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November 2019 Update
published by Pat Hase on Thu, 31/10/2019 - 23:26

Tricks and treats are not only evident at Halloween but also in family history research. It sometimes looks as if our ancestors played tricks by purposely making it difficult to be traced when they disappear from all the usual resources.  At other times, some documents may suddenly reveal amazing information which you are not expecting – a real treat!

  • I’ve just received a Will of a maiden lady who I thought was an only child only to read that she left bequests to her six nieces who turned out to be the daughters of her two sisters and two brothers.  Not only did she name all of them but gave their married names as well – which filled in many gaps in the family.  For £1.50 that really was a bargain!  The wills are now coming through quite quickly and have given quite a boost to my research.
  • I’ve also heard via the Ancestry Site that someone has discovered that he is related both to me and to my husband.  Now that is going to take a bit of sorting out!  Who can say that they have finished their research?

Military Matters

  • Remembrance Sunday this year falls on November 10th when we remember the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts.  Not only those who fell but also those who were wounded, mentally and physically as a result of wars. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Web Site  should be the first port of call when looking for relations who died in any of these conflicts.  Don’t forget that Civilian casualties are also recorded there.
  • The CWGC site has more than lists of casualties.  My father was severely wounded on his birthday May 11th1944 at the battle of Monte Cassino in Italy.  The CWGC  pages about Monte Cassino give an interesting look into this battle.  It pays to explore this site.
  • My Diary for 2020 tells me that the May Day Holiday on the 1st Monday in May will not take place next year but instead there will be a Bank Holiday on Friday 8th May to coincide with VE Day or Victory in Europe Day, which marks the day during World War Two when fighting against Nazi Germany came to an end in Europe.  That weekend there will be many commemorative events as we look back 75 years to May 8th, 1945. 
  • Victory celebrations were anticipated in Bristol.  Late at night on May 7th, before the much-anticipated official announcement, my mother woke me to get out of bed to see the bonfires which had been lit along the railway line near what was then the thirteen arches in Eastville.  I sleepily said “alright” and went back to sleep!  I do remember the Street Party and the feeling of excitement during the days which followed, we as children, catching the mood of our elders.  Do you or other members of your family have memories of this time?  How should we as a Family History Society mark this occasion?

Events

  • On Saturday the 23rd November from 10.00 a.m. until 4.00 p.m. the Society will be having a stand at an event at St Marks Church in Worle.  Please come along and support us.  It will be in the form of a Help Desk so bring along your research and any queries.
  • We are looking to attend more local shows next year.  If you know of any Village, School, Scout or Guide fete or any other community show at which we could have a stand to publicise our society please let Graham Payne or any of the Committee know so that we can discuss this with the organisers. 
  • Please let your friends know about our Free Help Sessions each Saturday afternoon at the Library.  They do not have to be members or researching local families.  We would be happy to see anyone with a query. 

Photographers and Photography

  • The talk we had about Somerset Photographers in October was very interesting but has left me with more questions than answers.  Some years ago, I was given an old photograph album by my Aunt.  She told me that all the photographs in it were of her side of the family.  Not one of them was named. 
  • Two of them were taken by J. G. Williams, Photographer of High Street, Weston-super-Mare and showed what I believed to be a young family on holiday in Weston-super-Mare and the children had been given buckets and spades to hold during the session.   I thought that I could identify them.  I thought they were my great grandmother’s sister and husband with girls born in 1872, 1875 & 1878 and two boys born in 1880 and 1883. The boys had not yet been breeched (put into trousers) 
  • However, from the book “Secure the Shadow” compiled by the speakers about Somerset Photographers 1839-1938 I discovered that J. G. Williams left the High Street in 1874 which did not match the ages of the children.  I contacted Phil Nichols and he cast even more doubt on my identification of the family by suggesting that the style of photographs looks to date it to late 1860s or very early 1870s. Firstly, the carte has square, and not rounded, corners, and secondly the full-length poses are typical of the 1860s - see the descriptions of styles / fashions at http://www.cartes.freeuk.com/time/time.htm
  • So, I’m now looking for a family in my tree with at least 5 children born before 1872.  Back to the drawing board!

Web Site

  • I sound like the proverbial broken record here - but why are members not using the Research Forum?  We have said that the queries do not only have to be about our area as many of our local members are researching family from elsewhere.
  • There are under a handful of members who ever contribute to this Forum - either to ask a question or to give help and suggestions to others. 
  • I have just put a new item on our web site – it can be found under Information Sources, Places/Churches, and Wraxall.  You will find a document relating to Wraxall – “My Wraxall Connection” click on that and you will be able to read about part of my maternal tree – the STOKES family.  This is an experiment to see if we can add to the information and general interest available under the Information Sources. 
  • This isn’t a tree but a narrative about the place and people living there.  Could you add similar documents under other places?  Let me know what you think.  I’m working on one now for Mark and my connection with the PUDDY family – but as they frequently wandered from Mark it is proving difficult!

Next Meeting and AGM

At our next monthly meeting on Tuesday November 26th will be our AGM and a members’ evening when you are asked to contribute.  In the past we have had some fascinating items from your research.  This month you are asked if you know of any Black Sheep in your family?  Do you have Famous or Infamous people on your tree?  Be prepared to talk about your naughty and/or interesting ancestors.  The latest edition of Buckets & Spades will also be available for collection.

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Society Meeting
Tuesday, 26th November, 2019 19:00 - 21:00
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