Each month I try to bring you up to date with news of developments in Family History which might benefit our members – I hope that at least some of you have time to read this and find it useful.
This month we are promised a slackening of lock-down regulations, but libraries, archives and museums remain closed to visitors.
I wonder how many of you, like me, back in March, thought you would spend this time in lock down revising and progressing with your research. With extra time and many resources made available online for the duration of this crisis I intended to make big strides in finding more people on the fringes of my tree who might share DNA But……..
In my case – I’m shielding - it wasn’t the lure of long walks for exercise, extra gardening or decorating which prevented this – it was sheer inertia and I’ve been easily sidetracked. Lots of delightful phone calls and emails – some with family history queries which have set me off along other paths. I didn’t intend to research the name of the horse which pulled the cart delivering greengrocery during WW2 (didn’t find it!) or the background of the Headmistress of the Infants’ School I attended in Bristol but I did – and coincidentally our families were linked by marriage!
I have however come across these resources which I recommend:
The Genealogical Index
As its name suggests The Online Genealogical Index is very helpful in locating resources online. Committee note - We need to get our Society’s vast offering of transcriptions included on this site. This site claims to provide links to sites online where you can find information and transcriptions. You can search any county and place and some of the sites are local history ones which you might not otherwise discover easily. In the past I have recommended Dusty Docs but this site seems to cover a wider area and includes many different sites
In researching a 3rd cousin twice removed I came across this on Ancestry – as Ancestry is still available free of charge via your local library it may be useful to know especially as Arnos Vale Burials are difficult to find elsewhere. If you use the card catalogue and search for Bristol you will find Bristol, England, Church of England Burials, 1813-1994. You can browse this collection and by choosing Wycliffe Church, Totterdown under the County of Gloucestershire you will see the following registers.
- Indexed under the heading of Wycliffe Church Totterdown 1845-1868 are the early burials in Arnos Vale Cemetery from 1840-1868. It was then called the Bristol General Cemetery. I note that there are several burials of patients from Dr Fox’s at Brislington and as they could have come from a wide area it might answer some questions.
- Burials indexed Wycliffe Church Totterdown 1871-1897 has burials for Greenbank Cemetery, Bristol. 1871-1883. These are predominantly Bristol residents.
MyHeritage has been offering free online webinars and Facebook Live sessions in the past couple months. The goal of these sessions is to provide users with the opportunity to learn from experts and make progress with research while at home. My Heritage is also attracting customers by offering free access to a different collection each day. You will need to look at their blog to discover what is available on which day but if you have ancestors in any of these areas this will be an asset.
Family History Federation
As a Society we are affiliated to the Family History Federation and if you look under Federation Resources and Education there is interesting advice for beginners and a reminder to those of us who have been “at it” for years. Under the title “Everyone has roots irrespective of their background and origin” There are 6 Guides
- It starts with you
- Ready to begin your research
- Birth, marriage and death certificates
- Growing your tree with census remains
- Baptism, marriage and burial registers
- Records created after death
Each one gives helpful background information - They may take time to read but perhaps may offer suggestions in how to breakdown your brickwalls.
I have to confess that I find familysearch sometimes confusing and I’m not sure about the accuracy of the family trees but the Federation also has this advice on using FamilySearch Family Tree to assist you to develop, maintain and use this family history website
- Navigating the Home Page
- The Tree - Pedigree to Person page
- Relationships - connecting families
- Locating and attaching sources
A House through Time
As a Bristolian I am really enjoying this BBC programme about a house near St Mary Redcliffe. This project - to consider the history of an area by researching the people who lived in just one house over the centuries is fascinating. It's at times like this that I wish my own home was older than 1936! We can all learn from the resources used in this series. This podcast about the programme is worth listening to as a background to research.
My g g grandfather brought up his family in an Elizabethan house in the centre of Bristol which was eventually destroyed during the blitz and I'm longing to get to the Bristol Archives to see who lived there before and after him.
In the last session of this series of A House through Time, the bombing of Bristol will be discussed and John Penny, who has frequently spoken in Weston about the Weston Blitz will be interviewed. In the next couple of days, I hope to upload an account of the Weston and Clevedon Blitz compiled by John which he has kindly allowed us to use.
Know Your Place
I have mentioned this before but Know your Place North Somerset is a marvellous site for tracing the history and development of an area. By choosing suitable maps you can see what has happened in a place over the years and photographs are now being added to give even more information.
For those of you with relations who served in the RAF during WW2 the Genealogist has released Record Books which show details of fighter and bomber squadrons during WW2 which are really interesting
As I mentioned in the last update and Paul recently reinforced the free down loading of digital images including Wills and some Military records from the National Archives is proving a boon but not sure how long this will last so make the most of it.
We now have 216 members of this lively group - many of whom are already full members of the Society. We hope to welcome others to join us to benefit from what we have to offer at a very reasonable cost
I wish I could tell you when we will all meet up again whether for Monthly meetings or for Free Help Sessions at the Library but just watch this space. Please continue to use our Research Forum to share your research with others and also to answer queries posted on it. No question is too silly - we all have blank moments! Keep Alert and safe and enjoy this glorious weather if at all possible.