News & Information (Monthly Update)
|May 2021 Newsletter|
published by Pat Hase on Sat, 01/05/2021 - 18:41
Another month has flown by and the committee has been looking at the various protocols or hoops which we and any hall we hired would have to jump through before we can consider any live meetings of our society. Consequently, we will be continuing as now until further notice. Bearing this in mind, can the membership let us know whether there is anything that they would like the society to consider which would help them in their research?
Over this Bank Holiday weekend both Lost Cousins and the censuses on FindmyPast will be freely available. The 1939 Register is not a census so is not included in the offer from FindmyPast but if you do have a subscription, it is worth taking a look at it again as it has recently been updated on that site with the release of an additional of almost another 100,000 records. These will include some who have recently died allowing entries which had been redacted to be opened.
After all I have ever said and written about the accuracy of Family Trees on Ancestry - yesterday I found a tree with a photograph of my great grandmother from Wraxall which is better that the one which my mother had given me!
The bonus is that it was on a tree of someone with whom I share DNA but whose surname is new to me as they are descended from a female line. The moral of this story is that it is beneficial to research all descendants from great grandparents because you never know where a link may be found.
Last month I watched a free talk about archaeology, Cheddar Man and ancient DNA which was interesting and thought provoking. This was arranged through Evenbrite I looked to see what other talks Evenbrite had about Family History. They are not listed in date order so look through them all. I see that Jenni PHILLIPS is giving a talk in June about Using Probate Records. This talk is primarily for the Glamorgan FHS but is open to others to watch. Jenni is a long-standing member of this society and regularly contributes to the Facebook Group. She had also recorded three talks for THE Genealogy Show in June.
After my talk about Burlington Street, someone remarked to me that you could research any street and find interesting families with fascinating stories. How true! Every family has its own history to reveal and as has also been shown with house histories these can shed light on the way of life at that time. It is not only people and houses which reveal an interesting past. Members of my family seems always to have been interested in motoring and have owned some interesting vintage cars. In the days when Logbooks were physically exchanged it was possible, using skills honed on family history research, to find out more about the cars and their previous owners. We may not have aristocracy or money in our family, but the cars had them! Some County Record Offices have archives containing car registration numbers and when they were issued and to whom. This reminds me that not all records are online and visits to County Archives after using their online catalogues and/or Discovery on the National Archives, which includes other Archives, to locate possible documents is still essential whether you are researching people, houses or cars.
If you have an address, Google Street View is also extremely helpful in seeing the area where your family lived. Be wary though, I have an address of an aunt in 1955 of 50 Nuthatch Drive, which was non-existent when I looked for it – only a few newish looking houses in Nuthatch Drive. Thinking more about it I remembered being told that she lived in a “pre-fab” and presumably the area has since been redeveloped. However, Know Your Place was able to answer that question. The area now had a completely different road plan.
This aunt was a State Registered Nurse and Midwife. Her records are available online on Ancestry under "UK & Ireland Nursing Registers, 1898-1968" and the "UK, The Midwives Roll 1904-1959" each time listing where she was living and when she qualified. Her aunt, my great aunt, was a teacher and her qualifications and teaching career can be found on Findmypast under Teachers’ Registration It lists where she trained and all the schools where she worked. But it does not tell the whole story. She stayed on as a pupil teacher in her school and eventually trained at a Day College. A visit to the local Archives and a look at the logbooks of the schools in which she taught told me more. That she lost her voice, that her classes were large, that she had to stay at home because her mother was unwell but was a good and effective teacher although very short! Newspaper accounts show when she passed examinations. I have some of the books she had while training and teaching which she gave me and some handwritten lesson notes all of which add to my memories of a great aunt. Don’t forget to research those maiden aunts – very often they can add a lot to the family story.
Not much to report this month in the way of Society news.
- The next Members' Zoom meeting is on Thursday 20th May at 7.00p.m. when the topic will be The Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Make sure that you are a paid-up member of the society so that you get notification of how to join.
- The deadline for the next edition of Buckets & Spades is on the middle of June so you have all of May to write an interesting article.
- I would appreciate any ideas on how to encourage contributions in the form of queries or comments to the web site or postings on the Facebook Group.
