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September 2022 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Thu, 01/09/2022 - 0:06

I’m amazed it is September already.  The Autumn always has this “fresh start” feeling for me.  I suppose it is a result of having spent so many years in Education in various forms.  The long summer holiday giving way to new avenues to pursue and it is the same with family history.  Now is the time to either start your research or review your findings.

Free Help Session at Library

You can begin by visiting Weston Library on Saturday 3rd September when we will be holding a Free Help Session from 2.00 until 3.30 pm.  This time it is a drop-in session and you do not have to book but be aware that we have a limited number of volunteers.  It would be better to be there for 2.00 pm with as much information about what you hope to find as possible.  While waiting it may be possible to consult the information on the open shelves such as Street Directories and Electoral Rolls as well as the files on people and places in North Somerset, including family trees compiled by Brian Austin.  These sessions will continue on the First Saturday of each Month.

Hutton Show

Today, as I write this, on Wed 31st August,  we have a stand at the Taste of Somerset Show at Hutton – I hope that some of you have found the time to visit our stand and meet the members of the Society who are running it.  If you know of other local shows where we would be welcome, please let us know.

Next Open Meeting

On September 14th there will be a Meeting at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall in Baytree Road at 2.30pm – Speaker from 3.00pm will be Esther Hoyle,  who will talk about Somerset Women.  All are welcome - including visitors.   Esther will be well known to many of you because for several years she was the North Somerset Archivist who regularly visited the Library, bringing documents from the Somerset Archives for us to consult and her expertise to answer any questions.

Heritage Open Days

The Heritage Open Days are from 9-18 September when you can visit any number of places including Emmanuel Church, The Thatched Cottage, The Cemetery Chapel, etc  and there will be a Lego Suffragette in the Library.  Full details with dates and times of entry can be found on this web site.

September Workshop

The September Workshop, which will be held on Zoom on Wed October 5th at 7.30pm, will be Jenny Towey on DNA testing.  That is not a mistake, no Workshop in September but two in October.  DNA is a fascinating tool for research and although not always the easiest to master can be very useful in confirming your paper research.

Derek Venn

I was saddened to hear recently about the death of Derek VENN who was instrumental in collecting first hand memories of life in Weston during WW2.  He and I gave several joint talks about his findings and a copy of some of the reports are on our web site under Weston-super-Mare with the title “Weston Memories of WW2” You need to be a member to read them but printed copies are available in the Library.      He was an energetic researcher who also led a group with the U3A who visited and learned about the surrounding Villages. His funeral is at the crematorium on 7th September at 12:30 pm ; all are welcome and donations in his memory will be welcomed by the Alzheimers Society.

Look at the Original Entry if Possible    

I know I’ve written this before but it is important to look at the original document when researching.  My grandfather, Ashton HILL, was born in Cam in Gloucestershire in 1880. I knew he had an elder sister who we called “Auntie Bo” but what was her real name?   

They both appear on the 1881 census of Cam

1881 England, Wales & Scotland Census

Cam Street, Cam, Dursley, Gloucestershire, England

First name

Last name

Relation-ship

Marital status

Age

Birth year

Occupation

Birth place

John

Hill

Head

Married

25

1856

Mason

Cam, Glos

Susan

Hill

Wife

Married

32

1849

-

Cam, Glos

Minnie

Hadley

Daughter

Single

14

1867

Woollen cloth worker

Cam, Glos

Walter James

Hadley

Son

Single

12

1869

Scholar

Cam, Glos

Francis H

Hadley

Daughter

Single

9

1872

Scholar

Cam, Glos

Beatrice A

Hadley

Daughter

Single

7

1874

Scholar

Cam, Glos

Herbert S

Hadley

Son

Single

5

1876

Scholar

Cam, Glos

Rosa Edith

Hill

Daughter

Single

2

1879

-

Cam, Glos

Ashton B

Hill

Son

Single

0

1881

-

Cam, Glos

 So this told me that Bo’s name was actually Rosa Edith but I could not find a birth registration for a Rosa Edith HILL.  However,  I knew that Susan was a widow when she married John HILL, so I looked for the birth or christening of a Rosa Edith HADLEY…. Just in case.

How kind of the Vicar!

Another image of another family member helped me and this time from the 1921 census

This led me to the National Archives where there were detailed documents about their separation and subsequent divorce. The transcription may have just a “D” entered but at least this told me that she had initiated proceedings.

Monumental Inscriptions

The Monumental Inscriptions for Wraxall have been added to our site.   Thank you, Graham! This was of particular interest to me as my great grandmother, Annie STOKES  was born there, and her parents have a stone which lists other members of the family who died elsewhere. A really useful resource. My mother used to tell of staying with relations in Wraxall as a small child and I am now able to identify some of them.  Others I found mentioned in a newspaper account of a funeral of another Wraxall relation which listed the mourners.

There is a popular idea of family historians that they spend their time in churchyards hunting for graves.  There may be a grain of truth in this.  On my mother’s 80th birthday in 1990 I decided that what she would most appreciate was a trip to Stinchcombe in Gloucestershire to look at her great great grandparents’ tomb! 

The Inscription is quite brief

  • Richard WATTS, died 15 April 1875, aged 76
  • Susanna, his wife, died 5 April 1879, aged 83
  • Elizabeth, their daughter, died 12 May 1863, aged 36

Elizabeth was the only one of their eight children who did not marry.  I wonder which of the children paid for this tomb?

Brickwalls

How do you decide which part of your family tree to research or look at again?  Where are the gaps in your tree?  Those brickwalls which fail to crumble?  Perhaps not surprisingly with other attractions on hand during August the Research Forum has been little used. Why not use the web site and let others help you.  I often get surprised at an alternative yet helpful approach which is suggested to me if I share a problem – I can’t be the only one who has problems - can I?  The Facebook group has also been very quiet during August. 

Free Web Sites

One of the most frequent queries I do get is – what free sites are there? Take a look at this web site  It lists the best ones with links to them  - there are 25 .  See how many of them you have used and how beneficial you have found them to be. Which ones would you recommend?

The best free UK genealogy websites include:  FamilySearch, Free UK Genealogy. (FreeBMD, FreeREG and FreeCEN), National Library of Wales, Online Parish Clerks, Find a Will, The National Archives, National Library of Scotland, National Archives of Ireland.  etc. etc.

The National Library of Scotland even has a free town map of Weston-super-Mare!

The Future

Next year we will be celebrating our 40th birthday - Keep Saturday May 6th 2023 free for our celebrations - Cannot guarantee a drone display but watch this space!

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Forthcoming Events

Workshop by Zoom: Guild of One-Name Studies
Wednesday, 24th July, 2024 19:30 - 21:30
Library Help Session
Saturday, 7th September, 2024 14:00 - 15:30
Physical Members' Meeting: site visit
Wednesday, 11th September, 2024 14:30 - 16:30
Library Help Session
Saturday, 5th October, 2024 14:00 - 15:30
Physical Members' Meeting
Wednesday, 9th October, 2024 14:30 - 17:00
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