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Volume XIX/4 Extracted onto the pages of GENUKI with the kind permission of the National Library of Wales This is a complete extract of this article (Gareth Hicks May 2003) THIS article is based on a study of the original parish registers deposited in the National Library of Wales and the photocopies of other registers which are available in the Library.
Since the registers are derived from all parts of Wales, they are sufficiently representative to form the basis for a general study.
the death of Issabelle Godynogh on 23 April, 1413 is recorded in the Caernarfon Book of Hours (N. The Injunction of 1538 relating to the keeping of parish registers was repeated by Edward VI in 1547 with the variation that the fine of 3s 4d was to be used for the poor of the parish.
4 A similar order was issued by Elizabeth in 1559, the 3s 4d fine was by this order, however, directed to be divided equally between the poor and the repair of the church .
It is probable that records relating to important families had been kept before this time by the religious houses and by the clergy, but I know of no evidence relating to the keeping of any parish register in Wales before 1538. Poets and genealogists also recorded dates of births and deaths in their manuscripts 3 and dates are often given in verse in the eulogies and elegies of the sixteenth and seventeenth century Welsh poets.
Records were sometimes kept in missals and other religious manuscripts e.g. Such details are rare before the introduction of the official registers but they can be important because so few early registers have survived in Wales.
12 There are no transcripts before 1662 in the Welsh dioceses and for a large number of parishes the transcripts do not start until much later and even then they are often incomplete.
13 There are no transcripts for practically the whole of the eighteenth century for the parishes in the archdeaconry of Cardigan and in the archdeaconry of St. There are very few transcripts for parishes in the diocese of Llandaff before 1723.
Davids there is now no register dating before 1754. This is more than a third of the total number of ancient parishes in Wales. Over four hundred ancient parishes are represented in these two groups.The majority of the registers remain in the custody of the incumbents of the various parishes but there is an arrangement for the deposit of the original registers in the National Library for preservation and repair, and the provision by the Library of photocopies to be kept in the appropriate parishes.Another source used in this study was the replies to the questionnaire relating to parochial records sent to parishes by the Library in the period 1933-1940.