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Changes to Website
published by Graham Payne on Tue, 15/01/2019 - 10:55

On the 30th January our website will be replaced with a new version to provide greater reliability and facilitate future updates. Existing data from our current site will be transferred across on the 26th January in preparation for the live launch.

You will be able to continue to use the existing site up to the launch date but please do not post any new items after the 25th January as this information will be lost.

You will find that the new site looks very much the same and functionality has remained the same apart from some minor changes.

With the exception of important news items and individual responses to research queries a summary subscription notifications will now only be emailed once a week. This will be the default setting but as before members can turn on and off emails in subscription notifications in their personal details once you have logged in.

To add a new Surname Interest click on members surname interests in the main menu and select add a new surname and complete the form. You can also add a family tree in pdf format at this stage. Members and non-members can contact members directly by clicking on the surname of interest to activate the contact form. Members email addresses are not disclosed as part of this process and they can choose whether to respond or not. As a full member you will still be able to add a comment to the Surname Interests which will appear on the web site.

To add a new Research Query just click on the research forum in the main menu and select post your question now located on the right-hand side. A facility to upload pictures is included in the tool bar. There is no change to adding a comment to research queries and recent replies except that the original tile is retained throughout the correspondence thread. Please post a new research query if you what to change the subject heading. It is helpful if all surnames are entered in capitals to make them stand out.

Once the new site goes live Affiliated Membership will be discontinued. Any existing affiliated member who wants to retain their account and access the Research Forum or answer any queries will have to register as a full member.

In the main menu under “Information Sources” you will find the heading “Places/Churches” which opens a list of places and churches. As before clicking on any church will bring up a list of transcripts associated with that church together with any associated photographs. Clicking on the place name will bring up a new layer which will be progressively populated with a description, photographs, documents, etc as they become available. If you feel that you have any information, old photographs etc for any of the places listed, which may be of interest to our members, we would like to hear from you.

If you experience any problems following the launch please contact the webmaster or membership secretary via the site contact form.

News TopicWebsite
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January 2019 Update
published by Pat Hase on Mon, 31/12/2018 - 21:58

A Happy New Year to all who are reading this! 

My thoughts on DNA Testing

  • I have a feeling that 2019 will bring more questions to your family history research.  Hopefully, the popularity of DNA testing – or at least the fact that it has been so widely publicised with special offers - will attract more people to do some actual research about their ancestors. 
  • Many will have been tempted over the Christmas season to purchase kits, lured by the offer of an insight into their ethnicity but with no idea of where their grandparents came from, let alone where their ancestors lived hundreds or even thousands of years ago!  For example, take a look at this extract from a year ago when the presenters of Good morning Britain were tested and see their reactions.
  • The results of DNA tests are another tool in the researching of our family history when used in conjunction with traditional methods.
  • If you are considering DNA testing, I found this blog on Findmypast very useful 3 Reasons every family historian should take a DNA test
  • If you have tested, or are considering testing, be prepared to spend time researching the trees of your matches to find where the link might be or adding to your own tree in preparation.  For example, my best match so far is a 2nd to 3rd cousin once removed (on My Heritage) This means that we could share great grandparents or gg grandparents.  In order to find a link I am now filling in all the descendants of the siblings of my gg grandparents in the hope that we find a connection somewhere.  I think I know all 16 gg grandparents (and all 32 ggg grandparents) but this would be a good target for everyone to aim at during 2019.
  • Over Christmas I enjoyed the Royal Institute Lectures which were on the theme “Who am I?” and explored DNA.  They can still be seen on iplayer for another 3 weeks. As a background to DNA testing I found them very interesting.

Social History and Family History

  • I consider that apart from the documentary evidence which we use in family history research that the Social History of the period in which our ancestors were living is also important. This video provides some assistance in understanding the background to our families and gives some tips for research.  
  • There have been a few queries about addresses on our Research Forum lately.  For Weston addresses it is possible to have some idea if the number changed by using the address search available on Findmypast on censuses for 1901 and 1911.  If any of the residents in the street are there on both censuses, note their addresses for both years.  Many of Weston houses did not have numbers initially but were given names (which did sometimes change!) Look on Google StreetView for up-to-date images of the road – the numbers today should be the same as they were in 1911.

