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Local history research resources in libraries

There are many resources available to assist users in research into family and local history.


Local studies collection

The local studies collection is located on the first floor of Central Library. The collection has comprehensive reference and lending collections of thousands of books on Swansea, Gower and the surrounding area and also a large reference collection of books on Wales in general. Our collection includes books, DVDs and CDs covering history, sport, industry, natural history, poetry, music, novels, folklore, art, architecture and much more.

Most of the books are freely available to browse. Use our online catalogue (opens new window) to see what's available. Remember that copies available to borrow can be sent to your local library.

Newspapers and microfilm

Central Library maintains large collections of local newspapers, in print and on microfilm. The earliest dates back to the first issue of The Cambrian in 1804, the Swansea paper which was the first to be published in Wales. The Cambrian Index online search provides a way of searching this paper. Other notable titles are The South Wales Daily / Evening Post from 1893 to date, The Western Mail from 1869 to date and Seren Gomer (1814-1815).

We have six microfilm reader/printers available for customers in Central Library. Some of these can make digital scans to a memory stick. Pre-booking of a microfilm reader/printer is recommended.

Central Library also maintains files of over 70,000 newspaper cuttings on a wide variety of local topics. Many of these cuttings are now available on reference CDs which can be accessed within the local studies area.

Library members can access online resources of various historic and current newspaper databases.

Welsh Newspapers (The National Library of Wales) (opens new window) has digitised versions of many of the old newspapers in our collections.

A guide to local and Welsh newspapers and microfilm in Central Library

Maps and plans

These are available for public consolation in the map cabinets in the local studies section of Central Library. They cover the period c.1835 (tithe map and apportionment copies) to date. Included are the current and previous editions of 1:1250 and 1:2500 Ordnance Survey maps and the 25" series (c.1878 and subsequent editions). Our map collections cover the boundaries of the City and County of Swansea.

Family history, census returns and birth marriage and death records

Besides a wide range of family history books for lending and reference we offer free access for all our members to two of the premier family history and genealogy sites, Ancestry and Find My Past, within our libraries. Census returns and indexes to UK birth, marriage and death records are included in these websites, plus many other useful record collections. 

Electoral registers and trade directories

The local studies section has an incomplete run of electoral registers from 1836 until 1939, and a fuller set after the Second World War up to 2002. Our registers cover the Swansea West, Swansea East and Gower areas.

West Glamorgan Archive Service hold the full current electoral register and more comprehensive collection of old registers.

Local trade and commercial directories can be useful in tracing family members and for local history research and we have a wide selection for Swansea and South Wales.

Central Library has a run of Swansea telephone directories from 1904 to date and holds classified directories (Yellow Pages) from 1940 onwards for the local area. Please see our online catalogue (opens new window) for the full listings.

A guide to electoral registers and trade directories in Central Library

Further help and enquiries

A guide to electoral registers and trade directories in Central Library

Information on dates, areas and publication names of electoral registers and trade directories that are held in Central Library.

A guide to local and Welsh newspapers and microfilm in Central Library

Information about the archive of local and Welsh newspapers that you can access online and offline at Central Library.
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