It’s the 1st of March today, St David’s Day, the Patron Saint of Wales, when the Welsh amongst us proudly wear a daffodil (or leek) and we all celebrate the coming of Spring. Today, the weather is hardly Spring-like, with dire warnings of snow, and I wonder how our ancestors, without the benefit of detailed weather forecasting, managed!
Lois Sparshott gave an interesting and thought-provoking presentation about how you might write up your family history. She gave many useful tips on how to start and suggested ways of structuring your writing to make it accessible to your reader.
Writing as Lois Elsden she is a published author and several of her books have a genealogical theme. Her latest, published as a paperback, is called Radwinter. You can read more about her and the contents of her talk here. During the questions following her talk Lois also spoke about self-publishing using Kindle via Amazon and this was of interest to some of our members.
Releases during February
During February there were some welcome new releases of information including a new database of prisoners on board the Prison Hulks and the coloured Tithe Maps of Buckinghamshire accompanied by a helpful article about Tithe Maps.
Buckets and Spades
Thanks to Sue Maguire (and Paul) we now have available the latest edition of our Journal. Following our February meeting it is hoped that you will be inspired to write short articles based on your family research. It doesn’t have to be about Weston families – many of our local members are researching people from different parts of the country. The deadline for inclusion in the June issue is in May but Sue would love to have any before that so that she can produce a balanced edition.
Events during March
The Free Help Sessions in the Libraries continue throughout March – so if you would like some individual advice or are stuck with a brickwall do use these events to see if we can help. All details on the website. You don’t have to be a member to get help!
DNA and me
I’ve had a DNA test done and one of my possible links has the surname JONES! A man in Australia shares some DNA with me and he is descended from a JONES transported to Tasmania in 1832 for a crime committed in a village in Wiltshire. The same village in which my great grandfather, David JONES was born in 1838. My paper research hasn’t yet shown a firm connection yet but of course it could have been several generations before this. All this points to
- the need to continue widening my JONES research in this area
- Including the siblings of my direct ancestors (and the convict’s ancestry) just in case!
It also shows that
- DNA can provide additional chromosomal evidence.
- DNA does not, and never can, replace traditional document-based research
Looking at DNA testing in general and the results posted by individuals it seems to me that a great many people have had DNA tests done with little or no understanding or experience of traditional research. Have a look at the You-tube videos of people discussing their results – mainly about the ethnicity results. They seem to take the ethnicity results at face value, but these results can vary, depending upon which company you have used and the make-up of their data bases. If you match with one of these people, then it becomes difficult to identify where the connection might be because they haven’t done the ground work. The more genealogists who test the greater your chances will be of a match.
However, I am making some progress with my elusive JONES which I would not have done without the DNA test.
Thursday April 12th
the Society visits The National Archives at Kew – a few seats still available contact our Secretary, Brian Airey for more details
Saturday April 14th
FFHS "Every Ancestor Matters" Conference at MShed, Prince’s Wharf, Wapping Road, Bristol, BS1 4RN
Full details including Speakers can be see here
Tuesday April 17th
A Family History Workshop The Pleasures and Pitfalls of Family History Research – April 17th from 2.00 until 4.00pm at the Weston Museum – more details here
Members of the Society will be leading this Workshop and all are welcome to attend whether you are members of the Society or not.
Saturday April 21st
ALHA Local History Day ALHA Local History Day at UWE Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol from 9.30 – 4.30 pm. The theme this year is RELIGION AND COMMUNITY, CONFLICT AND CHANGE – and includes as a Speaker, Wendy Thompson, representing the LDS and who has been Chair and Secretary of our Society. She will be talking about “How the Mormons came to Bristol and Grew.” Full details of topics and the other speakers are included in the PDF document at the end of this Update
Apart from knowing Wendy, I am interested in her topic because attached to my tree I have a family with one of their children born in Salt Lake City – the rest in Bristol after their return. A daughter of this child’s grandfather’s sister (I didn’t say it was a close relation!) went to Salt Lake City and became one of the seven polygamous wives of Benjamin Franklyn Johnson an elder of the Church.
Roots Tech 2018 – Salt Lake City
Roots Tech is a family history and technology conference and trade show held annually in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is taking place as I write this and in looking for information about it I came across this item which I found worth considering– Do We Still Need Genealogy Societies? A conversation with Josh Taylor - This was recorded at Roots Tech 2016 but actually asks a very relevant question at a time when we are considering using Social Media to link with possible members and others who share our interests. What do you think?
To find out more about Roots Tech go to this web page about Roots Tech 2018
A founder member of the society and an honorary Life Member, George Knox, (membership number was 13) passed away on his 92nd birthday in February. George and his late wife, Millie, were enthusiastic members of the society supporting many activities.
In 1990 George was Treasurer and Millie was Secretary and they were in charge of our stand at a time when there were many more Family History Fairs and Open Days than there are now. Consequently, they became well-known to the members of other societies. Millie became editor of our Journal and George became the Membership Secretary, positions which they held throughout the 1990s. He produced Booklets of Members’ Interests and George would take early transcriptions of parish records and censuses to Shows for people to search (before these appeared online). When the 1891 census was released George oversaw a team of transcribers working on the local area and the result was published in booklet format.
Any society depends on the work done by its members and we have been lucky to have had many members who have worked tirelessly on its behalf over the years. We are grateful to all who contribute including the Coffee and Tea makers!
Neil Gibson will be guiding us through the gentle art of digital photography and editing so that we can make the most of our old photographs when illustrating our family history.
If you know of any new resources which have become available, please post them as a comment to this Update