Local & Family
History Society


Cymdeithas Hanes
Lleol & Theuluoedd


Here you can find some selected archived news and items from the Noticeboard from the last 7 years of BLFHS.


New Website Resources

We've added a couple of new links to useful websites on our Links page.

Federation of Family History Societies -  a website to showcase member organisations and act as a gateway for family historians to find the help and expertise they need to grow their tree.

Name and Place - a dynamic database and mapping application designed for Local History projects.  A digital and archival database, managing layers of census and parish registers, and historical documents together with the capture of visual documents such as maps and old postcards etc.

With thanks to the British Association for Local History for bringing these to our attention.

21st May 2019


D L Wooding’s Transcript of the Llanafan fawr Parish Records 1633-1694, at National Library of Wales.

David Lewis Wooding (1828 - 1891), genealogist, historian, bibliophile and shopkeeper, had access to these very early Parish Records for the Parish of Llanafan Fawr, Breconshire. He transcribed these and made notes in the margins to give further details on individuals mentioned there.

The late Peter Owen of Builth Wells, was able to access these transcriptions and allowed the National Library of Wales to make copies of them. The copies made by the NLW was not catalogued, but now thanks to the enquiries made by Peter Owen’s son, the location of these papers is known.

  • A microfilm copy of the transcripts is available in the South Reading Room, on the open access shelf mark: E7.
  • A hard copy is available on special request.

For information about D L Wooding, see the following website:

28th January 2019


"Handball - The Story of Wales' First National Sport" by Kevin Dicks

Published by Y Lolfa, March 2017

In industrial Wales, Handball (or Pêl-law) was the predominant sport, drawing crowds of thousands to watch the game. Handball player and former miner Kevin Dicks's meticulous research traces the games long history.
BLFHS member Carolyn Jacob remarks: The book includes information about the Brecon Castle Fives Court and an advertisement, from 1786, for a match, 'Brecknock against all Britain'. There are also two poems by John Lloyd about hand-ball and lamenting the passing of the famous Castle Inn Ball Court, 1847. Breconshire [is mentioned] on 12 pages. Entertaining stories about the game and its characters.

Publication details, purchasing information and a more comprehensive description of this new work are available on the
publisher's Press Release (PDF format).


"Historic Houses and other Historic Buildings in Brecon" by Robert Eckley

A NEW publication produced with the support of Brecon Town Council and the BLFHS

Using his own photographs, BLFHS Chair Robert Eckley recently created a new large-format profusely illustrated book on the historic buildings of Brecon (town). For each building bearing an information plaque, Rob's colour photographs are supported where necessary by his transcription of the text on the information plaque. The 62-page full colour publication retails for £9.00 (£8.00 to BLFHS members) plus £2.50 p&p.

To obtain your own copy contact Rob Eckley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


2021 Census trials – [news item dated 13 Feb 2017]

As part of the planning and testing programme for the 2021 Census, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) will be conducting a large-scale test in April 2017. A number of local authorities within England and Wales, with certain characteristics that match ONS pre-defined criteria, have been selected for the field follow-up component of this test. North Powys is one of the areas chosen. This PDF document describes how and why the local authority areas were selected.


Glen Harris and Ann Voss man the stall
Glen Harris and Ann Voss man the stall

BLFHS Sales Success at Brecon Christmas Market – [news item dated 27 Nov 2016]

Six members of the BLFHS Management Committee enjoyed a successful day at Brecon's Christmas Market yesterday. Working in pairs, they ran a stall in the marquee in High Street from 10am to 7pm, during which time they sold twenty-two copies of Robert Eckley's new book Historic Houses and other Historic Buildings in Brecon. The total takings for the day amounted to well over two hundred pounds. The sales team comprised Rob Eckley, Kathryn Kelly, Vi Evans, Glen Harris, Ann Voss, and Hilary Williams. Full details of Rob's new book are given in our latest Newsletter (number 60).


Brecon 1901 Project - Launched 6 September 2016

The purpose of this 1901 year-long project is to create a dynamic portrait of Brecon as it was in 1901. The outcome should be two new BLFHS publications, an exhibition, a public presentation of what the town looked like in that year. Your participation is welcome. Every idea, every bit of research, every contribution will add to the picture. Here is a PDF format bulletin giving some ideas together with contact information for the project organizers. 

Have a go at our Brecon 1901 Quiz! Click here to download and print out the quiz sheet [answers available here]. Email any comments on the quiz to Helen Ball at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

1901 à la Carte: BLFHS members can enjoy Helen Ball's illustrated presentation on how to use the 1901 census to paint a picture of Brecon town in the final year of the Victorian era. A sound recording and slide presentation from Helen's talk at the Society's meeting at Brecon Library on 7 Feb 2017 will be available on the website shortly.


Our President, Dr Owen Forester celebrated his one hundredth birthday on 20th October 2015
Our President, Dr Owen Forester celebrated
his one hundredth birthday on 20th October 2015

Congratulations Doc – [news item dated 28 Oct 2015]

BLFHS President Dr Owen Forester recently celebrated his 100th birthday. Dr Forester was one of the founder members of this Society and its one and only President, an honorary position that he still holds to this day.


