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March 2023 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Tue, 28/02/2023 - 23:16

Welcome to Spring!  The trees in our road are in blossom with daffodils and snowdrops blessing our garden  so it must be spring, but the temperature is still quite chilly.  February was a month of celebration in our family. A very special 90th Birthday managed to get the family together for the first time for ages and the birthday boy was delighted to receive a card and gift from the Society for which he was very grateful.

We spent some time delving into family photographs. My mother-in-law had kept a couple of small albums covering his first two years – all named and dated with the place taken recorded as well.  

This one taken in 1934 shows father and son on the beach in Weston.  I love the knitted swimsuit!  Who remembers wearing those and how heavy they became in water?    



Gone are the days when the local newspaper had a number of Birth, Marriage and Death Announcements often accompanied by photographs.  The Weston Gazette published a Pictorial Review for 1933 which contained, amongst many others, this photo of a wedding at Hewish Church.

Is anyone researching WESTCOTT or DUNSTER?  Or even the DAY family from Blagdon?  Other photographs in that edition include this one of a Diamond Wedding Celebration of the DAY family.

William and Harriet DAY née DERRICK were married on the 30th Dec 1872 at Blagdon. 

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During February members answered the Questionnaire about what you wanted from the Society for which the Committee is grateful and will try to ensure that the Society provides as far as possible what the majority wants.   One thing that puzzled me  was the large number of you who asked for help with breaking down brickwalls.  There will be a Zoom Workshop tackling Brickwalls on Wednesday March 22nd for all paid-up members starting at 7.30 p.m. and if you miss it you should be able to watch a video of the meeting at time to suit yourself.  I am curious about your Brickwalls because there are very few requests for help ever posted on our Research Forum which was set up for this very purpose.  Why is it not used?  


Workshops are planned on the Use of Family Search on April 26th and on the use of Family Tree Maker on May 24th.  These are available to paid-up members of the Society who also have access to all other recorded videos.  Perhaps you might consider the £9.00 annual fee worth it to enable you to join these events as well as accessing our transcriptions and other information.


We all have experienced times when it seems impossible to track down the next generation.  There will be tips of how to go about this during the Workshop but in the meantime why not talk to your relatives again?  You haven’t got any older ones? – try your children – they may well have been told different stories about the family by their grandparents!  When forming your questions try not to use terms like  “Granddad said” – whose Granddad?  -  yours or theirs?  I spend over a year looking at the wrong generation because my father-in-law used “Granddad said” and I thought he meant his grandfather.

I find writing up a narrative profile of individual family members some help in clarifying my own thoughts.  Something like the Weston Worthies – As you piece their lives together chronologically questions emerge which need answering.  Just recently I’ve had to send for my own mother’s birth certificate.  Of course I knew when she was born and who her parents were, but where was she born?  I think she must have had one of the shortened birth certificates which did not give the birthplace.  She was born in August 1910 and was christened in October 1910 – address 24 Greenbank Road.  On the 1911 Census, when she was 7 months old,  in my grandfather’s distinctive writing, the address is 93 Greenbank Road.

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I’m now waiting to see where she was born!

The certificate has arrived and it shows that she was born at 93 Greenbank Road - so the address given in the Baptism Record is incorrect.  


Narrative profiles such as this one about Dame Mary Berry on FindmyPast is an example of how you might put one together.  I trained at the same College in Bath as Mary Berry (a couple of years after her) and on a different course, but the Tutors were singing her praises even then, when she was employed by SWEB South Western Electricity Board demonstrating how easy it was to cook on an electric stove. Look  at this video it will remind you of her programme in WDYTYA.

It is a good idea to consider the best way to pass on your research, remembering that the younger generation is less likely to want to read or handle information in book form.  They will probably be happier accessing it on their phones or tablets  so how can you provide a stimulating and interesting account that they will want to see and possibly continue with?  Some of us have interviewed older relatives but have you considered letting your children or grandchildren interview you?  This could be videoed on their phones and easily transmitted.   These ideas were offered at a Zoom Meeting of the Bristol & Avon FHS, of which I am also a member, and I thank Steve Ralph for these suggestions.


