers, labourers and domestic servants, not excluding small WORKING CAPITALISTS in any branch of colonial industry. They must be of sound mental and bodily health, and of good moral character. Applications either in writing or personally at No. 3 Westminster-chambers, Victoria-street, Westminster, S.W. --- Charles Cowper, Agent General
Tallis's Topographical Dictionary of England and Wales, published in 1860 in six vols, editor E. L. Blanchard. See Welsh Family History Archive which includes county maps (showing the hundreds)
From the preface;
"In the following pages will be found fully described the past history and present aspect of every place of any significance in England and Wales, forming a work of permanent importance to the commercial world, of ready service to the tourist of the "In the following pages will be found fully described the past history and present aspect of every place of any significance in England and Wales, forming a work of permanent importance to the commercial world, of ready service to the tourist of the day, and of constant interest to the general reader, who may derive from this source a large supply of entertainment, as well as of information for the amusement and instruction of a leisure hour."
A searchable database of places in the 1891 census. This covers England, Wales and the Isle of Man and returns the County, Registration District, Registration Sub-District, PRO Piece Number and LDS Film Number.
Vision of Britain - the site has the full descriptive text of 3 C19th Gazetteers (over 90,000 entries).
- Wales - Genealogy - links and information.
- Wales - History - links and information.
The Welsh Gentry Estates: a Treasure Trove of History - on NLW's blog
Welsh Ruins site
Understanding listing in Wales (CADW) "will help anyone who wants or needs to know why and how buildings are listed. It also explains how to ask for a building to be listed or delisted, and how to request a review of a listing decision. "
Cof Cymru - National Historic Assets of Wales, "an online service that has been developed by Cadw, Welsh Government’s Historic Environment department. Cof Cymru displays depictions and associated record descriptions of Designated Historic Assets in Wales"
Historic Wales, the map enabled portal for historic environment information in Wales. You can search hundreds of thousands of records of Welsh archaeology, buildings and artefacts.
British Listed Buildings - "an online database of buildings and structures that are listed as being of special architectural and historic interest"
Estate collections at the NLW
"Estate maps (NLW) which developed in England from the 1570s and became more widespread in Wales from the mid-18th century, formed part of the rich and varied accumulations of records which were generated by these estates over the course of their existence. Many of these records have survived in the hundreds of estate archives (NLW) and solicitors’ collections which have been deposited in repositories such as the National Library, Bangor University Archives and local record offices across Wales." Part of a blog entry under the #LoveMaps tag by Dr. Shaun Evans, Director of the Institute for the Study of Welsh Estates , an all-Wales research centre based at Bangor University
Further articles by Dr. Shaun Evans, part of a National Library of Wales blog entry under the #LoveMaps tag
- This place ain’t big enough for the two of us’ – what happens at the boundaries of estates?
- Trees and woodlands
- A 17th century map of Whitlera, Carmarthenshire
Parallel.cymru " is an online magazine that gives a voice to anyone who is using the language of heaven, and to introduce articles, stories, Welsh culture and books to the world."
Patronymics on the Clwyd FHS site
Say Something in Welsh - sign up includes free lessons and message board
http://www.cymraeg.org.uk/ "apertium-cy, the first free automatic translator for Welsh"
Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru. A Dictionary of the Welsh Language.
A site for Welsh learners
Sounds of Wales Listen to the pronunciation of over 200 Welsh place-names - on John Ball's site.
The Story of Welsh - on BBC Wales
Voice Recordings - on BBC Wales A series of recorded interviews in Welsh and English from different parts of Wales
The Court of Great Sessions - at the NLW.
The Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts: Manorial Documents Register: lists the whereabouts of manorial documents in England and Wales. The register for Wales is indexed, this is searchable by county then individual manor.
Ordnance Survey Town Plans of England and Wales, 1840s-1890. On the NLS site. "The most detailed topographic mapping by Ordnance Survey covering towns with more than 4,000 people in England and Wales from the 1840s to the 1890s. Our coverage currently just includes 38 towns in south-west England, as well as London (1893-96), but it will expand geographically as scanning continues....."
Parry's Map of North and South Wales; On Ceredigion Archives/Catalogues with photographs, postcards
Engravings or prints of subjects, places and personages in Wales, including maps; On Ceredigion Archives/Catalogues with photographs, postcards
For War Department purposes only: censorship and the Ordnance Survey - on the NLW blog
Places of Wales - A NLW site "Search and browse over 300,000 entries from the tithe maps of Wales and accompanying apportionment documents using original and present-day maps"
The National Library of Scotland has put numerous maps online inluding Ordnance Survey maps for England and Wales from c.1900 which can be overlaid on current maps.
