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Quaker Family History
published by Brian Airey on Tue, 15/10/2019 - 19:37

The QFHS invites applications for a Margaret Bennett Research  Award to support research into any aspect of Quaker Family History in the British Isles.  Grants to the maximum of £1500, may relate to the cost of travel, reproduction of materials, and/or publication. 

For further details and an application form contact the QFHS Secretary on secretary@qfhs.co.uk. The closing date for applications is 31st December 2019

News TopicGeneral
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October 2019 Update
published by Pat Hase on Tue, 01/10/2019 - 12:51

Yesterday, Sept 30th, we enjoyed our Annual Lunch which took place at the Worlebury Golf Club.  Thank you to Peter de Dulin for organising it and it was agreed that we would do it all again next year so if you couldn’t make it today, we hope you can join us in 2020.

Thanks also to Peter Towey for his interesting talk about military medals at our last monthly meeting – so many of our families had people who took part in the first world war and we may be familiar with Pip, Squeak and Wilfred  and their variants but the more recent medals were new to me not being in a military family.  My grandfather’s records are amongst the lost WW1 ones but just last week I noticed that his name appeared in a list on FOLD3 via Ancestry – you need a subscription for FOLD3 but by using their Free Trial I was able to see information about his pension.

I hope some of you took the opportunity to visit some of the churches which were open during the Heritage Days in September.  Several of them had interesting exhibitions of their history on view and thanks to all the people who took time to answer questions about the places.

Next Saturday, October 4th, we will be taking part in the Library’s initiative to inspire people to take up a new hobby and of course we will be suggesting Family History could be the one to choose.  This “Fun Palace” will be operating from 10.00 – 12 noon and the afternoon Free Help Session will be running as usual.  If you can spread the word to others outside the Society, it would be appreciated.  Full details can be seen here.  

On October 12th the Weston & District FHS Stand will be at the Glamorgan FHS Open Day hoping to help all those “Welsh” people whose families came from Somerset!  If you live on that side of the Bristol Channel do make yourselves known to Graham Payne and Bill Caple who will be managing the stand.

WW2  Memories

At our last meeting it was suggested again to me that we might be able to produce a booklet about people’s memories of WW2.  Some articles have already gone to Sue for inclusion in the next edition of Buckets and Spades but I would be glad to receive any more so that we can see whether this booklet is possible.  First or secondhand memories and photographs are welcome of life in Britain during WW2. As I mentioned last month. Any accounts of the blitz on Weston or elsewhere, experiences of evacuation or the “Make do and Mend” culture, food and rationing and anything else which would give those who follow us an idea of what life was like.

Music in Weston

I have also had several queries lately about people who were musicians in Weston.  Some were of German ancestry while others were local.  Names include DEAHL, PFAFF, MOGG, BURGESS, CORELLI, WINDEATT, WAGNER etc.  If you have a musician in your family please can you let me know because this might be of interest to others.

Aspects of Family History Research

  • A couple of years ago I enrolled on the free online course on Family History hosted by Strathclyde University and found it very worth while and recommend it if you want to brush up your research techniques.  I know that some other members have benefitted from it and the next course starts on the 28th of October.  It’s a five week course and is suitable for all, beginners and those with some experience.
  • If you are following the Rugby World Cup in Japan you may be interested in the My Heritage research into the DNA of 4 former world class players.  Essentially an advert for My Heritage DNA but I still feel that the most important results of DNA testing are not the aspects of ethnicity but the connections made and confirmed by traditional research  
  • Findmypast has a free blog which has some interesting items – In particular during September it put on an article about tracing the family tree of Tess DALY who introduces the BBC programme Strictly Come Dancing   It is a step by step guide to research which shows how some errors can occur on original documents.
  • We have talked a lot lately about how we can get younger people interested in Family History.  Essex Record Office has produced a series of brief power-point presentations intended for use by school teachers but the content is of interest to anyone who is researching their family and want to find more that just names and dates – these give a background into the social history and lives of our ancestors 
  • If, like me, you are still waiting for Wills and Probates you ordered way back in July – it seems that they grossly underestimated that response that the reduction in price would produce – you are encouraged to wait patiently because contacting them simply lengthens the process.   The wills I have received have given me some surprises and answered some questions.  As I probably would not have ordered them at the original price, they are well worth the wait.

