Cynefin to Continue until June

Those who have watched how the work on Cynefin is progressing will have noticed that the work is almost complete now, and the obvious question is how much time is left?
The answer is that we intend to work on this project until June. There are 800 pages left to transcribe, which sounds like a lot, but shouldn’t be a problem to a team who have already transcribed 27,600 pages. The other challenge is to review the pages. That is indicated by the green bars in the charts below.


Who was first to finish? Well in Anglesey there was an excellent team of volunteers in the local Record Office who worked regularly on their material. After they finished transcribing they were registered as reviewers and they completed that work as well. Close behind them was another excellent team of volunteers in Flintshire Record Office, who also completed their county a while ago, but have some reviewing to do. Volunteers are also free of course to help out in other counties, for which we are very grateful.


Cynefin’s main challenge now is to review the pages for the rest of Wales. People who are already volunteering on the Cynefin system are welcome to register as volunteers, if you would like to join contact

When the work is completed it will be possible to see and search all of this data on the new Places of Wales Website which is currently being developed at the National Library of Wales. All the field names will also be transferred to the Welsh Place Name website which is run by the Royal Commission for Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales. Users of all these websites will owe a debt of gratitude to the Cynefin volunteers for their excellent work.

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Updated: Latest Map of Wales 10/4/2017

The image output which was produced from Cynefin, based on the contribution of volunteers, will now be reproduced frequently.
This is the latest version.


It is already a great map but our volunteers are constantly improving it. Use this version to identify where improvements can be made.
(Tip, to see the full resolution you may need to right-click with your mouse and select “View Image”)
Some instructions are available on this post.

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Updated : Latest Map of Wales 23/3/2017

The image output which was produced from Cynefin, based on the contribution of volunteers, will now be reproduced frequently.
This is the latest version.


It is already a great map but our volunteers are constantly improving it. Use this version to identify where improvements can be made.
(Tip, to see the full resolution you may need to right-click with your mouse and select “View Image”)
Some instructions are available on this post.

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Can We Make This Map of Wales Even Better?

This image is the result of thousands of hours of clipping and georeferencing by Cynefin volunteers.


This is the latest output and all known bugs have been resolved, only two or three maps remain to be added.
There are some gaps in the map, which can be seen if you zoom in. For example you can see some of the gaps in Brecknockshire here


Are they due to incomplete clipping or georeferencing? Can they be made to fit better? Or are the gaps simply land which wasn’t liable for tithes?
There are advanced features in Cynefin which can help us resolve this, so if you’re up for some serious georeferencing this is a great opportunity.
These guidelines may be useful, they are however advanced, only for people who already know how to georeference and clip on Cynefin

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Transcription Tuesday 2017: Join the Welsh Cynefin team!

The Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine will be holding its first-ever Transcription Tuesday event on 17 January 2017.

They will be asking family historians to set some time aside to contribute towards one of several online transcription projects – even if it’s just for half an hour.

Members of staff from the WDYTYA? Magazine team have picked an initiative to support and will head up their own ‘team’ of transcribers, working remotely from home. Cynefin has been lucky enough to be picked as one of the initiatives to support by Andy Williams, Sales Executive for WDYTYA? Magazine. Andy explains his reason for choosing Cynefin; “Raised in Barry with parents from the Rhondda, Welsh family history is a project particularly close to my heart. As a born-and-bred Welshman, I chose this project for Transcription Tuesday to help researchers finding their Welsh lineage and aid in building such a vast database.” You can find a blog and a quick Cynefin tutorial by Andy here:

Blog about Cynefin and tutorial for #TranscriptionTuesday

Sign up here to join the Cynefin team for the first ever #TranscriptionTuesday event on 17 January 2017.

To get you started, download our volunteering guidelines to learn more about how to open an account on the Cynefin website and start transcribing.


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Anglesey almost completed

There’s over five months to go with Cynefin and it looks like Anglesey will be the first county to be completed.


The parishes seen on this map were drawn by Cynefin website volunteers who clipped the tithe maps to the shapes shown. You can see a few gaps where maps have not been loaded yet, in Llangefni and Gwredog. We expect these to be loaded this week.

There is some overlapping and gaps between the maps, and in most cases it’s possible to tidy this up by clipping or georeferencing, accurate goereferencing points near the boundaries of these maps would help.

However, there are some areas which don’t have tithe at all, and where there is no map either, but as you see above, these are relatively small areas. One is Bodewryd in the north of the island, where Lord Stanley arranged to pay tithe to himself, and avoided the need for a tithe map. There were also no tithes payable in Llannerch y Medd.

Anybody can join in to do this detailed but interesting work on the website:

Anglesey apportionment documents are also almost complete, but there are a few individual pages which haven’t been transcribed: Beaumaris, Gwredog, Llanbabo, Llanfachreth (2nd page), Llanfigel, Llanfflewin, Llangaffo, Llangwyllog, Rhosmynach

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First glimpse of complete 1840s tithe map of Wales

An image has been released by the Cynefin project showing progress of how the historic tithe maps of Wales will be linked together to create a unified tithe map of Wales.

The image demonstrates the scale of the work involved in creating the complete tithe map, which will cover 95% of Wales. Over 1,200 separate maps have been conserved and digitised over the past two years. Once digitised the maps are placed online for volunteers to georeference and clip, in order to locate and define the boundary of each parish or township. The image shows just how much work has already been completed by volunteers, and how much is left to do.


