A rchivist ’s top tips
BEST WEBSITES TO AID YOUR RESEARCH
Assistant County Archivist Andrew Dulley: “A family tree should be more than just names and dates . It is just a s important to findout about the people, where they lived and what it was like at the time. Don’t just rely on the online, searchable sources; visit the local record office, where they will be better placed to advise. There are many resources locally that can add information that isn’t available anywhere else.” stretch from the Neath Abbey charter of 1129 to this year’s electoral register.
Key collections include records of the authorities and their predecessors, such as electoral registers, rate books, Poor Law union records and school material.
Inside the building there’s a search room and the archive's Family History Centre – a separate room dedicated to genealogical resources on microfiche, CD and online, such as GRO indexes, census returns, IGI, transcripts and indexes, plus free internet access to the likes of Ancestry and Findmypast.
While important local material survives at the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth – including some notable estate and chapel collections – Swansea looks One of the most useful commercially available resources is Findmypast’s Welsh Collection ( findmypast.co.uk/articles/world-records/ search-all-uk-records/special- collections/ the-wales- collection), formed through partnerships with the National Library of Wales and county archives across the country. It includes Glamorgan baptisms, burials, marriages and banns. You can also explore Glamorgan parish registers (1558-1900) via FamilySearch at familysearch.org/search/collection/1952632.
Another valuable tool is the National Library of Wales’s free newspapers website at newspapers.library.wales. Here you can access scanned and OCRed newspapers for Wales, including the Swansea-based Cambrian and South Wales Daily Post. Also via the local council site you can access the Cambrian Index Online ( swansea.gov.uk/cambrian), a database of thousands of names from newspapers covering West Glamorgan, mainly from 1804 to 1881.
You should also try the National Library of Wales’s fully searchable catalogue to wills and probate documents at cat.llgc.org.uk/probate. These include wills proved in the diocesan and archdeaconry consistory courts in the principality, and date from the 16th century to 1858. The Welsh tithe maps project Cynefin can be found at cynefin.archiveswales.org.uk. When complete, the project will contain all Welsh tithe maps and apportionments, geo-referenced, indexed and cross-referenced. Most tithe maps and all the apportionments for West Glamorgan are already available.
Via swanseamariners.org.uk, you can search an index of the merchant shipping registers and crew agreements held by West Glamorgan Archive Service. This is a vital guide to records of sailors who sailed on Swansea-, Neath- and Port Talbot-registered ships in the period 1863-1913.
Genuki’s Glamorgan page includes links to local archives and libraries ( genuki.org.uk/big/ wal/GLA), plus there’s also a Chapels Database at genuki.org.uk/big/wal/GLA/Chapels. html. Alongside Glamorgan FHS ( glamfhs.org), other history groups include glamorganhistory. org, swanseacanalsociety.com and penllergare.org.
If you’re looking for material relating to the city’s copper heritage, try the Copper Business Archives ( welshcopper.org.uk/en/copper_ business_ archives.htm) at Swansea University’s Richard Burton Archives.
The homepage of the Swansea Mariners website
The Cynefin Welsh tithe maps online project