Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales Genealogy

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Guide to Swansea(city) history, family history, and genealogy: parish registers, census records, birth records, marriage records, and death records.

Swansea city.jpg
Swansea coat of arms
Swansea location in Wales
Flag of the city of Swansea

HISTORY[edit | edit source]

Swansea (/ˈswɒnzi/ SWON-zee; Welsh: Abertawe [abɛrˈtauɛ], "mouth of the Tawe"), officially known as the City and County of Swansea, is a coastal city and county in Wales.

Archaeological finds are mostly confined to the Gower Peninsula, and include items from the Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age. The Romans reached the area, as did the Norsemen. Swansea is thought to have developed as a Viking trading post.

The earliest known form of the modern name is Sweynesse, which was used in the first charter granted sometime between 1158 and 1184 by William de Newburgh, 3rd Earl of Warwick. The charter gave Swansea the status of a borough, granting the townsmen, called burgesses certain rights to develop the area. A second charter was granted in 1215 by King John. In this charter, the name appears as Sweyneshe. The town seal which is believed to date from this period names the town as Sweyse.

The port of Swansea initially traded in wine, hides, wool, cloth and later in coal. The coal was brought down by wagon, and later by train, from the Ebbw valley.

At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the combination of port, local coal, and trading links with the West Country, Cornwall and Devon, meant that Swansea was the logical place to site copper smelting works. Smelters were operating by 1720 and proliferated. The Swansea smelters became so adept at recovering gold and silver from complex ores that in the 1800s they received ore concentrates from the United States, for example from Arizona in the 1850s, and Colorado in the 1860s.

Through the 20th century, heavy industries in the town declined, leaving the Lower Swansea Valley filled with derelict works and mounds of waste products from them. The Lower Swansea Valley Scheme (which still continues) reclaimed much of the land. The present Enterprise Zone was the result and, of the many original docks, only those outside the city continue to work as docks; North Dock is now Parc Tawe and South Dock became the Marina.

LOCATION[edit | edit source]

Swansea is bounded by Swansea Bay and the Bristol Channel to the south. The picture shown is part of the Swansea bay, well known for its beaches and rolling hills. However the bay is also a natural harbor, and hs been so used for millennia.

Swansea Bay.jpg

Swansea can be roughly divided into four physical areas. To the north are the Lliw uplands which are mainly open moorland, reaching the foothills of the Black Mountain. To the west is the Gower Peninsula with its rural landscape dotted with small villages. To the east is the coastal strip around Swansea Bay. Cutting though the middle from the south-east to the north-west is the urban and suburban zone stretching from the Swansea city center to the towns of Gorseinon and Pontarddulais.

About three quarters of Swansea is bordered by the sea—the Loughor Estuary, Swansea Bay and the Bristol Channel. The two largest rivers in the region are the Tawe which passes the city center and the Loughor which flows on the northern border with Carmarthenshire.

The South Wales Coalfield reaches the coast in the Swansea area. This had a great bearing on the development of the city of Swansea and other nearby towns such as Morriston.

Much of the local authority's area is hilly with the main area of upland being located in the council ward of Mawr. Areas of high land up to 185 metres (607 ft) range across the central section and form the hills of Kilvey, Townhill and Llwynmawr, separating the center of Swansea from its northern suburbs.

RELIGION[edit | edit source]

Christianity is the largest religion in Wales. Until 1920 the established church was Anglican, although Wales has a strong tradition of nonconformism and Methodism.

St. Mary's Church in Swansea, founded in the 12th century is the largest church within the Swansea and Gower district, despite having a relatively impoverished income during its early history. Swansea's only other church at the time was the much smaller building of St. John's in High Street.

However, it has been noted that Swansea's direct contact with Bristol, a very influential center of early Nonconformity, also served to greatly influence the people of Swansea. The Dissenters, or Nonconformists, were those in England and Wales who worshiped outside the established Church of England. The main Nonconformists in England; the Baptists, Presbyterians and Independents, and the smaller Society of Friends or Quakers all contributed to the religious history of Swansea, although the principal ones were the Baptists and Independents.

In 2001, 158,457 people in the local authority area (71 per cent) stated their religion as Christian, 44,286 (20 per cent) no religion, 16,800 (7.5 per cent) did not state a religion and 2,167 were Muslim.

INDUSTRY[edit | edit source]

Swansea originally developed as center for metals and mining, especially the copper industry, from the beginning of the 18th century. However, by the end of the Second World War these heavy industries were in decline, and over the post-war decades Swansea shared in the general trend towards a post-industrial, service sector economy.

Today, of the 105,900 people estimated to work within the City and County of Swansea, over 90% are employed in the service sectors, with relatively high shares (compared to the Welsh and UK averages) in public administration, education & health and banking, finance & insurance.

Swansea is home to the DVLA headquarters based in Morriston which employs around 6,000 people in the city. Other major employers in the city are Admiral Group, HSBC, Virgin Media, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, BT and Amazon.co.uk. Virgin Atlantic also maintains its largest worldwide contact center in Swansea; including reservations, sales, baggage claims, and customer relations.

CIVIL REGISTRATION[edit | edit source]

Birth, marriages and deaths records have been kept by government since July 1837 to the present day. Prior to that, local parishes of the Church of England, and local branches of other faiths were the only repositories of this information. There are several locations for BMD records for Swansea. These follow:

CENSUS RECORDS[edit | edit source]

Census records for Nottingham can be found using the following links:

PROBATE RECORDS[edit | edit source]

Records of wills, administrations, inventories, indexes, etc. were filed by several locations for Swansea. Please follow the links below:

CEMETERIES AND GRAVES[edit | edit source]

The links to information on cemeteries for Swansea follow: