Login About us Contact us Terms & Conditions

News & Information

November 2022 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Mon, 31/10/2022 - 21:29

How are you getting on with your research?  It’s a pity that Hallowe’en doesn’t bring the spirits of our ancestors back with ghostly tales of their pasts. They might even be more accurate than relying on failing memories! There have been no research queries on the web site and very little from new members on our Facebook group either during the past month, so I assume you are all doing well. Why not share some of your successes (or failures!) with other members who cannot attend the meetings at Our Lady of Lourdes or the free  Help Sessions at the Library? – the next Help Session being on Sat Nov 5th from 2.00 until 3.30pm.

I was sorry not to be able to give the Workshop on Educational Records last week but there are times when the living family must take precedence over researching the past.  I hope to get it rearranged for another date.

Similar Cause of Accident

The sad news from South Korea about the horrific loss of life during Halloween Celebrations there reminded me of another similar, although lesser disaster on Boxing Day 1869 when 18 people died in a crush in a Bristol Theatre in Park Row.  The victims – mostly young and many teenagers – were going down a narrow  but steep incline to get to the entrance to the Pit of the Theatre, looking forward to enjoying a pantomime when the accident happened.  One of the victims was from Weston-super-Mare, Ellen JONES (In several newspaper accounts named as Helen), she was 15 but her sister escaped.  There are many newspaper accounts in the Bristol newspapers including The Western Daily Press of Wednesday 29th December which covers the inquest and lists all the victims.  This is a small extract:

David WILLIAMS had married Caroline JONES at Emmanuel Church in 1867 – see our transcriptions.  Ellen was buried in Milton Road Cemetery also see our transcriptions.


Newspapers can be valuable sources of information and gradually more are becoming available online.  All branches of your family can find their names mentioned in newspapers.  Did they win a prize or pass an exam while at school.  Did they play in a team which is mentioned in the local newspaper?  Did they take part in any sport like athletics or sailing?  Did they fall foul of the law?  Were the parents prosecuted for not vaccinating their children?  Was their birth, marriage or death mentioned in a paper?  Did they have a business? Did they advertise their business?  Did they offer anything for sale in a newspaper?  Did they advertise for a job for themselves or advertise for a servant or other employee? Was their home advertised for sale with them as the tenant?  Did they become bankrupt? Was their marriage or funeral reported with lists of people attending and whether they gave presents or flowers? They do not need to have celebrity status to get a mention! Perhaps you could comment about how you have found newspapers to help you with your research.

Know Your Place

Do you use Know your Place – North Somerset?  https://maps.bristol.gov.uk/kyp/?edition=nsom If you click on the Community Layer you can see photographs and information about what is or was under that place in the past.  You may have a copyright free photo which you could add about your ancestor’s home or work.  Have you found it helpful?  

Famous Painter at Quaker School in Weston

I received a query – not from one of our members – yesterday about a well-known painter, Henry Scott TUKE 1858-1929, who attended a Quaker School in Weston in the early 1870s  which was run by an Irwin SHARP and his brothers and sisters.  Henry was not there during the 1871 census, he was at home in Falmouth, but his elder brother William Samuel TUKE was a pupil then.  There is a photo of a class containing H S TUKE on this site https://tinyurl.com/faun3cv8  which I think was taken on Knightstone Island outside the original Dr Fox’s Baths.  By coincidence, as I was considering this newsletter, a painting by Henry Scott TUKE appeared on this weekend’s edition of The Antiques Road Show.  It would be interesting to discover more about the TUKE and FOX families who both advocated a more enlightened approach to the care of people in the Asylums of their day.

One of the first books about Weston and district which I bought was a reprint of Francis A KNIGHT’s 1902 book “The Seaboard of Mendip”.  Francis KNIGHT was a schoolmaster at Sidcot School and later set up his own Quaker based school, Brynmelyn, after the SHARP brothers had left Weston in 1881. 


At the end of October, we have Halloween – which during my lifetime seems to have grown and become more significant.  I do not remember trick or treats as a child, we didn’t dress up but this newspaper article from wartime outlines its origins.

