Welsh church records

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Welsh church records are one of the best sources for family history. The information here will help you be more successful in using church records in your genealogy research.

Welsh church records are one of the best sources for family history. The information here will help you be more successful in using church records in your genealogy research.

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  • Holt parish register, image from http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/northeastwales/hi/people_and_places/newsid_9396000/9396912.stm
  • The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers provides parish maps within North, Central and South Wales and includes colored lines showing the boundaries of each diocese.
  • Llangiwg, Glamorgan parish register, DGS number 425328, image 18
  • Llangiwg Banns register, 1825, DGS number 433537, image 6, page 4.
  • 1750 burials in Llangiwg, Glamorgan showing three people still using the patronymic naming pattern. These burials provide evidence for the two preceding generations. One person, William Morgan John, was old enough to be married and with an estimated span of thirty three years between generations this burial record moves the pedigree back about 100 years.
  • Bishop’s Transcript pre 1813
  • Margaret died at age 29 and Samuel remarried but it would be difficult to prove this with the parish registers only. The burial is on DGS number 425322, image 30,
  • South Wales Pedigrees, FHL microfilm 104353 item 1, page 151 (National Library of Wales reference; CastellGorfod 8).
  • South Wales Pedigrees, FHL microfilm 104353 item 1, page 143 (National Library of Wales reference; CastellGorfod 8).


  • 1. Welsh Church Records
    Malad Welsh Festival 2011
  • 2. What we will discuss
    What you need to start
    Record supplements/substitutes
    Case study
  • 3. Introduction
  • 4. The parish was the center of the world
    Before 1834 the parish was the both the civil and ecclesiastical center of life.
  • 5. Parish Registers
    Recording christenings, marriages and burials went into effect in 1538.
    There are just over 1,000 ancient parishes (created before 1813) but only 71 survive before 1600.
    Many parishes have no registers before 1754.
  • 6. Key Dates
    1538 Order to begin recording christenings, marriages and burials
    1538 – 1732 expect registers in Latin
    1698 – 1703 some events not registered to avoid taxation
    1752 the first day of the year is changed from 25 March to 1 January
  • 7. Key Dates
    1754 separate, pre-printed forms used to record marriages
    1597 – 1917 Bishop’s transcripts
    1783-1794 Stamp Act taxed all registrations
    1813 printed forms used for christenings & burials
    1837 parishes use the same form for marriages as civil registration
  • 8. Jurisdictions
    Several levels of jurisdiction applied to the area where your ancestor lived.
    The parish and diocese are very important for family history research.
  • 9.
  • 10.
  • 11.
  • 12.
  • 13. What you need to get started
  • 14. What you need to get started
    A place, the parish name is good
    Having the village or farm name is best
    Name of the ancestor
    Reference tools
    Book: Parish Registers of Wales
  • 15. Records
  • 16. Christenings
    Christenings often show:
    child’s given name
    Father’s name
    Mother’s name
    Sometimes included:
    Family residence such as the village, street or farm name
    Father’s occupation
  • 17. Post 1812 parish register
  • 18. Bishop’s Transcript
  • 19.
  • 20. Marriages
  • 21. Marriages
    Get your bearings
    Map of the country
    Map of the county showing all parishes
    Atlas and Index of Parish Registers
    FHL book# 942 E7pa
  • 22. Start with a marriage index
    Search the Family History Library Catalog by doing a place search for the county
    Use the IGI
    Marriage and Census Indexes FHL book# 942 D27gjh
  • 23.
  • 24.
  • 25. Marriages pre 1754
  • 26. Pay close attention to all names
  • 27. Typical post 1753 parish register
  • 28. Details to watch for 1754-1837
  • 29.
  • 30. I’d like to look at a Banns register for 1818 but according to Parish Registers of Wales the records do not exist.
    Note that the BTs start a generation earlier than PRs
  • 31. Banns register
  • 32.
  • 33. Banns register
  • 34. Marriage by license
  • 35.
  • 36.
  • 37.
  • 38.
  • 39.
  • 40.
  • 41.
  • 42.
  • 43.
  • 44.
  • 45.
  • 46.
  • 47. Post 1836 Parish Register
  • 48.
  • 49. Pre 1813 burial (1750)
  • 50. Post 1813 burial
  • 51.
  • 52. Indexes First
  • 53. NBI Coverage for Wales
    Breconshire 5,000
    Cardiganshire 108,000
    Glamorganshire 361,000
    Monmouthshire 9,000
    Montgomeryshire less than 1,000
    Radnorshire 11,000
  • 54. Something to Remember
    The National Burial Index does not include information from monumental inscriptions
  • 55.
  • 56.
  • 57.
  • 58.
  • 59.
  • 60.
  • 61. Post 1812 Burial Register
  • 62.
  • 63.
  • 64.
  • 65.
  • 66. Record Supplements/substitues
  • 67. Record Supplements/Substitutes
    Parish of origin
    Marriage banns, marriage license, settlement examination
    Poor law, church warden accounts, vestry minutes, petty sessions, quarter sessions, probate
    Electoral registers, poor law, rates (tax)
  • 68. Petty Sessions
    Application of Hannah Davies against Charles Roberts
    Defendant appears
    Hannah Davies of the parish of Llangefelachmaketh Oath and saith as follows. I am unmarried .
    On the 28th of January last I was delivered of a male Bastard Child at the said parish of Llangefelach in which parish I now resided. The Defendant Charles Roberts who is now present is the father of that Child. About Eighteen months ago the Defendant was in my Mother’s House with me and Thomas Lewis was then in the next Room. This was about ten oClock at night He then promised to marry me. He had been courting me for about six months previously, and Continued to court me until the month of June last when he went away to Liverpool. He frequently promised to marry me after the occasion I have spoken of During the time he was courting me he came on many occasions to my mother’s House, but I used to meet him generally every Saturday night or Sunday near my mother’s House In about a week after the birth of the Child I desired my Brother William Davies to go…
  • 69. Record Supplements/Substitutes
    Poor quality or missing parish registers and Bishop’s transcripts may be supplemented by monumental inscriptions.
  • 70. Manuscript pedigrees may predate the surviving parish registers.
  • 71.
  • 72. Search Strategies
  • 73. Kill off your ancestor
    Always search both the PRs and BTs
    Census Parish Register Bishop’s Transcript
  • 74. Case Study