Silhouette of people round a tree

Welsh records

Last updated: 22 September 2010

A lot of your research will take place in archives, local studies libraries or specialist family history centres.

Aside from your local research centres - a directory of repositories can be found here - the National Library of Wales is one of the main portals for research in Wales. Microfiche copies of the General Register Office's indexes to births, marriages and deaths from 1837 to 1998 are available for searching free of charge at the National Library as well as a computerised index from 1984 to 2000. Births, marriages and death certificates for England and Wales are centrally held and housed at The The General Register Office in Southport.

Census records may also be beneficial in researching family history. Completed every 10 years since 1801 (apart from in 1941 due to the Second World War), the returns up until 1831 were for numbers of people only. However, from 1841 the census carried more detailed information and could prove useful in your search. More information can be found on the National Archives website whilst the National Library of Wales also has microform copies of the Census for the whole of Wales and some border areas, dating 1841-1901. Yet many local record offices and libraries hold microform copies for their appropriate areas.

Parish records - including registers of baptisms, marriages and burials - may be used for research for dates and events prior to 1837 if your trail takes you back that far. From 1538 it was required that the incumbent of every parish kept a register of births, deaths and marriages within their parish. Most local parish registers are kept at local County Records Offices and are also available at the National Library of Wales. In addition, the library also holds various other documentation that may be useful to your research such as bishops' transcripts, marriage bonds and wills. (Please check their website for admission requirements and opening times).

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.