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March 2020 Update
published by Pat Hase on Sat, 29/02/2020 - 13:07

It's a Leap Year and I wonder how many of you have relations who are celebrating their birthdays on Feb 29th? According to the 1939 Register there were 323 people living in Somerset with that birth date and of them just 26 lived in Weston and Worle at that time.  Probably a bit of useless information and of course it doesn't take into account people who are still alive and whose information is redacted. 

Locking Village Talk - Looking at Locking

At our last meeting in April we had an interesting talk about the history of Locking given by one our members and resident of Locking, Simon Begent.  He highlighted the fact that there is a local history exhibition about the village, the airfield and the former RAF Locking Camp. in St Augustine's Church which is open to the public from !0.00am - dusk on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  You are welcome to visit.   The Locking website also has a plan of the churchyard and a list of the burials there. 

New Archive Card

For those of you who are planning to visit an Archive in the near future there is a new Archive Card coming into use.

The County Archive Research Network (CARN) card ceased last November and will be replaced by this new card.  You can see more details about how to apply for a card and which Archives need one on this website

New Resources Online

It's often advisable to look again to see what new records have been added to the Internet.  You do not have to subscribe to a commercial site to find out what is new.

  • The Genealogist has released some new RAF Operations Book Records which make for fascinating reading. To find out more about these records, you can read Nick Thorne's article "RAF Operations books build a picture of WWII aircrew ancestors' action".
    • For a bit of local colour about the RAF during WW2 take a look at an interview with Arthur Spencer who was later the first Head master of Priory School about his experiences as a Navigator in the RAF  
  • Findmypast update their site each Friday and you can read about their new records on their Blog.  This Friday, being near to March 1st and St David's Day their new records include Welsh Burials.  Findmypast also has new parish records from Surrey and  Hampshire, some with images of original entries.  Findmypast also has a collection of Devon Social & Institutional Records. This set of records includes information about paupers, vagrants, apprentices, peddlers and tradesmen.  
  • Ancestry has a few new collections and Jenny Towey has recommended this article about DNA for those of you who have tested with Ancestry
  • Familysearch has this article which interested me  especially as it features Mary Berry who attended the same college in Bath as I did (a couple of years earlier) but so many of her comments ring bells with me.
  • Somerset Heritage Centre has a half-day course in reading Common phrases in Latin and English  which are found in old documents.  This will be on April 28th
  • Bristol Archives has announced that the records for Arnos Vale Cemetery can be now be seen there.  This is very welcome news and I know of several Weston people who were buried there. The catalogue entry with more details about these records can be seen here 

Technology Problems

I've been struggling with technology this week.  Just over 20 years ago I backed up some research using the backup utility included with Windows 95 and 98. Safely stored on 3 1/2 inch floppy disks! I wanted to restore this but of course I no longer have a suitable disc drive so I purchased one - only to find that the backup files .QIC can not be restored as microsoft no longer supports their own backup files!  I tried a programme which is supposed to be able to open all files with no success. 

I wish I had just saved the data as a word file - those I can open - but at least I do have a printed copy - Paper it seems is best after all.  I mention this as a warning to be aware that the speed with which technology has changed over the years and how we can get caught out by it.  If any of our more technically minded members have way of restoring .QIC files I would love to hear from them.  

Activities in March

The North Somerset Archivist visit to Weston Library is on Thursday March 5th  This is so useful if you are researching a Somerset Family or building. Sessions are open from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm, and from 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm For more information and to ask for documents to be brought to Weston contact somersetarchives@swheritage.org.uk

The Dorset Family History Society is having a Family History Day on Sat March 21st at Poole.  Unfortunately we will not be represented but there are many interesting exhibitors and speakers who will be there.

Our Society Meeting in March on Tuesday the 24th March will see a return visit of Shirley Hodgson who has spoken to us before about the Home Children.  This time her topic is the TS Formidable which was a Training Ship anchored off Portishead and was used as an Industrial School where young boys who had fallen foul of the local magistrates were sent to learn skills which would suit them for a life at sea.  It was set up in 1869 and in 1870 a young Henry HASE, aged about 13, from Weston-super-Mare joined their ranks for 5 years having been caught stealing from a local shop so I have a particular interest in this talk and am looking forward to it.

The Saturday Free Help Sessions will continue as usual throughout March and we look forward to meeting up with some of you there. The Library is certainly not a quiet zone while we are in there and all the volunteers delight in suggesting ways of continuing your research.  Beginners are particularly welcome and so are those who wish to update their skills or who just to discover what the North Somerset Local Studies Library holds.

Other Society News

Facebook Group - This continues to grow and members have made some useful contacts through it.  As it is a closed group you have to join to see what it contains but for those of you who use Facebook it might be worth a look. There is a link on our home page.

Workshops - The Committee is hoping to offer some Workshops in various aspects of Family History Research and Peter de Dulin would like to hear from any member who has ideas about timing, topics and/or venues for these Workshops.  You can contact Peter here

This is your society - let us know if there is anything you would like to see the society doing to aid your research.   

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