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Family History at West Glamorgan Archives

See what is on offer and explore some useful resources to help you trace your family tree.

Family History A
 Tracing your family roots is a very popular pastime, and there are many places online where you can start to research your ancestors. Perhaps you have already had some help and advice to get started on these. But they are only the start: there is much more information available. This is our page to tell you about the services we offer here at the Archive Service to help you trace your family tree.

The Family History Centre
Read around the subject
Parish registers: what are they and what is available?
Going further: what other records might be useful?
What if I can't visit the service?
Leaflets and resources

The Family History Centre

Our Family History Centre is a specially designated room with a variety of genealogical sources on offer.

  • There are 10 computers, with access to the internet. Advance booking is advisable.  You can do this online here
  • We have a free subscription to the Ancestry and FindMyPast websites
  • There is a wealth of material on microfiche and microfilm, including the General Register Office birth, marriage and death indexes, local census returns, indexes of wills, land tax returns and the Cambrian newspaper.  Find out what sources are available (PDF) [2MB]

Find out how to find us and when we are open

Family History B

Read around the subject: family history reference books

In our Family History Centre there are books on all aspects of genealogy. There are books on how to get started, how to trace ancestors who were from particular places or who did specific jobs. There are maps of parishes, details about where records can be found, directories of the clergy and landed gentry, as well as the current issue and back copies of Family History magazine. The books are reference-only and are available to browse when you visit.
Looking for a particular book? Try our online catalogue to see if we have it

 Parish registers: what are they and what is available?

Parish registers (baptisms, marriages and burials) are a crucial source for tracing your family tree, especially when you get back to the early 1800s. Here at West Glamorgan Archives you can see the parish registers for the whole of our area. To preserve the original registers, we have made facsimile volumes which are available to browse in the Archive Searchroom.

In addition, the Glamorgan Family History Society have made indexes to most of the parish registers in our area. These are available here at West Glamorgan Archives to make your search easier.

We have put together a  Guide to Parish Registers (PDF) [825KB] to tell you about the information they contain, and which registers we hold. It includes a brief potted-history of each parish and church in our area.
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Family History C

What other records could be useful?

Here at the Archives we think genealogy could be about so much more than lists of names and dates. Why not take the next step and learn about how life would have been for your ancestors? Find out where they lived and what it used to be like, what their job would have been like and how their community lived. Here are some of the document types that can help:

  • Maps show you what the places were like where your ancestors lived
  • Trade directories can help you track down a residence or business, and give information about the places where people lived
  • Electoral registers and rate books can show you who lived where.
  • Tithe maps were drawn up for (practically) every parish in the 1840s. They show who the farmers and landowners were. If your family were farmers, this is a very useful source.  Here is a guide to the tithe maps for our area. (PDF) [450KB]
  • Estate rentals and land tax returns give more lists of landowners and farmers.  Here is a guide to land tax records for our area. (PDF) [812KB]
  • School records can give you some useful information, including details of when your ancestors were in school, and what life in the school was like. We have produced a  Guide to school records (PDF) [2MB].
  • Did your ancestors fall on hard times? They could have spent a spell in the workhouse. We have these records too.  Here is a guide to workhouse records in our area. (PDF) [293KB]
  • Did your ancestors get on the wrong side of the law? There are newspapers, magistrates' court records, prison records and (if you are lucky) photographs of prisoners to tell you more.

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Leaflets and resources

Here are some leaflets and resources that we have put together to help you with your research:

Administrative area key sheets (PDF) [9MB]
A map of ancient parishes in West Glamorgan (PDF) [603KB]
Coal mining records (PDF) [315KB]
Coroner's records (PDF) [5MB]
Electoral Rolls (PDF) [835KB]
Gazetteer of localities in the West Glamorgan area (PDF) [5MB]
Immigration into South Wales, Bibliography (PDF) [174KB]
Nursing records (PDF) [303KB]
Parish registers and chapel records (PDF) [2MB]
Poor Law Union records (PDF) [293KB]
Reading Old Documents (PDF) [709KB]
Schools and their records (PDF) [2MB]
The Land Tax (PDF) [812KB]

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