Enquiries Service

There will be a restricted Enquiries Service for an unspecified period due to the uncertainty caused by COVID-19. We will attempt to answer all enquiries if practically possible and hope to return to a full service soon.

A new Enquiry system will be launched on Monday, May 18. There should not be a disruption in the service we provide.

There are a number of ways of contacting the enquiries service:

  • Telephone: +44 (0)1970 632 933 (9.30-17.00)
  • Fax +44 (0)1970 632 551
  • Writing to the Enquiries Service, The National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion. SY23 3BU

The National Library of Wales offers a free enquiry answering service, and enquirers are welcome to contact us with their questions. We aim to reply to 90% of all enquiries received within 10 working days, but some complex enquiries, or those which are designated Freedom of Information enquiries, may take up to 20 working days to answer. Further details can be found in our Enquiries Policy.

Chat service

The service will be available every Monday to Friday 10.00-12.00 and 14.00 to 16.00

How to use our Catalogues

If you have questions regarding how to use our Catalogue of NLW Archives and Manuscripts, you may well find the answer on our Catalogue help page or NLW Archives and Manuscripts help page.

Making an enquiry

When submitting an enquiry to us, please indicate

  • your name and full contact details
  • all the relevant information gathered to date (e.g. what research has already been undertaken e.g. via your own public library or archives office)
  • full names, dates and locations if submitting a genealogical or local history enquiry

Type of enquiries answered

We can answer enquiries which are based on the varied collections held at the Library, as well as basic genealogical enquiries, if sufficient details are provided. We are willing to:

  • confirm the details of individuals from census returns, or search a reasonable proportion for returns for specific individuals or households.
  • confirm the details of individuals from parish or nonconformist registers, or search a reasonable span of years for a specific entry
  • confirm details from the General Register Office index, or search a reasonable period for specific records
  • search for the details of properties by searching tithe or estate maps
  • confirm bibliographic details such as author, title, date and place of publication of books and articles
  • search for newspaper articles if sufficient information is provided
  • search for photographs or pictorial works of specific individuals or places
  • provide details of specific manuscripts and archives
  • provide copies of items from the Library's collections

Please note that the majority of our catalogues and databases may be searched online from the Library's website. A large number of items from our collections have also been digitised.

Requesting copies remotely

If you are unable to visit the Library, you may contact the Enquiries Service with

  • full details of what is required
  • the item's catalogue reference number
  • your contact details

Once we have confirmed our holdings and considered any conservation and copyright issues, an order form will be sent to you to sign, date and return to the Enquiries Service with payment. The form may be faxed, posted or sent electronically. You may pay for your copies by cheque or directly into the Library's bank account, or by credit card. Should you wish to pay by card, please print the 'payment by credit card form', complete all details, remembering to note the order number which will be on the form, and return to the Enquiries Service with the order form. Please contact us if you need any advice or assistance.

The service cannot:

  • provide general knowledge answers which may be found in public libraries or on the internet
  • answer enquiries which are obviously quiz or crossword questions
  • undertake detailed genealogical research: in such cases, we suggest that enquirers consult the list of independent researchers. Further details may be seen on the 'Family History' page
  • provide birth, marriage or death certificates. For these, enquirers should contact their local Register Office, or the General Register Office

Data Protection

To see how we deal with your personal data view our Privacy Statement.