Search button facebook logo twitter logo


[National Library of Wales]

Wales has a history of descendants across the globe. Did you know that sixteen of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence in America in 1776 had Welsh roots, including Thomas Jefferson?

The first Welsh immigrants to America and Canada were as early as the 1600s. In Patagonia, South America a strong colony of Welsh-speaking ancestors remains today. Many people also migrated to Wales from across the world thanks to the boom of the coal industry. Records show that between 1851 and 1911, around 366,000 people came to the South Wales area to set up home. The migration of people in and out of Wales has left a significant number of Welsh descendants worldwide.

Kylie Minogue, Donny Osmond, and Tom Cruise are among some of the celebrities across the world with Welsh ancestors. If you have a surname such as Jones, Evans or Davies (three of the most popular Welsh surnames), it’s possible that you might have Welsh roots too!

Tracing your Welsh family history

Online records mean it is easier than ever before to trace your family history.  Here are some of the websites that might be useful. Some are free and for others, there is a charge.

Canada and Australia:

Library and Archives Canada

Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies

Ellis Island Shipping Records

Help in the USA:

The National Archive and Records Service, Washington DC

General Genealogy Links

Federation of Family History Societies in Wales

National Library of Wales

National Archives

Glamorgan Archives (Cardiff)

West Glamorgan Archives (Swansea)

Direct Gov: Researching Family History Ancestry search

Family history UK

Find a Grave

Find My Past

Free BMD

Genealogy Today

Genes Reunited


Family Search

BBC: Family History

Parish Chest

Welsh newspapers online

Archive Wales - information to help you get started plus information about Parish registers.

Records held in Cardiff

North Wales BMD

Genealogylinks, Wales links

Family history Societies

There are a number of family history societies in Wales.