SOME CARDIFF & VALE OF GLAMORGAN PRINTED SOURCES FOR LOCAL & FAMILY HISTORY
This is intended to be a list of some of the printed sources which may be of use to family historians, either directly in the research into their families or into the background to their family history. Some of these sources may be purchased new, some may be available second-hand and some are only likely to be accessible in reference libraries.
It is not exhaustive by any means and is merely my own list of sources that I have found useful in researching the one eighth of my ancestors who were from the Vale of Glamorgan.
Firstly must come the two diaries which were kept in the 18th & early 19th centuries by William Thomas and John Bird, both of which have been published in modern (though edited) editions by the South Wales Record Society. Both are of great interest as contemporary accounts of life and of the people of the area at the time.
THE DIARY OF WILLIAM THOMAS 1762 - 1795
William Thomas was born at Michaelston-super-Ely, Glamorgan, about four and a half miles from the centre of the town of Cardiff, in 1727. He was the son of another William Thomas, a craftsman from Gelligaer, and his wife Elizabeth, nee Mathew. The latter was a member of a lesser branch of the powerful local family of that name, whose main branches lived at Radyr Court, Llandaff Court and Castell-y-Mynach, all on the outskirts of modern-day Cardiff, and one of whom eventually became Earl of Llandaff (although in the Peerage of Ireland rather than Great Britain). William Thomas seems to have been educated locally at the school run by Evan Philip of St.Fagans and in time himself became a schoolmaster operating schools circulating in various villages in the Vale of Glamorgan, eg St.Andrews Major, St.Nicholas, Dinas Powis, Sully and Wenvoe. He also acted in various clerical capacities for local people, keeping accounts etc.
Fortunately for the family historian of the Vale, William Thomas was a great observer of people, a man with an interest in genealogy and antiquities, and, most importantly, a gossip !
Unfortunately the early years of the diaries are lost but for the period from 1762 until his death in 1795 his diaries have survived and the originals are at Cardiff Central Library. They contain a wealth of information for the family historian (and for the local & social historian too). Much of the work is devoted to details of the births, baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials of local people, most of them very ordinary farmers, labourers, craftsmen, shopkeepers, innkeepers etc. In most cases he records not only the date of the event but also the place, the ages of people being married or buried, their parentage and/or other relatives, snippets of information about their characters (viewed from his perspective as a Calvinistic Methodist but nevertheless of interest) , sometimes physical stature or peculiarities, and in the case of deaths often the reason for death. Most of this is information which one could never hope to glean from the usual sources of Parish Registers and other Parish documents. In many cases he knew the people concerned, some having been pupils of his or the parents of his pupils, some his own relatives, some competitors as schoolmasters or in learning.
As an example of the use of the diary - I traced my ancestry back to a William Morgan baptised at Wenvoe in January 1781 the son of William Morgan. The next question was who was William Morgan senior and who was his wife. I found a marriage at Wenvoe for William Morgan and Mary James in 1775 and this seemed likely to be the parents but how could I be sure when William Morgan was such a common name, and even if this was he, how would I find out about his ancestry, again because of the number of William Morgans that lived in the area around at the time. After searching for clues in all the usual places and finding nothing to confirm or disprove my William Morganís parentage, I thought I would give William Thomasí diary a try. I had read about it but since my ancestor was a labourer I thought there was little likelihood of finding him in the diary. But still when one gets stuck one grasps at straws, so I went to the Central Library and asked to see the diary. A photocopy of the diary was brought out for me. I looked up January 1781 and there was nothing so I went back to 1780 and there I found in September the birth of a son at Burdonshill, Wenvoe to William Morgan and his wife Mary James. I then decided to push my luck further and look to see if there was a reference to the marriage of William Morgan and Mary James in 1775. There was a reference in the diary, on the exact date recorded for the marriage in the Wenvoe Parish Register, for the marriage at Wenvoe of William Morgan, base son of Morgan William of Penylan, Caerau, and Mary daughter of Ann Morgan of Wenvoe "gone very forward with child". There was no other marriage recorded in the Parish Register for that date of a William Morgan so I could be certain that I had the right couple (as it happened I had already ascertained that Mary James, the bride, was the daughter of Philip James and Ann Morgan, so that fitted well). Not only had I confirmed the parentage of my William Morgan (bap 1781) but I now knew that his father was the illigitimate son of Morgan William, a yeoman farmer at Penylan Farm in Caerau, a parish next to Wenvoe. Subsequent reading of the diary revealed the death of Morgan William, the fact that he was fond of drinking,, that he was wont to swear and blaspheme when drunk but was a quiet man when sober, that he had inherited Penylan Farm from his father, another Morgan William (II), that his grandfather yet another Morgan William (I) had leased the farm originally, that the nearest relatives when Morgan William (III) died were Edward Briggs and Edward Llewellin and that they took over the farm to sell it even though it had actually been left to the housekeeper, that Morgan (III) had left substantial debts, although he had inherited around £2000 from two unmarried uncles. I also found a detailed description of Morgan (III)ís death, and some idea of his stature. Not only this wonderful information about my William Morganís natural father, but also the name of his mother, Catherine Nicholas, her parentage, siblings and grandparents. The fact that she later miscarried another illigitimate child by a different father and that her sister had had six illigitimate children by four different fathers !! My William Morgan who married in 1775 was described as having been one of William Thomasí "schoolers" at Wenvoe so I knew that he had received some education, although he signed the marriage register in 1775 with an X.
