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News & Information (Monthly Update)

August 2019 Update
published by Pat Hase on Thu, 01/08/2019 - 18:04

It's the Summer Holidays and the schools have all broken up with Proms and Sports Days etc.  I found this photo (and it's named!) in the Pictorial Review of 1931 published by the Weston Gazette.  Anybody researching these surnames? - OVER, OSBORNE, CHARLES or ALFORD - I think that Doris OVER was connected with the Confectioners OVERs in the High Street

Wills

The notification that UK Wills from 1858 are now available at £1.50 each instead of £10.00 was put on our web site as soon as they became available at this price and caused great excitement.  Several members have already received Wills which have proved interesting.    It is likely that this price will only be held for 12 months so make the most of it.  See Who Do You Think You Are? magazine for details.

Family & Local History

I am a firm believer that Family and Local History go hand in hand and that you cannot do one without considering the other.  Many local societies have helpful websites and I have just mentioned just three societies below.  I know there are many other groups operating in our area.  Please add a comment to this Update to draw attention to others which could help other members.

  • Yatton Local History Society has a series of their publications available which can be searched and contain interesting articles about the history and people of Yatton. The first item on the page is an index to names mentioned in various publications, not all of which are online  
  • Nailsea & District Local History Society has also put a number of their Journals – The Pennant – online.  You can see them by clicking on the name of the society. Purely by chance, I note that  Pennant No 30 (the last one on the list) contains an article written by one of our members, Peter Lamb, about the MASSINGHAM Family.
  • The Clevedon Civic Society has a very strong Local History Group.  It has published PDF versions of their magazine the Clevedonian which ceased publication in 2014 but contain a variety of interesting articles about Clevedon.  They can be viewed by clicking on the name of the society and include a piece by Jane Lilly entitled “When we were very young” which may ring bells with some of our members.

Buckets & Spades

Thanks to Sue Maguire for the latest edition of our Buckets and Spades – it made for some very interesting reading about families with connections in the Weston district.  On Page 36, Sheila MILLS mentions that her great grandfather Charles DAVIS was a “Journeyman” with the trade omitted.  Looking at the 1871 census of Bedminster I see that Charles was a Carpenter.  The term “Journeyman” means that he had completed an apprenticeship but had not set up in business on his own account and so was in the employ of someone else.  One definition of “Journeyman” is that he was “paid by the day” after the French for “Day” – “Jour”  not that he travelled around although of course, he might have done that looking for work.

The deadline for articles for the next edition is 17 Oct 2019. 

If any of you are stuck with your research we have started a section in Buckets & Spades on “Breaking Down Brick Walls”  - see Page 8 -  If you contact me with your the problem I will try to offer suggestions for your research to be published in the next edition with the hope that the suggestions might give ideas to others of how to solve their problems as well.  Looking forward to hearing from you.

The Research Forum.

The Research Forum is for full members only.  When you post a query on the Research Forum please use this page and use the link on the right-hand side of the page where it says "Post your Query Now" which will allow you to give it a suitable title (with the SURNAME in UPPERCASE to attract a response. The Research Forum is open for questions about ancestors in all parts of this country not only North Somerset

Facebook Group

For members of the Facebook Group who are not also full members of the Society and who are reading this – You can post queries on the Facebook Group and hopefully other members of the Group – we now have 135 members and some are vastly experienced - will respond with suitable suggestions

Free Help Sessions

These are continuing during August as normal and are open for everyone members or not.  Just turn up at about 2,00pm on a Saturday afternoon with some facts about your family and an idea of what you hope to find out and we will see if we can help.   If you are a full member but cannot attend the Weston Library you can use the Research Forum to post your query – which need not be about the Weston area and our volunteers will use their time in the library to find an answer for you.

Brian Austin Archive

We have recently put a list of the topics of the research which Brian Austin has completed over the years on the web site.  See The Brian Austin Archive for the full index to his work and detail of how to access it.  Some of it is the result of him, many years ago, spotting documents with were surplus to requirements being destroyed by officials at the Town Hall.  Brian removed them and studied their content, noting facts which have subsequently assisted family historians piece together information about their ancestors.  Brian’s research can be found in the Somerset Heritage Centre, Weston Library and at his home and he will reply to any query if you include a stamped addressed envelope. 

