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Annals and Antiquities of the Counties and County Families of Wales by Thomas Nicholas. Published by Genealogical Publishing Company, 1001 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. 1875, reissued 2000. 2 volumes. 964 pp. Illustrations, index. Hardcover. $75

The subtitle of these volumes state that they contain "A record of all Ranks of the Gentry, their lineage, alliances, appointments, armorial ensigns and residences; ancient pedigrees and memorials of old and extinct families; notices of the history, antiquities, physical features, chief estates, geology, and industry of each county; rolls of high sheriffs and members of parliament for three hundred years, etc."

For Welsh researchers working with the landed classes this is an excellent resource. The book is arranged by county and provides a good description of the county as laid out in the subtitle.

For the extinct families the information provided can be brief and in some case no time periods or dates are indicated. The living families, in a different section of the chapter, are full of details and form almost a nineteenth century visitation. This is where the value is for the genealogist. The information provided was gathered personally by the author visiting each family within the county. He was given access to many family records. The book has the anticipated titled families, but also includes clergymen, army and navy officers, barristers, justices of the peace, etc.

The book is indexed by the names of the main family entries only, therefore other family names, or families of the wives are not included in the index. You almost have to know the major family connections before being able to access the lineages. However, if the county in Wales is known then the number of lineages to read is reduced.

This is an excellent resource for Americans of Welsh descent, especially for those with connections to the upper classes of society.

Reviewed by Paul Milner
BIGWILL v.7 no.6, 2000