Later checking of the diary for any event which I discovered within the timeframe concerned nearly always came up with a reference in the diary which threw new light on my researches and assisted me greatly.
In addition to the data on individuals in the diary William Thomas also kept regular notes on weather conditions in the area which can also be interesting.
The diary has now been fully transcribed and indexed by J.Barry Davies and G.H.Rhys and was available on microfiche for purchase. In addition an abridged and edited version of it has been produced by Roy Denning, and published by the South Wales Record Society in conjunction with Cardiff Central Library. This version is certainly still in print and available from the Glamorgan Family History Society at a very reasonable price.
THE DIARIES OF JOHN BIRD 1790 - 1803
John Bird was born at Cardiff Castle on 11 September 1761, the son of another John Bird, shoemaker, water bailiff and clerk of the market of Cardiff, and the grandson of yet another John Bird, a painter and gilder. In 1777 John (III) went to work as a clerk to Thomas Edwards, a lawyer who was Estate Steward to the Dowager Lady Windsor and her son-in-law John, Earl, later 1st Marquis, of Bute, who held the Cardiff Castle Estate. Edwards was also Clerk of the Peace for Glamorgan. Bird continued to be employed by the Castle Estate until 1824 when he retired, and during this period he kept notebooks of items of interest which he needed to pass on to the successive Marquises of Bute, his employers. These notebooks relate a wide variety of information about Cardiff and the personalities of the people of the town and surrounding area. For the most part the people referred to are the Gentry, town or county office holders or members of the Cardiff Volunteer Cavalry of which Bird was a member and acted as unpaid clerk, but there are also mentions of less well known people too, with whom Bird came into contact.
Whilst not as detailed or informative about local people and their family relationships etc. the diaries are, nevertheless, of great interest regarding life in Cardiff in the period.
The surviving diaries cover 1790 to 1803 and 1826. The 1790 to 1803 period diaries have been edited by Hilary M. Thomas and published by Cardiff Record Society in conjunction with the Glamorgan Archive Service who have the originals at the Cardiff Record Office.
The published Diaries can be purchased from Glamorgan Family History Society.
Six published volumes of transcripts of various records relating mainly to Cardiff Town but also including some information relating to surrounding areas eg Llandaff, Roath, Leckwith etc.
The records include the record of the Guild of Cordwainers & Glovers, the Town Guild, Town Council minutes from the 17th & 18th centuries, extracts from wills, manorial records, church records and a variety of other information useful to the family and local historian.
The volumes are well indexed. Pat & Kevin Sewell have put a large part of the indexes on the Web and these can be accessed at
CARDIFF: A HISTORY OF THE CITY by William Rees
An excellent history of all aspects of Cardiff and its surroundings. It draws on the records listed above (William Thomas, John Bird and Cardiff Records) but also on various other sources. It contains a substantial amount of information on individuals of all types, as well as the very useful background history of the City from Roman times.
CARDIFF AND THE MARQUESSES OF BUTE BY John Davies
An excellent and detailed study of the Bute connections with the town from the mid 18th century onward.
