You are here: Heritage | Family History
Carmarthenshire, land of my fathers
Unearthing the past and digging up the family secrets is rapidly becoming one of the nation’s favourite pastimes. It seems the quest to find out who we really are through tracing the lives of our ancestors has got us all hooked.
Programmes such as the BBC’s 'Who Do You Think You Are?' have set the trend for a boom in genealogy internet sites - there are now more than 4 million family history enthusiasts in the UK and the subject is the third most popular pursuit online.
The BBC Wales series 'Coming Home', which unravels the hidden Welsh ancestry of some of the world’s most famous faces, has made some startling discoveries of late. Many celebrities searching for their Welsh roots have found themselves in Carmarthenshire, discovering family connections they never knew existed.
Carmarthenshire has a long tradition of famous sons - Dylan Thomas, Phil Bennett, Barry John, Huw Edwards and Rhod Gilbert to name but a few. Now, thanks to the genealogy craze, Carmarthenshire can claim Michael York, Paul Daniels, Pam Ferris and even Oscar-winning Hollywood star Susan Sarandon, as its own.
Travel back in time...
So have you got the time travel bug yet? Are you itching to find out what your ancestors were like and where they came from? Carmarthenshire County Archive can help bring your family story to life. And thanks to advances in online technology, the process has never been easier.
County Archivist John E Davies said the archive service uses a variety of original historical records, many of which are now available electronically. "Most useful is the Census, which is available free of charge not only for the whole of Wales but also for England, and the United States. The Census, held every ten years from 1841, gives a great deal of information and is a fundamental historical source for nineteenth century history. It tells you where a family lived, how large it was, their occupations their ages, and for the 1891 census, whether they spoke Welsh."
"After the census the most used documents are the parish registers of the Anglican church, which record baptisms, marriages and burials. In Carmarthenshire the parish registers go back, in some instances, to the sixteenth century. However, the further you go back the more difficult they can be to read with a lot of them being in Latin. This just adds to the fun of researching your family's history."
Other useful sources include probate and wills records, electoral registers and their predecessors poll books, and some estate records, such as rentals. All these sources can be invaluable when undertaking family history.
The archive service is open four days a week: Tuesday 9.30-7.30; Wednesday-Friday 9.30-5.00. We are closed each day 12.30-13.30 and you need to book by the Friday before your visit if you intend to stay after five on Tuesday. It is best to book your seat in advance. Phone 01267 228232.
Further research at...
© 2013 Carmarthenshire County Council.
This web site is produced by the Tourism & Marketing Division of Carmarthenshire County Council. The extraction of any photographic or written material from these pages without permission is expressly forbidden. The Authority does not accept responsibility or liability for any errors or omissions contained in these pages, nor is any warranty given to any of the internet sites, publications, attraction venues or establishments listed.