Newish Resources online

  • The Genealogist has announced a new selection of records from Norfolk including Bastardy Records which should interest any of you with Norfolk ancestors - You will need to scroll down to find the article.  These also include images from the Norfolk Archives.  The latest news from The genealogist can be seen here 
  • Findmypast now includes images of Devon Parish Records in its collection of records.  See which other parishes it has available.
  • To find which new items have been added to Ancestry go to this page - Some will have just been updated but some are completely new.

Who do You think You Are?

It’s that season again. Why is it, however much I want to see these programmes, that halfway through I fall asleep?!  It’s lucky that I can always catch up with them later!  The stories behind the celebrities make for good television but I want more.  How did the local expert actually find the information they produce from out of a hat?  Why did they need the expert?  Couldn’t they do it themselves?  Or would the programme be too long?  It’s taken me years to discover some facts but that’s because when I started the documents were not as accessible as they are today.  The celebrities are missing that rush of adrenaline when you finally discover the missing link.  They are allowing someone else to find that final piece of the jigsaw.  Mind you, if someone could tell me who the parents were of Robert LONG who married Hester PRIGG in 1767 in Bitton, how many children they had and when they died, I think I could live with that!

Society meetings

The July meeting looked at the history of the Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Light Railway.  My mother used to tell of a day when she was on that train somewhere near Wick St Lawrence and she became uncomfortably hot only to find that there was a fire smoldering away under her seat!  There were other tales of the train stopping for either passengers or the driver to pick mushrooms in a neighbouring field. If you would like to join a tour on Sunday 20th Oct 2019 along the route of the WC&P see here for more details 

Just a reminder that we do not have a meeting in August.  The September meeting on the 24th Sept will be Peter Towey talking about British War Medals. 

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July 2019 Update
published by Pat Hase on Mon, 01/07/2019 - 22:53

It’s July, and time for Wimbledon, gardening and holidays so is there time for Family History?  We all have priorities to make in the way we use our time, but life goes on and you are creating the family history of the future.  Are you recording the events which your descendants will search for?  With photography so easy now, are you saving and naming the people in your snaps?  Many photos are kept digitally and not printed these days and it is not so easy to identify individuals without a back to write on!  Many old photographs appear online with a request for someone to name the individuals, whether they are school photos, wedding photos or pictures of other activities, so this not a new problem. 

Kewstoke Local History Exhibition

There will be a Kewstoke Local History Exhibition in the main village hall at Kewstoke starting Thurs. July 11th to Sunday July 14th. It will be open from 10.30 am until 6.30 pm each day. Refreshments will be available.  Our Society will have a help Desk there throughout, but the local Kewstoke exhibits and resources will be plentiful and varied.   They will include a new display of W.W.1 & 2 & evacuees and where they stayed in the village. Many local family histories with photos. The usual Census entries 1841 to 1911. New information taken from the Parish Minute books. Lots of new photos and information about local buildings and events.

 Genealogy versus Family History

There has been a concentration lately on the DNA aspect of genealogy but if we think about the way in which our ancestors lived that will add another dimension to your research.  I have recently been reminded of a book published in 2016 by Janet Few, who has spoken to our Society several times.  It is called “Remember Then, Women’s Memories of 1946 and 1969 and how to write your own”  Janet worked with a group of 80  women who recounted their own experiences and consulted their diaries and photographs to produce a book which  describes life from their own perspective and may give you some tips on how to write up your own memories.  This holds good for men and women, although I suspect few men wore liberty bodices!

Serendipity

You never know what you will find when you are looking for something else!  In the Library last Saturday we were looking for information about activities on Birnbeck Pier.  We were trying to identify individuals in this photograph. 

Peter Lander of the Birnbeck Regeneration Trust had already identified someone with connections to Axbridge Workhouse – but we had also found that a woman assistant on the Water Chute had given evidence at an Inquest during the same year as the photograph – 1913.  David Tyler began looking through the Weston Mercury which is available on film in the library for more information and found an account that described the circumstances when a man fell from the Old Pier.  Much to my surprise one of the boatmen who tried to rescue him was named as J. HASE.   I think I can identify this boatman as my father-in-law’s eldest brother, but I had no idea that he had a boat at that time.  By the way, the air conditioning in the Library made the atmosphere very comfortable on one of the hottest days this year.

Helping others to help Yourself

I have found that answering queries on the Research Forum, by volunteering at one of our Free Help Sessions or by taking part in the discussions on our Facebook Group often takes me into new areas that can be helpful in my own research.   I have just been looking to see what new resources were available on the various sites and found that Find a Grave had new entries on their site and one of them just might be a direct ancestor of mine who died in 1798. 