Our next meeting at the Vintage Church is on the 4th Tuesday of October – that’s October 22nd – and the subject will be Somerset Photographers 1839-1939. Phil Nichols and Robin Ansell will be discussing the project of cataloguing all the known photographers operating in Somerset at that time. With Allan Collier they have produced a book and CD entitled “Secure the Shadow”, published by the Somerset & Dorset FHS which lists all the named photographers many of whom operated in Weston-super-Mare.

The Help Sessions in the Library on Saturday afternoons 2.00 ‘til 3.30 p.m. and the Facebook Group continue to attract new people and we hope that some will join our society

News TopicMonthly Update
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Fun Palace Sat Oct 5th
published by Pat Hase on Sat, 28/09/2019 - 17:03

We will have a stand at this event and will try to encourage more people to take up this hobby.  Why not join us?

News TopicEvents
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Addition to Sept Update
published by Pat Hase on Fri, 06/09/2019 - 20:03

The announcement that the images from the Bristol Parish Registers were going to be released by Ancestry on Friday Sept 6th came after the Sept Update was published.  More details about this can be seen on the Ancestry Blog.  I've found the baptism of one illegitimate child for whom I already had a birth certificate which named a father!   Vicar knows best?!!  He did write in the margin "Not for the Parish Magazine!"

News TopicMonthly Update
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Churchill John the Baptist Monumental Inscriptions
published by Graham Payne on Tue, 03/09/2019 - 10:40

The Churchill John the Baptist MIs are now available for society members to view online.

Please report any transcript errors or information regarding incomplete entries to the author of this news article.

News TopicTranscripts
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September 2019 Update
published by Pat Hase on Sun, 01/09/2019 - 0:53

On September 3rd it will be 80 years since the outbreak of WW2.  If you have any memories of this time – your own or your parents’ memories - we would love to hear them before it is too late! Thank you to Ben Simpson for his article in the July edition of Buckets & Spades. Were you or your parents evacuated?  Did you have evacuees billeted with you?  Was your home damaged during the war?  What effect did the war have on your family?  Can you remember food rationing?  Did you have clothes made for you from parachute silk?  What about Utility furniture? Etc.

This is part of a photo-letter sent to me from my father in 1945 from Italy after he had been severely wounded at Monte Cassino in 1944.  I have several of these letters which were photographed and reduced in size before sending.

WW2 Research

  • The National Archives has many research guides to assist your research into the Second World War and many of them have resources available online.
  • The National Archives has also re-issued some videocasts done for the 70th anniversary which tell the real stories behind some of the well-known WW2 films
  • Historic England has published some aerial views of Weston which includes some interesting shots of wartime Weston including air-raid shelters on the Beach lawns and Reservoirs on Alexandra Parade

Dates for September

  • North  Somerset Archivist - Thursday 5 September  will be the next archivist visit to Weston-super-Mare Library- Sessions are open from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm, and from 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm  For more information and to order documents to be brought to the library contact Somerset Archives somersetarchives@swheritage.org.uk Please give 2 days notice.
  • Heritage Open Days 2019 - 13 - 22 September Every year in September, places across the country throw open their doors to celebrate their heritage, community and history. It’s your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – and it’s all FREE.   In North Somerset many of the Churches will be open - some having special exhibitions of their archives and some, St Mary’s Church at Portbury (for one) offering cream teas!  Take a look at all the places which will be open they include The Town Quarry in Weston, The Curzon Cinema at Clevedon, Uphill Church on the hill, The Mayor’s Parlour in Weston, etc. See Heritage Open Days for full details of places open in North Somerset 
  • Society’s Monthly Meeting - Tuesday September 24th our meeting at the Vintage Church in Hughenden Road will feature Peter Towey with British War Medals as his topic.  If you have any which you cannot identify or with a particular history please bring them along. 
  • Bristol & Avon FHS Open Day - Saturday September 28th We will have a stand at this Open Day on with many other organisations offering help with your research.  If you have even a passing interest in postcards, mining, Canadian research, Military matters, quilts, Railways, Caribbean research or maps as well as family history there will be something there to interest you.  Local History Groups, Family History Societies from Wales, Warwickshire and the South West, Record Offices and commercial enterprises which support your research will all be on hand to help you.  For full detail go to the Bristol & Avon web site  
  • Our Annual Lunch - Monday Sept 30th   The Society’s Annual Autumn Lunch will take place at Worlebury Golf Club – full details in the July edition of Buckets & Spades.  Contact Peter de Dulin if you have any queries.