- As we are no longer meeting in person we rarely get any feedback on how you think the society is doing or what you would like to happen. Please let us know by adding comments to this newsletter.
- To paraphrase John F Kennedy - "Ask not what the Society can do for you - ask what you can do for the Society!"
I hope you all danced round a Maypole this morning and washed your faces in the morning dew - it was very cold!
|April 2021 Newsletter|
published by Pat Hase on Thu, 01/04/2021 - 13:35
All Fools Day! What does that mean to you? I think it was Abraham Lincoln who said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”. He must have seen some of the Family Trees which have been posted online!
I know we can all make mistakes in compiling trees but to mindlessly add information from another tree without checking it out is foolish to say the least. These days, when DNA testing is another tool available to researchers, hints are often suggested based on similar names in other published family trees and this can cause no end of frustration and hours of fruitless research where the other tree is suspect.
Zoom Meeting in March
We had a very interesting Zoom talk in March by Chris Reid from the Weston LDS Family History Centre who explained some of the benefits to be gained from using FamilySearch, a completely free site. You do have to sign in but there is no charge. I come from a generation of researchers who cut their teeth on the extremely helpful IGI, (International Genealogical Index) searching through fiche after fiche to find christenings and marriages with very few burials available. I did order some films which I was able to see at the Bristol Wells Road Family History Centre, but Somerset records were limited – said to be due to a Bishop of Bath & Wells who did not allow the filming of the C of E Registers. This has now all changed and the number of records available on this site matches if not overtakes other Commercial Sites and has some with images. But I have to admit that although I did have a great deal of help from a school friend who is a member of the LDS when the enhanced web site came online, I have never really used it as my first port of call. I have not made myself familiar with all that the site has to offer and although I had put the start of a tree on the FamilySearch site I did not look at it very often.
Yesterday, March 31st, when I looked at FamiySearch I found that additions have been made to my tree in a place where there has always been a stumbling block. The parents of James MILLARD who married a Jane PARFREY in Axbridge in 1787 (my husband’s 3 x g grandparents) are now, according to the tree, Leaster and Ann MILLARD of Banwell. It is possible but where is the proof? There are several other contenders for the role of parents and I am looking for some sort of proof before committing them to a tree. Chris Reid did talk about the collaborative trees – I’d be interested in your comments. There is an article about how to correct trees on FamilySearch How to Correct Mistakes on the FamilySearch Family Tree | LDS365: Resources from the Church & Latter-day Saints worldwide which also gives the benefits of having such a tree.
Wedding at Holy Trinity on 3rd May 1945 - just 5 days before VE Day
Back in 2012 we were contacted by an American, Nan Turner, who was researching information about her father's time in the USA Army when he was billeted in Weston-super-Mare in 1944/5. We placed an item on the Research Forum for her with a picture of a Wedding which took place at Holy Trinity in Weston. Although nobody replied to the site we were later able to help her with some information which she has now incorporated into a web site which includes more photographs of their stay in Weston. Her father was a member of the 1270 the Engineer Combat Battalion this link will take you to her web site - you will need to scroll down a little between the photographs to enter the site. Go to Weston-super-Mare in the left hand menu. She is still interested in identifying members of the Wedding Photo. Her contact details can be found on her web site. See also the original Research Forum Entry and another one in 2018 with more response.
Family History Federation - Really Useful Show
As a member of the Federation we will be included in the Really Useful Show on April 10th. There is still time to buy a ticket for this online Show with a variety of excellent speakers.
Buckets & Spades
The March edition of Buckets & Spades is now available to full members. Thank you to all who contributed to it, to Sue Maguire, who edited it and to Paul Tracey who oversees the distribution. There are some very interesting articles in it, several with a military flavour, while others covered other aspects of family history research. There is also a brief mention of resources held by Brian Austin whose contact details are on the web site.
Graham is busy adding more transcriptions - today Biddisham MIs. Here's just an example
The MIs, like all the parish registers are so easy to search by using "find on page" and give a marvellous amount of information.
We are delighted to note that our membership numbers have kept up during the past year but are still puzzled about why we are not getting any entries in the Research Forum. At a time when contact between members as been curtailed are there other ways in which we can we help other members in their research? We encourage you to raise topics about your research whether it is based in Weston or not - most of our local members have family from elsewhere and I know that we have members with a tremendous amount of knowledge who could help others.