When asking for help from the Research Forum or the Facebook Group do not assume that the only people who will help are those researching the same family.  It is well documented that doing Family History Research is like completing a jigsaw puzzle or solving a detective story.  It can give quite a buzz to solve someone else’s problems – Give it a try! – and it may give you a clue about your own research.  This is assuming that there are problems to solve!

Give sufficient information so that who ever wants to help can see exactly what you already know and also what you want to know.


The next free help session at Weston Library will take place on Saturday March 4th from 2.00 until 3.30p.m. Our knowledgeable volunteers will be there to help you find that elusive ancestor and/or make full use of what is available on the shelves in the Library.  Street Directories, Electoral Rolls, Background History of North Somerset and files of Local People and Places.


Maps are a really helpful way of identifying where your ancestor lived.  I was horrified recently when one of the contestants on The Apprentice said that he could not read a map and that they were a bit before his time! I suppose it depends on why you want to use a map.

Know Your Place has been discussed here before and we have a link to it on our web site but still someone said that they had not heard of it and was grateful when it was pointed out to them how useful it could be.  There is a such a lot of information which can be gleaned from it – just try the various maps and community and monument layers.  It is free to use.

However, I was about to put a link to show Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall when I found that a photo of Milton Methodist has been entered at that site so be aware that errors can occur on this site. (I have notified them).  

Another source of useful maps is Map Explorer on The Genealogist.  Here the maps are linked to census entries and other resources as well as having a vast variety of maps available.  I find the Tithe Maps with their Apportionment Lists extremely useful.  You do need a subscription to use this.  However, take a look at the video which shows what it contains 

This is the Tithe Map for Stinchcombe in 1839 showing Plot  357 with a House and Garden occupied by Leonard HILL,  my 3 x great grandfather and  Richard HILL, my 2x great uncle.  The cottage is no longer there.

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On the 1841 census only Leonard and his wife are living there.  Richard was living elsewhere.


During February this has been updated to include those who were born up to 1922 so you might be able to see someone who was originally redacted. 

You can also use the 1939 register to discover some children who were evacuated during September 1939.  If you search using “Evacuee” as occupation.  There are over 13,000 entered with 63 in Weston.

Ancestry has just released some Evacuation Records from Berkshire. About 45 percent of the evacuees were school children travelling alone. The plan also called for pregnant women, mothers of infants, the elderly, and disabled people to be evacuated. About 25,000 children were evacuated from London to Reading between September 1939 and October 1941. These records detail Berkshire’s work as a reception area. Besides the attendance registers of evacuated schools, there are files about emergency accommodation, maternity homes, nurseries and hostels.


One of the issues to arise from your questionnaire was the topics you would like covered from Speakers at Meetings.  Why not post a comment with some ideas of possible topics which would be helpful?

The committee is looking for a volunteer to take on the role of Speaker Finder – The programme for 2023 is complete so you would have plenty of time to arrange the speakers starting from Jan 2024.  

There are lists of speakers available to consult and neighbouring societies and groups may also be able to help.


The next meeting will be on Wednesday 8th March at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall at 2.30 p.m.   Visitors are welcome and the talk will be on "The Walker & Ling Story"  by Sam Walker.  This well-known store in Weston-super-Mare, which started in 1892, has had the Walker family at the heart of its development.  We welcome Sam Walker to tell us about the ups & downs of the store's history.

This is a photo of Walker & Ling’s entry in the Summer Carnival in 1931 entitled “The Cries of London” showing how the firm has always entered into the life of Weston.

The next issue of Buckets and Spades will be available at that meeting for collection.  If there are any copies which you could deliver for us that would be helpful. 


