Find your ancestors in Merionethshire marriages and banns

What can these records tell me?

The banns collection comprises over 3,755 records from 14 parishes in Merionethshire. These records date from 1754 to 1926. For marriages, there are more than 50,280 records from 37 parishes in Merionethshire dating from 1570 to 1928.


Merionethshire is one of 13 historic Welsh counties, a vice county (a geographical division used for biological recording and other scientific data-collecting), and a former administrative county. Merionethshire is bordered by Caernarvonshire, Denbighshire, Montgomeryshire, and Cardiganshire. The county was established in 1284. The administrative county of Merioneth was formed under the Local Government Act 1888 in 1889 and abolished under the Local Government Act 1972 in 1974. Most of the former county became part of the newly created county of Gwynedd. Dolgellau is the former county town and administrative centre.


An ancient legal tradition, banns are an announcement in church of a couple’s intention to marry. The reading of the banns provides an opportunity for anybody to put forward a reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place. Banns must be read in the parish (or parishes) in which the couple lives and in the parish they will marry, on three Sundays in the three months before the wedding, unless the couple got a licence. It’s important to note that banns only state an intention to marry; the posting of the banns doesn’t necessarily mean the marriage took place.

Marriage records

Marriage records are an essential part of researching your family history. There are records where the parents of the bride and groom are listed, and these are often the key to finding out the names of the generation before.

Occasionally, ages of the couple may be listed as full or of age rather than as a figure. This was a customary way of noting that they were over the required age of 21. If the bride or groom was under the age of 21, with consent of parents was noted in the record.