We now have 331 Members. It is difficult to know how many are actively researching their families or are thinking about it or are more interested in the locality but all are welcome. Queries posted to the group are usually answered within a day and we keep a file of SURNAME Interests which allows members to see if someone else is interested in the same surname. We have had some interesting discussions and some brickwalls have been knocked down.
When someone asks to join this private group they have to answer a question before being admitted. Unfortunately, there have been several occasions where this question has not been answered and in spite of trying to contact them we have received no answer and therefore they have not been admitted to the group.
We do encourage full membership of the Society as the very low subscription rate of £9.00 per year brings with it our interesting Journal Buckets & Spades, the transcriptions and other items available only to full members and admission to our Zoom meetings - there is an additional entry fee when we meet in a Hall.
Zoom Meeting Thursday April 15th at 7.00pm
Although lockdown restrictions are being gradually lifted and those of us who have been shielding are now able to leave home I suspect that it will still be some time before our monthly meetings will be able to resume. At our first Zoom Meeting it was interesting to see those members from further afield who have not been able to attend in person before, so there is a silver lining to the cloud which is still over us! Our next meeting is due on Thursday April 15th at 7.00pm when I will be the speaker, talking about researching "Clara’s Cottage and Burlington Street" in Weston, the site of the Weston Museum.
You will receive an email with instructions on how to join each meeting, if you didn’t receive one last month check that the email which we have for you hasn’t been changed recently. There are several videos available on how to join Zoom for the first time – this is just one of them which might be helpful.
Any Other Business!
If you have any information to add to this newsletter or comments about any of the items please use the Comments Facility at the bottom of the page. Have a Happy April!
|March 2021 Newsletter|
published by Pat Hase on Mon, 01/03/2021 - 12:26
Welcome to a new Month and a special mention for our Welsh members who will be celebrating St David’s Day today. Even if many will have discovered that they are not Welsh at all but have come from other parts of the Country including many from Somerset, you can wear your daffodil with pride!
The high spot of last month just has to be our first Society Meeting via Zoom. It was a very successful meeting with an interesting and informative talk from our Vice-Chairman, Peter De Dulin about the 1939 Register. Thank you to all concerned for arranging it and the Society hopes to run Zoom meetings on the 3rd Thursday of each month from now on. We welcomed some members who would not normally be able to attend local meetings and it was great to match names with faces. An email will go to all full members advising them of the contact details each month. If you did not receive one last time, please check that you have not changed your email address. If you have any ideas of topics for these meetings, please let Jenny Towey know. Please note that the meetings are on the 3rd Thursday NOT 4th Tuesday.
I wonder how many of you have benefitted in the last few days from the wonderful selection of talks available from Rootstech which will still be available for another 11 months. Perhaps you could recommend some of the talks you have found helpful to other members?
- On March 21st the 2021 Census will be taken – I know it has been suggested that you copy your form to preserve in your own Family History Archives. You might consider asking whether other members of your family might do the same and let you have copies of their entries – it will save your descendants having to wait 100 years to access them!
- I admit to having waited avidly for the release of the 1881 census and here we are, 40 years later, looking forward to the 1921 Census for England and Wales which will be released in January 2022, initially by Find my Past. I think I know where my parents and grandparents were then but 3 of my great grandparents were still alive and it would be interesting to find out exactly where they were living and with whom.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- There was an interesting query on our Research Forum about some military graves in Milton Road Cemetery which revealed a piece of WW2 history which I had not really researched before although I had seen the graves in question. At one of our Zoom meetings hopefully will be a speaker from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission – their site seems to have more information on it every time I go to it.
- There will be a War Graves Week in May to raise awareness of the work done by the Commission. Their project for Wild Flower Gardens has already been oversubscribed.
Newspapers and Coroners Reports
- A posting on our Facebook Group led me to the report of an Inquest in a local paper. This reminded me that although Coroners Records have in the main not survived, amazing detail can often be obtained from the newspapers. I find that although Find my Past does have access to the British Newspaper Archive, the search facility is so much better on the BNA site.