COWBRIDGE AND LLANBLETHIAN by Brian Ll James & David J Francis
An excellent history of the town of Cowbridge and its near neighbour the parish of Llanblethian. Includes many references to individuals and a number of photographs(including one of my late wife as a 6th form student at Cowbridge High School for Girls !)
COWBRIDGE: BUILDINGS AND PEOPLE by Cowbridge Record Society
Excellent little book about the buildings of Cowbridge and the families that lived in them through the centuries.
PENARTH: A HISTORY by Roy Thorne
A two volume history of Penarth and surrounding villages. A very useful history of the town with excellent photographs of places and people.
PENARTH 1841 - 1871: A GLIMPSE OF THE PAST by E A Benjamin
Very good history of the town and its surrounding villages in the period concerned. Draws heavily on census records, parish registers & memorial inscriptions some of which are reproduced in full in the appendices.
BARRY: THE: CENTENARY BOOK
A very detailed history of the town from the earliest times. Many references to individuals, farms, surrounding villages, cottages, the 19th century industrial build up, the railways and the docks etc.
Brief histories of many of the more important Cardiff Shipping Companies. Some good ship pictures and photographs of the shipowners.
GLAMORGAN HISTORIAN Edited by Stewart Williams
A series of volumes compiled from collections of articles published in Morgannwg, the Annual Journal of the Glamorgan History Society. Each volume contains articles on various aspects of life in Glamorgan from Medieval times to the early 20th century.
VALE OF HISTORY Edited by Stewart Williams
A series of volumes containing articles on various aspects of the history of the Vale of Glamorgan by acknowledged local experts (including an old friend and colleague of my late father, the late Stan Awbrey)
THE BORDER VALE OF GLAMORGAN by David J Francis
Covers, briefly, the history of the parishes on the edge of the Vale of Glamorgan, including Peterston-super-Montem, Pendoylan, Penllyn, St.Mary Hill, Llanilid, Llanharan, Llanharry, Llangan, Llansanor, Welsh St.Donats, Pencoed.
FONMON CASTLE by Patricia Moore (ex Glamorgan Archivist)
A guide to the history of the castle which has been a family residence since 13th century, initially of the St.John family, then of the Jones family and now of the Boothby family. Produced by and available from the Glamorgan Record Office, Cardiff.
MEDIEVAL CHURCHES OF THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN by Geoffrey Orrin
Architectural and historical notes on the old churches of the Vale with references to some of the monumental inscriptions, inscriptions on bells etc.
LLANBLETHIAN IN 1851 by Philip Riden
A booklet containing a study of Llanblethian based on the 1851 census. Very useful for research on the families of Cowbridge/Llanblethian area.
FARMING IN LLANBLETHIAN 1660 - 1750 BY Philip Riden
A booklet dealing with the farms and farmers of the parish in the period concerned based on wills and inventories. Like the previous booklet very useful in researching that area.
LOOKING FOR LLANTWIT MAJOR Historical notes by D.Elwyn Gibbs (Llantwit Major Local History Society)
A small booklet containing drawings of the old buildings of the historic town of Llantwit Major with brief historical notes on the buildings.
PENMARK PAST AND PRESENT by Maureen Bullowes
A history of the parish of Penmark including photographs of the village and surroundings and some of the people.
PENMARK AND PORTHKERRY: FAMILIES AND FARMS IN THE 17TH CENTURY VALE OF GLAMORGAN by Matthew Griffiths
A very useful study of people and places in the two parishes concerned based mainly on wills and inventories of the period. Contains summarised versions of several wills of local residents. It was this booklet that first brought to my attention the likelihood that I was descended from a local yeoman named William Deere through references in his will of 1677 to the Love family of Penmark. This led me to further research which eventually provided the relevant proof.
PORTRAIT OF A PARISH: ST.ANDREWS MAJOR & DINAS POWIS IN THE MID 19TH CENTURY by Matthew Griffiths
The preface to this small book says "It is a social anatomy of the parish during the last years when life there was truly rural in character, before the construction of Barry Docks and the arrival of the railway in the 1880s". It draws of the 1840 Tithe Survey and the 1841 - 1871 censuses. It contains some very useful information on people and places in the parish.
