LoginRegister About us Contact us Terms & Conditions

News & Information

December 2018 Update
published by Pat Hase on Sun, 02/12/2018 - 17:07

It’s coming up to Christmas when families traditionally gather.  Here are some ideas for questions to ask members of your family to help jog memories.  It doesn’t have to be only the  oldest members of the family you talk to – replies from all ages will show how things have changed over even recent years!  Get the youngest members to contribute as well.  Answering the questions yourself might suggest things to be included as you write up your own family history.

Newspapers and Archives

Christmas is a time of celebration but looking at the resources which are available giving information about family members I am struck by the thought that many of them do not record happy times.  Records of Criminal proceedings, transportation, Workhouses, Asylums, Debtors Courts, Coal mining accidents, Military operations, etc. all tend to look at the harder side of life.  How did our ancestors enjoy themselves? 

  • You might have photographs of your family on holiday.  Where did they go?  How did they get there?
  • It is still true to say that bad news sells newspapers, but it is often possible to find evidence of what your ancestors did in their spare time.  The reporting of Sporting events often reveal an ancestor as part of a football or cricket team, or as a member of a boat competing in a Regatta. 
  • Flower and Produce Shows are often lovingly reported if your great grandfather won a prize for his turnips you can find that.  Your great grandmother might have won a prize for keeping a tidy cottage or for her strawberry jam.  These small titbits all add to the story of your family. 
  • Parish Entertainments may also show children dancing or singing, or taking part in amateur theatrical offerings.  A relation of mine regularly is found entertaining the inmates at a local Workhouse at Christmas!
  • The British Newspaper Archive, which is also available as part of the Findmypast subscription is a way to find Family announcements as well as your family name mentioned in news items.
  • Don’t forget that your library card allows you to have free access to the Times and other sites at home. The North Somerset Libraries Online provision can be found here (add NSC before your barcode number).    Look to see what is available where you live. You may not think that your family would get into the Times but you might be surprised – if your family name isn’t mentioned try searching for the place which they lived as you may find useful information. 
  • For more recent articles try the Newsstream Website also accessible by Library card (just underneath the Times Digital Archve)  - this can give obits and news items from the 1990s until the present day
  • Do try the John Johnson Collection as well as this is can be a really lucky dip.  Use the Jpeg version which highlights the words which you searching for – click on the highlighted number for a view of the page.  For example, searching for “Weston-super-Mare” - the first example (for a hair restorer) gives a photo of a Mr R H NICHOLLS  living in Montpelier and his letter of praise on Page 3.  Another example is in The Weekly Times of November 1st 1911 which publishes a letter praising Allinson’s flour by a Minnie JARVIS with details about her family which match the entry on the 1911 census in Meadow Street exactly.  Interestingly she says her family is vegetarian and we find her husband is a fruiterer on the census.


Years ago, when I started my family history research, one of the first ports of call was the LDS with its IGI (International Genealogical Index).  Then it was available on fiche.  As the computer took over from transcriptions on fiche, I think the LDS records, which were eventually made available online became overlooked in favour of some of the commercial sites for which you had to pay. Familysearch  www.familysearch.org is still a free site and has an ever-increasing number of records available – some even have images of the original documents.   Like all web sites it takes time to get acclimatised and get the most from it, but worth the effort. 

Scottish Ancestors

Do you have Scottish Ancestors?   This is worth checking out.  It is a free site called  Scottish Indexes. If you use the Advanced Search don’t forget to scroll down the page to get all the results.  This seems an excellent site to use - possibly before spending money on Scotlandspeople

Society news

The AGM was held at the November meeting and the Committee was re-elected.   As Peter de Dulin and I are out of action at the moment - until we are able to return, Jenny Towey is continuing as Acting Chair supported as usual by Brian Airey as Secretary and Roy Smith as Treasurer. 

New Co-opted Committee Members

Bill Caple is returning to the committee and joining him is Brian Yandell and we welcome them both. 

Honorary Life Membership

At the AGM two long-standing and hard-working members were presented with Honorary Life Membership.  The committee wanted to express its thanks in a tangible way in recognition of all their efforts on behalf of the society and for their generous gift of time and expertise.

  • Brian Airey, membership number 241, currently our Secretary with all that entails but has been Chairman (at one time simultaneously with being Secretary), looks after our library and arranges our visits to Archives all with a cheerful and supportive attitude.
  • Graham Payne, membership number 461, is our Membership Secretary and is the person responsible for the transcriptions to be found on our site as well as overseeing our web site (with Paul Tracey). Graham also organises our stand at Family History Fairs and maintains the equipment used by our Help Desk at such events with a quiet efficiency which benefits us all. 