- Many of the sites containing searchable resources update regularly, including the Newspapers so it can be productive to search again for mention of your families, remembering that newspaper entries can have errors in them! One small thing I have become aware of recently is the use of the phrase “of this town” sometimes used in Family Announcements. I spent some time looking for a man at an address in Weston only to find that although the notice was entered in a Weston newspaper it was under a heading of Somerset Events with a sub heading Burnham and he was from Burnham on Sea!
Newspapers are also very helpful at giving information about leisure time activities – often listing sporting teams, winners of flower shows, competitors at Music Festivals etc.
From documents found with my great grandfather’s photographs I have found out that he was a fisherman. This was at the start of the First World War but presumably that was not going to stop him fishing.
For several years Samuel Thomas LONG had been a member of the Bristol West End Angling Association – he was also their Auditor – and their very posh Member’s Ticket for 1896, apart from their Rules and Regulations, listed the Railway Arrangements whereby the Midland Railway Company issued 3rd Class return “Fishing Tickets” at preferential rates to members provided that they showed their Membership Cards, Fishing Rod and Tackle at the Booking Office! Although the newspapers did report their annual fishing matches, I cannot see that he ever won a prize.
Local History Groups
I know I have included this before but do not overlook the Local History Groups covering the area in which your ancestors lived. In many cases they have web sites rich with historical information about their home places.
- You probably know of my interest in Workhouses and Axbridge Workhouse in particular. There are a number of Axbridge records including, births, baptisms, deaths and censuses which I have transcribed and made available on our web site for members. Find them under Axbridge Poor Law Union in Main Menu
- The Somerset Archives have released some searchable Somerset Workhouse Admission and Discharge Transcriptions for the whole of Somerset under their Index to Workhouse Admission and Discharge Registers from 1836. It is not a complete listing because not all records have survived and there is a 100 year cut off, but very useful if you have lost someone.
Buckets & Spades
Look out for the latest edition which you should be receiving shortly. Please consider how you can contribute to the next one. It is always interesting to read about other people’s family history and how they managed to find that elusive ancestor.
We now have 319 members. and it is interesting and encouraging to see how links are being made between local families. I am posting advertisements from a 1911 book about Weston which have been jogging memories of long-established trades people in the town and of how life was before our time and of course before WW1. These have generated useful discussion.
- Graham Payne is still busy with the transcriptions and photographs of Memorials which are very well received by our members. In particular the transcriptions of the burials in the Milton Road Cemetery are in great demand by full members as they answer so many questions about what happened to their relatives after 1856.
- Bill Caple is still adding pictures to the Places covered by this Society. Go to Places/Churches and click on the name of the Place not the church. They give literally a snapshot of where our ancestors lived. If you have any which could be added I'm sure that Bill would love to hear from you.
Finally, the future is looking more promising now, provided we do not let go too quickly as soon as the better weather comes. We all want to meet up again but let’s not lose the advantage the vaccination programme has given us by rushing things. In the meantime, please keep in touch through the Research Forum, contributing to Buckets & Spades, contacting us through the web site or the Facebook Group and join in with the Zoom Meeting on Thursday March 18th.
Yesterday, I had to add the death of a very dear first cousin to my family tree and although not unexpected, it has triggered a whole range of happy memories, from childhood escapades, through teenage confidences, to marriages and the sharing of family gatherings when our children were small to our last contact, a Zoom meeting over Christmas. A whole generation of memories to be cherished – that is what family history is about - not just the framework of names, dates and places. It is recognised that it is more difficult, if not sometimes impossible, to catch the underlying aspirations and feelings of our ancestors but it is those which makes each family different and separates genealogy from family history.
|February 2021 Newsletter|
published by Pat Hase on Mon, 01/02/2021 - 13:09
The snow drops are out in my garden and snow is gently falling, as I write this on the last day of January. This month has flown by, but that is the way time seems to go during Lockdown – days blend into each other and all the plans I have when I wake in the morning seem to be still plans in the evening! The occasional zoom meetings and many phone calls and emails keep me in touch and I am grateful for those, and for the way in which researching my own family (and others!) has given me an escape from the reality of life during a pandemic.
Can I gently remind members that their annual subscriptions are now due. Normally many members renew at the January meeting, which of course did not take place, and it may have slipped your minds. If you can renew as soon as possible it will save administrative work sending out individual reminders. Thank you to those who have already renewed.