Brecknock History Week – [news item dated 17 Sep 2013]

The highly successful Brecknock History Week, to which the BLFHS made a major contribution, ended on 15th September. PDF versions, in English and in Welsh, of booklets setting out details of the events that took place during Brecknock History Week are still available here (English version) and here (Welsh version). The BLFHS display in Brecon Library will remain for at least another month.


Non-conformist Records on Ancestry – [news item dated 3 Sep 2013]

The commercial website has recently added a whole new set of English and Welsh nonconformist records onto its website, including some really valuable additions for Breconshire. You may open our list of the Breconshire additions as a PDF document by clicking here. To access the actual records, you will either need to take out a subscription to Ancestry or access it at your local library.




BLFHS Committee Member Robert Eckley curated the exhibition
BLFHS Committee Member Robert Eckley curated the exhibition

Brecon Railways Exhibition – [news item dated 4 Jan 2013]

Railway passenger services in Brecon ended in December 1962. To commemorate the 50thanniversary of the closure of Brecon's passenger railways the BLFHS is running an exhibition of 'then and now' photographs and maps in Brecon Library, Ship Street, Brecon. The exhibition will be on show in the library throughout January. It is curated by BLFHS Committee Member Robert Eckley (right), who provided many of the photographs. BLFHS Member Steve Morris also contributed a number of the old photos included in the display. Please drop in and explore the photographs for yourself. We hope they will evoke happy memories of the railways in and around Brecon.


Breconshire Parish Records on FindMyPast – 26 June 2012

FindMyPast announced today that it had added two million Welsh records to the nearly four million Welsh parish registers entries it placed online earlier this year. The records now cover all the Welsh counties, including Breconshire.
Full details are available on the FindMyPast website.
FindMyPast is a pay-to-view or subscriptions service, but you can access FindMyPast, without charge, at branches of the Powys Library Service.


Merthyr Tydfil Chapels Heritage Day – 30 May 2012

Anyone interested in Welsh chapels, or in the history of Methyr Tydfil may wish to attend the forthcoming Merthyr Chapels Heritage Day to be held on 21st July at Canolfan Soar, Pontmorlais, Merthyr Tydfil.


Welsh Journals Online – 3 May 2012

Did you know that the National Library of Wales website includes a section on Welsh Journals Online, enabling visitors to the website to browse a large selection journal back-numbers, including Brycheiniog, the journal of the Brecknock Society? The NLW states that: Welsh Journals Online provides free access to scholarship from Wales. Back-numbers of up to 50 titles are available here, ranging from academic and scientific publications to literary and popular magazines. The presentation of the journals on the web has been undertaken by the National Library of Wales with support from JISC and Welsh Assembly Government and the cooperation of publishers and authors. Complete runs of each title have been included; the most recent issue available depends on the publisher, and will vary from title to title. Occasional papers, Index volumes and Monographs are sometimes included. Newspapers, and publications from outside the UK, have not been included in the resource at present, and nor have the 70 publications whose publishers have not yet given permission. Electronic publications are not included. Some pages have been blanked out for copyright reasons on the website.


Welsh Parish Records on FindMyPast – 4 Mar 2012

On St David's Day, FindMyPast put nearly four million new Welsh parish registers entries online. At present, the records cover Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Glamorgan. The remaining counties, including Breconshire, will follow "soon".
Full details are available on the FindMyPast website.
FindMyPast is a pay-to-view or subscriptions service, but you can access FindMyPast, without charge, at branches of the Powys Library Service.


Penderyn Community Historical Society – 21 Feb 2012

Celia Morgan of Penderyn, a village on the boundary of Breconshire and Glamorganshire, tells us she has formed a Historical Society for that village and the surrounding area. Members meet on the third Wednesday of every month at 7:00pm (except for August and December). The venue is the Penderyn Community Centre.
The Society's project at the moment is to compile a scrapbook about the village. If you have any connection with Penderyn, or have any photos and stories which you would like to share with the Penderyn Community Historical Society then please contact Celia at her e-mail address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Powys Archives on Facebook – 12 Jan 2012

Since last August, Powys Archives at Llandrindod Wells has been developing a presence on Facebook. Although still in its early days, the page already includes some interesting entries. The Archive's Facebook page is at


BLFHS Christmas Tree
Photography by John Ball

Brecon Cathedral Christmas Tree Festival – 10 Dec 2011

The BLFHS is taking part in Brecon Cathedral's first Christmas Tree Festival from the 9th to the 12th December. The BLFHS is one of nearly 50 groups taking part. Our tree was set up and decorated by Eirwen Jones, Hilary Williams and Rob Eckley (see photo, right). The tree (see close-up below) is decorated with laminated photos of many of Brecon's shops and businesses and with golden garlands showing the forenames of the ancestors of some of the committee members. The tree is topped with our Society logo.