Buckets and Spades

The latest edition of Buckets and Spades is now available, and all full members should have access to a copy by now.  It highlights the commemoration of the end of WW1.  The deadline for articles for the February edition is January 31st 2019 and Sue Maguire is looking forward to receiving them.

As can be seen  elsewhere on our web site  we have published “May They Rest in Peace”  about those who died during that war from the Parishes of Hutton, Bleadon and Locking and researched and edited by Paul Tracey.  

Some of the events which took place in Weston and district to recognise the Armistice were very moving and congratulation to all those who organised or took part in them.  History really comes alive when you can connect to it through your own family.  I have recently been looking at a WW2 Roll of Honour for a Scout group – I’m sure that when the children see the local addresses of those names on the memorial it will become more than just a list of names.  How can we, as a society, encourage the interest of the younger generation? Next year is 80 years since the start of WW2 – perhaps we should chronicle memories of that before everyone who can remember are no longer with us?

Facebook Page

Lorna Gibson would like to hear from anyone who is familiar with Facebook with a view to getting the society’s new Page launched.  The ground work has been done but she needs some assistance to open it to others.  Looking at other society Facebook pages they do seem to attract new members and are a way of letting others know that we exist.  Please contact Lorna if you can help.

Library Help Sessions

These will continue in the Library on Saturday afternoons as usual but the volunteers are taking a well earned rest on Dec 22nd and Dec 29th when they will not be there – staring again on Saturday, January 5th 2019.   If you have any questions in the meantime please use the Research Forum  or the “Contact Us” facility using the Research Queries Category.

Membership Subscriptions

Subscriptions cover the calendar year from Jan 1st – Dec 31st and are now due and you can pay at the next meeting, use the form in the centre of Buckets and Spades or pay by credit card via the Parish Chest website.  See full details here 

Next Meeting

There is no meeting in December while you celebrate Christmas but we look forward to the January meeting - on the 4th Tuesday in January - which will be Bill Caple talking about the effect of the 1903 storm and resulting flooding in Weston-super-Mare.  The full list of Speakers for next year will also be available at that meeting.

Wishing all our members and visitors to our site a Very Joyous Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

News TopicMonthly Update
  login or join us now to post comments
Free Weekend from Findmypast
published by Pat Hase on Fri, 09/11/2018 - 14:41

To mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, Findmypast are offering free access to their records including newspapers this weekend.  It is available from noon on Friday 9th November until noon (GMT) on Monday 12th November 2018.

News TopicResources
  login or join us now to post comments
Skidmores in WW1 Exhibition at Weston Museum
published by Graham Payne on Fri, 02/11/2018 - 9:05

News TopicPeople
  login or join us now to post comments
November 2018 Update
published by Pat Hase on Wed, 31/10/2018 - 21:43

100 years ago this month saw the end of WW1 which is being widely commemorated with gratitude and with remembrance of the terrible loss of life.  In Weston there will be several events to mark this occasion and details can be found on our own web site and here under Pages of the Sea  Do take a look to see what is going on and remember that although the war was officially over, deaths from influenza of returning soldiers continued to be recorded well into 1919. 

For those who have ancestors in Wedmore there is a very moving  Facebook Page called The Isle of Wedmore Remembers which has been active since 2014 remembering the fact that the Isle of Wedmore in Somerset sent over 400 of its men to fight during the First World War.  It has highlighted each of these men on the 100th anniversary of their death and a book listing all involved has been published information about it on the Facebook Page.

Our society is publishing a book covering the people from Bleadon who were involved in the First World War and has been researched by Paul Tracey – Look out for information when it will be available.

Latest Resources


  • This free site now includes Irish Civil Registration records of births from 1864 to 1913, marriages from 1845 to 1870 and deaths from 1864 to 1870.   Go to Ireland Civil Registration, 1845-1913 which isn’t the index but does have other information such as mother’s maiden name on births and father’s names on marriage entries.
  • Also on Familysearch are some Passenger lists of ships which arrived at Sydney from the UK between 1839 and 1923.  These are unassisted passengers and do not include convict ships. They are listed under Australia, Victoria, Inward Passenger Lists, 1839-1923 and are free to use.

School Records

  • The Genealogist had advertised an increase in the school records which it has on offer.  I’ve been checking them out and they seem to be largely for private schools.
  • I note that FindmyPast has a great many National School admission books which give the dates of birth and guardians of the pupils.
  • Ancestry gives access to London School Records under the heading  London, England, School Admissions and Discharges, 1840-1911.