Western Daily Press - Monday 02 November 1942

Hallowe'en ORIGINS

“SATURDAY night was Hallowe'en. According to ancient belief the Prince of Darkness (Herr Hitler's foreman) looses all forces of evil on the eve of November 1. Hallowe'en is the festival when fairies, elves and witches are supposed to meet and hold their celebrations. October 31 in the old Celtic calendar was the last day of the Old Year. The celebrations associated with Hallowe'en are wrapped in several thicknesses of mystery and seem to be associated with religious and pagan rites. In Roman - Catholic countries the faithful turn their steps towards the churchyard and place flowers on the graves of the departed. Bonfires were the chief feature of Scotland's Hollowe'en, and the kindling of fires is associated with the Teutonic and Celtic mythology. During the Middle Ages there was a secret Coven, which always celebrated Hallowe'en with a great feast and exhibitions of magic.  A Group of magicians known as the Coven in normal times used to meet on Halloween at a leading hotel, where they gave exhibitions of magic”

Do you celebrate Halloween?  Have you stories of how your family celebrated in the past?


Bonfire Night

November brings with it a couple of dates which meant a great deal to our ancestors – the first – November 5th with its associations with Guy Fawkes and his attempt to blow up Parliament in 1605.  I remember that the late Kerry James, when secretary of this society, became very excited when she discovered that she was connected to the THROCKMORTON Family.  Kerry found that she was related to Ann THROCKMORTON who was related to Robert CATESBY, the leader of the Gunpowder Plot.  A link to an historical event, however tenuous, brings history alive for you and increases your interest in the life and times of your ancestor.  Do you have any such links?

Free Help Sessions at Library

Saturday November 5th is also the date of our next Free Help Session at Weston Library.  Don’t forget that there are local newspapers on film which are not yet available online.  If you know the date of an event you want to research, be prepared to find something very interesting in the next column which with side track you! Bring with you some information about what you hope to find next in your hunt for ancestors. Remember to check out what is available on the Library Shelves - Street Directories, Electoral Rolls, Maps and files of information on People and Places in the cabinets. etc.

Society Meeting

On Wednesday 9th November, member Bill CAPLE who has a remarkable collection of photographs of Weston and District will be giving a talk entitled “Weston Then and Now”.  Be prepared to see how Weston had changed over the years. This meeting takes place at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall at 2.30pm and all are welcome.

Remembrance Day

The second important date which affected ancestors is November 11th,  Remembrance Day.  With war once again raging in Europe this day should not be forgotten.  How many of you know of lost relatives in the two World Wars and other subsequent battles?  The CWGC  https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/    has an excellent site which also includes those civilians who died while serving on the home front in indiscriminate bombing.  Support the British Legion with its Poppy Appeal to aid the recovery and assistance to wounded fighters and their families. Many people, like my grandfather from WW1 and my father from  WW2 came home lucky to be alive but never talking about their experiences – who knows how different their post war lives might have been with some help with what is now recognised as PTSD.

Zoom Workshop

On November 23rd at 7.30 -9.00 p.m. there will be a Workshop Session by Zoom on Censuses 1841-1911 which I am sure will assist everyone with their research.  Full members of the society will learn How to find, read and understand census entries. Although Censuses are a major tool in family history research, they were not taken for us and need to be understood in their own context.  A must for all researchers to brush up on their knowledge.  An email will be sent to all full members with signing on details prior to the Workshop. If you missed the Talk on the 1921 Census, full members can see it if they sign into the web site and look under Videos.


Graham Payne is still busy transcribing records from the parishes in our area.  At the moment, he tells me that “I am about 50% through transcribing St George MIs for Easton in Gordano and plan to start Christ Church Nailsea next”.  MIs with their accompanying photographs are valuable assets.  Easton in Gordano is a particularly interesting parish with its connection with Pill and the Bristol Channel Pilots based there.  Since 2011 the Civil Parish has been called Pill and Easton in Gordano. https://www.visitsomerset.co.uk/things-to-do/activities/north-somerset-walks/potter-around-pill  is a web site of particular interest to anyone who has ancestors from this area and although aimed at the holidaymaker this gentle walk around Pill will show the importance of Pill to the early sailors heading out of the Bristol Channel.

