October 2008 Archives
A census has been undertaken in the UK every 10 years since 1841 with the exception of 1941 when it was clearly impossible to conduct a census under wartime conditions. These censuses record who was living in every house in the country on census day. The information in the 1841 census was elementary but a fairly stable pattern emerged from 1851 onwards. These give the name of each person, their sex, age, marital status, their occupation, their place of birth and whether Welsh speaking or not. The "head" of each household is identified and the relationship of each household member to the head, e.g. son, daughter, mother, servant etc.
The information recorded on the census forms are confidential and are not released for 100 years. The latest census information that is currently available is therefore that in the 1901 Census. Local Census information is available at your local Archive office and the Archive offices in the area are given below.
The most common format in which the census records are to be found is on microfiches. To look at these you will need a microfiche reader and the archive offices have these. The Gwynedd Family History Society also has some of the Census records and has microfiche readers. The Society's library is open on the third Saturday afternoon of each month and is therefore accessible to those who are working during the week who are unable to visit the public records offices which are open during normal office hours.
Some are also available on CD discs and it is also possible to subscribe to internet services to get census information on line. I shall cover these sources in future blogs.
The census information is collected and recorded for each county but you must remember that they are the counties that existed before the local government reorganisation in 1974. Locally the counties were Anglesey, Caernarvonshire and Merionethshire with the old Denbighshire on the boundary. It's important to remember that Caernarvonshire was spelt with a "v" in the old records so if you are using a search facility you must use this spelling. If you use Caernarfonshire you'll come up with a blank.
Each county is divided into parishes and the results are recorded for each parish. The old county of Caernarvonshire had 71 parishes and these are outlined on the map shown. The name of the parish does not always coincide with the name of the town or villages within the parish. You must therefore know the parish in which the town or village in which you're interested was situated. Even a town such as Caernarfon is not listed as it was in the Parish of Llanbeblig and it is Llanbeblig that is listed and not Caernarfon. If you are new to searching these records then you will be given guidance when you go to the public records offices or the Gwynedd Family History library. Once you have gained an understanding of the structure of the counties and the parishes in the area where your ancestors lived then you'll find it much easier to search the Census records.
Gwynedd Archive Service
Caernarfon Record Office The Caernarfon Record Office is based at Victoria Dock, Caernarfon Telephone: 01286 679095 Fax: 01286 679637
Opening Hours: Monday: Closed.
Tuesday-Friday: 9:30-12:30; 13:30-17:00 (Wednesday 13:30-19:00)
Introductory courses: 8 November
As it happens the Caernarfon Records Office is holding two introductory courses, one in Welsh and one in English, to give people an understanding of what is available at the local archives office. Booking through the above telephone or email contacts is essential.
Welsh course: 10.00 - 12 noon English course: 2.00 pm - 4.00 pm
Meirionnydd Record Office
The Record Office and the Library are at the same location in Dolgellau. Access to the Record Office is through the Library on Ffordd y Bala, DOLGELLAU
Telephone: 01341 424682 Fax: 01341 424683
Opening Hours: Wednesday: Closed.
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 9:30-1:00; 14:00-17:00
Anglesey Archive Service: Llangefni Records Office
The record office is located on the first floor of Shire Hall, Glanhwfa Road, Llangefni
Telephone: 01248 752080 Email: email@example.com
Monday to Friday: 9am-1pm; 2-5pm (except public holidays, (including St David's Day) and the first week in November). Afternoons only, every second Tuesday, starting 13/12/05
Conwy Archive Service
Records Office based at: The Old Board School, Lloyd Street, Llandudno
Telephone or fax the service on (01492) 860882
Open to the public every Monday to Thursday from 10 am to 12.30 pm and 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm.
The Gwynedd-Liverpool Connections Exhibition continues at the Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery in the centre of Bangor until 25 October. The opening hours are Monday to Friday, 12.30 to 16.30, and Saturdays 10.30 to 16.30.
The GFH Society meetings for the next 4 weeks are:
Bangor, 4 November (first Tuesday of each month) 7.00pm at the Quakers Meeting Hall, Dean Street: David Kent, "Welsh Highland Railway Update"
Caernarfon, 30 October (last Thursday of each month) 7.00pm at the The Library, Lôn Pafiliwn: Mair Lloyd Evans, "Cae'r Gors cyn Kate"
Dolgellau, 13 Tachwedd (second Thursday of each month) 7.00pm at the Royal Ship Hotel Brian Paul, "Bywyd Samuel Holland"
Llandudno, 10 November (second Monday of each month) 7.00pm at Capel Ebenezer, Abergele Road, Old Colwyn (please note new meeting place):
Neil Sutton, "Mercy Ships".
Llangefni, 20 November (third Thursday of each month) 7.15pm at Capel Smyrna, Ffordd Glanhwfa: David Price "J J Dodd, A Victorian Painter"
Pwllheli, 17 October (third Friday of each month) 7.00pm at Capel Seion, Lon Dywod:
Margaret Dunn, "Dyddio hen dai yn Eryri"