Plans are now well advanced for our Family and Local History Fair on Saturday 20th May at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall from 10.00 a.m until 4.00 p.m. Admission will be free and Refreshments will be available.  Apart from our own stand and Help Desk there will be other local societies and Groups attending:

Bristol & Avon FHS                                

Somerset & Dorset Family FHS              

Kewstoke Local History Group               

Worle History Society                             

Wick St Lawrence Local History            

Anglo-German FHS                                 

DNA  Advice 

Know Your Place 

Church of Latter Day Saints 

Friends of Birnbeck Pier 

W C & P Railway Group   

U3A Family History Group  

Guild of One Name Studies                                 

Second Hand Books

We would welcome any contributions for the 2nd Hand Book Stall  and if you could publicise the event in any way we would be very grateful.   

Society members will also be enjoying a celebratory meal at the Grand Atlantic Hotel on September 18th which is being organised by our Vice-Chairman, Peter de Dulin.

This newsletter is available for all to read, member or not, and if you find it useful perhaps you could point others in its direction.  We would value comments and suggestions either on the Web Page or on the Facebook Group to assist others with their research or adding further information. 

News TopicMonthly Update
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February 2023 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Tue, 31/01/2023 - 22:17

Hello everyone!  It’s time for another monthly Newsletter – February is often dull and miserable weather wise but I hope that during the winter months you are able to catch up with some checking of your research.  We all can make mistakes which might just be typos, but others may be more serious. How do you check your findings? You need to look again at the censuses, birth, marriage and death information, baptism and burial records, articles in newspapers, inquests, school records, maps, photographs, criminal records, and military records, etc.  As far as possible have you looked at the original documents? Do they tell the whole story?  How do you want to pass on this account of your family history. Writing it up as a narrative and questioning your findings seems to throw up additional queries.  

You may find some unanswered questions and need help to discover more information.  Someone else may well be able to offer an alternative route for your research.

Getting Help or Comparing Research

Library Free Help Session Sat Feb 4th

  • Our Society offers help in the form of a monthly free help session at Weston Library which is in the Weston-super-Mare Town Hall
  • The next one is this coming Saturday on February 4th from 2.00 p.m. until 3.30 p.m.  
  • You do not have to book – just bring along the question you want to solve and even if your family is not local the use of the Internet may well be able to break down your brick wall. 

Research Forum

  • We also have the Research Forum on the Web Site and the use of the Facebook Group to post your queries. 
  • We have many knowledgeable members who may be able to help you. 
  • Perhaps you could help others? I have found that taking a look at someone else’s problems can sometimes prompt my own research.
  • Take a look at the query posted on our web site about the preservation of original documents. Our Chair, Jenny Towey has replied given some excellent advice.

Facebook Groups

If you are thinking of joining our Facebook Group, please make sure that you answer the Membership Questions or you will not be admitted.  We are a private Group and want to make sure that the Group contains people with a real interest in researching their family. 

Apart from asking for assistance from our own Facebook Group, I also look for Facebook Groups connected to the Local History of the area in which my family lived which can also be helpful. 


Just recently I posted this newspaper item to the Gloucester Local History Facebook Group with a query about the school at which my great aunt, Sarah JONES, was caretaker and received some very useful answers.


When a particular problem is outside our own area I often use the free forum on Rootschat where you can chose the county in which your family were living and ask a particular question. Go to this site  which lists all the areas in which you can post a query.   Replies are usually very rapid and useful.

Writing up your Research

  • During January I decided to write up the story of my paternal grandmother’s family in a narrative form.
  • With a surname of JONES, I had put off delving into her history because I thought it might be difficult. 
  • However, I have found the exercise fascinating and by carefully cross matching all the various information from available resources I find I have a richer and fuller appreciation not only of her but of her family and ancestors as well.  
  • Names, Dates and Places on a tree are not the only information you need. 
  • I collected information about the JONES family in chronological order from various sources.

I was surprised to find these two notices in the Gloucester Citizen in October 1886 which indicated that all was not well with my great grandparents’ marriage and that David JONES, my great grandfather, had left his wife, Sarah, in 1885.  With several children still at home and their youngest daughter, my grandmother only about 5 and baby Herbert just a year-old, life cannot have been easy for Sarah, my great grandmother.


