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This free Na­tional Li­brary of Wales data­base is drawn from the gaol files of the Court of Great Ses­sions in Wales, from 1730 up to its abo­li­tion in 1830. The web­site was launched way back in 2004, and while it def­i­nitely looks its age, ev­ery­thing still func­tions well. The rel­a­tively small num­ber of com­mon sur­names in Wales may cause prob­lems – a sim­ple search for ‘Jones’ gives 1,985 re­sults – but there are plenty of ways to nar­row the pool, by date, county, type of of­fence (fraud, lar­ceny etc), pun­ish­ment and more. For quar­ter ses­sions records, which are held by Welsh county record of­fices, go to Archives Wales (

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