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Researching Your Family History In Aberystwyth

Researching your family tree has become a very popular hobby for many people recently.

The desire to know where you have come from, and finding things out about your ancestors can be a real thrill.

But how do you go about it? Well, here are some of the places to start looking if your search brings you to Aberystwyth…..1




1. Ceredigion Archives Office:

The Ceredigion Archives Office is the official depository for thousands of records relating to the people of Ceredigion and their lives in the area. You will find a wealth of information here, with everything from electoral registers and parish records right through to church records, hospital records and residents lists for the local work houses. To make the most of your time at the records office, you should go with a good idea of what it is you’re looking for. For example, you should have a specific set of records you are going to look through, and a specific group of people you are looking for. This will ensure that you get the most out of your day, and are not just flicking through old records looking for surnames that match yours and trying to find tenuous links to people that just aren’t there. There are also a small number of staff on hand to help you if necessary. Please note that a number of records may only be viewed by special request, and as such you should ring ahead to ensure you can gain access to everything you need. For more information, including opening times please see our information page for the Ceredigion Archives Office.


2. Check Parish Records:

Once you know where your relatives were born, got married or were sadly buried you can visit the local church who may hold a number of parish records. There birth, marriage and death indexes are of great value to any family researcher, and can provide information on a persons parents, occupation, chldren and much more. A large number of churches still hold their own historical parish records on site, as well as holding copies at the archives office. To ensure that your journey is not a wasted one, contact a senior member of the church you are interested in, and they will be able to tell you what records they hold, and may be able to arrange a suitable time for you to go down and look through the appropriate records. For more information on some of the local churches in and around Aberystwyth, please see our guide to places of worship.


3. Research Your Family Online:

There is a range of free information available online which can help you in your search. This does not only apply to Aberystwyth, but also to the rest of the UK, and in some respects the world. Resource websites such as GENUKI are well worth a browse, and if they can not provide you with the original information directly, you will find that they can point you in the right direction. Resources include a database of local chapels, and a database of important and prominent Ceredigion families. There are also a number of free resources on the Ceredigion County Council website.


4. Visit The National Library:

The National Library Of Wales hold a number of original record sets relating to life in Aberystwyth and Ceredigion. The library also runs a number of exhibits and events, which include exhibitions about Ceredigion life and faimly history. It is also an excellent place to get advice from staff, who will be able to point you in the right direction so that you can find the information and archives that you need. Again, it is a good idea to go in with an idea of what you are looking for, rather than turning up ‘blind’ as such. It is also worth phoning ahead to ensure that the records you would like to view are available, and if not, to arrange a time and date to view them. They also have a wide range of information available online on the geneology section of their website.


5. Join An Online Service:

There are a number of pay to view online services which offer an excellent range of information along with copies of original records. Services such as Ancestry.co.uk offer a wide variety of services to help make it easier for you to find out more about your ancestors. For example, Ancestry offer a tips service, which looks for records automatically, which may relate to your ancestors and can therefore be incorporated into your family tree with ease. There are also a number of member forums, where you can post your problems and other members will look to assist you. There is also the option for a 30 day free trial with Ancestry, where you can try the service for absolutely nothing. It is worth remebering that 30 days is a long time, and that you can get a huge amount of your research done in this time. Then simply download your tree on day 29, and cancel your subscription! You can continue to pay a small monthly fee in the future once you have exhausted other local resources in order to reopen your account, and all your previous research will have been saved too! This is a great way to get your tree started, just fill in what you know from talking to your immediate family, and it will help you on your way!

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