Bristol Pilots and Pill

In a book “The Bristol Pilots” by John Rich, a retired Bristol Pilot, published in 1996 the history of these Pilots and their boats over 500 years is recounted.  Years ago, when I started giving talks about family history, I was advertised to give a talk at Backwell and the LONG family was mentioned in the advert.  I received a phone call from a man who asked me if it was going to be worth his while going to the talk as rain had been forecast and he didn’t want to waste time getting wet if he wasn’t going to be interested.  Unless I could tell him the parents of his maternal grandfather, Charles Edwin LONG, born in Bristol in 1856 he wasn’t coming!  Luckily, I was able to reply – “Thomas and Martha LONG” and added that I that was descended from an elder brother of Charles Edwin who had been born in 1845.  He came!   

He was a second cousin once removed  and we remained friends and in contact until his death in 2002.  His mother’s brother had married into the ELLIS family from Pill who were Pilots and as he had been a marine engineer, he  wanted to know more about them and their boats – and from this grew my interest in the Pilots.  From John Rich’s book I can now trace several families connected with the ELLIS family including ADAMS and the name of their boats.  This was and is a close-knit supportive community, proud of its historical connections.


A picture containing person, littleDescription automatically generatedI’ve been sorting old photographs and I am still horrified how few have names written on the back

This one does have something written on the back – it says “Pat aged 2 years 3 months in 1941”

It also reminds me of my mother’s ability as a needlewoman – as most women were skilled in those days.  The outfit which I am wearing was blue and made by Mum out of an old coat of hers which she had carefully unpicked, washed and used again.  I still have the buttons in my button box!  “Make Do and Mend” was essential in war time and perhaps could assist today if the skills haven’t been lost.

I dare say my younger sister might have worn the same coat!

I notice also how fitted carpets had not arrived and there was that wooden or lino surround which always seemed to show the dust!

It’s not just the subject of the photo which is interesting it’s also the context.

I’ve inherited photos from both sides of the family and unfortunately there is no one left older than me who might recognise the individuals in the photos which are not named.  Please go through yours and see if you have the same problem. Photographs are a marvellous conversation initiator with older people who may even find some that they have hidden away. 

ALHA Newsletter

The ALHA Newsletter will be available on our web site but just in case you never look at it - here is a direct link to it because it contains information about Weston. https://www.alha.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/UD-221031.pdf As a society, we are a member of ALHA and benefit from its publicity. 

Museum of Us - More 4

Whilst discussing knowledge of local history which I think is essential when researching your family - Have you been watching “Museum of Us” on More 4 presented by Sir Tony Robinson?  The first one was about a road in Bristol - Read about it here https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/channel-4s-museum-residents-bedminster-7685621  – The series of programmes with different location each week are on Monday evenings at 9.00 p.m. but you should be able to catch up with past episodes on https://www.channel4.com/programmes/tony-robinsons-museum-of-us  

AGM and Next Society Meeting

Our next meeting will take place, as mentioned above, at 2.30pm  on Wednesday, November 9th at our Lady of Lourdes in Baytree Road when the AGM will be followed by a presentation by Bill Caple with his collection of pictures of Weston – Then and Now.   The December meeting is on the 14th with Margaret Flux talking about "My Wonderful Curio Cabinet".

Although I say this every time - Please post any comments about this newsletter, your research, about new resources and anything else pertaining to family history which other members might find interesting.


News TopicMilitary
 6 Comments      login or join us now to post comments
1939 Register
published by Brian & Pam Airey on Fri, 21/10/2022 - 10:03

The guild of One Name Studies is hosting a webinar on the subject starting at 7.30pm on 23 November 2022. This is free to everyone but you need to register first.

Go to www.one-name.org click on events and then webinars.

News TopicGeneral
  login or join us now to post comments
Zoom Workshop Meetings
published by Pat Hase on Tue, 04/10/2022 - 13:02

Just a reminder that there are two Zoom Workshop Sessions this month. 

On Wed 5th October at 7.30pm when the topic will be DNA Research led by Jenny Towey

On Wed 26th October at 7.30pm when the topic will be Education Records led by Pat Hase

We look forward to seeing you there.