Using family history research techniques for other purposes.

Many of us are also interested in house histories and research the families which lived in them.  The BBC programme “A House through Time” is an example of this and I understand that the next series in 2020 will feature a house in Bristol.  Researching a single street (a short one is best!) can provide an amazing amount of information about the area in which our ancestors lived. 

A display of Classic Cars in Weston recently reminded me that over the years, our family has owned and enjoyed a number of vintage cars.  As it was in the 1960s when we bought our first one, it was more difficult to find out about previous owners and the history of the cars. Today it is easier. Although the old log books with names and addresses of previous owners are no longer in use, it is often possible to find mention of the owners and even sometimes a photograph in newspaper archives.  Specialist car clubs have their own archives and museums and other enthusiasts have often posted histories and photographs of their cars on other sites.   I was surprised recently to find online a letter written by my husband in the archives of Motor Sport Magazine!

Researching one car gave us a happy time in Worcester Record Office looking for the original 1923 registration of a car that carried later number plates.  The records held there for cars registered in Worcestershire were fantastic and we eventually managed to get the original number back again.  That car also took us to the Museum of the South Staffordshire Regiment for information about the first owner where we also found a photograph of him.  We visited where the first owner had lived and a neighbour gave us information which led to us taking the car to see a close friend of the original chauffeur who was able to give us more information.  All very similar to tracing a member of your family.

Family Trees on Ancestry.

I recently posted a photo of my great grandmother, Annie STOKES, on our Facebook Group and have been looking at her side of my family.  She was one of 15 children and there are currently 31 trees on Ancestry which include her parents, Charles & Lavinia STOKES nee SPERRIN. 

The first one I looked at had 4 different birth dates for Charles STOKES – 1819, 1820, 1821 and 1833.  The first two dates I can understand as he was christened on the 2nd Jan 1820 at Wraxall and unless he was christened immediately it is likely that he was born in 1819.  The 1821 date was taken from an entry on the 1841 census where ages are approximated to the nearest 5 years downwards.  Unfortunately, the wrong Charles STOKES had been picked up.  This tree has chosen a Charles STOKES living in Shepton Mallet in 1841 whereas my Charles was still in Wraxall.  Just to confuse matters the researcher adds the Shepton Mallet “parents” of Charles to the tree.  I could go on, but I am now trying to get in contact with the owner of this tree!

Do check any tree before adding anything from it to your own research!

Research Forum.

I have posted a query twice on the Research Forum about Samuel STOKES (Father of the Charles STOKES) baptised in Wraxall in 1793 said to be the son of Joseph & Martha.  Neither time did I get any response, so I posted a similar query on the free Rootschat Forum and immediately had some really helpful suggestions which made me ask myself “Now, why didn’t I think of that?”  One of which was simply - did I have a death certificate which might show a relationship?  This led me to wonder whether members are not using our Forum because they think their query is too silly or the answer to someone else is too obvious?  Believe me, you can spend so much time going over in your own mind your own brickwalls but another person looking at the problem may see it from a different angle and make really useful suggestions.  A member once commented that they couldn’t answer any of the queries because they didn’t refer to their own tree.  The query might not be about your own research but in many cases you can use your own experience of how you built your own tree to help others.

Free Help Sessions

Many thanks to all the volunteers who turn up each Saturday not knowing what they are going to be asked to look at.  Today, the last Saturday in August, we looked at Indian Records – How do you send for an Indian Marriage Certificate?   We unearthed the marriage of a young woman who we eventually discovered used her stepfather’s surname when she married which was why we couldn’t find her marriage in the first place.  A young Air or Army cadet came in looking for a member of the Home Guard who had died in 1944.  The local newspapers which are on film (not online) gave us details of his inquest and funeral and our own transcriptions gave his burial in the Cemetery. 

News TopicMonthly Update
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