Welsh county maps on UK Genealogy Archives
Ordnance Survey 1:10,560 maps - on the British History Online site. Full Welsh coverage
Lewis Morris and William Morris Charts of the Welsh coastline by Lewis Morris (1701-1765) and his son, William Morris
Thomas Taylor The Principality of Wales exactly described [...] published by Thomas Taylor (fl. 1670-1730) in 1718 was the first published atlas relating entirely to Wales
Old maps which were obtained courtesy of Ancestry, who retain copyright and reserve all rights in them.
- 1. England & Wales December 9th 1643 (Districts held by the King/Parliament)
- 2. England & Wales 1660 - 1892
The National Library of Wales - holds one of the main historical and contemporary collections of Welsh mapping. Their pages lead to a growing body of online information about the collection.
Maps of Wales, provided by John Ball, shows the location of Wales within the British Isles and the positions of its pre-1974 counties and towns.
'A Vision of Britain through time' contains both C19th & C20th maps which have parish boundaries marked on them
Search on a parish name, then scroll down to Administrative Units/parish name - AP/CP, click on that link, scroll down to link Historic boundaries which takes you to the map section.
Coflein (Royal Conmmission on the Ancient & Historical Documents of Wales) The site has very detailed modern maps - down to individual field level for instance, with named roads
An exceptionally useful set of maps showing parish boundaries, on a one inch to the mile scale, was until 2007 available on CD-ROM - see: Kain, R.J.P., Oliver, R.R., Historic Parishes of England and Wales: an Electronic Map of Boundaries before 1850 with a Gazetteer and Metadata [computer file]. Colchester, Essex: History Data Service, UK Data Archive [distributor], 17 May 2001. SN: 4348. See also details of a name extraction project covering various Welsh counties.
‘Medicine and Health in Wales before the NHS’ project.. "The ‘Medicine and Health in Wales before the NHS’ project was established to promote the Medical Print Collection and enhance online access by cataloguing the entire Collection, with items published before 1900 to be digitised. The project began in November 2018 and was funded by the Wellcome Trust." National Library of Wales/collections/printed materials
- Wales -Merchant Marine - links and information.
The National Library of Wales blog with the #LoveMaps tag has has features on;
- The Great War in maps
For War Department purposes only: censorship and the Ordnance Survey - on the NLW blog
Wales Remembers - The First World War 1914-1918
Find my Past (subscription) Discover your British military ancestor from the Absent Voters Lists from 1918 until 1921. There was a General Election in 1918. All those away from their place of residence (so including all men in the army) were listed on a Absent Voters Lists
The Royal Regiment of Wales was formed in 1969 by the amalgamation of two of Wales' most famous and distinguished regiments, namely The South Wales Borderers (24th Foot) and The Welch Regiment (41st/69th Foot).
South African War [Boer] 1899-1902 , Welsh casualty List. Published by Glamorgan Family History Society.
Places of Wales - A NLW site "Search and browse over 300,000 entries from the tithe maps of Wales and accompanying apportionment documents using original and present-day maps"
The List of Historic Place Names of Wales "is a groundbreaking and innovative resource that contains hundreds of thousands of place names collected from historical maps and other sources. It provides a fascinating insight into the land-use, archaeology and history of Wales." (RCAHMW)
Glossary of Welsh Place Name Elements - on John Ball's site
A Simple Guide to Constructing 13th Century Welsh Names by Tangwystyl verch Morgant Glasvryn [Heather Rose Jones] The information in this guide is taken from a tax roll called The Merioneth Lay Subsidy Roll of 1292-3.
Family surname search Includes statistical analysis by county, occupation, forename
The SOG has an online leaflet on names generally
Forebears - search for meanings and distribution of surnames
Welsh names, personal on Family Search. Deals with patronymics and how surnames developed in Wales
Welsh Newspapers Online - A NLW site - search for/browse articles etc on designated newspapers
Newsplan Cymru Search here on a place name and it will report on which newspapers cover the area and where extant copies are held
Y Brython. National Library of Wales 'Treasurers' series. A Welsh-language magazine published in Tremadog between 1858 and 1863 under the editorship of Alltud Eifion (1815-1905) and D. Silvan Evans (1818-1903). "The Welsh-language magazine, Y Brython (1858-1863), has been digitised by the National Library in order to consider the amount of work involved and the issues which might arise from a project to digitise the whole of the Library's collection of pre-1900 Welsh and Wales-related periodicals on preservation microfilm....."
