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August 2018 Update
published by Pat Hase on Tue, 31/07/2018 - 21:17

As I write this I am watching the antics of three young seagulls on a neighbouring roof trying out their wings.  They are flapping away furiously and occasionally have a tiny successful lift off but immediately they are back where they started.  It’s a bit like family history research!  I’ve been flapping away trying to break down some brick walls and so it was great at our last meeting to hear from members who had successfully unravelled their families.  Thank you to Peter, Ann, Arlene, Anne, Pamela and Sue who shared the results of their research. It was interesting to hear how they had managed to solve their problems and it gave ideas of other routes to take. 

August is always a quieter time for family history; we do not have a meeting but we will be at Weston Library each Saturday afternoon as usual.  The web site has been very quiet as well – very few research queries – does this mean that you have no brick walls?!

In July, I had the pleasure of attending a granddaughter’s wedding and the whole day was a delight; joyous and uplifting. But it brought home to me the recognition of how impossible it is to know exactly what took place when our ancestors married.  Sometimes, if you are lucky, a newspaper account will list the bride and groom, their attendants, what they wore, the church music, the guests, their presents and where they went for their honeymoon.  More often all you have are the bare details on the marriage certificate and are left to imagine the ceremony.  If, as happened in many cases, a North Somerset couple were married in Bristol and the witnesses were not relations or friends but those used for other weddings at that church – how was the service conducted?  There was an article in the Telegraph in 2009 which explored some of the traditions of the marriage ceremony.  You can read it here

Familysearch as a free site is very useful and does contain images of some of their resources.  This article has just been published which explains how to find these hidden records which are not always obvious.  Although the example given was for an American record the same method can be used to locate British records. 

If you have been following Who do you think you are or have missed an episode you can read about them on FindmyPast.  You do not need to have a subscription for this

  • Boy George and his Irish Ancestry can be discovered by clicking on Boy George
  • Lee Mack’s investigation can be followed by clicking on Lee Mack 

The Genealogist also has items about Who do you think you are:

  • The one concerning Shirly Ballas can be seen without a subscription by clicking on Shirley Ballas
  • The Genealogist also has items about people from previous series – they claim that the most popular one is about Danny Dyer

MyHeritage has a useful article about the Irish Famine which you can access without a subscription by clicking here 

Keep up to date with what is happening in Federation of Family History Societies by looking at their home page. If you scroll down you will find a link to their Really Useful Leaflet which - if you have never seen it- is really useful!  

It was sad that the Family History Magazine which you could read online by using your North Somerset library card ceased to be published in March but there are so many other magazines available including the BBC History Magazine which you may like.  You find them by going to the North Somerset Library Onlinelibrary and scrolling down until you get to eMagazines. All free of charge.

If you can add any ideas you have which might help other members to break down thhose brick walls please add them as a comment to this item,

The young seagulls have just taken off but have landed on the wrong roof and are now puzzled about how they got there.  I said it was like researching family history!

Happy Holidays – See you in September.

News TopicMonthly Update
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New WsM Milton Road Cemetery Burial Transcripts
published by Graham Payne on Thu, 19/07/2018 - 12:08

The WsM Milton Road Cemetery burial records (books 29-40) covering the period 1924-1942 are now available for Society members to view online.

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

News TopicTranscripts
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Free Weekend on Ancestry 6th-9th July
published by Pat Hase on Fri, 06/07/2018 - 21:02

Forget Football and find your ancestors! For four full days from 6-9 July, you can explore all the UK and Irish records, including the newly added 1939 Register, for free.  Go here for more details.  Good Luck!

News TopicResources
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July 2018 Update
published by Pat Hase on Sun, 01/07/2018 - 21:58

Thanks to Sue Maguire for the June edition of Buckets and Spades – which included information about a Local History Exhibition which is held at St Augustine’s Church, Locking showing interesting facts about Locking Village and the former RAF Locking.  If you go on any Thursday afternoon you can also get some refreshments.  This made me think about other places you could visit during the summer months.