And the following day this entry.

By the 1891 census, Sarah was taking in lodgers, described as “Living on her own means” . At the same time, Sarah’s husband, David JONES, still a lath render, can be found lodging nearby at 9 Clifton Road, Gloucester. It is tempting to assume reasons for this, but without first hand knowledge this can be very misleading.  Sarah died from TB, from which she had been suffering for a year, in 1892 at 5 Berkeley Villas.  

Checking information on death certificates

I’ve often neglected to send to death certificates if I already have the date of death, but it does seem that in some cases it might be advisable to get a certificate to see the whole picture.

During my JONES investigation I found this newspaper announcement which suggested that David had been living at 23 Swan Road, which was the home of his daughter, Sarah Maria JONES (the school caretaker)

Although his daughter, Sarah, who did live at 23 Swan Road, gave information about him it appears that he was living at 121 Seymour Road when he collapsed and although taken to the Infirmary, he never regained consciousness.  The cause of death – Syncope, 2 days and Senility – Syncope is not really a cause of death, it is a form of fainting caused by something else, (possibly heart failure) and is not used today.

Using the address search facility of Findmypast I discovered that on the 1911 census, living at 121 Seymour Road, was another Lath Render, a Philip T. SKELTON, from Devon, so it looks as if David may have been lodging with a work mate when he died.

Between 1864 and 1884, David and Sarah JONES  had 10 children, not all surviving to adulthood, but it is important to trace the lives of all blood relations, especially if you have taken a DNA test because this is where matches may occur.

DNA – Next Society Meeting

The next face-to-face Society Meeting will be on Wednesday, February 8th at 2.30 p.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall.  Non members are welcome and the speaker will be Mandy Webb, a member of our Society, who recently appeared in an article in the “Who do you think you are?” magazine about her connections with the land in which Richard III was buried.

The title of her talk is  " Robert Herrick, Richard III and My DNA".

Zoom Workshops

Workshop on WILLS & PROBATE Feb 23rd

  • The next Zoom Workshop on Wednesday, February 23rd starting at 7.30 p.m. will be an Introduction to Wills and Probate offered by Peter Towey. 
  • Wills and where to find them vary over the years but some can be very informative.  You do need to understand the system in order to access them.
  • I was delighted to find the Will of my  3 x great grandfather, Samuel LONG who died in 1833 (before the National Probate Calendar came into existence in 1858) and a transcription can be seen here showing how it helped sort out his children and their spouses. 
  • I’m looking forward to any tips Peter can give for finding and understanding other wills.

Education Workshop - 

During the recent Zoom Workshop on Educational Records, in January, which is now available for full members to watch from our web site, I omitted to mention that a section of the Admission Register for St John’s School in Weston is available on Ancestry.  St John’s Girls’ School for 1878-1892 contains two with the surname HASE.  Here is Ada HASE born 29 Oct 1882, living in Meadow Street, where her father was a greengrocer.

This record is included in a range of Admission Books for Somerset Schools said to cover 1860-1914.  It includes St John’s Boys’ School as well for 1905-1914. 

Here are the VENN twins whose photograph I used in the Workshop. Their birthdate is given on the next page as 26th Feb 1901


It is possible that on the school photograph containing Stanley and Cecil VENN the other children might be those who entered the school at the same time and can be seen above.

Birth Places

Addresses on documents can help identify where a family was living.  By using maps such as Know Your Place and even Google Maps it may be possible to discover exactly where they lived and who their neighbours were.  The first of the JONES family to be born in Gloucester was christened at St Luke's Church with a home address of Elming Row. 

Elming Row, seen here on a map from Know Your Place, just south of the railway line had an interesting history.  According to the National Archives it was a row of cottages, formerly known as Anti Dry Rot Lane!  This area was previously owned by the Anti Dry Rot Company.  The Anti Dry Rot Co set up a works to manufacture corrosive sublimate (mercuric chloride) used in a treatment for preserving timber -  probably not the most salubrious place to live!  

