There’s no news like old Welsh news

The National Library of Wales has released the beta (not quite finished) version of its Welsh Newspapers Online resource. It is already a brilliant addition to the bookmarks.

I found that it was ‘live’ last night, and quickly mentioned the site on the Glamorgan FHS Facebook page. I think a few of the others signed up to that have spent quite some time since enjoying both browsing by newspaper/place and searching for their own family names. One quote “It is great just searching for the parish or town where your ancestor lived – lots of interesting articles, adverts etc.”. This can certainly give a sense of what was going on in town when your ancestors were around.

Site features still to come include being able to download PDFs of the scanned pages, and also a way to “download and email article citations”. These are two options I had hoped would be there, so good to know they are on their way. More newspapers are to be added over the year, kicking off with 24 – very neat as that is a quire, at one time the standard number of pages for a newspaper (and 20 quire = a ream, since metricated to 500 sheets).

Here’s the link to National Library’s info on the current state of play and what is to come. They encourage feedback – my one request is a way to prioritise Welsh or English language search results. Otherwise, top marks.

 Newspaper cutting extract

My first (and so far only) discovery for the family history is for great great grandmother Phebe Watkins (aka Phoebe Griffiths). It is her obituary in the Welsh language weekly of the Baptists in Wales – first bit clipped above, a poor translation of the whole thing in the Notes {1}. The exact date that she died, 16th January 1892, does throw up one small problem, namely that the Trealaw Cemetery burial record as transcribed by Glamorgan FHS has her being buried in 1891. In this case, I’ll believe the newspaper, despite plenty of experience of the tendency of the press to get the finer details alarmingly wrong.

UPDATE: Welsh Newspapers Online officially launched 13th March 2013.


1. Phebe Watkins obituary, appeared in Seren Cymru – the Weekly Organ of the Welsh Baptists – 26 February 1892. Copyright Baptist Union of Wales, on Welsh Newspapers Online

Processed via Google Translate (after some minor corrections to the OCR version) this comes out as:


Taught us in the Bible about the grave – “small and great are there.” Fulfilled the saying many thousand times before Saturday January 16, when he became the order of the high court to move Phebe Watkins, loving wife of the brother Levi Watkins. Our dear sister was baptized about 15 years ago in Bethlehem, Trealaw, by the Rev. J. Evans, now of Maerdy. Our beautiful sister of a member of his baptism to the grave, and not a single one case tristhauna/tristhau not upset because it. Honored his religious profession throughout his career. He left a feeling of nostalgia in the area after her, her family, and especially in the church. He suffered about seven months of affliction in the most patient and calm. He was our dear sister happened to be one of the victims was then with the train Saturday night when the cymmerodd the conflict hwnw unpleasant hwnw place about half a year ago in Pontypridd, and never has our sister now healthy after this accident, and Saturday morning, Jan. 16th, she fell asleep in Jesus at age 55. On the following Tuesday plural fellow crowd gathered to pay their last respects to the mortal remains of a favor. Then formed a long procession around his house to Trealaw cemetery. Officiating at the house and the cemetery by the writer. Nerthed, the great upholder ? our brother and his family favorite to progress through the world without their wife and mother really likes careful. W. ELYED DAVIES. Clydach Vale. (Desired want to raise the llinnellau American papyrau above.)

Cutlock & Co is grateful for a better translation provided by a cousin’s contact, Gillian Thomas:

We are taught in the Bible about the Grave. ..the tiny and the big are in there. This saying has been fulfilled many a thousandth time before Saturday January 16, when a request from the (High Court) was given  to move Phoebe Watkins.
Our dear sister was baptised around 15 years ago in Bethlehem, Trealaw by the Reverend J J. Evans, of Maerdy.

Our sister was a beautiful member from her baptism to her grave, and nobody had cause for any sad worries about her. She was honoured a Prophet throughout her religious career. She left  a feeling of deep loss behind her in the area, her family, and especially in the church. Silently and patiently she suffered 7 months of affliction (cystudd).

Our dear sister happened to be one of those unfortunates who was on the train that Saturday night when it crashed unexpectedly nearly half a year ago in Pontypridd, and our sister was not well with health for an hour after the accident, and in the morning of the Saturday January 16 – she  was taken to Jesus at 55 yrs old.

On the following Tuesday a large crowd congregated to pay their last tributes to her (ashes) (remains) and then a procession was organised towards her lifelong home in the burial in Trealaw.

The secretary officiated in the house and at the cemetery. Would that our great Sustainer gives our brother and his fine family the strength to battle on through this world without their dear mother and careful wife W. Elyad  Davies Clydach Vale.

It has been requested to ask the American Papers to copy these lines (or this article)

2. More newspaper archive resources are listed on Cutlock and Co’s Newspapers, maps, images research links page. The March 2013 issue of Who Do You Think You Are magazine also has a feature on newspaper archives, including the new Welsh one. There is also a YouTube video about the process of creating Welsh Newspapers Online.

3. Further site articles based on online newspaper archives:

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