News TopicEvents
 1 Comment      login or join us now to post comments
October 2022 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Fri, 30/09/2022 - 22:02

This newsletter will be published by Oct 1st which is the first Saturday of the month when there will be a Free Help Session at Weston Library from 2.00pm.  Our volunteers hope to see you there! With colder weather it is likely that more people will have time for Family History Research.

  • Death of Queen Elizabeth II

We have just lived through a very historic month; I wonder how you will record it in your own life history?  Just looking at her long life and the many changes in the position of Women in Society which have occurred during that time could form a theme for our own female ancestors. Sadly, I didn’t ask my grandfather about the passing of Queen Victoria in January 1901 when he had been 26 and would have been very aware of national events.  How did he hear the news? He told me so many stories about his life but not about that.  The method of communicating news to the public has changed so much during the 20th  and 21st centuries as was demonstrated by the Proclamation of King Charles III being given in several different locations to ensure that the Public were given that information as in the days of yore.

  • DNA Workshop

We seem to have numerous TV programmes which use DNA as a theme – some better than others!  Our next Zoom Workshop on Wednesday, 5th October, will be about DNA and its use in family history research.  Jenny Towie will be de-mystifying it and show how it can be used as another tool in constructing our family trees.  My main problem with DNA is the lack of supporting family trees – I seem to spend a great deal of time completing the trees of DNA matches to find that elusive common ancestor. Perhaps if I was royalty, it would be easier!

  • Research Forum

Those of you who have read the Research Forum Queries will know that I have a first cousin, three time removed, Emily Ann BURROWS, who married a “Prince” in 1872.  With the help of Richard Gardiner, one of our knowledgeable members, I have been able to piece together more about her life and death. It is so helpful to have someone else look at your research from a different viewpoint.  There was an inquest after her death in 1896 with the information from the Coroner Wynne E Baxter.  I am writing an article for Buckets and Spades about her and her marriage to Zacharius Basilius GORTZACOFF. However as the deadline is the 1st October for the November edition it will be for a later issue.

A picture containing text, black, white, oldDescription automatically generated

  • Coroners' Reports from Inquests

Coincidentally, I had another first cousin, three times removed, Frances COLES whose story was reported in the newspapers.  There was also an inquest after her death in 1891 with information from the same Coroner Wynne E Baxter. There was considerable speculation at the time of the death of Frances that she might have been a victim of “Jack the Ripper”. The records of Coroners are often difficult to find and information about a death may only be obtained from newspaper accounts of the Inquest and post-mortem or from death certificates.

As a side issue Emily and Frances were both first cousins, once removed of my grandfather and he did not mention either of them!

  • Missing Census Pages

I spent a great deal of time recently looking for the parents of Emily Ann BURROWS who I knew were living in Bristol when the 1851 census was taken.  My first point of call is usually Findmypast, but I could not find John and Ann anywhere.  Knowing that the name BURROWS had been mis transcribed before, I tried variants and even searched for the family using their first names but without success.  The address search did not come up with their actual address.

Eventually I went to the first page of the area in which I thought they would be and started to look page by page – like we used to do in the old days!  But what I found surprised me as there were so many missing pages.  By checking the Folio and Page numbers I was able to identify these missing pages – 1, 3-6, 8-15, 17, 22 and 25 – that is 16 missing pages! It is no wonder that I could not find my family.

Findmypast has been notified and promised to look into it, especially as the Genealogist and Ancestry appear to have the full set.

This is the missing family from the Genealogist.  The moral of this story is that you might have to check several resources to get a complete picture.

  • WW2 Land Army Index

During September Ancestry has released the records of the WW2 Land Army Index Cards from 1939-1948.  Just searching for Weston-super-Mare there appear to be 43 women on this list. This one may answer a family history puzzle.  Anyone researching ZABEL and/or BAKER?

  • Free Online Genealogy Course

Last January a new free online course was offered by MyHeritage – Has anyone tried it?  Has it been helpful?  Would you recommend it?   