  • Weston Past & Present – An Aerial Photography Exhibition 23rd June 2018  -  10th Jan 2019 in the Grand Pier’s Tiffany’s Restaurant.  These photographs are part of the Heritage Action Zone work in Weston and show a selection of recent images taken by Historic England next to images of Weston which were taken many years ago.  The aerial images in this exhibition come from the Historic England Archive.  You can also find historic photos of Weston on Britain from Above
  • While on the Pier you might find the Museum of Memories interesting. It’s situated on the 1st Floor of the Grand Pier neat the Go Karts and may bring back memories of your childhood.
  • Associated with the Heritage Action Zone Project, North Somerset Council has produce a “Gems of Weston Walk” which takes you around the centre of Weston-super-Mare.  Full details of the Walk with a map and descriptions of the building you pass on route can be seen here
  • Weston Museum is hosting a free “Know Your Place”  mapping day on Saturday July 21st from 11.00am – 3.00pm.  “Know your Place” is a really useful free resource for family historians and although originally covering Bristol it now includes the surrounding counties including Devon and enables you to see and use maps such as tithe maps, enclosure maps, OS maps, etc. so that you can see how the area in which you are interested in has developed over the years.
  • Weston Library has been holding a sale of Local History Books and over the past few weeks I have purchased (very cheaply) several old books which were surplus to requirements in the Library.  You may find something of interest there – if the volunteers on a Saturday haven’t already pounced!

Volunteer certificateTalking of Volunteers – we were touched by and grateful for a certificate which was presented to the Volunteers at Libraries in North Somerset recently.   The only Help Sessions which we are now offering are those on a Saturday afternoon at Weston Library from 2.00 - 3.30pm.  We enjoy the challenge of assisting anyone who comes in and it’s great when we solve a problem which has been puzzling someone for a while and also share with them a sense of achievement.  

The other way of breaking down brick walls or getting a second opinion about your research is to use the Research Forum  on our Web Site.  It has been rather quiet recently so now is a good time to ask that question which has been troubling you and if can offer advice please do so.  I’m still waiting for someone to comment on my STOKES query!  Has anyone else found an entry in a parish register where it looks as if the wrong name is used?

From July 9th the 2018 series of “Who do Think You Are?” will continue in earnest with Olivia Coleman. These programmes, designed as entertainment, although giving a glimpse into the methodology of family history research do raise expectations of a quick and easy result.  However I do enjoy them and can gain some inspiration even if I will not be travelling around the world to visit the haunts of my ancestors.

Last December the Who Do you Think You Are? Magazine published an article “How well do you know family history resources?”  If you go to this page  and click in the text on the word “here” you can have try at a simple(?) test to see how well you know your resources. 

If you have found any resources which have been particularly helpful please add them as a comment to this Update.

Our next Monthly meeting – on July 24th – when we will be looking at how we record and pass on our research to our families.  Please bring along any examples you have of how you keep your research up together and how you tell others about what you have found.  It will be an opportunity to tell others what you have found out about your families - perhaps as a display - or if you can produce a short presentation please let me know so we can work out how best to arrange the evening.  Some tips for writing up your family history can be found here

We do not have a meeting in August but on Sept 25th we welcome our vice-chairman, Peter de Dulin with a talk entitled - Whatever Happened To Henry Charles Jewell And Other Mysteries? – sounds intriguing.

Shortly afterwards, on Oct 1st we will have our Autumn Lunch – menu in Buckets and Spades.  If you would like to join us please contact Peter de Dulin by using the contact us button at the top of the page.   

Wishing you all a Happy Summer Holiday – I’m off to a granddaughter’s wedding so that’s a whole new family to add to my tree! 

News TopicMonthly Update
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New Wedmore Burial Transcripts
published by Graham Payne on Thu, 07/06/2018 - 10:01

The Wedmore burial transcripts covering the period 1561-1611 are now available for society members to view online.

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

News TopicWebsite
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June 2018 Update
published by Pat Hase on Fri, 01/06/2018 - 23:24

June will end with the SWAG Family History Fair – to be held this year in Swindon on Saturday 30th June 2018 from 10am to 3:30pm at STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway. There will be over 40 exhibitors including Family History Societies not only from the South West of England, Societies and Commercial enterprises supporting our interests.  A full list of contributors can be seen here and there are also some free talks during the day.

The 1939 Register

The 1939 Register and the GRO index were two of the most helpful resources which came our way last year.  As the 1939 Register is now available on Ancestry, My Heritage as well as FindmyPast and can therefore be found free of charge in most Libraries it is time that you checked out where all your relations were living in 1939. Not only your direct ancestors but also their siblings and offspring.  There is an informative webinar on FindmyPast  which you may find helpful if you haven’t used it before or even if you have but want to know more about it.

My parents were living with my mother’s widowed father in 1939 (and I am the blacked-out entry with them!) My paternal grandparents had my father’s sister living with them and because this document was updated it tells me that she later married someone called PUDDY.  It also allows me to look up and down the street where they lived, and I can recognise names of people I can still remember.  The 1939 Register showed me a sister of my grandfather living with her uncle who was born in 1858 and who I can remember meeting when he was about 90.  Although this is all relatively recent family history it can confirm half remembered facts and family stories.