Cost of BMD Certificates from the GRO

  • If when you are doing any research you need to buy a copy of a birth, marriage or death certificate you should try to do it before the prices go up on Feb 16th 2019. See the Latest News Item on our own web site for more details
  • Don't forget that the GRO Index will give you the mother's maiden name from 1837 - 1917 and the age at death from 1837 - 1957.  The cost of the PDF versions is also going up.

BillionGraves

  • I have been surprised recently by finding some burials of relations on BillionGraves – they were in Manchester but there are a few more local ones as well. 
  • I also found the grave of Arthur Harold John PUDDY who was a 2nd cousin to my husband in Highbridge Cemetery.  The site is worth investigating and is free to search.

Roman Catholic Records

  • This blog on Findmypast explains the importance of Roman Catholic Records and where to find them and how to read them. 

Dates for your Diary

  • Just a reminder that the dead-line for articles for the next edition of Buckets and Spades is fast approaching – it’s the end of January and Sue Maguire will be delighted with anything you have to offer short or long.  Any new findings over Christmas or have any brick-walls been demolished?  Any resources you can recommend? Our Journal is a way of contacting all our members whether they are computer users or not and all will be pleased to read of your family history experiences. 
  • The U3A Family History Group will meet at St Paul’s Church Hall on Friday January 4th at 2.15pm – This Group has people who are beginners and some with vast experience so in the true spirit of the U3A is a Self-Help and Sharing Group.  It will meet monthly and the first meeting will be led by Grace Rubery who will offer an introduction and refresher presentation as well as investigating the needs of the group for 2019.  Grace has a programme planned until the summer – please contact her for more details.  Thank you, Grace and your team, for keeping this group going.
  • There are also two DNA for Family History Groups run by the U3A. One group meets in Worle from 2.00pm – 4.00 pm on the first Tuesday of the month and the other at Bleadon from 7pm – 9pm on the second Thursday of the month. Contact Jenny Towey for more information.
  • Society Subscriptions covering the calendar year from Jan 1st – Dec 31st and are now due and you can pay at the January 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 
  • After a break of a couple of weeks the Saturday Free Help Sessions at the Library will start again on Saturday the 5th January.   If you have any queries - please go along to the Library in the Town Hall in Weston between 2.00 until 3.30 pm to seek help.  Come at the start of the afternoon to ensure being seen by one of our volunteers. You don't have to be a member to come along.
  • The next meeting of the Society will be on Tuesday, January 22nd when Bill Caple will be looking back to September 1903 and the big storm and its effect on the Somerset Coast.  I was given a copy of Knightstone, The Story of Weston-super-Mare’s “Island” Theatre by Jonathan Shorney for Christmas.  The Theatre had been opened in 1902 and the audience of 500 that September evening was trapped until the storm subsided.

Lastly, it is the time for New Year Resolutions – one of mine is to get you all involved – so please when you have read this please add a comment where it says “Add new Comment” describing what your New Year Resolution will be in respect of Family History!

Many thanks for all the good wishes and cards I have received - Get Well, Birthday and Christmas Cards still fill the house and I am thankful for them all.  I am now almost half way through my chemotherapy and with the adjusted dosage I am not having the side effects which caused the problems with the first cycle.  I hope very much to be back with you all in the summer but I can still sit at a computer and research!

A Very Happy and  Successful New Year!

News TopicMonthly Update
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Cost of BMD Certificates from the GRO
published by Pat Hase on Wed, 26/12/2018 - 12:24

While you are enjoying the Christmas season, for those of you who haven't seen it - the Lost Cousins Newsletter (which I have recommended before) includes the information that from Feb 16th 2019 the cost of certificates and PDFs from the GRO will increase.  Full details of costs can be see on the Lost Cousins Newsletter. While you are digesting your Boxing Day fare you might like to consider whether you need to purchase any before the price goes up.  Happy New Year!

News TopicGeneral
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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.

Familysearch

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
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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
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Skidmores in WW1 Exhibition at Weston Museum
published by Graham Payne on Fri, 02/11/2018 - 9:05

News TopicPeople
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Forthcoming Events

Weston Library Help Sessions
Saturday, 22nd June, 2019 14:00 - 15:30
Society Meeting
Tuesday, 25th June, 2019 19:00 - 21:00
Weston Library Help Sessions
Saturday, 29th June, 2019 14:00 - 15:30
Weston Library Help Sessions
Saturday, 6th July, 2019 14:00 - 15:30
Weston Library Help Sessions
Saturday, 13th July, 2019 14:00 - 15:30
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