This photo was put on last year and I’ve been looking for him since the 1980s!  The site is free of charge although it is included in the Ancestry offering.  It obviously pays to revisit sites to see if they have been updated.

Family History Societies

I know I’m talking to the converted here but belonging to one or two Family History Societies can be a tremendous help in your research.  Ideally, you should join one which holds meetings in the area in which you live so that you can attend meetings and meet like-minded people who share your interests and another which covers the area in which your ancestors lived as that one is likely to have resources to help you and members who have an in-depth knowledge of the area.

You don’t have to be a member of our society to access many parts of our website.  News & Information (including the Monthly Updates) and some Journal Articles are open to everybody.  Transcriptions are free for members.  Other Societies have similar areas that are open to all.

Some examples of other Societies’ offerings:

  • The Bristol & Avon FHS has a database of information from unwanted Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates which can be searched online to give full details.  They include certificates from places other than Bristol and there is always the chance that your family name is included.  This is a Weston death certificate on this site  - there could be others!
  • The Somerset & Dorset FHS has, as part of its website, a Society Blog with articles and features about the Society  and it includes some articles from “The Greenwood Tree” their Members’ Journal which may be of interest.
  • The Devon FHS has a WWWBoard – which is a place where anyone (you don’t have to be a member) can post questions relating to Devon research. 

July Events

During July our Free Saturday Help Sessions at the Library will continue – and we welcome people with questions about their family history research and the question doesn’t have to be only about North Somerset as there is Internet access available.  If you do not live in the area and you have any queries which our volunteers at the library can answer please use our Research Forum on the Web Site to ask your questions and if we have time we can search for you.  The library has local newspapers on film but as they are not indexed, dates, as well as names, are needed to search these.  There is a complete set of Street Directories for 1900 – 1974 and Electoral Rolls from the 1940s where people can be identified.  With the Electoral Rolls don’t forget that only people who have the vote are included and the Rolls are arranged in Street order not alphabetical so searching can take time.  The library has extensive files about local people, buildings and events so if you can get there any Saturday afternoon from 2.00 – 3.30 (when we are there) or of course at any time during the week when you can do your own research you will find the visit worthwhile.

Our next monthly meeting will be on Tuesday 23rd July when the topic will be the fascinating history of the Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Light Railway known affectionately locally as the W.C & P.  The Speaker will be Paul Gregory who is the Secretary of the W.C & P Railway Group 

At the July meeting, it is hoped to have the latest edition of Buckets and Spades available for members.   As usual, we will not have a meeting in August but look forward to our next meeting on September 24th when the topic will be War medals so you’ve plenty of time to discover which medals your relations received and why - and what questions to ask Peter Towey

If I have omitted any July events please add them as a Comment to this update.

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June 2019 Update
published by Pat Hase on Sat, 01/06/2019 - 2:01

It’s the 1st of June and “Summer is a coming in” or so says one of the oldest English songs.  What are we going to do during the Summer?  Family History often takes a back seat during the summer when other attractions hold sway.  If you are mobile, why not make use of the fine weather to visit some of the places which your family knew in the past.  It’s strange how often when visiting a place where your ancestors lived you have a feeling of familiarity with the area.  Walk where they walked, visit places that they knew and learn the history of the area where they lived.  It all helps to understand their lives. 

Holiday Photographs

Do you have any photographs of parents or grandparents on their summer holiday?

This is my mother and her sister on holiday in (I think) Bournemouth in about 1923, with my grandparents.  I really do not know why my mother was wearing dark stockings on the beach!

Visit an Archive

Why not also arrange to visit an Archive to find out more about your family – not everything is online!  You might look at Overseers' Accounts, Wills or perhaps even Bastardy Accounts if they have them.  These may name the putative fathers of illegitimate children.

Overseers’ Accounts

I recommend you look at the Overseers’ Accounts for the parish in which your family lived.  They are only rarely transcribed but give such an interesting insight into the lives of ancestors.  They will tell you what taxes they paid to support the poor and if poor themselves what help they received. For example, there is an outline of the Overseers’ Accounts for Shropshire which explains why they are so difficult to transcribe.

