Find details for 14.5 million Welsh individuals in Welsh Parish Registers online

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26 October 2020
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The Welsh parish registers collection, newly available on Ancestry and TheGenealogist, comprises registers for about 500 parishes digitised by the National Libary of Wales (NLW) and the Welsh County Archivists group, spanning 1538 to 1994

The vast collection of 8 million parish records includes the details for 14.5 million individuals and covers all 13 historic counties of Wales: Anglesey, Brecknockshire, Caernarfonshire, Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Merionethshire, Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire, Pembrokeshire and Radnorshire.

Welsh parish registers on Ancestry

Rhona Murray, Content Acquisition Manager at Ancestry comments: “The release of these records marks the first time that people with Church of Wales ancestors will be able to comprehensively go back beyond 1841 on the Ancestry websites. These records are an invaluable resource for anyone looking to research their family history in Wales and our ambition is to create the most comprehensive Welsh Parish Register record collection online.” 

Welsh parish registers on TheGenealogist

Mark Bayley, Head of Online Content at TheGenealogist said:
“We’re thankful for the input of Welsh records experts from the archives, to make sure that we have accurate parish and place names. This will make it much easier for researchers to find records that they may have experienced difficulties with trying to find elsewhere.
“These records compliment TheGenealogist’s nonconformist records for Wales which include Methodists, Quakers and more, giving researchers the ultimate resource for finding their Welsh ancestors’ vital events.”

The archives behind the Welsh parish registers collection

Kim Collis, West Glamorgan County Archivist, says on behalf of all the Welsh archives contributing their parish records:
“For this release, we’ve painstakingly gone through the metadata, improving all the place names in this record set, recording chapels of ease, parent parishes of modern parishes, and variant spellings in the English and Welsh languages. This will mean that searches for your ancestor in the parish records, which previously might have turned up no results, will have a much greater chance of finding them for you.
“If you’ve previously struggled to find your ancestors’ Welsh Parish Records, I’d really encourage you to search these records.”
Further records will be continued to be added to the collection of 8 million so far, with plans to include the registers for parishes not included in the initial digitisation project by NLW. Ancestry explains that the 12 archives that they will mine to find extra parish registers never scanned before are: Glamorgan Archives, West Glamorgan Archive Service, Gwent Archives, Pembrokeshire Archives and Local Studies, Anglesey Archives, Denbighshire Archives, Gwynedd Archives Service, Powys Archives, Carmarthenshire Archive Service, Ceredigion Archives, Conwy Archive Service, and Flintshire Record Office. Ancestry advises, please note that Wrexham, the only other archives in Wales – does not hold original parish registers and their registers for their area are held in a neighbouring archive.

How to search Welsh parish registers online

To find out more about Welsh Parish Records and this release, visit www.thegenealogist.co.uk/welsh-parish-records/ 
Explore the parish register collections on Ancestry, listed by county in ‘recent collections’ (added 22 October 2020) at:
www.ancestry.co.uk/cs/recent-collections
This collection of Welsh parish registers is already available on Findmypast and further details can be found here, including a list of parishes not included in NLW’s initial digisation project: http://familytr.ee/walescollection