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Monday, 21 October 2013

The Royal Commission at Glamorgan Family History Fair 2013

On Saturday 12 October the Royal Commission was delighted to once again have the opportunity to promote Coflein and People’s Collection at the annual Glamorgan Family History Society Fair, at Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre. The Royal Commission’s online database, Coflein, is the gateway to the National Monuments Record of Wales. It contains details of many thousands of Welsh sites, monuments and buildings, including a wide selection of images. The People’s Collection Wales website brings together some of the material from Coflein, the National Library of Wales and National Museum of Wales, as well as material uploaded by a large number of other organisations and individuals. With over 650 people attending Saturday’s event, Royal Commission staff members, Nikki Vousden and Jon Dollery were kept very busy demonstrating the two websites!

Coflein is the perfect tool for finding places relating to family history research.  The Coflein search facility displays a selection of information, including the name, location and type of site, monument or building. A site description is also provided, together with catalogue information for items relating to the site in the National Monuments Record of Wales archive. A search of our records using Coflein’s newly improved mapping function was able to provide one gentleman with information about the chapel where his relatives are thought to be buried.

There was much interest in our examples of the many diverse and fascinating items uploaded by the people of Wales to the People’s Collection Wales website. They include letters, videos, school and family photographs, street scenes and countless other items portraying the lives of ordinary people in Wales- many of which will relate to individual family history research.

We also demonstrated how People’s Collection historic Ordnance Survey mapping layers and modern aerial photographic layer can be used to track changes in the landscape over time. We were able to help one lady find the place her relatives lived, named in historic documents but no longer existing on the ground!

Locating a place that no longer exists using People’s Collection Wales’s historic Ordnance Survey mapping.

People were encouraged to upload the pictures and documents generated by their own family research onto the People’s Collection website. If you have similar material, we hope that you will do the same. This way, important family memories will not only be preserved, but your story will add to the rich and ever-growing story of the people of Wales. People’s Collection Wales is funded by Welsh Government, who is committed to maintaining it as an archive, meaning that everything uploaded to the site will remain accessible to family researchers of the future. With the whole website, including its historic mapping layers, due for a complete refresh in January, it will be more user-friendly and easy to use than ever before!

The Royal Commission’s Jon Dollery explains how to use the People’s Collection website as a tool to find people and places related to family history research.

By Nikki Vousden, Data and Technology Team.

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