What is it? A database of clergymen of the Church of England between 1541 and 1835 (so includes Wales).
The database actually provides information about their clerical 'careers' - specifically: their ordination (when, where and by whom they were ordained); their appointments and resignations (including dates when licensed, instituted or presented and by whom); names of the parishes in which they served and their university education (if applicable). It also includes lists of canons, precentors, deans, archdeacons and bishops.
Started in October 1999, the database covers more than 156,000 individual clerics and is continuously being updated. The database is managed by a project team - headed by three university professors (from London, Kent and Durham).
How might it be useful to me? Anyone interested in history (whether national, local, social, academic or amateur) or genealogy could find this site a very helpful resource. Those reseaching their parish history, for example, might find it useful to view the succession of incumbents in a particular place covering almost three hundred years following the Reformation. There is a facility to 'browse bishops' [if that's what you need to do] where one can select a diocese from a list and the database returns a chronological list of bishops in that diocese - for more detail about a particular bishop, simply click on their name. The site has a few interesting articles and notes on the lives of specific clergy (under 'Journal' in the menu).
As the site makes clear, during the period covered, the Church of England was the single most important employer of educated males in England and Wales.
The site was helpful to me, in being able to find the names of all the parishes in which three of my clerical ancestors had served and during what periods. It also helped me discover that one of them married the daughter of the patron of his living - and that another was himself the patron of his living.
Is the site easy to use? Yes. There is comprehensive advice on how to use the site. The database can be searched: by individual (surname or full name); by location (usually parish) or by diocese.
MY SCORES: ---- Usefulness 8/10 [it's a specialised subject] ---- Ease of use 9/10 ---- Reliability 10/10 [document sources are given]
Neal Wood - August 2015
Website: The Clergy Database
for link to website - see bottom of this review
What is it? It is an on-line dictionary of biographies of prominent (and now dead) Welsh people.*
The site derives most of its’ content from the original Dictionary of Welsh Biography [DWB], that was printed in both English (two volumes) and Welsh (three volumes) by the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion in 1959, which covered the years up to 1940. A supplementary volume was published in 2001 covering those who had died between the years 1941 to 1970. In total, the work ran into 1,475 pages giving almost 5,500 entries.
Since 2014 the DWB has been maintained by a partnership of the National Library of Wales and the University of Wales (Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies) and now, having been made available on-line, it is intended to revise many of the old entries and include new entries for those prominent in Welsh life who have died since 1970.
How might it be useful to me? If you need to find authoritative details of the careers and accomplishments of notable Welsh men and women it would certainly be very helpful. Nowadays, most people enter the required name in their usual search engine and click on the top few entries – and probably end up with a Wikipedia entry. The DWB, however, does usually appear in the first few search engine entries - yet you may not recognise the source - the web address being ‘wbo.llgc.org.uk.’ In the main, these are short biographies that keep strictly to the facts and avoid unfounded speculation - importantly, the sources are given. A link to a list of the ‘new’ dictionary entries appears on the main page.
I like simply browsing the entries and discovering interesting people previously unknown to me – such as the religious poet, Madog ap Gwallter, who was: “the author of a delightful poem to the Nativity which can be considered to be the earliest extant Christmas carol in Welsh.”
Is the site easy to use? Yes. There are, however, a few ‘glitches’ when you might click on a name like, for example, “CORY, John (1234 – 2345)” [sic] and it returns “Resource not found.” The ‘quick search’ facility is basic rather than intuitive. The main search facility has improved over time. The linked cross-references between entries are useful. The entries are available in both Welsh and English.
MY SCORES: ---- Usefulness 7/10 [not the only source] ---- Ease of use 8/10 ---- Reliability 8/10 [sources are given but has a few 'glitches.']
*Although this does include several individuals who are not Welsh, these have been included through having "an association with Wales."
Neal Wood - October 2015