ABYZ News - links to Welsh newspaper web sites
Welsh Newspapers Welsh Library, University of Wales, Bangor "Newspapers are a priceless source, and one which is used extensively for all types of research, academic or otherwise, for subjects such as local and family history, social history, advertising and sport. The collection of the Welsh Library at Bangor is one of the most comprehensive in Wales"
The British Library Newspaper Library It holds the national archive collections in the United Kingdom of British and overseas newspapers.
- Wales - Occupations- links and information.
Welsh Journals Online provides students, teachers and researchers with free online, searchable, access to a selection of 19th-, 20th- and 21st-century Welsh and Wales-related journals held at The National Library of Wales and partner institutions. These materials cover a very wide range of subject areas, including humanities, social sciences, science and technology.
As at Jan 2012 there were c 45 journals available online.
Welsh Almanac Collection - the National Library's "collections of early printed material also include publications for the other end of the market. An almanac is an annual publication that includes information such as weather forecasts, farmers' planting dates, tide tables, and tabular information often arranged according to the calendar....."
Brython: A Welsh-language magazine published in Tremadog between 1858 and 1863. On the NLW's Digital Mirror site.
"The Welsh-language magazine, Y Brython (1858-1863), has been digitised by the National Library in order to consider the amount of work involved and the issues which might arise from a project to digitise the whole of the Library's collection of pre-1900 Welsh and Wales-related periodicals on preservation microfilm"
Internet Library of Early Journals ; A digital library of 18th and 19th Century journals which currently include;
- Annual Register
- Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine
- Gentleman's Magazine
- Notes and Queries
- Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society
- The Builder
History of the United Kingdom -- Primary Documents Various online transcripts including some newspapers and periodicals eg London Gazette, Penny Magazine.
For a list of denominational magazines and historical periodicals see under Religion and Religious Life
David Lloyd George's Diary for 1886. The National Library of Wales 'Treasures' series.
'Welsh Members of Parliament', 1894, This book contains colourful biographical portraits of all the Welsh Members of Parliament elected to serve in the 1894 parliament. They were penned by T. Marchant Williams and the illustrations to accompany them were drawn by Will Morgan. - on the People's Collection Wales site
Crime and Punishment Database - at the NLW.
"Comprises data about crimes, criminals and punishments included in the gaol files of the Court of Great Sessions in Wales from 1730 until its abolition in 1830. The Court could try all types of crimes, from petty thefts to high treason."
The Workhouse - on Peter Higginbotham's site
Hospital Records Database A Joint Project of the Wellcome Trust and the National Archives. This database provides information on the existence and location of the records of hospitals in the U.K. Currently over 2,800 entries can be found by searching the database
The Online Historical Population Reports (OHPR) collection "provides online access to the complete British population reports for Britain and Ireland from 1801 to 1937. The collection goes far beyond the basic population reports with a wealth of textual and statistical material which provide an in-depth view of the economy, society (through births, deaths and marriages) and medicine during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.These 200,000 pages of census and registration material for the British Isles are supported by numerous ancillary documents from The National Archives, critical essays and transcriptions of important legislation which provide an aid to understanding the context, content and creation of the collection."
Wills and Probate Records at the NLW.
Wills, which were proved in the Welsh ecclesiastical courts before the introduction of Civil Probate on 11 January 1858, have been deposited in the Library. The old indexes produced by the courts themselves have now been replaced by a new online index. Post-1858 wills for England and Wales are accessible at the Probate Dept of The Principal Registry Family Division:
Probate Search Room, First Avenue House, 42-49 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6NP.
Obituaries - (Of Welsh people of standing) - Cumulated Index: 1992 - 1997 - on the NLW site (Index is now online, scroll down left side menu)
- Wales -Religion and Religious Life- links and information.
Wales - Schools - links and information
- Wales - Social Life and Customs- links and information.
South Wales Record Society - "The society was set up in 1982 with the aim of publishing a regular series of books and other works on the history of South Wales and particularly Glamorgan and Gwent."
The Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion - "........... seeks to promote the practice and development of the Language, Literature, Arts and Sciences of Wales."
The Welsh Legal History Society -l "....... exists to spread knowledge of, and promote research into, the rich history of law in Wales. That history extends from a fascinating medieval indigenous legal system to the specific (sometimes surprising) application of law within Wales in more modern times."
For individual Family History Societies see: "Family History and Genealogy Societies: Wales".
Welsh Land Settlements "The Welsh Land Settlement Society was set up to create work and homes for the long term unemployed of the 1930’s depression. In Wales the most successful approach was the co-operative example that operated in Sealand and 4 other sites, which were mainly in South Wales.........."