Finding a Relative who lived in Wales in the 1940s

I have asked this question before, sometime in the distant past, cant remember when, and I received a couple of replies, but, owing to System Restores, Factory Resets and the like, there out of here. I was asking for advice on who, where to contact when trying to find a relative ( Mother Sarah Finlay ) who was known to have been in Wales in the 1940s. There must be a personal records office in Cardif??

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Depending on when the person died you may find some information on the 1939 register available online.

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I have been on to them, but I’m not sure if it’s the right place to look. I’ve even been onto the passenger details of people leaving the UK for Ireland but its a no go. I know she went back to EIRE, I found her grave, but I cant find anything about her in the UK. She must have used a Passport for traveling, where would I look for that? How long are p ports info kept?

Not necessarily. I don’t think UK and Irish citizens needed a passport to travel between the 2 countries at that time… Technically they may not need one now, except that, nowadays, if flying, airlines might insist on one for security reasons.

Do you know where (which country) she was born? If the UK, then you should be able to find a reference to her birth online. There is a free online service that allows you to find the index to the birth certificate (not the actual certificate, although you can order the certificate for a fee, if you find the reference). That goes back quite a long way.

It’s possible Ireland has something similar, if she was born there. Anyway, a record of her birth would be a starting point.

Was she a child or adult at the time she was in Wales? If an adult, then she might be on a voting register. I’m not sure how long they are kept, but they might be in an archive somewhere (though you may have to go to the British Library in London to get to see them - they won’t be online).

If she was a child, and you know the names of her parents/family, you might find their names on a voting register. They should also show up on census records (if they were there during a census period), but those for the 1940s will not be publicly available yet.

It might be worth enquiring from these people:

They probably don’t have what you need, but should be able to tell you where to start looking.

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I have a membership to FindMyPast and I’d be happy to see if I can find anything on the records available there, but I’m afraid due to workload I won’t be able to do this until next week - give me a nudge on Monday to remind me and I’ll see what I can find.

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I know she left the UK in the early 50s, I’m thinking there must be some form of record,travel document …maybe i.m wrong…if no p port then an ID card or registration card. I went through ferry passenger lists because it was probably the cheapest way to travel. But nothing. The lists were passengers leaving UK for Eire between 1860 to1960. Maybe I,m flogging a dead horse, but now and again it Springs to life.

The 40s were awkward.

  • Many records lost to bombing.
  • Many people displaced, Londoners evacuated to our village still came back from time to time!
    So, if you know where she was before Wales and/or after, you may be able to trace her movements from that end! Record on ferries are very sketchy, I think, based on my experience - weather bad, our boat cancelled, folk from two squished into the first that ran when weather better… fairly sure no passport needed and never changed money! (That was on the way back as recently as 1990s!)
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Your use of “back” here impies that she was originally from Ireland, then went to the UK, and then (in the early 1950s apparently) returned to Ireland. Is that correct?

If so, then another place to start is when she left Ireland originally, and arrived in the UK (in Wales? - perhaps through Fishguard (from Rosslare)?

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You can access Find my past free at the libraries.
One watch out is they update thr 1939 with any changes, e.g. my gran was single at the time the register was taken and when she got married and her name changed, they hand amended the record. Good luck with your searching.

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The National Library of Wales is the main archive for family history records in Wales

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I failed to find a Sarah Finlay in Wales in the 1939 register.
These were the nearest.
Sarah Finley, born 1879, living in Llwchwr, Glamorganshire. With Arthur Finley and presumably his wife.
Sarah J Finley, born 1888, living in Ystradgynlais, Breconshire. With James R Finley and presumably his wife.
Sarah Elizabeth Finnlay (Jones), born 1915, living in Holywell, Flintshire. Daughter of Daniel and Selina Jones. Married and became Finnlay after 1939.
As @theresacorbett mentioned, information is not available for living people, or people who are assumed to be still living.

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Yeah, that ferry bit seems to be a dead end. I eventually managed to find her grave in Eire, and also a few relatives. But they seem to be of the opinion she was there one day and then left Eire. When she came back early 50s she moved to Cork. But its patchy at best.

I,ve met people in Eire who new her, but thet recall her leaving Eire and returning sometime in the early 50s. What she did in UK nobody knows,…or… those that did know have passed away. Time waits for no man, and I,m already late.