From its original Celtic origins, a distinct Welsh national identity emerged in the centuries after the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the 5th century.
The country is bilingual, with both Welsh and English being official languages. However, English is the predominant language spoken, with approximately 20 percent of the population able to speak Welsh.
The population in Wales is 2,903,085 as of the 2001 census.
The city of Cardiff, on the south coast, is the country's capital, seat of government and chief commercial centre. It has a population of around 350,000.
Learn how to start your Welsh genealogy.
The historic counties
Most researchers will be researching with the context of these historic counties. Wales, like many other countries, has seen much reorganisation over time and it may be necessary to search in several counties.
|pre 1974||1974-1996||post 1996|
Rhondda Cynon Taf
|Glamorgan|| Mid Glamorgan
Rhondda Cynon Taf
Vale of Glamorgan
Neath Port Talbot
See the relevant county pages for further information.
- Emigration: Record Selection Guide
- Key Online Record Set: Welsh Probates
- Browse by Topic: Pages for Wales
- FamilySearch: Welsh Records
- Article: Wales Missing Census Records
- Research Places: Aberkenfig Resource Centre & Cefn Mawr Resource Centre
- National Library of Wales: Manuscript Pedigrees
Wiki articles describing these collections are found at:
- England and Wales Nonconformist Index for RG 4-8 (Record Groups 4-8) (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Wales Births and Baptisms (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Wales Death and Burials (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Wales Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Wales Glamorgan Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Wales, Probate Abstracts (FamilySearch Historical Records)
News and events
- Records recently deposited for Bethania Chapel, Maesteg 1861-2005 at the Glamorgan Record Office.
- Pre 1858 Welsh Probate indexes and free document images are now online.
- The 1911 census is now available online for all of Wales. About 13% of the schedules are printed and filled out in Welsh.
- Ordnance Survey Maps with registration district boundaries free to search online
- The National Library of Wales at Aberystwyth has begun a £20 million project to make large parts of its collection available on-line. The project will take 10 years to complete and will involve the digitising of millions of documents, newspapers and books.
- The latest national Census in Wales took place on 27 March, 2011.
- BBC Wales have relaunched their website on Welsh Family History
- FamilySearch now has Welsh parish registers on microfilm.
- Cwrs Cymraeg This year's Welsh course, Cwrs Halen Ddaear, will be at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City on July 22-29, 2012.
Things you can do
- Join a Community of Wales researchers! Ask questions, help others, and share your research successes on Facebook and/or Skype. NEW!
- Plan Your Research Trip to Wales
- Take one of many Welsh Language Courses
- BBC Wales - Family History
- National Gazetteer of Wales
- Graveyard Welsh
- Welsh Mormon History
- BYU Research Outline for Wales
more Wales Websites
- "Wales.com - Language." Welsh Government, accessed Nov. 30, 2011, http://www.wales.com/en/content/cms/English/About_Wales/Language/Language.aspx.
- United Kingdom. Office for National Statistics, "Census 2001: First results On population for Wales," 2002.