  • Parish Records with Images

Findmypast has increased the number of parish records for which it has images as well as transcriptions.  Some are only available from this source.  They include Roman Catholic Parish Records from various counties. Devon C of E parish records are particularly useful for anyone researching ancestors from the West of England. Several of the Weston Worthies had roots in Devon including John MAUNDER and his sister Jane MAUNDER.  This is the baptism of John MAUNDER in 1801 in Loxbeare, Devon - From Findmypast

  • School Records

School Records are becoming more available, and some Admission and Logbooks have been added to Findmypast.  In the past I have found that the Logbooks which I have seen have not usually named individual pupils but were more concerned with official visits to the school, examinations and the condition of the buildings but  some of these are very different.

This is from St Nicholas School in Elstree for November 1901

Most Admission Registers give names, addresses, names of guardians and dates of birth so can be a valuable resource.

  • Zoom Workshop on Education Records

The Zoom Workshop on the 26th of October will be based on Education Records and will be presented by myself.  If you have any particular queries, you can add them to this Newsletter in the form of a comment.

  • Next Members' Meeting 

The next Physical Members’ Meeting on the afternoon of Wednesday October 12th at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall, will look at the 1921 Census.  Peter Towey will inform you where & how you can access this new census release and all the new information that is included in it - and what items have been removed. 

If you can recommend any new resources or tips on how to research please feel free to add them as a comment to this newsletter. 

News TopicMonthly Update
 1 Comment      login or join us now to post comments
September 2022 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Thu, 01/09/2022 - 0:06

I’m amazed it is September already.  The Autumn always has this “fresh start” feeling for me.  I suppose it is a result of having spent so many years in Education in various forms.  The long summer holiday giving way to new avenues to pursue and it is the same with family history.  Now is the time to either start your research or review your findings.

Free Help Session at Library

You can begin by visiting Weston Library on Saturday 3rd September when we will be holding a Free Help Session from 2.00 until 3.30 pm.  This time it is a drop-in session and you do not have to book but be aware that we have a limited number of volunteers.  It would be better to be there for 2.00 pm with as much information about what you hope to find as possible.  While waiting it may be possible to consult the information on the open shelves such as Street Directories and Electoral Rolls as well as the files on people and places in North Somerset, including family trees compiled by Brian Austin.  These sessions will continue on the First Saturday of each Month.

Hutton Show

Today, as I write this, on Wed 31st August,  we have a stand at the Taste of Somerset Show at Hutton – I hope that some of you have found the time to visit our stand and meet the members of the Society who are running it.  If you know of other local shows where we would be welcome, please let us know.

Next Open Meeting

On September 14th there will be a Meeting at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall in Baytree Road at 2.30pm – Speaker from 3.00pm will be Esther Hoyle,  who will talk about Somerset Women.  All are welcome - including visitors.   Esther will be well known to many of you because for several years she was the North Somerset Archivist who regularly visited the Library, bringing documents from the Somerset Archives for us to consult and her expertise to answer any questions.

Heritage Open Days

The Heritage Open Days are from 9-18 September when you can visit any number of places including Emmanuel Church, The Thatched Cottage, The Cemetery Chapel, etc  and there will be a Lego Suffragette in the Library.  Full details with dates and times of entry can be found on this web site.

September Workshop

The September Workshop, which will be held on Zoom on Wed October 5th at 7.30pm, will be Jenny Towey on DNA testing.  That is not a mistake, no Workshop in September but two in October.  DNA is a fascinating tool for research and although not always the easiest to master can be very useful in confirming your paper research.

Derek Venn

I was saddened to hear recently about the death of Derek VENN who was instrumental in collecting first hand memories of life in Weston during WW2.  He and I gave several joint talks about his findings and a copy of some of the reports are on our web site under Weston-super-Mare with the title “Weston Memories of WW2” You need to be a member to read them but printed copies are available in the Library.      He was an energetic researcher who also led a group with the U3A who visited and learned about the surrounding Villages. His funeral is at the crematorium on 7th September at 12:30 pm ; all are welcome and donations in his memory will be welcomed by the Alzheimers Society.

Look at the Original Entry if Possible    

I know I’ve written this before but it is important to look at the original document when researching.  My grandfather, Ashton HILL, was born in Cam in Gloucestershire in 1880. I knew he had an elder sister who we called “Auntie Bo” but what was her real name?   

