Darris G. Williams's Blog (37)

Searching for Family and Community History in Wales

In preparation for the Welsh Family & Community History course at British Institute next month I have been reading a lot more than usual. I keep finding great sources and worry that there is too much to share during the week long course. This morning I finished reading Searching for Family and Community History in Wales which was edited by Rheinallt Llwyd and D. Huw Owen.

This is one of the top…


Added by Darris G. Williams on September 9, 2016 at 1:22pm — No Comments

Ordnance Survey Maps

Detailed maps for Wales are now available online. This is one of the best tools for family history research. Grasping the geographical context that our ancestors lived in is critical.

  1. Go to http://maps.nls.uk/geo/records/
  2. Use the zoom in option or choose a map series (County Series 6 inch is a favorite of mine)
  3. Click on England and Wales (lower left side of the screen)
  4. Select a county in the…

Added by Darris G. Williams on March 15, 2014 at 11:23am — No Comments

Online Parish Maps for Wales - Finally!

I've heard that doing family history without maps is like painting with your eyes shut. If you try without, then find a good map you'll understand. For a few years there has been a great set of online parish maps for England but until this month Wales was not included. The site has not been fully updated and additional functionality should be available soon. The parish maps for Wales are available now and that is the critical data. The rest will be a bonus.


Visit the website…


Added by Darris G. Williams on January 17, 2014 at 4:21pm — No Comments

New class

I spent the morning at the annual Conference On Family History in Provo Utah yesterday. It has been several years since I taught there. My class on Basics of Welsh Research was very well attended. The presentation slides are available at http://www.slideshare.net/Darris which has more detail for some topics than the syllabus could include. I hope you find some ideas to help in your research.

Added by Darris G. Williams on August 3, 2013 at 7:57am — No Comments

Welsh Parish Registers on Findmypast

Welsh parish registers have been published at http://www.findmypast.co.uk/content/welsh-collection/about

The good news:

  1. We can now search online for our ancestors in Welsh parish registers.
  2. Findmypast has provided "detailed coverage" charts for baptisms, marriages, marriage banns and burials.

The bad news:

  1. Not all parishes are…

Added by Darris G. Williams on July 1, 2012 at 12:45pm — No Comments

The Welsh in London

Welsh people have been drawn to London for generations.There is a book, The Welsh in London, 1500-2000 which provides the history and many details related to Welsh migration to London. It estimates that today about 70,000 people born in Wales live…


Added by Darris G. Williams on April 29, 2012 at 11:13am — No Comments

The Story of Wales

A six part BBC Wales series on the the history of Wales was televised early in 2012. For those who missed it a DVD is available from the Open University. While visiting Wales in February and March I was able to see two episodes and loved it.

Episode titles are:

  • The Makings of Wales
  • Power Struggles
  • England and Wales
  • Furnace of Change
  • A New Beginning
  • Wales and Britain

For more information and to…


Added by Darris G. Williams on March 29, 2012 at 10:01pm — No Comments

Welsh American Periodicals

One of my favorite sources for Welsh family history has been Welsh magazines from the 1800s. In January 2012 the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy will have a Welsh Research Course consisting of twenty classes. One of the classes will be presented by Dr Gethin Matthews on the Welsh Periodical Press. He has done extensive research in this rich…


Added by Darris G. Williams on November 5, 2011 at 3:59pm — No Comments

Historical Context

I am nearly finished reading The Rebecca Riots by David Williams and am thrilled with the insight it is giving me. The background leading up to the report on the riots is important information for family historians. Some of what I have learned is listed below.

  • The Act of 1536 gave one seat in parliament for each of the three counties in West Wales. The right to vote, as in England, was only for freeholders with land valued at forty shillings and above. (p.…

Added by Darris G. Williams on July 18, 2011 at 7:01pm — No Comments

Nonconformists and Their Records

Occasionally I inform people at work or in my local church congregation that I come from a long line of nonconformists. This is usually a way to justify myself for some stand I take or one of my personal quirks. Most people tracing Welsh ancestry will find that nonconformists (religious groups not tied to the Church of England/Church in Wales) had a great impact on their ancestors, directly or indirectly.