Elming Row is now very near the Gloucester Quays Designer Outlet which covers the site of St Luke's Church.   

Future Society Events

  • Plans are well in hand for our Open Day to Celebrate our 40th Anniversary on May 20th when we have invited other local societies to join us at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall from 10.00 a.m. until 4.00 p.m.  
  • There will be a Dinner later in the year for members.
  • If you know of any village or school fetes during this year where we might have a stand to publicise our Society, please let us know.
  • We hope to be at Hutton again this year where we met many interesting and interested people last summer
  • We understand that Kewstoke may be having an event which includes a local history exhibition during the Coronation weekend.  Their exhibitions are always very well organised and interesting.

I hope that you will find something of interest in this newsletter in spite of the constant reference to Gloucester this month!  I have been trying to show that it is important to question your own research and look just that little bit further that the name, date and place.  Be curious about why your family was where they were, what they did and how they got there.  Ask for help to break down any brickwalls.

News TopicMonthly Update
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Technical Help
published by Brian & Pam Airey on Tue, 10/01/2023 - 11:18

We have tried to record and or stream our monthly meetings at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall and have found difficulties. Paul Tracey and I have been doing our best but struggle. Is there any member that could shadow Paul now that we hope we have sorted out the major creases in software? If that person could also take on looking after the screen, projector and amplifier that would certainly be useful.

Please consider helping your committee help members.


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Membership renewal
published by Brian & Pam Airey on Sat, 07/01/2023 - 11:28

Please remember that our subscription year runs from 1st January. Here is a gentle reminder to renew your membership if not already done so. Thank you

Brian Airey

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January 2023 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Sat, 31/12/2022 - 18:05

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m enjoying receiving yet more Christmas Cards!  Thank you to everyone who sent their good wishes, whether by snail mail. electronic means or by hand – they are all appreciated.

40th Anniversary

2023 will be a special year for this Society – We are celebrating our 40th Anniversary – In 1983 the members of an Adult Education Class organised by the then Extra Mural Department of the Weston College wanted to continue their exploration of their family history which had been ably facilitated by Brian Austin.

TextDescription automatically generatedAdvertisement from the 1982 Brochure of Adult Education Classes at the then Technical College.

I attended the Family History Workshop which held its inaugural meeting in a room at the Playhouse and the rest is history. 

Text, letterDescription automatically generatedBrian Austin, now an Honorary Life Member, will be opening this 40th Year, with a talk entitled “Tails of Old Weston” – based on some articles he wrote for the local newspaper with a nod to the donkeys of Weston  and he is happy to have this talk recorded for those full members who are not able to attend  - the title used is not to be confused with 2 booklets called “Tales of Old Weston” also written by Brian and published by the then Woodspring Museum Service.    Other available research by Brian can be found on the Worle History Site  http://www.worlehistorysociety.net/brian-austin-research/

I remember going to an early meeting of the Society, when it was just starting, which welcomed members of the Bristol & Avon FHS with some of their publications.  To my delight I found, in one of their printed booklets, a transcription of the marriage at St James’s Church in the Horsefair in Bristol of a William HASE and a Rebecca Parfrey MILLARD – an ancestor of my husband!  This was something which was new to me at that time - that so many people from Somerset went to Bristol to be married. 

The other aspect of research which this recalls was the dependence on locally produced transcriptions – no computers universally available – We were lucky in Weston Library which had the released local censuses available on film and that Brian Austin had transcribed and indexed them so that they were relatively easy to use.  By those censuses I mean the 1841, 51, 61 and 71 censuses.  Volunteers from various Family History Societies combined to produce an index to the 1881 census which was available in booklets or on fiche readable on fiche readers. It is still free of charge from several sources. The IGI – International Genealogical Index – also available on fiche from the LDS was a useful tool but at that time there was very little on Somerset parishes because of the initial lack of support from the Bishop of Bath and Wales in allowing the filming of the original records.  Our society started to produce our own transcriptions of local parishes which we reproduced in booklet form. Consequently, there was more use made of County Record Offices and Archives because as now not everything is available on the Internet or in printed transcriptions and this is worth remembering. 

