Who Do You Think You Are?
Think you know what records Ancestry holds? Think again! The collections on Ancestry are being added to all the time including the recent addition of millions of Welsh records
the order if necessary is the ideal choice. Photographs can be inserted directly into the sleeves, or mounted on acid-free card inserts using acid-free fixings so effectively creating an album page. Quality varies, as does the price. However, you will only carry out this exercise once, so use the best within your budget to create an archive for the future.
In addition, acid-free boxes are available for all sizes of photographs, newspapers, heirlooms etc, and can be used in conjunction with suitably sized acid-free polyester sleeves or acid-free tissue. Daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes usually have their own protective casing, and should simply be stored wrapped in acid-free tissue in acid-free boxes.
Location, Location, Location
Once you have your archive in good order, where is the best place to store it? Attics, outhouses and garages should be avoided, because temperatures vary hugely throughout the year and even each day and hungry bugs thrive – woodworm dining on the mount surrounds and silverfish enjoying the gelatin content prevalent in prints after the is an expert in the restoration, conservation and reproduction of vintage photographs
Find the help and supplies you need
The British Library has produced a detailed guide explaining how photographs deteriorate and outlining good preservation practice, which family historians can download for free in PDF format.
Helen’s company carries out the restoration and conservation of photographs, and advises on and supplies archival storage. w cxdinternational.com
Based in Milton Keynes, Conservation by Design was founded in 1992. w harrisoncameras.co.uk
This firm sells photographic equipment including the Walther range of acid-free albums. w henzo-albums-uk.com
Henzo’s Memory and Promo photographic albums are also free from acid. w preservationequipment.com/blog
This company supplies material for preserving and displaying documents and photos. Its blog has useful advice on good practice and storage. w secol.co.uk
Secol supplies archival products to galleries, museums and photographic libraries. 1870s. A spare room is ideal, because these are usually kept moderately warm and rarely heated to high temperatures. If it’s too dry, your photographs will dry out; if it’s too humid, the damp spores will return.
A well-produced, properly prepared archive will present the story of your family through photographs, letters, certificates and other ephemera, all annotated to record your family history. Once housed in acid-free sleeves the items need never be handled again so avoiding the risk of damage from fingerprints, dust and dirt, thereby ensuring that these priceless and irreplaceable items will survive intact for your descendants to enjoy.
As a family historian it’s important to keep up to date with what’s online, especially now with so many archives closed to visitors or having restricted opening times. Luckily Ancestry has continued to add records to its vast collections so that you can keeping adding branches to your family tree.
And if one of your branches leads to Wales, then you are in luck, because Ancestry has recently added millions of Welsh parish records to its collections. So, whether your family came from Anglesey in the north or Glamorganshire in the south, you can search the Church in Wales Anglican Parish Registers dating all the way back to the 1500s.
The collection can be searched as a whole using the group search page at www.ancestry.co.uk/ search/categories/welsh_ parish. However, if you want to just search within a particular county, the collection has been divided up into 13 historical counties which can help to reduce unwanted results.
Of course, not all Welsh families attended the Anglican Church in Wales. Nonconformity was strong in the country but that doesn’t mean you won’t find your ancestors in these records. Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1754 required couples to marry in the established church for their marriage to be counted as legal and this continued up to 1837.
You can also look for nonconformist records in the collection England and Wales, Non-Conformist and NonParochial Registers, 1567-1936. This fascinating collection now boasts well over five and a half million records.
One of the main difficulties when researching Welsh ancestors is the small number of surnames. If your ancestor was a Jones, Davies, Williams, Evans, Thomas, Roberts or Hughes you may find it difficult to track down the right candidate in parish records. In these situations, it is important to build up a full picture of your family so that you can be more confident that you are following the right path.
Census records can help because they show the whole family together and include occupations so you can be more confident you are on the right track. Ancestry has Welsh census records from 1841 to 1911. Where possible, check that occupations match across more than one record. So, if you find a David Roberts recorded as a blacksmith in a parish register but on the census record your David Roberts is a mason you are probably looking at the wrong person. Where there is more than one person with the same name in a village, you are more likely to find a father’s occupation included in a baptism record even before 1813 when registers were standardised. Although parish records are vital for adding names and dates, there are also plenty of other collections on Ancestry to add extra colour to your family history. For Welsh stories, check out the Poor Law and Criminal collections for West Glamorgan.
It’s also important to remember that your Welsh family may not have always lived in Wales. There was a lot of movement across the water between Glamorganshire and Somerset, for example. Luckily, Ancestry has a fantastic collection of Somerset records which means that if your family did hop across the Welsh channel, you can follow them!
Wherever your family came from and wherever life led them, you can uncover their stories and grow your family tree with Ancestry.
Once you have found out where your family came from in Wales, visit the Francis Frith collection at www.ancestry.co.uk/search/ collections/60587/ to find a photograph of their town or village.