Brian Austin has transcribed the Overseers’ Accounts for St John the Baptist of Weston-super-Mare which is available on the shelves in Weston Library in book form and is arranged in alphabetical order which makes them easier to consult than the actual Accounts

Somerset Wills

Many of the Somerset Wills were lost during the blitz but some can be found with other documents like deeds of property.  Weston Library has a copy of a book by Sir Mervyn Medlycott of an index to Printed and Manuscript Copies of Somerset Wills, which he compiled in 1993.   Check also with the Somerset Heritage Centre Catalogue online to see what else is available. Search with your ancestor’s name.  You can also search the Discovery database on The National Archives for documents that may be lodged in other local repositories.

Visit of North Somerset Archivist to Weston Library

A reminder that the next visit is on Thursday the 6th of June and you have just about time to order any documents you wish to see. More details can be seen here.

Free Online Resources

The Family History Federation, of which our Society is a member offers this section on Free Online Resources   It’s worth taking a look at it.

How to Prove your Family Tree Connections

There is nothing more frustrating than finding information online – perhaps in a submitted family tree which seems to be your family only to discover that there are errors in it.  Worse still if you accept it and do not realise that there are errors!  This seems to be happening more often now with the increase of DNA inspired research. This article will give you some ideas about how to ensure that your own family trees are error free by using the Genealogical Proof Standard.  If you spot a mistake in a submitted family tree you can always try to explain to the owner why you think there is an error.  You may find that you don’t get a reply or that they insist that they are correct, and it is you who are wrong, but others may thank you for drawing attention to it. 

Exhibitions and Shows

  • The Genealogy Show  The Genealogy Show is taking place at the NEC, Birmingham on June 7th and 8th – if any of our members are attending please will you let us know of any particularly interesting and useful stands
  • The Family History Show – South West  Nearer to Weston and perhaps nearer home to some of you The Family History Show – South West will take place on Saturday 6th July at UWE Exhibition and  Conference Centre, Bristol.  We are not having a stand there but we hope that our members may take to opportunity to attend to experience what these shows have to offer.
  • Kewstoke Local History Exhibition  There will be an exhibition in Kewstoke Village Hall from the 11th to the 14th July organised by the Kewstoke Local History Group at which our Society will have a Help Desk run by Graham Payne and others.  We look forward to meeting many of our members there.

Free Help Sessions

Our Volunteers in the Library are there each Saturday from 2.00 p.m. until 3.30 p. m. to help anyone – members or not – with their family or local history research.  Even if you are not researching local families do come into the library to see what is available to interest you or to discuss your research with others. 

Research Forum

This has been very quiet again during May – Only 4 queries and 2 of them were from me!   It would be helpful if replies to any queries could be sent to the website unless they contain information about living people because that way others can benefit from the suggestions made.  Having said that, no one answered my queries either directly to me or to the web site.  If our members really do not have any research queries perhaps they might consider giving some examples of recent successful research which might assist others. 

Next Society meeting – June 25th

Books with a genealogical theme are riding high in the charts these days and I for one find them exciting reading.  We are lucky to have in Weston a published author who is going to talk to the Society at our next meeting about her experiences in writing her latest book.  We look forward to hearing Lois Sparshott again.

Finishing on a high this month – I hope very much to resume attending meetings very soon as I have successfully completed the course of chemotherapy.  I am so grateful for all the messages of support which I have received and am looking forward to seeing you all again.

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May 2019 Update
published by Pat Hase on Wed, 01/05/2019 - 10:39

It's May 1st - How many of you have danced around a Maypole?  Did your ancestors?  May Day will be celebrated here on Monday 6th May with many traditional events.  The crowning of May Queens or Princesses and Morris Dancing.

Family History Federation

  • Following its re-branding from the Federation of Family History Societies the Family History Federation has published its Really Useful Leaflet 2019 which includes a list of useful Web sites many of which are free to use but where payment is involved the “£” sign is used to show this.
  • Our Members can also read the Latest Federation Newsletter on our web site – just click on FHS Newsletters in the left hand column on our home page