Tasks for the New Year

This is now the time for reviewing our research and resolving the routes to further investigation.

The most common question you get asked if you say you are researching your family is “How far back have you got?”  But “getting back” is not the point unless you are sure of your initial findings!

Starting with yourself and assuming you know all four grandparents  - Do you know how many children your grandparents had?  Do you know how many siblings your grandparents had? How much do you know about your 16 Great grandparents? – this is especially important if you are using DNA to authenticate your research.  A second cousin twice removed can be any descendant of your great grandparents and similarly a third cousin twice removed is descended from your great grand parents so filling in these relationships can be extremely helpful in identifying DNA matches.

I can list my husband’s 16 great grandparents  – but the accuracy of names, ages, & dates of birth can be a different matter!

Take William HASE, a blacksmith, whose marriage I found at that Society meeting. He lived in Cross in the parish of Compton Bishop from at least 1819 until about 1859 when he died in Weston-super-Mare.  Note that the name of the informant on this death certificate was Rebecca HASE but entered as Rebecca HARSE ( his widow!)

TimelineDescription automatically generated Interestingly, in 1865, although William was buried in an unmarked grave in Milton Road Cemetery – (i.e.  no payment was made for a stone to be erected) a 4-month-old, Florence HASE, a granddaughter of William was buried in the same grave, showing compassion and understanding from the cemetery authorities. 

Later a payment was made by a different family and a stone to commemorate a widow, Elizabeth Louisa STONE was erected in 1906.  It is always a good idea to see who is in the same grave.  Our transcriptions are brilliant for this. http://www.wsmfhs.org.uk/milton_road.php

Surname Variants

William HASE

  • Born      in Enmore Somerset (place from 1851 census
  • Bapt       23 Feb 1787 Enmore Parish Church entered as “William HASTE"
  • Marr      3 Feb 1819 Bristol – as William HASE to Rebecca Parfrey MILLARD at St James ‘s Church, Bristol
  • Census  6 Jun 1841 Cross entered as “William HARSE”, aged 56, Blacksmith, born Somerset
  • Census  7 Apr 1851 Cross entered as “William HASE” aged 74, Blacksmith born Enmore, Blind
  • Death    7 Mar 1859 Weston-super-Mare, “William HASE” aged 87, Journeyman Blacksmith

From this you can see that his age varies considerably between the censuses and his death as does the spelling of his surname which is entered phonetically.  His 7 siblings have surnames entered at their christenings in Enmore as HASTE, ACE and HAIS all children of a William and Alice. Consequently, most of William and Alice’s descendants, except for those of our William have the surname HASTE. 

Check Original

Remember always check back to the original entries although it should be remembered that they can have errors as well.  This is the baptism of one of William & Rebecca’s children in Compton Bishop where the name has been incorrectly entered as CASE.

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The second christening on the same day was of William s/o James & Mary MILLARD – James was a brother of Rebecca, so the cousins William HASE and William MILLARD were christened together.

Interesting Ancestors

On our Facebook Page  https://www.facebook.com/groups/225868047988340/  members were asked which of their ancestors they would they like to invite to Christmas lunch and why - the answers were very interesting demonstrating many of the problems which people have to overcome in tracing ancestors. 

Why not use the Research Forum?

The Research Forum on our Web site is seldom used, – why is this?   Surely we all have brickwalls to break down?  

How to break down brickwalls

I recently came across this blog which last year (in 2021) was looking at the same problem and gives some very useful tips


Also, please avoid using family trees which have been put online – especially those on Ancestry  - unless you have checked them out and can see that they have been properly researched and not just copied from other trees.  Even where images of censuses or parish records are included – take a look at them – do they refer to the same person? – I’ve found several that do not. 

