Researching your family history on Anglesey could not be easier, as all the resources are kept under one roof at Llangefni Archives. The address is County Record Office, Shire Hall, Glanhwfa Road, Llangefni LL77 7TW. Phone 01248 752080. Hours Mon-Fri 9am-1pm and 2pm-5pm. Closes annually the first week in November. There is a half-hourly charge for research enquiries sent in by mail, but no charge for visits in person.
How do I start my family history research?
Some of you might be considering investigating your family history for the first time if so, welcome to the rewarding world of family history. I would like to tell you where you might start. Nothing to worry about, the net and local libraries abound with information.
Find out what you can from family and friends. The older they are the better. If your grandparents and/or parents are alive, get as much information about your family history as you can from them, including names, ages, addresses etc, and then please keep in mind that the key to successful research is an accurate recording of information. Ask them for all the information that they know or believe to be true, and also discover if they have any birth, death, or wedding certificates in their possession. Ask for copies of any old family photographs, and record the names on the back in pencil. Later, you will consider buying a computer family history program, which will store and present the information in ways you would not believe possible.
In the meantime, using just a pen, ruler, and paper, write down your family tree as you now believe it to be. It will all have to be verified and confirmed by certificates, which you will obtain either from your local registrar or from the G.R.O. at General Register Office, PO Box 2, Southport, Merseyside, PR8 2JD.
If your information takes you back before the latest released census (currently 1901), then you can begin your census research. If not, you need to obtain birth, and/or wedding certificates of the oldest relatives that you know, and from them, you may obtain enough information to continue with your research. Every 10 years, beginning in 1801, a population census has been carried out on every household in Britain. For the most part, the only censuses (I always think that should read Censis) that are of practical value are from 1841 onwards.
It is now time to start looking through the censuses. Start with the 1901 census and search using any known names and ages. Remember to allow for a few years differential from the ages you believed your ancestors were. The simplest way is, if they were born on Anglesey, just pop along to the archives at Llangefni – they have every census from 1901 right back to 1841. The staff are friendly, and informative, and will point you in the right direction. You may also view old photos of the villages and the people that once lived therein. A typical census will give you the head of the household, partners name, children’s names, and any borders or visitors. It will, of course, tell you the address, all occupants ages, and their occupations. It will give each person relations to the head. It will also tell you where each of them was born. You will agree that it is a lot of information, and it is essential that you get a copy of the census for your records. Assuming that you were searching for a child initially, you now have the parents, and so it goes on with each previous census.
If you have successfully looked at one or more census reports, it is now time to put `meat on the bones`. Either via Llangefni registrar office, or directly to the GRO at Southport, apply for whichever certificates you feel would give you the most help in your research, or however many you can afford. If your ancestors were not born on Anglesey, then you will need to apply to the local registrar in the area that they were born/married/died. Most certificates obtained from a registrar in the relative (excuse the pun) area cost just £7. They are a little more expensive from the GRO. The anticipation of receiving a new certificate with all the mystery it may contain is one of the most rewarding of this obsessive pastime. Had I mentioned that it was an obsessive pastime before? Believe it!
Online research. As I previously mentioned there is a wealth of information online, I will tell you about the most useful online tools, that will help you no end in your research. If you want to know more about learning how to trace your family history, there is a new website here that is free and looks as if it will help lots of people trace their family history.
Since we have already discussed the census reports, here are the computer links to find them. The 1901 census for the whole of England and Wales – a pay by search service is here. The 1881 census is available free online thanks to the LDS (Latter Day Saints) site here. Should you wish, you could join Ancestry one of the best online resources on the net. There is a fee, but it does have several more of the census reports, and a multitude of searchable resources.
Since 1837, the registration of births, deaths and marriages has become enforceable by law. Before that year, it is not possible to obtain a certificate (other than a baptism certificate). However, from that year to approximately 1910 it is possible to search at no cost for any event between those dates. The site is called Free BMD (births etc). There are upwards of 110,000,000 records. They are here. As the records held are not absolutely complete you might like to search the complete 1837 to 2002 but at a fee. Their site is here.
Prior to 1837, the records that you would probably search through to get further back are the church parish records. Once again the LDS church has recorded an enormous amount of information from these records. This is known as the I.G.I ( International Genealogical Index). This is also available online here. A word of warning. As members of the LDS church can input their own family histories, there are a LOT of erroneous and duplicated entries. So again, the rule of thumb is once you have found information online, verify it for yourself by checking the registers. In the case of Anglesey parish records, they still survive going back several hundreds of years in most cases. They are of course held at the Anglesey Records Office at Llangefni.
Rootschat, an English and Welsh online forum here.
One major UK family history site worthy of note is Genuki. Follow the link to the site here and then search for the county you are researching. Pay particular attention to the lookup request pages, it will show you names of volunteers who will be able to help you request information.
Daily news about the world of Genealogy, named Genealogy and How may be found here.
Looking 4 Kin is a genealogy links and chat site here.
For a surname search linking to a directory of sites try Cinnamon Toast Genealogy here.
There are resources on the net far too numerous to mention, take a look and see what you can find. My last piece of help is this… join your local family history society. Anglesey’s is the Gwynedd Family History Society. You will get all the help you could possibly need, and in addition, they will have many books and CDs for sale, which contain lists and databases of records which members have spent years putting together. I do hope that I have given you just enough background to start the amazing journey of discovery that will reveal to you exactly who you are. Good luck with your research.