Eight million Welsh parish registers are being made available online. This means that people researching their Welsh ancestors will no longer have to travel to one of the Welsh county record offices or to the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth (although it’s a fine place for research) to view the parish registers.
Subscription/pay-per-view website Find My Past is making available online for the very first time fully searchable indexes and images of the parish registers of Wales. The project is taking place with the permission of the Church in Wales and Welsh Archive Services and the company is working with FamilySearch International to digitise the records.
Around 893,000 images containing 8,000,000 baptisms, marriages and burials from across Wales will be filmed by FamilySearch and transcribed by Find My Past. Some of the records date back to the sixteenth century, making it possible to find Welsh ancestors as far back as the 1500s. The records contain entries in English and Latin.
The records will be made available over the next two years at Find My Past with an index search available on FamilySearch.org. Free access to the images on Find My Past will be made available through all Archive Services in Wales. If they are not accessed through Welsh Archive Services, i.e at home, a cost will be incurred to access the records.
David Rencher, FamilySearch’s Chief Genealogical Officer, says, “Genealogical research in Wales has been very difficult for years and the opening of this amount of data for baptisms, marriages and burials will be a tremendous resource for those with Welsh ancestry. We commend all of those who have worked so diligently to make this happen and in such a dramatic fashion.”
Catherine Richards, the County Archivist at Powys and Chair of the Welsh County Archivists’ Group comments: “We are very excited to work with Find My Past and FamilySearch to make our parish registers available online. Making our records accessible to as wide an audience as possible is one of the main objectives of Archive Services across Wales. Records of baptisms, marriages and burials are a major resource for family historians and can reveal fascinating and surprising secrets back through the generations.”
The Welsh Archive Services include: the National Library of Wales; Anglesey Archives Service; Carmarthenshire Archive Service; Ceredigion Archives; Conwy Archive Service; Denbighshire Archives; Flintshire Record Office; Glamorgan Archives; Gwent Record Office; Gwynedd Archives Service; Pembrokeshire Record Office; Powys County Archives Office; West Glamorgan Archive Service; and Wrexham Archives Service.
Local authorities in Wales have an archive service holding the historical records of local government, the records of landed estates, churches and chapels, industry and business, trade unions, local societies and private individuals. The National Library of Wales holds archives of national and international significance. Each archive service has a searchroom where records can be consulted free of charge. Further information about their services and the records they hold can be seen at Archives Wales.