Review research

We all make mistakes – I’ve found a few in the last week when I’ve been reviewing my research. Some were just typos with numbers in dates misplaced but one was the result of forgetting to check the death records and constructing a family tree on a person who died as a baby and could not possibly be the father of a number of children!  Luckily the parents had given the next child the same name, so the error was easily corrected.

Help Sessions at the Library

Our next free Help Sessions at the Library will be on Saturday 7th January 2023 from 2.00 p.m. until 3.30 p.m. when our experienced volunteers will be on hand to answer your queries and suggest further research. All are welcome, you do not have to be members of the society or the Facebook Group. There will be internet available to assist your research. Don’t forget what is available in the library – newspapers on film, unindexed but if you know a date and have plenty of time these can be invaluable but are not yet on the internet.  On the open Shelves you will find transcriptions of Overseers’ Books from Weston, extracts from some Newspapers, Cemetery Records etc all produced by Brian Austin,  Street Directories for Weston which also include some fascinating details of public life, Electoral Rolls from about 1938, maps and many fascinating files of people and places extracted by the librarians etc. Not to mention the enormous number of local history books concerning North Somerset. 
The North Somerset Archivist visits Weston Library at intervals during the year and will bring documents from Taunton for you to see  https://swheritage.org.uk/somerset-archives/visit/north-somerset-archives/ The next visit is due on Thursday March 9th.

Next Society Workshop

The next Society Workshop will take place on Wednesday Jan 18th at 7.30pm. by Zoom. Members will be notified about the signing in procedure. It will be the postponed Workshop on "Education in Weston" which I will be leading and I am happy to have it recorded – it will include a mention of the Brynmelyn School which featured in our November edition of Buckets and Spades and also some methods of finding information about schools and teachers in Weston and other places over the years.  

Here’s to 2023!

Let’s raise our glasses to a Happy, Healthy and Successful New Year and looking forward to our first members’ meeting of our 40th Anniversary Year on January 11th with Brian Austin and our Celebratory Open Day on Saturday  May 20th when we have invited other local societies to join us at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall from 10.00 a.m. until 4.00 p.m.    

Happy New Year with a suitable Ruby background for our 40 Glorious Years!

News TopicMonthly Update
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December 2022 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Thu, 01/12/2022 - 23:38

It’s December 1st and my Alarm woke me this morning with Christmas Music so it must be  time to start opening Advent Calendars. Enjoy those chocolates!  The anticipation of Christmas is probably at its height if you have children in your family but consider the Pagan Winter Festivals in December and the probable effect that they and the traditional Christmas celebrations might have had on your family in the past.  What are your own memories of Christmas? 

Mine go back to War-time Christmases with home-made gifts, paper chains, family gatherings with singing around a piano at my grandparents’ home and the excitement of waking early to see what Father Christmas had brought! 

Society Christmas Meeting

This year will be different for our Society – for the first time in its history there will be a Members’ Meeting in December.  This will take place on Wednesday Dec 14th at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall from 2.30 p.m. when the speaker, Margaret Flux, will reveal the secrets of “Her Wonderful Curio Cabinet”.  I’m sure that there will be other seasonal offerings for your pleasure at this meeting.  Visitors are welcome at our meetings.

Free Help Session

On Saturday 3rd December there will be our usual monthly Free Help Session at Weston-super-Mare Library.  Just turn up at 2.00 p.m. with a question about your family history for our Volunteers who will be ready and willing to advise you. You do not have to be a full member of the Society to come along or only researching North Somerset families – all are welcome.

Christmas Weddings

With the holiday season fast approaching – I am wondering how many of our ancestors celebrated wedding anniversaries at this time of the year.  Using a totally unscientific test I looked at my extended family tree and found that:

  •   9 couples were married on Christmas Eve
  • 34 couples were married on Christmas Day
  • 30 couples were married on Boxing Day
  •   6 couples were married on New Year’s Eve

The number married on Boxing Day surprised me because I had thought that Christmas Day would be the day of choice and I hadn’t considered Boxing Day at all.  This article from Findmypast explains the popularity of Christmas Weddings. 

