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Find an ancestor in census records of Wales 1841-1911
Wales census records are available every ten years from 1841 to 1911. Individuals are usually shown with other family members. Census records are indexed. Find your ancestor in each census to find clues that will lead to other information and a accurate family tree.
Step 1. Search for your ancestor in a census index
It may be best to search the most recent census that the family should be in (before death or emigration).
Search the census index at:
- FamilySearch.org free index searches (free census images at FamilySearch centres)
- Findmypast.co.uk fee based site (free at FamilySearch centres)
- Ancestry.com fee based site (free at FamilySearch centres)
Tips for success:
Indexes may not be accurate. If a search does not locate who you want, try the following:
- Use different amounts of search detail.
- Search for one of the children in the family instead of the parents. Start with the child born closest to the census year.
- Search for the child with the least common given name.
- Search by given name and leave the surname field empty.
- Narrow a long list of possible matches by including parent or sibling names.
Step 2. Find the same family in each earlier census
Census information for an individual and family may vary slightly from one census to the next. A more complete understanding of your ancestor's life comes from finding them in each available census.
Step 3. Verify the census information with other records
Church records and civil registration records can help confirm information learned from census records. Look at all the details in the census and compare with information in other records to be sure that the details are consistent. If some details are inconsistent look for additional records to help verify that the individual or family fits with your family.
Church of England records for about 80% of Wales are indexed on FamilySearch.
Nonconformist records This is a good starting point for chapel records for Baptists, Methodists, Congregationalists and others.
Probate records before 1858 are indexed and free to view thanks to the National Library of Wales
For more detailed information about learning about Welsh ancestors visit Wales in the FamilySearch Research Wiki.