We offer a warm welcome to New Members and hope that their time with us is productive and useful for them. Take time to make yourselves familiar with the website - there is a lot on offer. Add your SURNAME interests to the lists so that others researching the same name can find you and share information. Use the search button at the top right-hand corner of the home page to see if your particular interest, whether it is a surname, occupation, place or event etc. is mentioned anywhere on the site. Use our Research Forum to breakdown your brickwall.
For those who are not yet members I would like to point out that annual digital membership is very low, just £9.00 per year which as I have pointed out before, is less than the cost of an individual civil registration certificate. For that you will have access to our Journal, “Buckets and Spades”, the next edition being due in March, access to the transcriptions of parish records for most of North Somerset and the Axbridge Registration District and access to the Burial Records of Weston Cemetery, from 1856, when local churchyards were closed. Local members also have access to our Library.
The Society’s Library is in danger of being lost unless we can find a member who is prepared to give it a home. One big advantage of volunteering to do this is that whoever holds the library has immediate access to the books. We have been asking for someone to come forward for some time and we will have to make a decision soon about what to do with these books. Please contact Brian Airey for more details about what is involved.
We received a valuable suggestion from a member that members may own resources such as Street Directories, and they would be prepared to do look ups for other members. To set this up on the website would have incurred a cost and the committee were uncertain about how many members would have taken advantage of it. This is a shame because the closure of the Public Library has meant that access to Street Directories has been curtailed. However, the Research Forum could be used for requesting help such as from a Street Directory. Please make use of the Forum for furthering your research. Why is it underused – nothing at all in the last month?
Buckets and Spades
The deadline for the next edition of Buckets and Spades is February 15th and Sue Maguire, the editor, would be pleased to receive copy for this or future editions. Your family history research and how you went about it would be interesting to other members.
Many sites are increasing their resources during the pandemic. Here are just a few, perhaps you can add others.
- Just last week the Somerset Archives advertised a free session entitled "Somerset Family History: Online Q & A" on 11 February 10.30am - noon. This proved so popular that it was quickly full but you can add your name to their waiting list for a repeat event.
- Weston Town Council has posted this very interesting background to Milton Road Cemetery and some of the people who are buried there.
- Weston Town Council also has a page devoted to honouring those for whom Blue Plaques have been erected in the town.
- Know Your Place North Somerset has an interesting Facebook Group where the benefits of using this fantastic tool can be discussed
Sometimes you may want to while away some time watching a video or a recorded Zoom presentation about family history research, many of which are now available on You Tube. Although these are mainly from Findmypast the content is varied and can be viewed without having a subscription.
- This introduction to the Electoral Registers which are available at the British Library is eye opening about what is actually available and how difficult it can be to use the records. I found it particularly interesting because at about 25 minutes in they start to research a man by the name of Thomas William ALDWINCKLE. This name was familiar to me as a Miss Marion Gertrude ALDWINCKLE was the founder of Westcliff School in Weston, who I had already researched and Thomas was her Uncle!
- If you have Irish ancestors this presentation entitled “Irish Family History is Easy” may dispel some of the myths about the difficulty of researching Irish Records.
- I think I may have suggested this one before but as a background to Social History and an understanding of how the conditions in which our ancestors lived affected their lives this discussion is thought provoking and interesting.
- Many of us have found ancestors who married on Christmas Day but why did so many choose that day to tie the knot? Christmas Day Weddings may answer that question.
RootsTech in February
Normally this would be a live event in Salt Lake City but this year there is a free Virtual Event taking place 25-27 February – you can register for free and then join in as much or as little as you wish. Their publicity answers the question - What’s Included?
- Celebrity keynote speakers
- Dozens of classes to choose from taught by presenters all over the world and in multiple languages
- An interactive expo hall with companies from all over the globe
- Fun cultural activities/demonstrations geared to celebrate traditions from around the world
I hope that the vaccination roll-out continues to work well and those who qualify are accepting their vaccination. I have been very impressed with the efficient and caring way in which our local centres have been operating and it reminded me of this certificate I posted on Facebook a short while ago which confirms that young Master PENNY had received his smallpox vaccination at a time when that vaccination was compulsory, and parents could be prosecuted if their children were not vaccinated.
