The Valleys
Tracing your Family

Tracing your Family

Where do we come from?

We all like to know where we’ve come from. In the 18th and 19th centuries the Valleys were a melting pot of influences, with huge movements of population. So it’s hardly surprising that many of us have strong links with the teeming communities that grew up in this area’s booming industrial towns and villages.It’s surprisingly easy to track them down.

On the next pages we’ve included a host of helpful starting points, contact details and websites to start tracking your South Wales family history. Rhondda Cynon Taf’s ‘Where Roots Run Deep’ is a good example pointing you in the right direction for all your local research needs. Click here to read about case studies.

Donny Delves into His Past

It’s now official. Seventies teen idol and international superstar Donny Osmond can trace his roots to Merthyr Tydfil - and back as far as 1585. As a Mormon, his family and its genealogy are central to his life. With the help of BBC Wales he discovered that his late mother, Olive (maiden name Davis) was the link to Wales. Many of his ancestors were involved in running Merthyr’s steelworks, and one, Dr John Martin, was the steelworks’ Chief Surgeon, saving hundreds of lives throughout his career. When Donny visited Merthyr to see things for himself he met one of his living relatives, Jane Cresswell. And he enjoyed his visit so much that he returned to the town in June 2007 to perform an open-air concert at Cyfarthfa Castle.