Eirwen Jones (far left) and Alison Noble (far right) advise the Llanddew group on how to identify gravestones prior to recording the inscriptions.
Eirwen Jones (far left) and Alison Noble (far right) advise the
Llanddew group on how to identify gravestones prior to
recording the inscriptions.  (Photo by Robert Eckley)

Llanddew MIs Project – 13 Nov 2011

On Friday 4th November, three members of the BLFHS committee met with a group from the Llanddew community to begin a project to survey, transcribe and record the inscriptions on memorial stones and gravestones at St David's Church, Llanddewi. Eirwen Jones, Alison Noble and Robert Eckley, provided expert help and guidance to members of the local community, most of whom had not tackled a project of this kind before. Further visits to the churchyard will be needed before the survey is complete. In Rob Eckley's photograph, Eirwen Jones (far left) and Alison Noble (far right) are advising the Llanddew group on how to identify gravestones prior to recording the inscriptions.


Local History Book Fair – 26 Oct 2011

The Royal Institution of South Wales’s annual Local History Book Fair will be held on Saturday 29 October 2011 at Swansea Museum (originally 'The Royal Institution of South Wales') from 10am to 4 pm. The day will offer the opportunity to buy new local history books, second-hand and antiquarian books, historical maps and paintings, postcards and more. Authors, publishers and bookshops, representatives of local history societies including staff from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales will be on-hand throughout the day to answer enquiries and chat to visitors.



Hilary Williams and Eirwen Jones manned our stall, assisted by BLFHS member David James.
Hilary Williams and Eirwen Jones manned our stall, assisted by
BLFHS member David James.

Dyfed FHS Open Day – report updated 2 Oct 2011

The BLFHS was represented at the Dyfed Family History Society Open Day on Saturday 17 September (10am to 4pm) at the Castle Hotel, Llandovery. Committee members Hilary Williams and Eirwen Jones manned our stall, assisted by BLFHS member David James. Hilary reports: "We had a great day in Llandovery, and enrolled two or three new members on the spot."


Open Doors, Talybont-on-Usk – 17 Sep 2011

John Ball represented the BLFHS at an Open Doors Walesevent in the Tal-y-bont area today. Local churches and chapels opened their doors to the public, and facsimiles of the parish registers were on display at Henderson Hall, Tal-y-bont village. John joined a small team of local volunteers to help visitors look up their ancestors in the old registers for Cross Oak, Glyncollwyn, Llanddetty, Llanfeugan, and Llansantffraed.


Public Exhibition: Brecon Shops & Businesses Project – 13 Sep 2011

This highly successful exhibition, staged at Brecon Library from 8th to 10th September, illustrated the current state of our research into the shops and businesses in the town of Brecon over the past 100 years. Many visitors to the exhibition were able to contribute their memories of old Brecon to the project. Project leaders Alison Noble and Rob Eckley are now cataloguing and organising all the contributions recorded during the exhibition.


Glamorgan FHS Open Day – 11 Sep 2011

The BLFHS participated in the Glamorgan Family History Society Open Day yesterday (10 Sep) at Merthyr Tydfil Leisure Centre, Rhyd-y-car. Committee members Hilary Williams, Eirwen Jones, Jennie Williams, and John Ball manned our stall during the day, joined by BLFHS member David James. The event was well attended, and we attracted a considerable number of visitors through the day, many of whom we were able to help with their family history problems. It was good to see so many familiar faces there, and catch up with the gossip. We also gained three new members as a result of our presence at the Open Day.


Eirwen Jones at the BLFHS Stall
Eirwen Jones at the BLFHS Stall
(photo by Hilary Williams)

BLFHS presence at Talgarth Black Mountains Festival – 30 Aug 2011

Last weekend (27, 28 August) Eirwen Jones and Hilary Williams, aided by other members of the committee, manned a BLFHS stall in St Gwendoline's Church, Talgarth. The BLFHS representatives were able to assist visitors to find their ancestors' entries in the parish registers which were on display nearby. Several new members were recruited and a number of donations to the Society were received. The BLFHS is grateful to Canon Rowland Edwards, vicar of Talgarth, for enabling us to set up a stall in the church.


BLFHS August Meeting: A Visit to Talgarth Mill – report updated 11 Aug 2011

Those who were unable to join us on our recent visit Talgarth Mill may be interested to know that the BBC filmed the restoration of the Mill for its Village SOS documentary series. The hour-long programme featuring Talgarth Mill was broadcast on BBC1 on 10 August at 8:00 pm. For a limited time, the programme can be viewed again on the BBC Website (UK residents only).


Gwent FHS Open Day – 15 Jun 2011

Two of our committee members, Eirwen Jones and Sue Snook, manned the Society stall at the Open Day of Gwent Family History Society last Saturday (11 Jun) at Cwmbran. Eirwen Jones reports:

Sue and I had a fantastic day on Saturday. Our "stall" was right in front of the double doors at the entrance to the hall. We made a few sales but, more importantly, made our presence felt. We gave out a lot of Society "business cards" that Hilary had designed, and a lot of membership application forms. We even enrolled one member on the day taking our membership up to 67.