They both appear on the 1881 census of Cam

1881 England, Wales & Scotland Census

Cam Street, Cam, Dursley, Gloucestershire, England

First name

Last name


Marital status


Birth year


Birth place








Cam, Glos








Cam, Glos







Woollen cloth worker

Cam, Glos

Walter James







Cam, Glos

Francis H







Cam, Glos

Beatrice A







Cam, Glos

Herbert S







Cam, Glos

Rosa Edith







Cam, Glos

Ashton B







Cam, Glos

 So this told me that Bo’s name was actually Rosa Edith but I could not find a birth registration for a Rosa Edith HILL.  However,  I knew that Susan was a widow when she married John HILL, so I looked for the birth or christening of a Rosa Edith HADLEY…. Just in case.

How kind of the Vicar!

Another image of another family member helped me and this time from the 1921 census

This led me to the National Archives where there were detailed documents about their separation and subsequent divorce. The transcription may have just a “D” entered but at least this told me that she had initiated proceedings.

Monumental Inscriptions

The Monumental Inscriptions for Wraxall have been added to our site.   Thank you, Graham! This was of particular interest to me as my great grandmother, Annie STOKES  was born there, and her parents have a stone which lists other members of the family who died elsewhere. A really useful resource. My mother used to tell of staying with relations in Wraxall as a small child and I am now able to identify some of them.  Others I found mentioned in a newspaper account of a funeral of another Wraxall relation which listed the mourners.

There is a popular idea of family historians that they spend their time in churchyards hunting for graves.  There may be a grain of truth in this.  On my mother’s 80th birthday in 1990 I decided that what she would most appreciate was a trip to Stinchcombe in Gloucestershire to look at her great great grandparents’ tomb! 

The Inscription is quite brief

  • Richard WATTS, died 15 April 1875, aged 76
  • Susanna, his wife, died 5 April 1879, aged 83
  • Elizabeth, their daughter, died 12 May 1863, aged 36

Elizabeth was the only one of their eight children who did not marry.  I wonder which of the children paid for this tomb?


How do you decide which part of your family tree to research or look at again?  Where are the gaps in your tree?  Those brickwalls which fail to crumble?  Perhaps not surprisingly with other attractions on hand during August the Research Forum has been little used. Why not use the web site and let others help you.  I often get surprised at an alternative yet helpful approach which is suggested to me if I share a problem – I can’t be the only one who has problems - can I?  The Facebook group has also been very quiet during August. 

Free Web Sites

One of the most frequent queries I do get is – what free sites are there? Take a look at this web site  It lists the best ones with links to them  - there are 25 .  See how many of them you have used and how beneficial you have found them to be. Which ones would you recommend?

The best free UK genealogy websites include:  FamilySearch, Free UK Genealogy. (FreeBMD, FreeREG and FreeCEN), National Library of Wales, Online Parish Clerks, Find a Will, The National Archives, National Library of Scotland, National Archives of Ireland.  etc. etc.

The National Library of Scotland even has a free town map of Weston-super-Mare!

The Future

Next year we will be celebrating our 40th birthday - Keep Saturday May 6th 2023 free for our celebrations - Cannot guarantee a drone display but watch this space!

News TopicMonthly Update
  login or join us now to post comments
1921 Census
published by Pat Hase on Thu, 25/08/2022 - 19:21

FindmyPast have a 50% reduction for the 1921 census until midnight on Monday 29th August https://www.findmypast.co.uk/1921-census

News TopicResources
  login or join us now to post comments
Page 10 of 87 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Forthcoming Events

Workshop by Zoom: Axbridge Workhouse: Pat Hase
Wednesday, 26th June, 2024 19:30 - 21:00
Library Help Session
Saturday, 6th July, 2024 14:00 - 15:30
Physical Members' Meeting
Wednesday, 10th July, 2024 14:30 - 17:00
Library Help Session
Saturday, 7th September, 2024 14:00 - 15:30
Physical Members' Meeting: site visit
Wednesday, 11th September, 2024 14:30 - 16:30
<- View calendar for more

Website written and designed by:
Weston IT Solutions
Copyright (c) 2018