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 included
  2. Some parish registers are only partially published.

The Genealogical Proof Standard is made up of five elements, with the first being a reasonably exhaustive search. When doing a search at findmypast or in any other online or off line record collection verify what records are actually included in that collection.

Findmypast they have provided nice PDF files showing the parishes, date ranges covered and number of images for baptisms, marriages, marriage banns, and burials. I dream of the day when similar coverage tables are published as standard procedure with any record set. I'd like to see more detail but these are a good start.

According to the book Cofrestri Plwyf Cymru / Parish Registers of Wales (2nd edition) by C. J. Williams and J. Watts-Williams the baptisms for Llangyfelach parish begin in 1693. The Findmypast coverage charts show that they have published Llangyfelach baptisms for 1750 to 1905. I can understand that the ending dates may vary due to a few different reasons but why leave off the earliest fifty-seven years.

A few missing years might be bearable but it gets worse. When I examined the Findmypast list of published burials for Merionethshire I discovered that 26 of 46 parishes which have existing records are missing from the coverage charts.

My initial hope was that not all records had been published yet but on 29 June 2012 I found the following statement on Findmypast, "This is the first time that the complete Welsh parish baptism, marriage and death records have been made available online."

This all points to the responsibility for every family historian to know when they have really done a reasonably exhaustive search. Sometimes we haven't really searched what we thought. I'll still need to investigate the Findmypast collections more closely to sort out what what is and is is not there but I'm still happy to use the collection as it is. I know that will only be the start of the search.

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