Wales Pre 1500 Resources

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Surnames/tags: Wales Managed Profiles
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Wales Project | Managed Profiles Teams | Pre-1500 Team | Pre-1500 Resources

See also


Geographic Resources

Before 1535 in some cases, and before the Statute of Rhiuddlan in 1284 in all cases, Welsh geography was comprised of cantrefs and their constitutent commotes the the larger kingdoms and principalities into which they were organized.

  • The Cantrefs and Commotes of Wales. These can all be found here

Name Fields in the WikiTree Data Field

Prior to 1535, the Welsh naming pattern was patronymic. ap (ab in front of a vowel sound) meaning "son of". and "ferch" meaning "daughter of" precede the father's name to form the WikiTree Last Name at Birth. The Welsh "f" sounded like a "v" to English scribes, so in many sources one will see "verch" rather than "ferch." We aim not to use verch, even when the anglicized source uses it as there is no letter v in welsh.

Please also note that in order to distinguish between father and son with the same given name the descriptor Fychan, meaning "the younger" was used. For example, Idwal, the son of Idwal would be called Idwal Fychan, rarely Idwal the Elder would be given the Descriptor Hen. Fychan was often anglicised as Vychan, this is not part of the LNAB. Putting it in as a middle name is acceptable. As anglicised surnames came necessary in the 1500s this was transmuted in the surname Vaughan.

Other descriptors such as Goch (red), or Ddu (black) usually referring to hair-colour would best be put as a second forename.

  • See name field guidelines on the Welsh Project's page here .
  • You can learn more about the meanings of Welsh names:
Welsh Names.
Welsh patronymics

Sources and Resources for Profile Data


Medieval Welsh genealogy is distinctive for its reliance on pedigrees, which were undoubtedly transmitted orally by bards for some time before they were written down. Bards were specially trained to transmit material by word of mouth as it had come to them; still, errors are inevitable. Pedigrees are long on names and short on dates, which makes working with them hard. Because of the turmoil in Welsh history, primary records such as charters are fewer for Wales than for England. The list of sources on which one can rely without question, will be very short!

Reliable Sources

Reliable Sources with Conditions

  • Welsh Genealogies AD 300-1400 and Welsh Genealogies AD 1400-1500 by Peter Bartrum is available online at Bartrum Genealogical Project (Link updated 7 June 2023). It is an excellent source of information, but needs to be used with caution, especially as you follow the lineage back. Many of the people charted do not have any date(s) given, and generations are sometimes condensed. For details, see Darrell Wolcott's article, The Bartrum Welsh Genealogies (accessed 1 August 2019).
  • Medieval Lands: A Prosopography of Medieval European Noble and Royal Families by Charles Cawley is a study which attempts to provide a narrative biography of all of the noble houses of Europe cross-referenced to some original sources. Valuable because of the broad scope of the study but mostly doesn't have the in-depth investigation of individuals as some other resources in this list. The complete website is at Medieval Lands: A Prosopography of Medieval European Noble and Royal Families
There is a separate section on Wales.
  • Dictionary of Welsh Biography, which was originally published by the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion in two English-language volumes and three Welsh-language ones covering the whole history of Wales up to 1970. This electronic version was first launched by the National Library of Wales in 2007, and it includes all the articles from the print volumes and also articles about a number of people who died since 1970. The DWB is now published online only, and it is a fully bilingual resource.

Less Accessible

Other Genealogy Resources:

