The Rhondda Valleys

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Rhondda Valleys Information and History

Rhondda Valley Family History/Genealogy.

Glamorgan, Rhondda Valleys, Treherbert, Fernhill Colliery - c1969

Glamorgan, Rhondda Valleys, Treherbert, Fernhill Colliery - c1969

When you consider tracing your family history, it is essential to take the time to speak to the elder members of your family, and to record what each of them has to say. Some of it will turn out to be incorrect, of that you may be assured, but what you will have learned of the names and the dates of your ancestors will be invaluable.

We who have some of our ancestry in the Rhondda Valleys are particularly fortunate in that we have at the Treorchy Library Archives wonderfully helpful people, who will lead you through the mountains of information that they have in their safe keeping.

The aim is to trace your families back beyond the 1911 census, at which point it is relatively easy to go back several generations. Each 10 years, from 1841 onwards a record of every person - young and old alike - was taken of every household in the country. The trick is to get back to 1911. The easiest way is from birth, marriage and death certificates. They will hopefully give you much of the information that you need. If you don't have any of these certificates, then it is time to apply for some. I presume you know the birthdates of your parents. Apply to Pontypridd Registry office for their birth certificates. Their address is: District Register Office, Municipal Building, Gelliwastad Road, Pontypridd, CF37 2DP (Tel: 01443 486869). Give them a ring first to find out the cost of the certificates. Once you have the certificates, you will know their parents names, and the address at which they lived.

As you may know, each local council keeps a record of the voters in the area - these are known as electoral rolls. Write or phone Treorchy Archives - Station Road, Treorchy, Rhondda, CF42 6NN. Tel: 01443 773204/77. Fax: 01443 777047. They will be able to tell you who lived at those addresses, and when they moved in, at least that is true from 1918. If they were there in 1918, then it is highly likely they were there in 1911. You may now search the online 1911 census - pay per view. You will find their website here You can carry out a person search, giving roughly their ages, or you may do an address search - although I have had only limited results with this.


If you find your ancestors in the 1911, then it is time to get back in touch with the Treorchy Library, as they hold details of every Rhondda Valley census back to the beginning of the censuses. The 1881 census is free online here and click on Search for Ancestors. On the same site you will find details of the I.G.I. - International Genealogical Index - which in theory is a record of most births, marriages, and deaths in much of the world, certainly of the U.K. These are records taken from the parish records, and can prove to be invaluable. A word of caution - if I may - there are many erroneous entries in this online index, and make sure that if you find a record that you believe may be your ancestors that you check it out and verify it with the relevant county archives.

Another invaluable online resource is the FreeBMD website. Volunteers have transcribed many millions of births, marriages, and death records. Since 1837 it was made legally compulsory that all of these events be recorded, and if you find one of your ancestors record the site will give you the Year, Quarter, Volume, Page No, and the area of registration. That is all that you need to know to apply for a certificate from the General Registry Office in Southport. All you need to know about them is here

There are many quite useful records to the family historian held at Treorchy Archives, and one of them is the internment record that were made out when a Rhondda soul was laid to rest. If you know the date of an ancestors burial, then email or speak to the staff at the archives, and they will provide you with a photocopy of the entry, time permitting. The internment record contains original signature/s of the person providing the information for the burial. Contact Gillian Thomas by email at Treorchy library by clicking here
The staff at Treorchy Library Archives are very experienced and extremely helpful.

You may well find it useful to join like minded people, and they may be found in the Glamorgan Family History
Society here. They will have lots of finding aids, and will be only too happy to assist you with your research.

Best of luck in your research, believe me it can become obsessive. It is often worthwhile, especially if like me you are lucky enough to find long lost close relatives in Australia and the U.S.A.

To visit the Heritage Section of the Rhondda Archives click here

William Banks Mitchell.

I recently saw a memorial card for sale on ebay. It was an original memorial card to one William Banks Mitchell aged 45, who had lived and died at No 4, Garth Road, Trealaw. As a family historian, and a Rhondda boy, I had to save this card from ending up in some collection. I know how important this card would be in my research had he been one of my ancestors. Click on the image to see full size.

If you can prove to me that you are a descendant of this family, then I will let you have the card for what I paid. I have the database of the Trealaw cemetery that Melanie Rees and members of the Pontypridd branch or the FHS - like Heather Simkiss - so painstakingly put together, and below list the people buried in the same grave. They had previously buried 2 children, and William's widow evidently remarried and became Davies, but as was often the custom was still buried with her first husband. Update - the card has now been claimed by the grandson of William Banks Mitchell - and that has given me great pleasure as the family were delighted.

Burial Number
Christian Names
Grave Number
5 months
5 months
William Bands
Mary Ann

If you have any old Rhondda family photos or pictures of the towns and villages please scan them in at least 1280 pixels width and email them here.


Search the entire site below:

Web Rhondda Website

12 Year Old Coal Miner

Then and Now Photos

Anglesey Website

Rhondda Artist - Elwyn Thomas

Rhondda Artist - Fred Stapleton


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