While preparing to teach at the…


Added by Darris G. Williams on June 26, 2011 at 10:29am — No Comments

Society Memberships

Family and local history societies provide a variety of useful resources that all researchers should tap into. My quandary has been how to select which ones to send my money to. Most society membership fees are between ten and twenty pounds (20-40 dollars).


I've heard that we should join the family history society near where we live. This might not seem to make great sense but it is helpful to be able to attend meetings where you can learn from other family historians. My…


Added by Darris G. Williams on May 1, 2011 at 8:20pm — 2 Comments

Google and the Welsh Periodical Press

Religion played a significant part in the lives of our ancestors. Church records are one of the top three records suggested for tracing family history. That's not surprising since christening, marriage, and death/burial records document important events in an individual's and family's life. Additional records were produced by church and chapel that are often neglected. One of those neglected resources I find fascinating for Welsh family historians is Welsh denominational…


Added by Darris G. Williams on February 6, 2011 at 9:12am — No Comments

Finding a Burial Record

Tasks for locating a burial should be prioritized in the following order.

1. Search the National Burial Index 3rd edition. Not all counties are included so check for the coverage.

2. Search any available county burial index (check with the county family…


Added by Darris G. Williams on November 29, 2010 at 9:30pm — No Comments

As Others See Us

There were the Scots

Who kept the Sabbath

And everything else

they could lay their hands on.

Then there were the Welsh

Who prayed on their knees

and their neighbors.

Thirdly there were the Irish

who never knew what they

wanted but were willing to

fight for it anyway.

Lastly there were the English

Who considered themselves

a self made nation

Thus relieving the Almighty

of a dreadful responsibility.

[Source… Continue

Added by Darris G. Williams on October 10, 2010 at 9:29pm — No Comments

Pre Plan Your Family History Library Visit

When planning a trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City it is important to do some pre-planning. Not all microfilms are stored onsite at the library. If Murphy’s Law is consistent, one or more microfilm you need to examine will be stored in the “Granite Mountain Vault”.…


Added by Darris G. Williams on September 19, 2010 at 9:00pm — No Comments

9 Must Read Guides for Welsh Family History

There are more blogs, books, magazine & journal articles about genealogy and family history than you can shake a stick at. Detailed sources for a specific record such as the records of the court of Great Sessions are available and well worth reading when it is time to delve into records. The sources listed below will help you build a foundation of knowledge leading to a rewarding journey in Welsh…


Added by Darris G. Williams on August 22, 2010 at 8:00pm — No Comments

The British Institute 2010

Strategies for Discovering Welsh Ancestors will be one of three British courses taught from 4-8 October 2010. A few openings are still available for this unique genealogical learning experience. The British Institute strives to further your education about the records and the locations that are important to your family history research. Classes are intentionally small in order for the participants to experience individual instruction. Interaction between the instructor and class members makes… Continue

Added by Darris G. Williams on August 18, 2010 at 12:07am — 1 Comment

Free guide to Welsh family history from the British Library

There are only a few really good guide books for Welsh family history. The book, "Welsh family history: a guide to research", by John and Sheila Rowlands is probably the very best and should be read and referred to often. If you like FREE you can get, Sources for Family History: A Case Study With Particular Reference to Wales, the Parrys of Llidiardau as a free file from the British Library. A… Continue

Added by Darris G. Williams on February 13, 2010 at 8:58pm — No Comments

Tombstone Help on YouTube

I have found that tombstone inscriptions can be one of the more exciting resources for family history research. For research on Welsh families they may often do more than supplement other records. Many nonconformist chapel records have not survived or been deposited at an archive. The tombstone (or monumental inscription) may sometimes be the best record available for learning about an ancestor or the people who attended a specific chapel.

There are four steps for locating tombstone… Continue

Added by Darris G. Williams on January 1, 2010 at 11:12am — No Comments

Free Bibliography Searches

The Royal Historical Society Bibliography, Irish History Online and London's Past Online has announced changes coming on 1 January 2010 which will require payment to use the site. Use it for free until then.

Click on the link above and follow the directions on the page to do some searches for the parish or village where your ancestor lived. My testing of the two different sites gave some great results. Once you… Continue

Added by Darris G. Williams on December 30, 2009 at 6:30pm — No Comments

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