Interested in tracing the history of your family, your house or community? Why not visit the library? Your closest source for local history materials.

Our main libraries at Aberdare, Pontypridd and Treorchy have unique collections of historical materials related to the Cynon, Taff Ely and Rhondda areas respectively.

The following list gives you a basic guide to the most frequently used resources in the local studies collection. For a more detailed description of the resources available please visit the library website.

Census Records: One of the most useful sources for research into your family history. If you find your ancestors listed, you can discover a great deal of information about everyone in the household at that time. Including:

  • Full name
  • Relationship to the head of the household (except 1841)
  • Exact age (except 1841 where ages over 15 are given to the nearest 5 years)
  • Marital status
  • Occupation
  • Place of birth (except 1841)

Census returns are closed for 100 years, so the 1901 census is the latest that is currently available.

The library service holds census returns for 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891 and 1901 on microfilm or microfiche. Digital copies can be viewed at all branches by visiting 'Ancestry: Library Edition' on their public access computers.

Electoral Registers: These list people in a household who had registered to vote. These names are presented in order of street name and house number and not alphabetically by the surname.

There are no electoral registers for 1915 - 1917, and 1941 - 1944. 

Collections vary from library to library, please visit the library website for collection details.

Historical Newspapers: The Rhondda Leader, Pontypridd Observer and Cynon Valley Leader can provide a wealth of useful information including reports on obituaries, funerals and weddings.

There is an index to the more recent newspapers but no index exists for the majority of local papers.

Ordnance Survey Maps: Always useful in pinpointing the site of a house in relation to its surrounding. If the house was built in the latter half of the 19th century then the different editions may act as points in time between or before which a house was built. The library service holds copies of the larger scale (1:2,500, or 25”) Ordnance Survey maps including the 1st edition (circa 1870).

Trade Directories: These provide information about local people, occupations, businesses and institutions.

Visit: www.rhondda-cynon-taff.gov.uk/Libraries

or email: nick.e.kelland@rhondda-cynon-taf.gov.uk