The unified map will be accurately georeferenced in order to easily compare with other modern and historical mapping layers. Through the transcription work which volunteers are also doing online, the map will be fully searchable on a free online platform – it will be possible to search and locate land owners, land occupiers and field names from 1840s Wales at a touch of a button. It will also be possible to browse the map geographically and zoom in to see individual fields, as well as details such as dwellings and woodlands.

The image itself was produced by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, who have recently relocated at the National Library of Wales. This is the first time that a glimpse of the final unified map has been produced. It is now possible for volunteers to conveniently view which areas need further work. Anybody who wants to join in and help complete this incredibly detailed map of Wales from the 1840s is welcome to do so online on

Further information
Einion Gruffudd 01970 632842 or

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Cynefin Project extended until March 2017

The Cynefin project, which was due to come to an end in September 2016 has been extended until March 2017.

The conservation and digitisation work is nearly complete and every tithe map should be online shortly. The collection of 1,200 tithe maps from the 1840s will cover 95% of Wales.

The volunteering work on the crowdsourcing platform will continue until March 2017. So far over 900 volunteers have participated online. Together they have contributed over 17,000 hours of volunteering and transcribed over 1.2 million records.  92.5% of the georeferencing and work has been completed, and the mammoth task of transcribing 30,000 pages of apportionment documents is currently 60% complete.


The project staff would like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers for their contribution and dedication. Together, the army of volunteers have completed an outstanding amount of work which will benefit the people of Wales and beyond when the final website is launched in the spring of 2017. The final website will make the tithe maps of Wales, and the wealth of information they hold, easily accessible to all through a free online platform. It will be possible to search the data and browse the maps using innovative and efficient methods. Through this we hope to shed light on the geographical and social landscape of our nation on the cusp of transformation.

If you’d like to get involved, read more on our volunteering page.

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Historical maps of Wales reveal the use of the Welsh language in Abergavenny – home of the National Eisteddfod this year.

While some consider the Welsh language to be relatively weak in Monmouthshire, the Cynefin project has unlocked sources testifying to the historical importance of the Welsh language in the county’s history.

A discussion of the Welsh language in Monmouthshire will be held at the National Eisteddfod, in the cymdeithasau 2 tent on Thursday at 4:30pm, with Einion Gruffudd, Cynefin Project Manager, and Dr Elin Jones, President of the Eisteddfod.

As a leading historian Dr Elin Jones will be giving historical context, while Einion Gruffudd will focus on evidence from the tithe maps which Cynefin has already digitised.

Tithe maps were created in the 1840s, at the same time as when Eisteddfodau of Cymreigyddion were held regularly in Abergavenny. Nowadays, the tithe maps can be found online on the website, and show the popularity of the Welsh language during that period.Llanofer Estate

Einion Gruffudd said “There is reason to believe that more than half of the area’s field names during the 1840s are in Welsh, reflecting the language of farmworkers in the area during that period.”

Llanover estate is shown on the tithe map for Llanover parish, where Lady Llanover, Augusta Hall or ‘Gwenynen Gwent’ lived, who played a key role in organising and financing Eisteddfodau’r Cymreigyddion.

Tithe maps of the area also tell the story of the Chartists. The maps were created at the same time the Chartists had marched along the South Wales valleys to protest for a fairer vote. As part of the Cynefin project, documents surrounding the court proceedings against the Chartists, following their attack on Newport in 1839, will be introduced and transcribed online. Although the court proceedings and documents were recorded in English, they include references to the Welsh language and to translation. These documents demonstrate that many of the defendants were Welsh speakers and indeed in many cases, unable to speak English.

chartist doc

Looking at these historical sources, it is clear that the language was in widespread use in Monmouthshire – this should be taken into account when studying the history of the county. This demonstrates the importance of historical documents to create a clear and complete picture of our history as a nation.

The Chartist documents are currently being transcribed on and the tithe documents on

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Cynefin reveals historic agricultural data

The data which has been transcribed by volunteers as a part of the Cynefin project is now being used to study long term changes in agriculture.


In collaboration with Aberystwyth University and the Farmers Union of Wales, the detailed information about fields and land use in the 1840s is being used for statistical analysis of the changes in the nature of Welsh agriculture.

A little over half of the 30,000 pages of tithe documents have been transcribed, but it is already possible to analyse some parishes in detail. Einion Gruffudd, Cynefin’s Project Manager said that this research was a great example of the advantages which come from digitising old maps and documents.


“We are familiar with statistical analyses of recent trends, but we now have increasing opportunities to do similar work with historical data.” said Einion. He added: “I’m very proud of the work we have done with students from Aberystwyth University, and I’m grateful to FUW and to staff at the Welsh Government for enabling us to connect this with recent data.”


Einion Gruffudd , Eryn White, Bethan Jones, Rhodri Evans, Nick Fenwick (FUW)

Einion Gruffudd (Cynefin) , Eryn White, Bethan Jones and Rhodri Evans (all Aberystwyth University),  Nick Fenwick (FUW)

A display of the early findings will be shown at the Tŷ-Mawr stand at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show this week (from 18th-21st July 2016).

The transcription data is all available on the website, as well as the opportunity to help transcribe the remaining 12,000 pages of tithe documents.

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