Prior to the 1911 census, only the enumerators' books were retained, and these were completed in English.
On the 1911 census, householders were given the option of filling in the form in Welsh or English. 8.5% per cent of the population in Wales spoke only Welsh, while an additional 35% spoke both Welsh and English, so a percentage of the forms were written in Welsh.
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A small number of forms were filled in with a mixture of English and Welsh.
See a sample English and Welsh form (new window)
These factors can make it tricky to find individuals in the Welsh records, and then understand any Welsh language results that are returned.
The difficulty of searching Welsh records is compounded by the fact that a few common surnames (such as Jones, Williams, Davies, and Evans) account for a large percentage of the population, and you may need extra information to narrow your search.
In addition, a large proportion of the Welsh population worked within a small number of industries. For example, one in 10 people worked in coal mining and one in 20 were farmers. This can make it difficult to find your ancestors among the many results.
Our search tips will help you search for both English and Welsh returns without specific knowledge of the Welsh language, and we have also provided translation tables to help you understand results in Welsh.
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Welsh translation tables