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The very latest news from the world of genealogy



Did you see Ruth Jones on Who Do You Think You Are?


The episode of the popular family history programme, Who Do You Think You Are? that was shown last night in the U.K. on BBC One went down really well with a lot of people if you look at the comments on social media.

It was a real lesson in using records to trace ancestors and ranged from the family bible (written in Welsh of course) to census, parish records, shipping lists and newspaper reports to name just a few.

Ruth goes to New Quay where she is able to meet local historian Sue Passmore to find out about her ancestors that became ships' captains. Then it was the turn of Maritime expert Dr Elin Jones to help Ruth in the programme research into her mariner ancestors. This showed clearly what a fascinating subject area this is when we find seafarers in our family tree. If you have ancestors of your own that sailed the seas some of the records that we like are the Merchant Navy Apprenticeship records and Ship Crew Lists.

We particularly enjoyed seeing, in Ruth Jones' story, the photograph of the siblings set against a harbour wall. The techniques that Jayne Shrimpton, the fashion and photo dating expert, used to identify what period the photo was taken was very interesting to see... and what a simple, but great tip, she gave us to check for the photographer in two censuses to discover a time for when he had been operating.

Ruth hears in the show that one of her great uncles drowned at sea with a funeral service held in a nonconformist chapel. If you too have nonconformist ancestors, have you tried searching the official records from The National Archives? They are available online here https://www.thegenealogist.com/non-conformist-records/

But the family plot was not at the Chapel but at the Parish Church in Llanarth. Now that all the Anglican Parish Records for Wales have gone online we at Family History Social couldn't resist looking for Ruth's ancestors ourselves and were fascinated to see just how young some of them were when they were buried. You can check for your own Welsh ancestors at this website: http://thegenealogist.co.uk/welsh-parish-records

The parental line examined the life of her grandfather who had been a leading figure in the Medical Aid Societies in Wales before the birth of the NHS. We saw how from being a chemist's assistant, through wartime service as a Sick Berth Attendant in the Navy, he rose to be Secretary of the Alliance of South Wales & Monmouthshire Medical Aid Societies and attempted to persuade Aneurin Bevan that they should have a part in the new National Health Service. Sadly the societies were kept at arms length by the government and there was no place for Ruth's grandfather in the new NHS. Moving to Porthcawl he helped to run a convalescent home as his last job – proving that his entire life had been in the service of his fellow men and women.

If you missed the episode then for a short while it will be available on the BBC iPlayer or you can read a resume of what was in the programme here

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Parish Records for all of Wales Launched by TheGenealogist

TheGenealogist are launching the complete set of all Anglican records for Wales held by the consortium of Welsh archives on 23rd October. This release contains 8 million Parish Records, listing over 14.5 million individuals, with images of the original registers. 


Mark Bayley, Head of Online Content at TheGenealogist said:


“We are very excited to be releasing parish records for all 13 historic Welsh counties.” He went on to say:


“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. 


“TheGenealogist’s keyword search makes it surprisingly easy to find the record you’re after and SmartSearch allows you to find families in the registers.


“These records compliment our nonconformist records for Wales which include Methodists,  Quakers and more, giving researchers the ultimate resource for finding their Welsh ancestors’ vital events.”


St Michael’s Church, Betws-Y-Coed as featured in the records


This release includes all historic Welsh counties:-

Anglesey, Brecknockshire, Caernarfonshire, Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Merionethshire, Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire, Pembrokeshire and Radnorshire.


Kim Collis, West Glamorgan County Archivist, says on behalf of all the Welsh archives contributing their parish records:


We are delighted that TheGenealogist is releasing these records to a wider audience. Being able to access them from the comfort of your own home, especially during the current situation, is of great benefit.


“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.”


To find out more about Welsh Parish Records and this release, visit https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/welsh-parish-records/


This release has been made possible by the participation of the following archives:-

Anglesey Archives, Carmarthenshire Archive Service, Ceredigion Archives, Conwy Archive Services, Denbighshire Archives, Flintshire Record Office, Glamorgan Archives, Gwent Archives, Gwynedd Archives Service, Pembrokeshire Archives and Local Studies, Powys Archives and West Glamorgan Archive Service.




Ruth Jones will be searching for her Welsh roots in
Who Do You Think You Are? airing on Monday 26th October on BBC One. TheGenealogist has found her ancestors in this new collection. Read about it here (WARNING: Contains spoilers) https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/featuredarticles/2020/who-do-you-think-you-are/ruth-jones-1338/ 





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David Walliams - Who Do You Think You Are?


David Walliams - Who Do You Think You Are?