Wales Gazetteers

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Online Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

  • FamilySearch Places
  • Welsh Place Name Elements
  • A Gazetteer of Wales Ellen Hill and Del ora Guymon Cook, A gazetteer of Wales : which includes the names of all places and other topographical divisions as found in the Survey gazetteer of the British Isles, Lewis's topographical dictionary of Wales, parish register abstract, A key to the ancient parish register of England and Wales and Crockford's clerical directory, Volumes 1-5, 1953
  • A Topographical Dictionary of Wales Samuel Lewis, A Topographical Dictionary of Wales, S Lewis, London, 1849, digitized by double rekeying
  • The imperial gazetteer of England and Wales John Marius Wilson, The imperial gazetteer of England and Wales : embracing recent changes in counties, dioceses, parishes, and boroughs; general statistics; postal arrangements; railway systems, &c.; and forming a complete description of the country, Volumes 1-6, Edinburgh, scotland : A Fullarton, 1870-1872
  • A Vision of Britain through time
  • UK and Ireland: Gazetteers
  • The Cambrian traveller's guide, in every direction George Nicholson, The Cambrian traveller's guide, in every direction; containing remarks made during many excursions, in the principality of Wales, and bordering districts, augmented by extracts from the best writers, Stourport, Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown [etc.] 1813
  • Welsh Tithe Maps Welsh Tithe maps - Discover the tithe maps of Wales
  • World Gazetteers at

Print Only Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

Place-Name Problems[edit | edit source]

Many place-name problems occur because:

  • Welsh place-names can easily be confused with personal names and other words. For example, Tachwedd is Welsh for November. This word could easily be misconstrued as a personal name or place-name.
  • Welsh place-names are often descriptive. Many begin with Aber (meaning "estuary" or "confluence of a river") or Llan (meaning "a church enclosure").
  • Many place-names are common to two or more counties. Dyffryn is found in every county; it means valley.
  • Places are often known by different names at the same time. For example, in Breconshire the parish of Ty'r yr Abad is also known as New Church, Llandulas and Aberdulas.
  • Records may not always use the same name to refer to the same place. For example, a couple living at Peterwell, Carmarthenshire had their place of residence listed as Peterwell in some entries and as Ffynnon Bedr (the Welsh equivalent of Peterwell) in others.
  • Townships, hamlets, farms, and other place- names within a parish are sometimes known by the parish name.
  • Welsh place-names may use an English spelling. Conversions occur when letters not in the Welsh alphabet are used in the place-name. For example, in Welsh the 'c' is pronounced like the English 'k', which is not in the Welsh alphabet. Thus, Cellan is sometimes spelled Kellan.
  • Because Wales uses both English and Welsh place-names, names can be spelled, spoken, and written in many ways.

Place-names evolved over time. For example, Ysgeifiog, a parish and village in Flint, has been called Schivaiau, Escynant, Skeynyave, Ysceifoc, and Skifiog.

Many place-names in Wales begin with "Llanfair." Both currently and in the past, these places are simply called Llanfair. This can create considerable confusion in an area where there are many places with names beginning with "Llanfair."

Some parishes have both a Welsh name and an English name. For example, the Welsh name for Swansea is Abertawe. This is especially true of the anglicesed counties of Pembrokeshire, Glamorgan, Flintshire, and Monmouthshire. Melville Richard’s Welsh Administrative and Territorial Units lists both the English and the Welsh versions of many place-names.

See also: Welsh Place Name Elements

Why Use Gazetteers[edit | edit source]

A gazetteer is a dictionary of place-names. Gazetteers list or describe towns and villages, parishes, states, populations, rivers and mountains, and other geographical features. They usually include only the names of places that existed at the time the gazetteer was published. Within a specific geographical area, the place-names are listed in alphabetical order, similar to a dictionary. You can use a gazetteer to locate the places where your family lived and to determine the civil and religious jurisdictions over those places.

There are many places within a country with similar or identical place-names. You will need to use a gazetteer to identify the specific town where your ancestor lived, the state the town was or is in, and the jurisdictions where records about the person was kept.

Gazetteer Contents[edit | edit source]

Gazetteers may also provide additional information about towns, such as:

  • Different religious denominations
  • Schools, colleges, and universities
  • Major manufacturers, canals, docks, and railroad stations
  • The population size.
  • Boundaries of civil jurisdiction.
  • Ecclesiastical jurisdiction(s)
  • Longitude and latitude.
  • Distances and direction from other from cities.
  • Schools, colleges, and universities.
  • Denominations and number of churches.
  • Historical and biographical information on some individuals (usually high-ranking or famous individuals)