If you are just starting to research your family’s history you might be wondering where to begin. This section outlines the many ways you can get started in your search, from how to obtain information from register entries of births, deaths and marriages, Census returns and Parish records to other useful contacts.
Births, Deaths and Marriages only started being recorded by the government in 1837 – this is known as Civil Registration. To trace your family back to previous centuries you will need to look at Parish Records and Census Returns.
How to trace your family tree
There are many ways you can get started searching your family history. One of the best places to start is by asking older relatives – Older generations of family are a great source of information as are family records such as the family Bible, photograph albums, diaries and relevant newspaper cuttings.
Birth, Death and Marriage Certificates
Birth certificates are a good place to begin searching your family tree and if you only have limited information regarding your parents, then you can begin with your own birth certificate.
Marriage certificates can sometimes be even better as they often show not only the couples’ names, but also the names of their fathers and their professions.
What information is recorded on certificates?
All standard birth, death and marriage certificates (full copies of a register entry) are an exact copy of the details recorded in the register.
Standard Birth Certificates should have the following details recorded
- date and place of birth
- child’s full name and sex
- names of both parents (if entered in the register)
- after 1969, the town and county where the child’s parents were born may also be shown
- maiden surname of child’s mother (if applicable)
This information can help you trace the parent’s marriage record
A Marriage Certificate should have the following details recorded
- date and place of the marriage
- full names of bride and groom
- ages and occupations of the bride and groom
- the address of both parties at the time of the marriage
- the name, surname and occupation of both their fathers (if entered in the register)
This information can help you work out the approximate year of birth of both the bride and groom.
A Death Certificate should have the following details recorded
- date and place of death
- the Maiden surname of a woman (if applicable)
- either the age at time of death or date and place of birth
- the last occupation held and address of deceased (if a married or widowed lady, her husband’s name and surname
- name and surname of person who registered the death including their relationship to the deceased
- cause of death
Records available from Pontypridd Register Office
Pontypridd register office holds records of all births, deaths and marriages that took place in this district from 1837 onwards.
Generally speaking all events that occurred within what is now the geographical boundary of Rhondda Cynon Taf, should be held at this office.
Please note: there may be occasions where boundaries have moved over the centuries and consequently register entries have moved in and out of the district. If in doubt please contact us before visiting or writing to us.
Records are held for:
- Pontypridd (From 1863)
- Llanwonno (From 1890)
- Llantrisant & Aberdare (From 1837)
You can obtain copies of these entries in the form of a certificate. Once you complete the form you can either bring the application form into the register office at Pontypridd in person or apply by post with the relevant fee payable.
If applying by post please remember to enclose a stamped addressed envelope and make all cheques or postal orders payable to “Superintendent Registrar” at Pontypridd District Register office.
Please note we cannot take information or payment for certificates over the telephone.
Providing the information is full and accurate, we will issue a certificate while you wait or by return of post. However, if only limited information can be given, we may require additional time to manually search through the indexes, or request that you obtain further details before any search can be undertaken.
If we are unable to trace the entry you have requested, we will return your cheque or postal order to you.
Cost of searching local indexes at Pontypridd Register Office
Whilst the registers themselves are not available to the public, you are able to access the indexes to the registers held locally by way of requesting a General Search.
This search must be booked in advance with the Superintendent Registrar and allows for 6 consecutive hours in one day at a cost of £18.00. The cost of an index search is set by Statute and reviewed annually.
Census returns are detailed returns of all those occupying every house in every street, and they are made every ten years. These returns can help establish where a relative was born, or, it can give you a good idea about the year a couple married from the ages of their children.
Census returns are currently available for the years of 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1891 1901, and 1911 They can be consulted for the County of Glamorgan and most of Monmouthshire at the Glamorgan Records Office Cardiff. The 1901 Census is now available on the Internet via the 1911 Census Website.
Parish registers are another good source of important information. These hold records of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, some of which have survived since 1538 when Ministers and Clergy were first introduced to recording such events.
Census returns and Parish Registers for the Glamorgan Parishes can be consulted in;
Glamorgan Records Office
Telephone: (029) 2078 2200
Some local Libraries also hold Parish Records for their area.
General Register Office
The General Register Office (St. Catherine’s House) Indexes are alphabetical personal-name indexes to all the births, deaths and marriages registered in England and Wales since civil registration began on 1July 1837. They used to be called the St.Catherine Indexes because the office of the General Register in London was in a government building called St. Catherine’s House.
These indexes also hold some births, deaths and marriages of British Nationals and British Armed Forces, which took place abroad, from the late 18th century including both World Wars.
These indexes can be used by the general public in the “Search-room” of the The National Archives, Kew Richmond Surrey, TWA9 4DU. Telephone Number: 02088763444
The Glamorgan Records office has purchased a complete set of these indexes on microfiche for the years 1837-2001.
Other sets kept locally in South Wales are the Newport (Gwent) Reference Library, Bridgend Library, and the West Glamorgan Archive Service in Swansea and the Family History Centre at the Church of the Latter Day Saints (Mormon) in Rhiwbina Cardiff.
The following websites may also be of use in tracing your family history:
Grave Searches - Family History Searches
Staff will be pleased to assist you with family searches, but this may not always be immediately possible due to other priorities. The best way to obtain this information is to write to the relevant Cemetery Office with the enclosed fee and staff will then search the records at the earliest opportunity.
Please note you will need as much accurate information as possible, including:
- Name of deceased – Surname and forenames if possible
- Address at time of death or burial
- Date of death or burial
- Cemetery where interred
- Any further details which may help with the search
The first name search will be free of charge but any additional names will incur a charge of £15 per name.
Contact the Cemetery Offices on:
Glyntaff Crematorium / Glyntaff Cemetery / Ty Rhiw Cemetery / Llanharan Cemetery / Cefn Y Parc Cemetery / Trealaw Cemetery / Treorchy Cemetery / Ferndale Cemetery / Penrhys Cemetery
For all of the above please contact:
Tel No: 01443 402810
Fax No: 01443 406052