DNA Matches & Ethnicity

  • Half way through the year already and in a belated spring clean I’ve been sorting through some old photographs and naming those that I can still remember – it has taken ages because I find myself checking to find out what happened to some of the people thereby increasing the information on my extended family tree. This has its benefits because it also increases the chances of identifying a DNA match if I know the names of the spouses of the siblings of grandparents.
  • Another news story today about DNA being used to identify surprising ethnicity – perhaps I’m wrong - but ethnicity is not what I primarily look for in DNA results – I want it to help me locate and possibly confirm my connection to actual ancestors.  We are grateful to Peter and Jennie Towey for all the help they have given to members who have embarked on this branch of family history research.  
  • One of the matches I received for my husband resulted in me contacting Kym EDWARDS in Australia who I had initially corresponded with many years ago about the EDWARDS family of East Brent.  You can read more about the EDWARDS family on the Rooksbridge Site  which has a wealth of information about Rooksbridge and East Brent Residents.  It was set up initially by John Rigarlsford, one of our members, to cover Rooksbridge families but information of these inhabitants now incorporated into the East Brent site under East Brent and Rooksbridge People 

Latest Records Online

Even if you do not have a subscription to Ancestry, Findmypast or The Genealogist, to name but a few, you can always access their sites to see what is newly available online. 

  • Ancestry shows you their latest records which you can see includes some confirmation records for Somerset. 
  • FindmyPast lists its latest documents to be released every Friday and you can see what new documents were released on previous Fridays.
  • The Genealogist shows that its latest addition which happens to be the Metropolitan Police Habitual Criminals Registers which include photographs.
  • The Federation of Family History Societies offers a free online bi-monthly newsletter which is worth looking at with tips for researching.

Society News

A new addition to our transcriptions is “Notes and extracts from the minutes of the vestry meetings at St Paul’s Church, Kewstoke 1835-1920” compiled by Grace Rubery.  These vestry minutes give an insight into life in the parish during this time and what was concerning the Parish Officials. These can be seen by full members with the other transcriptions of Kewstoke Church Records where you can also see, under Kewstoke MIs, photographs of the tomb stones in Kewstoke Church yard together with an transcription of the Memorials engraved on them.  There are similar photographs and Memorial Inscriptions of many of the Churches on our web site and are a valuable resource.

June will see the last free help sessions in Worle, Portishead and at the Healthy Living Centre in Weston but they will continue at the Library in Weston Town Hall every Saturday afternoon from 2.00 – 3.30 pm.  You don’t have to be a member to come in and we like a challenge so if you are new to family history or have started your research but got stuck why not give us a try.  It doesn’t have to be about people who were at some time in North Somerset.

If you have any queries about any aspect of Family History Research, whether about people, places or methodology why not use the Research Forum on our Web Site?  We have some very knowledgeable members who may be able to answer your questions or at least point you in the right direction.

Programmes & Events

  • The next series of Who do you think you are? is starting soon, with a gap during the Football World Cup.  The opening programme will be screened on June 6th and will feature Michelle Keegan who has recently appeared in “Our Girl” on BBC TV and will cover evacuation during WW2 and a link to the Suffragette Movement.
  • Suffragette Banners are part of a new exhibition for the Somerset Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury called Processions: Two Banners, One Voice – discover how Somerset women got the vote which will be open to the public from Saturday 16 June to Sunday 1 September 2018. The exhibition will focus on two banners. The first was created by Weston born, postcard artist, Ivy Millicent James, in 1911 for the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, Weston-super-Mare branch. The second banner is currently being created by a local artist Dorcas Casey in collaboration with local schools. It will be paraded through London on 10 June 2018 as part of a national commemoration of the anniversary of the Representation of the People Act. 
    • The Weston Banner was thought to be lost for many years and was only recently discovered at the Somerset Heritage Centre although there is mention of it in a diary kept by Ivy Millicent James’s sister and that it had been given to Weston Museum.
  • Looking forward to seeing lots of you at the SWAG Fair on the 30th June in Swindon and at our monthly meeting on June 26th when I will be talking about “On the Street Where you live” – taking just one street in Weston and looking at some of the inhabitants over the years, including one house where coincidentally the ancestors of one of our long standing members, Anne Woolforth, lived and was later owned for a while by one of my sons.
News TopicMonthly Update
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