The Research Forum

The Research Forum has been rather quiet lately, does this mean that you have no research queries at all?  It doesn’t matter if your question is not about a problem based in a North Somerset Parish – we have members with expertise in all parts of the country who may be able to help you.  The Forum is indicative of the activity of our membership and others reading the questions and answers are helped with new ideas and suggestions for their own research so please make use the forum. 

Saturday Help Sessions

The numbers coming in to the Saturday help Sessions in Weston Library usually rise in September/October with new members starting their family history in the Autumn. This hasn’t happened this year and the volunteers have been busy doing their own research instead of helping others.  You do not have to be a member to come into the Library and there is no charge for advice.   Please spread the word to anyone who might be thinking about starting their research (or are stuck and feeling frustrated) that help is at hand. 

Autumn Lunch

Unfortunately, I missed the Autumn Lunch this year but I am told that a good time was had by all and it was an excellent meal in the company of like-minded people enjoying an informal social gathering.  Many thanks to Peter de Dulin for organising what is becoming an annual event.

Society Meetings

  • Peter spoke at the September meeting about his research and it was reported to me that he was entertaining and informative.
  • In October the society welcomed Shirley Hodgson with some timely advice about basic research techniques and a reminder that well-resourced research is essential to produce an accurate list of ancestors.
  • November brings our AGM and a light-hearted Members’ Evening.

Jim & Margaret Nigh

At the October meeting Jim and Margaret Nigh relinquished their long-standing roles of guardians of the Exchange Journals.  We are so grateful to them for expertly taking control of the Journals for so long and hope that we will continue to see them at some meetings when they feel that they can attend from their home in Bristol.  Thank you both.

If you have any Journals from other societies to which you belong please consider sharing them with our members by bringing them to meetings as we would like to continue the service which has for such a long time been supported by the Nighs.

Society News

I must finish with my heart-felt thanks for all the messages of good will I received during the sessions of chemotherapy which I am having.  Sadly, the first session went pear shaped and I ended up in hospital for 12 days but I’m glad to say I am now much better and am about to start another session this week.  Although I will not be attending meetings while my immune system is lowered I hope that once this is all over I will be able to take full part in the society’s activities.

It never rains but it pours and Peter de Dulin, our Vice-Chair, who was standing in for me, is now in hospital waiting for heart surgery following a heart attack. We wish you a speedy recovery Peter and send our best wishes to Gillian at this time while we look forward to you joining us again.

We have been very fortunate in that Jenny Towey has offered to temporarily hold the fort until either Peter or I return, and she will be taking the chair at the AGM.  To have someone with Jenny’s experience available and willing to take over is a tremendous benefit to the society and the committee is very grateful for her support.

News TopicMonthly Update
  login or join us now to post comments
Pages of the Sea
published by Paul Tracey on Mon, 29/10/2018 - 14:09



Film-maker Danny Boyle invites you to join him in marking 100 years since
Armistice and the end of the First World War. On 11 November 2018,
communities will gather on beaches across the UK to say goodbye and thank
you, to the millions of men and women who left their shores during the war,
many never to return.

     In Weston-super-Mare, Theatre Orchard offers
         Thursday 8 November, 3-5pm

      Loves Café, Weston Street, Weston-super-Mare BS23 1JR

Please reserve your free space by emailing info@theatreorchard.org.uk as soon
as possible: there is a limited number of places on this workshop.

“The pages of history must never be wiped clean. One hundred years on, we
must remember.  In this creative writing workshop, we will read and
appreciate some of the powerful writing that was produced in the 1914-18 War
and you will have the opportunity to write your own page in the sea of
remembrance in whichever way you think best.”

Writers and experienced workshop leaders Bob Walton and Sue Hill present this
free public workshop which is open to all.

For further information about all the Pages of the Sea activities in Weston,
go to:

News TopicGeneral
  login or join us now to post comments
Parish Transcripts Updates
published by Graham Payne on Wed, 10/10/2018 - 7:55

The following parish transcripts have been updated and are now available for Society members to view online.

Congresbury baptisms, marriages and burials to include the period 1916-1918

St Pauls Weston Super Mare baptisms to include the period 1912-1918

Please report any transcript errors to the author of this news article.

News TopicTranscripts
  login or join us now to post comments
Page 13 of 59 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Forthcoming Events

Society Meeting
Tuesday, 29th September, 2020 19:00 - 21:00
Society Meeting
Tuesday, 27th October, 2020 19:00 - 21:00
Society Meeting
Tuesday, 24th November, 2020 19:00 - 21:00
<- View calendar for more

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