Long Lost Family
I watched an edition of this ITV programme which was concerned with using DNA to identify WW1 soldiers whose bodies have recently been discovered in France over 100 years after they were killed. It is available on the ITV Hub for 30 days
Peter and Jenny Towey are sharing their expertise in this field and one thing I have realised is that it is essential to have researched all the descendants of my ancestors in order to identify a possible match. If the match is a 3rd, 4th or 5th cousin then there are many places in each generation where the surname may change. I recently had a match on My Heritage which has me researching their tree to see if there is a connection and if there is it will break down a long standing brickwall! I’m still waiting for a reply from them to see if I’m on the right lines.
You do not have to be a member to join our Facebook Group. Our aim is to be available to quickly answer queries and make suggestions about future research. In this way we hope to attract full membership of the Society and to support all who share our interest in Family History. We would welcome more contributions and queries both on the Facebook Group and on the website.
This time last year we had no idea that we would be in this situation now with no face to face meetings and we sincerely hope that it will not be too long before we can meet up again. Please let us know how you are getting on with your research, either by an article for Buckets and Spades, use of the Research Forum or on our FaceBook Group. We would like to share your successes and frustrations as you unravel your family. Happy Hunting!
|January 2021 Newsletter|
published by Pat Hase on Fri, 01/01/2021 - 15:43
A Happy New Year!! I am sure none of us will forget 2020 or regret its passing. Our thoughts and prayers go to members who have lost dear ones during this pandemic and to those who are feeling the effects of loneliness and isolation while we keep ourselves and others safe from infection. Our thanks go, not only to the members of the NHS and other essential workers, but also to those who have made our lives so much easier by keeping in touch and with the random acts of kindness which have brightened our days. Welcome to 2021 bringing a fresh start and an optimism that things can only get better!
When future generations research our lives, they will wonder how we coped and how it affected us, just as we wonder about how our ancestors lived through other historic events. As we are part of our own family’s history, we could make it easier for them by recording our own thoughts and feelings about 2020. I remember reading an account which was found by one of our late members amongst the papers of his grandfather which simply described each member of their family as they sat around the fire one Christmas in the late 19th century. It painted an evocative picture, not only of the individuals but also mentioned how life was treating them. Yes, we now have photography, and you could record those family Zoom meetings but could one of your New Year Resolutions be (yet again!) to write up your family history and make sure that it is passed on to younger members?
Review of Some Online Resources
- The Genealogist During December The Genealogist released some new College and University Records and added to its Map Explorer Range. Their Tithe Maps are particularly useful because as they are accompanied by the Apportionments, you are able to see whether your ancestor owned or merely occupied land. It also shows an image of the Apportionment giving description and size of the propertyMap from The Genealogist – Tithe Maps. It has the usual misspelling of HASE but this was William HASE who was a Blacksmith in Cross between 1819 and 1853 until he moved with his family to Weston-super-Mare.
- Lost Cousins Lost Cousins is free to use until 12th Night and as always do look at their Newsletter to keep in touch with the latest genealogical news.
- National Archives The National Archives is still offering free downloads of some digitalised records. As we get back to normal during 2021 and visiting is allowed, this will probably stop but make the most of it now.
- 1939 Register If you have not already done so, you will find the Podcast issued by the Family History Federation about the 1939 Register interesting listening answering many questions about this survey.
- Other Archives Family History Blogs are useful reading and I am suggesting just one today – Other Blogs are available! – perhaps you can recommend others. This one suggests some available family history websites Dr Sophie Kay publishes some really thoughtful comments – it is worth looking at all of her offerings.
- This is an important asset for our members BUT it needs a home and someone to take responsibility for it or we will lose this feature of our Society.
- Please consider whether you could help – Brian Airey, our secretary and current librarian, would be pleased to explain exactly what is involved and we would all be grateful to whoever takes it on.
- The last new addition to our Surname Interests was made 4 months ago. Is your list of Interests up to date? - Perhaps that is another New Year’s Resolution?
- A reminder that under our Surname Interests you can add a PDF with a family tree for your family or part of it – this can also be seen by non-members and is helpful in allowing others to see whether they are researching the same family. As an example here is one of mine for part of a LONG family from Bristol. It is suggested that you do not include living people in these trees.