THE PLACE NAMES OF DINAS POWYS HUNDRED by Gwynedd O Pierce
A detailed investigation of the derivation of the names of villages, hamlets, farms etc in the Dinas Powys Hundred, which included a large area of the eastern part of the Vale of Glamorgan.
WHITCHURCH: A BRIEF HISTORY by Hilary M Thomas
A small book but packed with information about the parish and village of Whitchurch, now a suburb of Cardiff. Includes a short section on the Melingriffith Forge & Tinplate Works which was the main source of employment for many residents in the 18th & early 19th centuries, and the reason for the arrival of several families from outside the area.
OLD WHITCHURCH by Edgar Chappell
A detailed history of Whitchurch Parish from early times. The standard work on the subject. Many references to individuals, farms, etc. A 2nd Edition was published in 1994 with a new preface by Phillip Riden and E.M.Humphreys.
HISTORIC MELINGRIFFITH by Edgar Chappell
The definitive history of the Melingriffith Forge and Tinplate Works , its ownership and some of its workers.
A RATHER SPECIAL PLACE by Winn Anderson
The authors early life when growing up in Cardiff Docklands, together with tales of her father, Lewis Jones, Bristol Channel Pilot, and her two grandfathers, Peter Evans(" The Stormy Petrel") and William Jones, both pilots. Also covers details of her family's links with the Plymouth Bretheren's Ebenezer Gospel Hall, Grangetown, Cardiff. An excellent book for those with docklands ancestry and particularly with connections with pilotage or Ebenezer.
GLAMORGAN ELECTORAL REGISTER 1845/6 by Glamorgan Family History Society
A full transcript of the Glamorgan Register for the year concerned. Gives the names of electors, their abodes, their property qualification and the address of that property.
CARDIFF FREEMEN 1777 - 1993 by Glamorgan Family History Society
Alphabetical and numerical listing of all Freemen of Cardiff from 1777 with their dates of enrolment and in many cases the link with previous freemen which enabled them to claim the freedom. Extracted from the Municipal Freeman Roll. Note: the sons and sons-in-law of freemen could claim the freedom. As a result there is much genealogical data contained within the books. Recent freemen with long lines of descent from earlier freemen include many from abroad eg Australia, New Zealand, South Africa etc.
CARDIFF COURT: POOR EXAMINATIONS AS TO SETTLEMENT FOR ST.JOHNíS AND ST.MARYíS PARISHES, CARDIFF by Glamorgan Family History Society
Transcripts of the settlement examinations for the period 1735 to 1786 (with gaps) from the Bute Papers at Cardiff Central Library. Provides fascinating information on the people examined, who varied from vagrants to some who subsequently became pillars of the Cardiff establishment. Examinations often give information on parentage, apprenticeship served, movements in and out of the town, names of wives and children, often with ages. I have found many of my ancestors and their relations amongst those examined.
CARDIFF PORT & CHANNEL PILOTS 1810 - 1979 by Philip Roderick for Glamorgan Family History Society
A listing of many of the Port and Channel Pilots who worked out of Cardiff over the period, many with dates of birth and/or death, marriage, names of wives, years of issue of Pilotís Licences and names of some of their Pilot Cutters. Extracted by Phil from the Cardiff Pilotage Board records at Glamorgan Record Office, Cardiff. Many of the pilots listed will be found in my own Index to Cardiff Crew Agreements 1863 to 1913 and many of the Cutters in my Index to Shipping Records at Glamorgan Record Office, Cardiff. Phil also has a much larger database of pilots from the various Bristol Channel ports.
GLAMORGAN MILITIA LISTS by Glamorgan Family History Society
The Society has published all the Militia Lists for the 10 "Hundreds" of Glamorgan for the years 1819, 1820 & 1821. The lists (from the Bute Papers at Cardiff Central Library) give the names of the men aged between 17 and 45 who were enrolled in the Glamorgan Militia and are a very useful source of information on male residents of the "Hundreds". Cardiff is covered by Kibbor Hundred, the Vale by Dinas Powys, Cowbridge & Ogmore Hundreds.
