Researching the right surnames
Putting ancestors in their place
Getting church records
Marriages: The Welsh typically got married in their mid-20s, with the wedding taking place in the bride’s parish. Couples could meet the requirements to marry in two ways: by banns or by a license. The minister posted banns for three consecutive Sundays to announce the couple’s intent to marry, giving the public the opportunity to object to the marriage. A couple applied to the church for a license when they didn’t want to wait three weeks for the proclamation of banns, preferred not to subject themselves to the publication of banns or lived in different dioceses.
To find your ancestors’ marriage on Findmypast.co.uk, select Parish Records in the UK Family History Records section at <www.findmypast.co.uk>, then narrow the search to the record type you’re searching for, such as Marriages & Divorces. In the search form, fill in the ancestor’s first and last names and his year of marriage, then select a record set to search. I found a marriage record for my ancestors Samuel Jones and Anne Powell, married in
Registering vital facts
Counting on censuses
The original 1871 census schedules that household members completed were destroyed, but the enumerators’ books were kept and microfilmed. Beginning with that census, a W in the first column indicates that the householder completed the schedule in Welsh. Since 1891, the census has included a question on the ability to speak Welsh.
Finding the will
Making Welsh connections
Consider joining the family history society for the region in Wales where your ancestors lived. As a member of the Powys Family History Society <www.powysfhs.org.uk>, which covers the former counties of Brecon, Radnor and Montgomery, I’ve found a lot of useful material in their journal and marriage indexes. The group’s published monumental (gravestone) inscriptions revealed details on several of my ancestors, including Samuel Jones, who is memorialized in a wall tablet in the Talgarth parish church. A member of the society even took photos for me of several farm homes where my ancestors lived approximately 200 years ago. See the Association of Family History Societies of Wales <www.fhswales.org.uk/member-societies> for links to the societies’ websites.
With the connections from family history societies and abundant online records, there’s no better time to research your Welsh roots.
Best British and Irish genealogy websites
Using archival portals to locate manuscripts
The best new UK online genealogy databases
Civil war: British civil-registration websites comparison
The land of your fathers
From the October/November 2015 issue of Family Tree Magazine