Helpful Hints

  • About a year ago Findmypast published a Blog covering 6 Common Genealogy Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them).  In case you missed them I've included a link to them because we all make mistakes!
  • If you are researching Wedmore families you might find this interesting – Dr John Westover  of Portch House Wedmore kept a Journal of information about the many patients he dealt with between 1686 and 1700.   It includes the cost and the cures he offered and makes fascinating reading. 
  • The Genealogist has released some new Records which they have called Little Dorrit, Dickens and Dad’s Debts - They are new Criminal records reveal the dark side of debt in the past
  • Ancestry has a new collection of historical postcards from the United Kingdom & Ireland 1893-1963.  There are several from Weston-super-Mare and district.
  • Winscombe has always been a large parish in this part of Somerset and the Winscombe and Sandford Parish Council Web site offers a historical aspect to aid in your understanding of the background.  It includes a mention of a book which can be read online by Francis Knight called "In the West Country". It covers a wide area with chapters on Winscombe, Woodspring Priory highlighting the rural nature of the landscape. 
  • I have been very impressed with the free web site ColouriseSG which takes black and white photographs and gently tints them.  They do not claim that the colours will be the same as the original subject but it is very good on skin colour and natural background and really brings old photos to life.  Do try it. 

 

 Society News

  • A reminder that I am collecting information about marriages which took place at Wadham Street Baptist Chapel.  Please let me have details of any which you have found during your own family history research.
  • The Free Help Sessions at the Library were quieter over the Easter Break but they will be available every Saturday afternoon between 2.00 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. All you have to do is to come in to Weston Library - in the Town Hall - and just bring your query with any information you have already found.
  • If you can't make the library then why not use the Research Forum?  That also has seen less use recently but we do have some extremely knowledgeable members who wold be delighted to share their experiences with you - you only have to ask.
  • The next Monthly meeting on Tuesday May 28th is presented by Clive Burlton who has written and helped to present a documentary about Bristol's role in the WW1.  Clive lives locally and will cover aspects of the Great War and the effect it had on Bristol and how Bristol reacted to the challenges. 
  • The ALHA Newsletters, which can be accessed from our web site, (see link in left hand column of home page) give more information about local events which may interest you.
  • If I have omitted any events and information please add them as a comment to this Update.

 

 

 

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April 2019 Update
published by Pat Hase on Mon, 01/04/2019 - 11:39

I’m feeling optimistic.  The clocks have gone forward, there is evidence that Spring is well advanced, we have celebrated Mothering Sunday with Simnel Cake and are now looking forward to Easter. Today, the seasons do not affect our lives in the same way as they did our ancestors when they were dependent on them for their crops and livelihood but there is a certain uplift to the spirit at this time of year.  Perhaps I’m going to break down some of my brick-walls this year or am I being just an April Fool?

Breaking Down Brickwalls

On Findmypast there is an item entitled  20 Things to do when you are stumped which I have found helpful.  It includes various links to other helpful articles.  No 16 on this list is

16. Write a Family Sketch

Begin writing a family sketch, focusing on the family that has you stumped. Include each detail you have uncovered about the family as you write, and look for any patterns or potential contradictions in your data. Documenting each name, date, and relationship as you write helps to ensure your research is accurate and can often identify areas that could be researched further.

If I have a family history problem to solve; I try to explain the situation to another person – it could be as a Research Query on our Web Site – but by the time I have written down all the facts the solution often identifies itself. 

The Web Site & Research Queries

  • This month there have been just 7 queries posted on the Research Forum and 4 of them have been initiated by me and 2 by Bill Caple! – Doesn’t anyone else have any queries? 
  • Whilst thinking about the web site – don’t forget that the search facility at the top of the home page can be used to find out whether the site contains information about names, places and events you may be interested in.
  • If you have any problems in using the web site please contact Paul Tracey or Graham Payne who will be pleased to help you

Know Your Place & Using Maps for Research

I hope that some of you have been able to find some interesting facts about this area by using Know Your Place.  I gather that the presentation at the last Society Meeting was fascinating and for those who missed it or want to find out more about  it Know Your Place – West of England  includes an introductory video and links to enable you to research the area where you or your ancestors lived.

  • 50 years ago I was told by an elderly neighbour that our houses had been built on some tennis courts and, low and behold, the maps prove just that!

If you have a subscription to The Genealogist it has just introduced their Map Explorer which also offers comparison maps but for the whole country – useful if your family is not local and especially good for London families with the Lloyd George Domesday Survey 1910-1915.   You can access these videos without a subscription

  • I’ve just found the map showing exactly where a relation of mine, Frances COLES lived and where she was killed in Whitechapel.