An extensive series of books full of photographs of Cardiff and its suburbs over the late 19th century and 20th century. Includes many photographs of individual residents, school groups, church members, occupational groups, sportsmen/women, entertainers, etc. Also many pictures of churches, chapels, shops, cafes & restaurants, cinemas, theatres, streets etc
A wonderful collection of memorabilia for those of us who remember the City in the 1950s and earlier, but also a great source of pictures of places and/or people who might have played a part in the lives of your Cardiff ancestors. Volume 32 has just been released.
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN IN OLD PHOTOGRAPHS by Roy Denning
Similar to the Cardiff Yesterday series but covering the various parishes and villages of the Vale of Glamorgan. As with the Cardiff books an excellent source of photographs of people and places. I know of several people who have found unexpected pictures of relatives in these photos. At least three volumes currently.
LLANTWIT MAJOR IN CAMERA
Photographs of this historic Vale town over the years including the buildings, landscape and people.
PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORIES OF ST.FAGANS by Wina Strong
A limited edition book of photographs of the village where I live and many of the people of the villageís past. Photos of the old cottages of the village (most of them still there and not looking much different), local farms, The Castle which now houses the National Museum of Welsh Rural Life (previously the Welsh Folk Museum).
OLD BARRY IN PHOTOGRAPHS by Brian C Luxton
The Barry version of the Cardiff Yesterday series. Similar in format and coverage. Several volumes available.
THE CHALFORD SERIES:-
Some of the Cardiff area publications of the Gloucestershire publisher. Broadly on the same lines as Cardiff Yesterday but covering specific areas of the City, suburbs, local villages and nearby towns. All are excellent and the narratives are written by local experts often in conjunction with Local History Societies, eg The Llandaff Society, The Roath Local History Society etc
CATHAYS, MAINDY, GABALFA & MYNACHDY
ELY, CAERAU & MICHAELSTON-SUPER-ELY
BUTETOWN AND THE DOCKS
PENTYRCH, RADYR & MORGANSTOWN
ROATH, SPLOTT & ADAMSDOWN
DINAS POWIS, ST.ANDREWS & MICHAELSTON-LE-PIT
MORE GENERAL GLAMORGANSHIRE BOOKS WITH USEFUL SECTIONS ON CARDIFF AND THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN
LIMBUS PATRUM MORGANIAE ET GLAMORGANIAE by G.T.Clark
A collection of genealogical tables of the Glamorgan Gentry families (greater and minor) put together in two volumes by Clark who was High Sheriff of Glamorgan in 1868 and although not from the county himself was married to a lady of the illustrious Lewis family of Llanishen. Clark himself came to Glamorgan in relation to the building of the railways, and was a trustee of the will of Sir Josiah John Guest, the ironmaster.
His genealogical tables are generally considered reasonably accurate and a reliable source.
CARTAE ET ALIA MUNIMENTA by G.T.Clark
Another 19th century work by Clark (in several volumes) which contains a collection of early documents relating to Glamorgan in Latin and translated into English. Very useful in studying the genealogy of gentry and some yeomanry of the county.
A BOOKE OF GLAMORGANSHIRE ANTIQITIES BY Rice Merrick
Originally written in 1578 by Rice Merrick, of Cottrell, St.Nicholas and published in 1882 and reprinted in 1972. Provides (sometimes dubious) histories of various Glamorgan Gentry families and places in the County. A useful work on the period up to the 16th century.
GLAMORGAN COUNTY HISTORY
The official history of the county in several volumes.
THE BUILDINGS OF WALES: GLAMORGAN by John Newman
Mainly about the architecture of the buildings concerned but it covers extant buildings of all sorts and periods from archaeological remains to late 20th century constructions.
ROYAL COMMISSION ON ANCIENT & HISTORIC MONUMENTS: GLAMORGAN SERIES
The detailed surveys of historic buildings of Glamorgan. Covers all sorts of buildings from cottages to Castles (in different volumes) with notes on the history of the buildings as well as on their construction and architecture. Owners and occupiers over the centuries are often recorded. All volumes contain photographs, paintings and drawings of the buildings at various stages of their evolution and in many cases drawings reconstructing how the buildings looked originally.
