Since a few people have said they found this helpful, and as I’m still trawling through Glamorgan county history to reconstruct a meaningful contextual narrative for Caerau, not to mention having to research my seals a little more (and not having the money or the time off work at the moment to go and properly visit them…) I thought I would do a few more helpful (I hope) tutorials for those who are struggling with the different digital catalogues and systems.
I’ll come back to the TNA tutorial as I realize that the one I did was really very basic, and there are other features of the catalogue and the site which I didn’t cover. I’m happy to be contacted though, if anyone needs help! Just comment below or tweet me @CelticMedusa.
The National Library of Wales is in Aberfaraway, sorry, I mean, Aberystwyth, which is a mutually inconvenient place to get to for anyone not travelling directly from Shrewsbury or for anyone who doesn’t actually live there. The best and only direct train route is via Shrewsbury, and that includes for anyone actually travelling from South Wales. Yes. You literally have to go up into England to come back across to the west coast. I prefer to get the train from Cardiff to Carmarthen, and then the bus from Carmarthen to Aber… it’s cheaper, but very, very, very long.
Anyway, it’s worth it when you arrive!
The catalogue is pretty daunting though. For a start – a bit of a culture shock for those outside of the UK – it’s in Welsh. DON’T PANIC! There’s an option to translate to English. If you want to do this in Welsh, then obviously choose the Cymraeg option on the red bar (see below).
The Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru, as it is properly known, can be found here: http://www.llgc.org.uk/ . Again, as with my previous post, clicking on the screenshots should open a new window and take you directly to that page.
Look at the red bar across the top – these are your two language options. Click on “English” and it will save your preference, and you won’t be asked again. If you’re a native Welsh speaker, then choose “Cymraeg”. As I am not a fluent Welsh speaker and prefer to work through the medium of English, I apologise that this post will be in that medium, although the principles of what to do should remain the same.
The NLW (or LlGC) is the main repository for family history in Wales. If you want to learn how to research your family effectively, or learn how to use the National Sound and Screen Archive of Wales, or have a session on the Electronic Resources available, or just go to a Welcome Session to teach you how to use the facilities, click here and book yourself a session.
Need a Readers’ Ticket? Click here for information on how to get one.
OK – so you want to search the collections. Click on the “Collections” option on the main page, next to “Services”.
From here, it really depends on what you want to do. I always head straight for the Archives and Manuscripts option, in the white “Search the Collections” box on the left. You can also search their collections of various kinds, listed in the grey area at the top of the page.
However, in this example, the “Full Catalogue” circle has been checked, so we’ll go with that. I’m going to search for “Caerau”.
This is what happens when you search for one word in the full catalogue…
On the left you have some kind of associative brainstorm of related search terms (in Welsh and English), which you can click on to change the results. In the centre are your hits, and in the bar on the right you have the many ways in which you can refine your search. If you clicked on the black word “hillforts” in the bottom of the left bar, black font being used to represent associative words to the main search term, you end up with all the information on Caerau hillfort and Iron Age Welsh hillforts that the NLW/LlGC can offer.
If, for example, you wanted to search Welsh Newspapers, you can select that option instead of the “Catalogue” or “Full Catalogue” option in the white box on the previous page.
This takes you into the same kind of screen, with the associative options on the side bar so you can change your search topic and then follow your search path backwards and forwards as you explore the options.
You should be able to search in this manner across the catalogues, changing your specifications as appropriate.
For those hoping to search the Archive and Manuscript section – – it’s a bit clunkier and not as easy to navigate, but it depends really what you’re after. Today, for some reason, it’s showing one hit per page and refuses to show any more, even though there are over 62 hits to go through. I had to hit “New Enquiry” to get back to the right page, as you’re essentially being put through to a different system – ISYS.
To get there directly, go here: http://isys.llgc.org.uk/
Searching from this page gives you a much easier list to navigate, in order of relevance. Note that in this system, the catalogue is completely bilingual in Welsh/English form.
Whatever you’re looking for, I hope this helps you find it!