A rchivist ’s top tips


Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - AROUND BRITAIN -

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

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