THE OLD PARISH CURCHES OF GWENT, GLAMORGAN & GOWER BY Mike Salter
Brief notes on, and many photographs of, the parish churches of the counties of Gwent and Glamorgan (including Gower)
HIGH SHERIFFS OF THE COUNTY OF GLAMORGAN FROM 1541 TO 1966 by George Williams
This book written by George Williams, himself High Sheriff of Glamorgan in 1966
and with an introduction by Richard John, then Clerk of the Peace for Glamorgan, not only lists all the Sheriffs for the period concerned but also gives brief genealogical tables and narrative descriptions of them and their families and details of their residences.
THE HISTORY OF THE WELSH MILITIA AND VOLUNTEER CORPS - NO2 THE GLAMORGAN REGIMENTS OF MILITIA by Bryn Owen
Excellent history of the Glamorgan Militia 1757 - 1908 by the Curator of the Welsh Regiment Museum at Cardiff Castle. Provides a detailed history of the militia for the period, with numerous illustrations and lists of officers, NCOs and sometimes other ranks at various dates.
GLAMORGAN ITS GENTLEMEN AND YEOMANRY by Bryn Owen
Another book by the Curator of the Welsh Regiment Museum, providing a detailed history of the Glamorgan Volunteer Cavalry regiments, Contains many photographs and illustrations and lists of the members of the regiments at various dates.
THE FREEMEN AND ANCIENT BOROUGH OF LLANTRISANT by J Barry Davies
Although the town of Llantrisant is not really in the Vale, this book which lists all the known freemen of the Borough, with biographical and genealogical notes, includes many people from the Vale who were also freemen of Llantrisant. As an example, I found in it a 19th century family (related to mine) from Llancarfan and Cardiff which I was surprised to find were freemen as a result of their ancestor being a freeman.in the 18th century.
HERALDRY IN GLAMORGAN by Anthony L Jones
A series of booklets covering the heraldry of South Glamorgan churches, castles etc with histories of the families concerned.
WELSH SHIPPING: FORGOTTEN FLEETS by P.M.Heaton
Excellent short histories of many of the Cardiff fleets, with detailed fleet lists from 19th century to recent date. Covers other Welsh fleets too (not just Cardiff)
PUBLISHED JOURNALS OF VARIOUS SOCIETIES CONTAINING USEFUL MATERIAL ON CARDIFF AND THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN
JOURNALS AND PUBLICATIONS OF THE GLAMORGAN FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY
The Glam FHS has produced indexes to baptisms, burials and marriages for most of the Cardiff and Vale parishes as well as many of the other parishes of the county; some chapel registers and membership lists; many Monumental Inscriptions from churches and chapels; indexes to the censuses, the Glamorgan Marriage Index and a variety of other publications invaluable to researchers. See their website for details.
MORGANNWG - JOURNAL OF THE GLAMORGAN HISTORY SOCIETY
TRANSACTIONS OF THE CARDIFF NATURALISTíS SOCIETY
TRANSACTIONS OF THE HONOURABLE SOCIETY OF CYMMRODORION
JOURNAL OF THE NATIONAL LIBRARY OF WALES
PARK PLACE PAPERS - PUBLICATIONS BY CARDIFF UNIVERSITY EXTRA MURAL DEPARTMENT
LLANDAFF SOCIETY PUBLICATIONS
JOURNALS OF THE LLANCARFAN SOCIETY
NEWSLETTERS OF AXIS: THE BARRY HISTORY SOCIETY
UNPUBLISHED SECONDARY SOURCES:
There are many very useful unpublished sources available at the Cardiff University Library in the form of MA, BA & Extra Mural Studies theses.
Cardiff Central Library holds the collection of manuscripts by David Jones of Wallington, a 19th century genealogist and antiquarian who collected together many items of interest relating to Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan and its families, including transcripts of parish registers, wills, monumental inscriptions (some of which have since been lost through deterioration, vandalism and, (almost as bad) the removal by mindless authorities, and other records.
Also at Cardiff Central Library are various books which were privately published or published in very limited numbers containing research into many families (eg The Morgan Family of Tredegar and its various branches, The Bassett Family, The Mansel (Maunsell) Family, The Lougher Family), or individuals (eg the Reverend Richard Bassett of Colwinston), or parishes (eg St.Fagans, St.Nicholas)
Again at Cardiff Central Library is a large collection of Welsh Genealogies by P.C.Bartrum.for the period up to about 1500.