My time at the Ceredigion Archives has been both enjoyable and fascinating. Before I arrived I had not really considered family history and so the enquiries I helped solve during my visit were new to me. They allowed me to study records from as early as the 1800s: census records, parish registers, records of baptisms (the Archives hold these records from across Cardiganshire). Formerly I had had only limited experience with primary evidence such as this and I am sure the practice I acquired when handling these often fragile documents will come in useful.
During my time at the archives I was also introduced to the different aspects of the profession, for instance the preservation of modern records which I had not considered before I arrived.
In my second week I was tasked with preparing a display centring on the battle of Waterloo (the anniversary of which is this Thursday, 18th of June). I tried to link these men to the actions of their units on the day. This was perhaps the most fascinating to me from the experience because I was able to read the letters of a Welsh man who was present on the day of the battle. The Archives also have a campaign medal from a man who fought with the King’s Dragoons at Waterloo and were thus involved at key stages of the day.
If you have considered archiving as a career or simply have an interest in history, volunteering with Ceredigion Archives is certainly recommended.
Matthew Clayton, Aberystwyth University history student
[Many thanks to Matthew for his hard work during the fortnight he spent with us. We are about to launch an online exhibition of the letters mentioned above, complete with images and transcripts. The display he prepared will also be available digitally in due course. Watch this space!]