  • The History of the Princes, the Lords Marcher and the Ancient Nobility of Powys Fodog and the Ancient Lords of Arwystli, Cedewen and Meirionydd (1881-1887), Lloyd, Jacob Youde William, (6 volumes. London: T. Richards, 1881-1887), FHL book 942.9 D2L; FHL microfilms 990,213-990,214
Vol.1 || HathiTrust || Internet Archive || LDS
Vol.2 || HathiTrust || Internet Archive || LDS
Vol.3 || HathiTrust || Internet Archive || LDS
Vol.4 || HathiTrust || Internet Archive || LDS
Vol.5 || HathiTrust || Internet Archive || LDS
Vol.6 || HathiTrust || Internet Archive || LDS
  • Heraldic Visitations of Wales and Part of the Marches Between the Years 1586 and 1613 by Lewys Dwnn (1846), Dwnn, Lewys; transcribed and edited with notes by Sir Samuel Rush Meyrick, (2 volumes. Llandovery: William Rees, 1846), FHL book 942.9 D23d; FHL microfilm 176,668.
Vol. 1
Vol. 2
  • The History of Wales, Caradoc of Llancarvan, translated by Dr. Powell, augmented by W. Wynne, (London: T. Evans, 1832), GoogleBooks
  • Sir John Edward Lloyd. A History of Wales from the Earliest Times to the Edwardian Conquest. London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1911. [ ] (2 Volumes)
Volume 1 - Paleolithic to Sea Rovers
Volume 2 - From the Norman Conquest
  • Pedigrees of Anglesey and Carnarvonshire Families: with Their Collateral Branches in Denbighshire, Merionethshire (1914), Griffith, John Edwards, (Horncastle, England: W.K. Morton, 1914), FHL book Folio 942.9 D2gr; FHL microfilm 468,334.
  • The Golden Grove books of pedigrees (filmed 1970), (Manuscript, National Library of Wales manuscript number Castell Gorfod 7. Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1950), FHL microfilms 104,349-104,351.
  • George Thomas Orlando Bridgeman. History of the princes of South Wales. Wigan [Eng.]: Printed by Thomas Birch, 1876. Open Library
  • Sir Joseph Alfred Bradney. The History of Monmouthshire from the Coming of the Normans Into Wales Down to the Present Time, in multiple volumes. Mitchell, Hughes and Clarke, 1904-1993. FS
  • Theophilus Jones. A history of the county of Brecknock. Vol. 1. Brecknock: Printed and sold by Wm. & Geo. North ... for the author; and sold by J. Booth ... London., 1805. Open Library
  • Theophilus Jones. A History of the County of Brecknock. Vol. 2. Brecknock: Printed and sold by Wm. & Geo. North ... for the author; and sold by J. Booth ... London., 1805. Open Library
  • Edward Hamer, Howel William Lloyd. The history of the parish of Llangurig. London: printed by T. Richards, 1875. Internet Archive
  • Archaeologia Cambrensis, A Record of the Antiquities of Wales and Its Marches, and the Journal of the Cambrian Archeaological Association. various, 1846-1900. National Library of Wales
  • George Thomas Clark. Cartæ et alia munimenta quæ ad dominium de Glamorgan pertinent. Cardiff/Talygarn: William Lewis, 1910. [ ] (6 Volumes)
Vol. 1: 1102-1350
Vol. 2: 1196-1270
Vol. 3: 1271-1331
Vol. 4: 1332-1452
Vol. 5: 1453-1580
Vol. 6: 1148-1527 + 1580-1721
  • There are bibliographies for the various shires in Wales at GENUKI



  • Lloyd, John Edward Sir. A history of Wales from the earliest times to the Edwardian conquest. Vol. 1. London: Longmans, Green, and co., 1911. Open Library (Volume 1 - Paleolithic to about 1040 A.D.)
  • Lloyd, John Edward Sir. A history of Wales from the earliest times to the Edwardian conquest. Vol. 2. London: Longmans, Green, and co., 1912. Open Library (Volume 2 - About 1040 A.D. forward)
  • Gruffydd ap Cynan, translated by Arthur Jones. The history of Gruffydd ap Cynan. Manchester [Eng.]: University press, 1910. Open Library
  • John Davies. A History of Wales. London: Allen Lane, The Penguin press, 1993. [ ]
  • A Brief History of Wales, by Peter N. Williams, at Britannia


Unreliable Sources

  • FamilySearch Genealogies - Community Trees - This is a compilation of many sources, including Bartrum, but including unsourced user-submitted trees. May be useful for the beginning of the search, but information shown here should be confirmed with more reliable sources. NOTE: Be sure to limit your search by going to the bottom of the search page and changing the search parameters from ALL to Community Trees.
  • Popular Genealogies -- user-submitted trees on,, and other popular genealogies may be useful for beginning a search, but profiles which contain only information from these sources should be considered unsourced. Such sources are never adequate justification for creating a new pre-1500 profile.


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I noticed that Project:Cymru_Welsh_Royals_and_Aristocrats_742-1535#Research_Sources links to Space:Cymru_Project_Resources instead of this one (Space:Wales_Pre_1500_Resources). Should they be merged or their roles clarified? (I'm trying to organize project-managed lists of reliable pre-1700 and pre-1500 sources.)
posted by Chris Whitten
Hi Chris,

The quick answer is, yes. Rich and Lizzie and I are working on a proposal to properly manage the pre-1500 Welsh profiles. One of the problems is that many of the profiles were created in the early days of WT before we had clear guidelines for Welsh patronymic LNABs ( I have, with Rich and Lizzie's help edited a few hundred (!) of these during this month. During next month I would hope that our proposal becomes more sorted and then we can, at last, encourage others to help manage these fascinating profiles with some of the best genealogical ancestral trails within WT, whilst admitting there is still much debate about which line is which.

posted by Steve Bartlett
Hi! Can you replace the Cadair link to Bartrum with this one?


posted by Liz (Noland) Shifflett
I have done this on June the fourth, 2023
posted by Steve Bartlett
There is an inactive link on this page leading to 404 error page.

It is "Welsh patronymics and surname meanings"

posted by B. Best
Thanks for an excellent compilation of reliable sources !
posted by Joann Hanmer