My Family & Jack the Ripper

Knowing that I had an interest in Jack the Ripper, I was recently given a new book about his first five victims.  It is called, “The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper” by Hallie Rubenhold and I found it enthralling.  The author has meticulously researched the lives of these women up to their deaths and as a social history it is a brilliant insight into their real lives and the circumstances of the society in which they lived. They become living breathing women, not the mutilated corpses depicted in the newspapers, and I found myself wishing that I could learn about my own ancestors’ lives in the same detail. Of course, a lot of the information came from the evidence given at their inquests, but other research into the way women were treated and lived during the Victorian era widened the scope. 

I was particularly interested because Frances COLES, a first cousin of my great grandmother was murdered in Whitechapel in 1891 and the press concluded that she was another victim of Jack the Ripper.  Using information from her inquest and coincidentally many of the resources available to Hallie Rubenhold, I had compared her life with that of her cousin, my great grandmother, in Bristol.  The awful inevitability of the downward spiral of her life (together with her parents and siblings) drew many similarities with this book which I can thoroughly recommend.

DNA Research

Have just received a notification that I have a DNA match with a possible 3rd Cousin and he has a tree on MyHeritage containing one person – himself!  That’s not a tree – not even a twig!  However, he has a match with someone else who does have a tree with seven people on it including my original contact.  With some additional research I have been able to identify our common ancestors who are my 3 x great grandparents but I still haven’t heard back from either of these matches to confirm my research.   One thing I have noticed is that the age of those who have tested tends to be younger than the majority of family researchers.  Is this a way of encouraging younger people to become involved in research?

Facebook Group

We now have nearly 100 members of our Facebook Group – and we welcome anyone to join who has an interest in researching their families from this area of North Somerset.  There is a link to the Group from the home page of our web site and there have been some interesting photographs posted by the facebook group.  The Facebook Group also advertises the activities of the Society and welcomes visitors to the Library Free Help Sessions and to the monthly meetings, encouraging them to become full members of our Society.

Buckets & Spades

You will now have had the March edition of Buckets and Spades – Thanks to our editor Sue Maguire who is now looking forward to your articles for the July edition.  Please consider writing up your experiences in researching your families.  How did you do it?  What difficulties did you overcome? What resources did you use?  Were your family stories, handed down through the generations, accurate? Do you have photographs?  Were they named?

Dates for your Diary

  • The next meeting of the society will be on the 4th Tuesday of April when we welcome back Lynda Hotchkiss with another of her talks – this time entitled “Time Gentlemen Please”. At the time of writing I have no further information about the content of this talk but going on past experience it will be entertaining and relevant to Family History research.
  • Looking further ahead, there will be an exhibition in Kewstoke Village Hall from the 11th to the 14th July organised by the Kewstoke Local History Group at which our Society will have a Help Desk run by Graham Payne and others.   More can be seen   about the Kewstoke Group which has an impressive collection of data about the Village.  Past Exhibitions have been well worth a visit – even if you have no family connection with Kewstoke the information which they have collected will interest you. 
  • If any of you know of events or resources which would interest our members please add them as comments to this update.  
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March 2019 Update
published by Pat Hase on Fri, 01/03/2019 - 14:27

It’s March 1st bringing with it the daffodils with which to celebrate St David’s Day for the people of Wales and the promise of Spring.  February, the shortest month, has finished with the most surprising weather for the UK.  Days of warm sunny weather certainly makes our spirits rise.  But, how did the weather affect our ancestors? British Weather from 1700 to 1849 gives us a glimpse of unusual weather events and of special concern was during 1845-46 when the weather conditions caused a widespread crop failure leading to great poverty and migration from the rural areas. This was very evident in Somerset when many left to find work in industrial areas, particularly, in South Wales.

