English border towns began publishing newspapers in the 1690s. Early English newspapers, such as Berrow’s Worcester Journal (beginning in 1710) and the Gloucester Journal (1730), have Welsh items. The first successful Welsh newspaper, The Cambrian, began publication at Swansea in 1804 and continues today as the Herald of Wales. It was followed by the North Wales Gazette 1808 in Bangor and the Carmarthen Journal in 1810. The first newspaper published in the Welsh language was Seren Gomer, which was published in 1814 at Swansea.
Because of a tax on printed paper, local newspapers did not flourish until the tax was lowered in 1836. Hundreds of newspapers started in 1855 when the tax was abolished. Useful information found in local nineteenth-century newspapers includes:
- Birth announcements (usually the father’s name only).
- Death announcements.
- Reports of court cases (often in detail).
- Gun licenses granted (at quarters sessions).
- Details of inquests, divorces, funerals, and marriages.
- Local events.
Welsh newspapers are at many repositories and libraries. Visit the Newsplan Cymru website for details. For a bibliography of repository holdings, see the following publication:
Jones, Beti. Newsplan: Report of the Newsplan Project in Wales; Adroddiad ar gynllun Newsplan yng Nghymru. London, England: British Library, 1994. (FHL book 942.9 B33j.) This work is an inventory of the newspapers held in various archives and libraries in Wales.
The most complete collection is at the National Library of Wales (see the "Archives and Libraries" article for the address). Many Welsh newspapers are on file at the:
197 Blackfriars Road
London SE1 8NG
A bibliography that lists holdings by town of publication is:
Catalogue of the British Newspaper Library. 8 vols. London, England: British Museum Publications, 1975. (FHL book 942 A5cn.) This work is an inventory of the newspapers held at the Newspaper Library in London, arranged by the locality.
The Family History Library has no Welsh newspapers. It does, however, have some abstracts and transcriptions. The library also has the Gloucester Journal from 1731 to 1802, which contains some references to Wales. For library holdings, look in the Locality Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:
WALES - NEWSPAPERS
WALES, [COUNTY] - NEWSPAPERS
You may also gain access to some newspapers through the GENUKI website at:
Cambrian Index Online www.swansea.gov.uk/index.cfm