Dr Calista Williams BA Drama (Aberystwyth), MA History and Heritage (Aberystwyth), PhD History (Open University)

Dr Calista Williams

Lifelong Learning Co-ordinator

Lifelong Learning Teacher - Humanities

Lifelong Learning

Contact Details


As well as being the Lifelong Learning Programme Coordinator for Humanities and Science, I'm also the lead tutor on the Certificate of Higher Education in Genealogical Studies. I work as a freelance historical and genealogical researcher, helping individuals, from Guernsey to the USA, find out more about their family history! I also run family history workshops in the wider community and give talks on a number of topics, in-person and online. I confess, I'm a family tree addict! My ancestors originate from across the British Isles and I also have several branches from Ireland. I have a passion for old newspapers and I love using them for research as they are a treasure trove of information.

I've contributed to programmes on BBC Radio Wales and S4C. Recently, I appeared on BBC's British Railway Journeys with Michael Portillo, talking about the history of the National Library of Wales.

I completed my AHRC-funded PhD in 2017, which was part of an innovative collaboration between the Open University and the National Library of Wales. My thesis focuses on the founding and development of the National Library of Wales and its connection to Welsh national identity, c.1840-1916.

I completed an MA in History and Heritage at Aberystwyth University in 2013 and I worked as a Tutor in the Department of History and Welsh History, from 2013 to 2017.


I teach the three core modules for the Certificate of Higher Education in Genealogical Studies:

From Acorn to Oak: Building a Family Tree, Parts 1-3, available as online, self-paced learning.

Click here to watch a free taster for From Acorn to Oak: Building a Family Tree

I also teach a 5-credit online, self-paced module:

How to Begin Researching the History of your House


My main research interests are:

Library and Reading History

National Identity

Nineteenth Century Wales

British and Irish Genealogy

Second World War Diaries

Historical True Crime



I coordinate all of the various Lifelong Learning programmes that come under the umbrella of humanities and science, which includes history, archaeology, literature, creative writing, ecology, conservation, mathematics, photography, psychology and philosophy.