Useful Web sites

  • The British Newspaper Archive is continually adding new papers and this week has added the Central Somerset Gazette from 1862-1981 and I discovered with some amusement that in the edition of 5th June 1980 it was reported, under the heading of Women’s Institutes, that at the next meeting of the Rodney Stoke and Draycot WI there would be a “Cookery Demonstration of Summer Sweets and Salads by Mrs Hase”.  I remember it well – I was working at Weston College at that time.  I arrived early to take a look at the churchyard to see if I could find out anything about my husband’s CASELEY ancestors who came from Rodney Stoke!
  • This advertisement caught my eye on Findmypast  that “The 1921 Census is Coming  But even January 2022, when it will be released, isn’t that far away!  I remember the excitement of the 1881 census being released because it had all my grandparents on it – The 1921 census will answer some of the questions of those wanting to know what happened to members of their family in the 20th Century before the 1939 register.
  • Another new resource, if you have ancestors in the Bath area, is the free Bath Historical Directories which has Bath Directories  from the 1840s to the 1930s and offers several ways in which to search them.  I have spent many hours in Bath library searching through their Bath directories for members of the LONG family so this is actually very helpful.
  • The February Newsletter from Lost Cousins  included a master class on how to find birth certificates in England and Wales, which I’m sure you will find useful, especially if you are having difficulty with a missing relative.  Having just written that, I received another newsletter from Lost Cousins  with even more useful tips. It includes a short piece on a man marrying deceased wife’s sister – which always reminds me of the Fairy Queen in the G & S Operetta Iolanthe referring to the long- winded campaign to change the law when she sings of pricking "that annual blister, marriage with deceased wife's sister". If you do not already subscribe to this free newsletter I advise you to do so for up-to-date news about family history.
  • Our own web site is expanding to include information about the villages which we cover.  If you go to Information Sources in the left-hand column of the home page and then click on Places/Churches you will see a list of Places with the Church (or Churches) which serves them.  If you click on the Name of the Church you get the transcriptions of their registers (for members only) but if you click on the Name of the Place you will get some information and photographs about the place.  At the moment, there is information available for (in no particular order!) Abbots Leigh, Bleadon, Locking, Kenn, Chelvey, Badgworth, Brockley, Hutton, Chapel Allerton, Weare, Chew Stoke and Backwell.  More will follow.

 Dates for your Diary

  • The North Somerset Archivist will be visiting Weston Library on the 1st Thursday of March, June, September and December. Sessions are open from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm, and from 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm. The next session is on Thursday 7th March and for more information or to order documents contact somersetarchives@swheritage.org.uk  
  • The U3A in Weston is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its founding and its Family Group has been running from the start.  The U3A is holding an Open Day including an exhibition of what it offers on Saturday, March 16th at the United Reform Church in Waterloo Street.
  • The next edition of Buckets and Spades will be published at the end of March and is only available to full members but non-members - including our Facebook Group - can see selected articles from old issues.  Go to Journal Articles in the menu at the left hand side of the home page.
  • The Family History Show – South West will be held at UWE on 6th July 2019.  It is good to support this which will have interesting stands and speakers and it is much nearer than London!

Society News

I know that many of you will want to join with me in offering sympathy and condolences to Maureen Harvey on the sad loss of her husband.  Brian Austin is waiting for open heart surgery – we all wish him well and a speedy recovery. 

The next meeting of the Society, on the 26th March, will be about the Mapping Project “Know Your Place”. This is a very exciting and useful resource and one to which you can add photographs and information. It now covers Bath and North East Somerset, BristolDevonGloucestershire, Somerset, North Somerset and Wiltshire .  Take a look at the site before the meeting so that you can fully benefit from the talk.

The Saturday Free Help Sessions are continuing from 2.00 – 3.30 p.m. each Saturday in Weston Library. The facilities in the Local Studies section enables us to point you in the right direction whether you are researching somewhere in this locality or a family wherever it is.  Free access to Ancestry is a tremendous help.  Sometimes it just takes another person looking at your research to suggest a different path to take – this applies no matter how experienced you are.  Thanks to all who freely give of their time and experience to support this. 

If you have a stumbling block in your research why not ask for help either in the library or if you can’t get there, write on our Research Forum which has been rather quiet lately. I can't really believe that there are so few queries from members - every new thing I find poses another question!  If you see a query that you can help with, then please do post a comment – any help is really appreciated.  Non- members, including our Facebook Group can answer your queries with a reply directly to the questioner. Have you added your surnames to the list of Members’ Surnames and perhaps added a tree as well to explain a little more about your interests? 

If you have any comments about what the society has to offer please let us know as this is your Society and we want to share our enthusiasm for family history.

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Forthcoming Events

Weston Library Help Sessions
Saturday, 31st August, 2019 14:00 - 15:30
Weston Library Help Sessions
Saturday, 7th September, 2019 14:00 - 15:30
Society Committee Meeting
Monday, 9th September, 2019 19:30 - 21:30
Weston Library Help Sessions
Saturday, 14th September, 2019 14:00 - 15:30
Society Meeting
Tuesday, 24th September, 2019 19:00 - 21:00
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