An original marriage certificate showing an example of a Christmas Day Wedding -  can anyone explain why the signature is over a postage stamp? 

This wedding took place at the Congregational Church in Waterloo Street which had been built in about 1875 to replace the one which had been in the High Street and is known to older Weston residents as the chapel which became Woolworths.

Image from Know your Place - This church was lost during the blitz, was rebuilt and is now an United Reform Church

Statistics from 2021 census

Whilst considering statistics, some of the results of the 2021 census have just been released.  The Office for National Statistics is gradually  releasing a summary of the findings.  This one concerns Religion and should be read rather than relying on the interpretation given to the results by the media. This is of particular interest to family historians when you consider the changing role that the Church has had in managing the population.  Parish Registers are a mainstay of 19th Century and earlier research.   With the diversity of the population, counting the people to aid government, education of children or support for the poor is now secular and no longer the sole concern of  Roman Catholic, Anglican or Non-conformist Communities.

The 1921 Census for Scotland

To celebrate St Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, ScotlandsPeople have included the 1921 census of Scotland on their web site  It will cost you £1.50 to view an entry which is cheaper than the English 1921 census was when it was first released on FindmyPast.  However, it is easy to get carried away with a pay for view system and spend too much  -  so be careful with your searches to ensure that you get the correct one.

Weston Worthies

Having completed the profiles of the 40 Weston Worthies whose portraits are in the Museum it has been suggested to me that next year other profiles might be completed of other Weston Notables.  Would you like to nominate who should be included? 

Surname Interests

Having entered your Surname Interests on our web site you can also add a PDF Family Tree or a profile of one of your ancestors under this heading which might help others.  All can see these interests. An example from my father's pedigree chart

Interests in Places

I have also posted under the Place Heading articles about “My connections with Mark”   and My connections with Wraxall” These are usually only available to full members but I believe I have allowed any reader to be able to see them (as they are mine) as an example of what you might post.  If you have a village or parish which is of particular interest to you perhaps you could add your connections to that place.

Free Online Resources

I’m sure I have given this link before but in case we have new members who might not be aware that as a Society we are affiliated to the  Family History Federation and that this is one of their valuable aids.       If you have the time it pays to spend some of it familiarising yourself with this site and all what it has to offer.

Videos of past meetings

For those full members who missed or want to refresh their memories, the Videos of past meetings and workshops are available once you have logged into the website and can be found listed as Videos under your name which should be under the main menu. Here is an example from a session which I led last year about the JACKSON-BARSTOW family.  Like the other videos you can watch any of them at a time convenient to you.

Facebook Group

Our Facebook Group is a Private Group with 522 members – and they can all read this Newsletter even if they are not full members of the Society.  Any FB member can answer queries which have been posted to the Group or post their own research problems  or share their successes or tips on how to find out more about family history. If you are reading this and have tried to join our Facebook Group it is important that you answer the Membership Question  or else you will not be approved. 

Future Events

As it is our 40th Anniversary Year in 2023 may I suggest that it might be appropriate to think about arranging a family gathering to celebrate your common ancestors and share the knowledge that you have gathered. 

As the original date chosen for our 40th Celebrations was also chosen to hold the Coronation our event will now take place with a Fair to be held on Saturday May 20th at Our Lady of Lourdes Church hall from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.  Local Family History and Local Groups have been invited together with other stands so keep this day free for you to be able to take part.   Make 2023 the year that your brick walls all crumble away and you see the past more clearly.

With Best Wishes for a great time spent with family and friends during the festive season, however you celebrate it.

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Forthcoming Events

Workshop by Zoom: Axbridge Workhouse: Pat Hase
Wednesday, 26th June, 2024 19:30 - 21:00
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Saturday, 6th July, 2024 14:00 - 15:30
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Library Help Session
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