John Keats (1725-1821) summed it up perfectly in his “To Autumn”. Few of us remember more than the first line – “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”, but the whole poem evokes the rural atmosphere familiar to many of our ancestors. This time of the year also often heralds a new interest in Family History when conditions favour time which can be spent in research. Since early in 2020 things have been very different and we have had to rely on the availability of online records but, for those who are able to visit, the gradual reopening of Archives and Libraries will be welcomed. Do check before travelling to an Archive that you know all the conditions required to attend. You will need to pre-book your visit to the Somerset Archives and information is available on their web site.
Mercer v Puxton - A Folly of Litigation - 19th Aug.
The Society is very grateful to one of our own members, Anne Lockyer, for her patience and perseverance during a technical problem which prevented her presentation in August from being transmitted. Anne then recorded her talk, and it is available for all members to see at a time convenient to them. Just log in and go to Videos under your name on the main menu. It is a fascinating story and congratulations and thanks to Anne for unravelling her family from the complications of Chancery Records and sharing it with us.
Results of Questionnaire
A precis of the results of the Questionnaire about the future of the Society was posted on our web site If you have further thoughts about its results please add comments or let a member of the committee know. If you said you could give a talk, please contact Jenny Towey and if you said that you would write an article for Buckets and Spades Sue Maguire would love to hear from you. As we have said before - this is your society - what can you do to help others?
All Parishes Covered by the Society
We do need to add more information to the web site about the parishes which surround Weston. We have marvellous transcriptions for them but need more background. I started to add basic information from the 1914 Kelly’s Directory for each parish but failed to finish that project. Perhaps now that the Worthies are completed, I will revisit that! Links to Local History Societies covering the same areas could also be included under the Places. I also suggested in a newsletter sometime ago that members could add information about their own connections with these parishes on the Places Pages. I added “My Wraxall Connection” to the Wraxall page and have several others which need finishing. If you have anything which could enhance the website, please contact Paul Tracey who will be able to assist with the uploading.
I knew that my STOKES family of Wraxall were connected with Market Gardening and some years ago I attended a meeting of the Nailsea and District Local History Society which sadly no longer meets, to hear a talk about the importance of market gardening in that area. It covered not only the relevance of market gardens to the diet of the glass makers of Nailsea but also the growing and selling in London of the popular Victorian flower, violets, from the Tickenham area. Other interesting aspects of Nailsea and Wraxall can still be seen on their web site by looking at the Free Pennants N&DLHS - Free Pennant (ndlhs.org.uk) (their journal) and their free ebooks
Market Gardening also featured in the Milton and Worle area until the land was sold for building in the 1960s. Gillian Moore published a book entitled “The Good Earth” about this subject which is available in Weston Library. It gives the background to the development of market gardening in this area in conjunction with the rise of Weston as a holiday resort and highlights the changes in this trade over the years. I wondered whether a copy was in our own library but unfortunately it does not feature. For those who said that they did not know where to find the Library - it's on the main menu, after you have signed in, and you can search for any title. Many of the books have been donated my members and contain useful information - it's not all on the internet!
Recently I’ve found pleasure in re-reading books which I have had on my bookshelves for years! When I originally bought them, I probably skimmed through them – from the index backwards – looking for names I was researching! Now I have been reading them properly and have been surprised how useful and meaningful they are in giving an idea of the conditions in which our ancestors lived – whether it was through the Bristol Riots of 1832, the Monmouth Rebellion, as Irish immigrants to this country or America, being transported to Australia, life as a servant, or simply the changes in the ways shopping was undertaken etc. The last being very relevant with the current decline of the High Street.
Society of Friends
As family historians we can spend hours looking for church records, but have you considered that the reason you have been unable to find any is that your family might have connections with the Society of Friends?
- To look at Quaker Records you need to understand a little about them. This site - Getting Started is very helpful
- The Quaker FHS gives some very helpful advice about the basics of research and a details description of their records can be found here.
- An additional glossary of terms which you might find in Wills is also included on this site which contains information which is general and not only connected with Quakers.
- As the first building at Sidcot was given to the Society of Friends as far back as 1690 – there is a distinct possibility that you may find Quakers in this area.
Charles Booth Poverty Maps
I know I have mentioned this before but if you have ancestors who lived in London you may be able to trace their road and the conditions in which they lived by using the Charles Booth Poverty Maps. It does take a while to learn to use this site but it is worth the effort.
Family History & Life Stories
Many of us decided to use the Lockdown to write up their own research but perhaps, like me. the time went so quickly that it is still to be accomplished. In January 2020 the U3A published this useful guide which you may find helpful. You will need to scroll down to download it. Although originally written in 2010 this article still holds good and provides some interesting ideas for those of us who still have to complete our family history.
Next Society Meeting
The next Society meeting is scheduled for Thursday September 23rd at 7.0 p.m. which we hope will be free of technical problems.