Those of you who are following these profiles will know that I am almost half way with them now but I am having some difficulty identifying a couple of them. I posted a query about John HARRIS - no response to it yet - but I am also looking for someone called JARRETT for whom I have no other information. Any help would be welcome.
They say that one way to keep the brain active is to use it – whether by crosswords, puzzles, quizzes etc. – and I think that researching your family’s history combines all of these and is a fantastic and productive way to exercise the brain (If frustrating at times!). It also serves as a motivation to learn something new. I know that genealogy was the reason for learning how to use the internet for many older users when it first became available. Many of us are now learning the implications of DNA testing and how it can help us add to our family’s history. As we delve deeper, aspects of history become more relevant - my interest in Axbridge Workhouse and the Poor Law grew out of family history.
Remember that your family history experiences are interesting to others so write them up and let Sue Maguire have them for insertion in Buckets & Spades. Use the Research Forum to solve your brickwalls, submit your Surname Interests and enjoy and benefit from your membership of this society. Wishing you all a very different year for 2021 during which we will be able to meet up again
|December 2020 Newsletter|
published by Pat Hase on Tue, 01/12/2020 - 19:25
Let me start this Newsletter by saying how honoured I am by my new position as President of this Society which you will have seen announced in the latest edition of Buckets & Spades. I am incredibly grateful to those who have contacted me with their congratulations, but I can only be President with the support of our excellent committee and the membership as a whole. Thank you all.
Well, here we are nearly at Christmas and still severely affected by restrictions in our lives due to the Covid Pandemic. The one constant factor is our family history research. I have found it invaluable as a distraction from the reality of life and being able to assist others with their research queries gives me great pleasure and satisfaction. Researching people with whom I have no genetic connection has widened my experience and has made me look at records from other parts of the Country which in turn helps me with my own research.
The success of the BBC’s programme “A House through Time” has inspired others to look at their own House Histories.
- One of our Members, Keith GRAHAM, is researching Hill Road – his request for help can be seen on our Research Forum He is particularly interested in the house built and lived in by the architect Hans Fowler Price, Tyn-y-coed.
- David TYLER is researching Moorland Road and would welcome information about any of the families who lived in that road over the years. Several houses were damaged during the blitz with fatalities – CHINN, ETTERIDGE and WILKERSON
- John HARDING is also researching Moorland Road – in particular his ancestor’s connection with “The Moorland Pedler” Can you read what is reflected in that window?
- Some years ago, I took a look at Holland Street because I was fascinated by the buildings (designed by Hans Fowler Price) with their very long gardens, wide access to the rear, and stone built out-buildings. The censuses revealed that the majority of the men worked at the nearby Pottery whilst the women took in washing which were washed in boilers situated in the buildings at the bottom of the gardens and the washing lines made the most of the long gardens. Was this use just a coincidence or were the houses built with this occupation in mind?
- The Bristol & Avon FHS is advertising a book written by one of its members “Saints, Crooks and Slavers” about their own house which was short-listed for the BBC programme It includes tips on how to research your house.
Ancestry - West Midlands, England, Police Files and Ledgers, 1850-1950
Ancestry has released some new records some from the Birmingham Police and I was surprised to find a HASE relation amongst their ranks. I knew about Dora HASE – I even had a letter from her when we were first married – but had no idea that she had ever joined the Police. This must have been her war work as she was with them from 1942-1946. This is one of the advantages of having a relatively unusual surname (although it often gets misspelt) and to look at new records “just in case” Dora's grandfather was a greengrocer in Meadow Street, Weston-super-Mare.
Family History is not just collecting names and dates, we need information such as this to add necessary detail to our tree. The Women's Auxiliary Police Corp was a new one to me. Founded in August 1939 after the National Council for Women pressed for and were successful in ensuring the creation of the WAPC. They dealt with a large range of police duties, initially mainly administrative but expanding to take on roles formerly performed by Police Officers. On the 1939 Register Dora was a Ledger Clerk and Assistant Cashier so presumably her office skills would have been utilised in the Police Force. This document also describes her stature and appearance but we have to look elsewhere to discover that she was a keen and competent pianist and singer and married a widower in 1957 but had no children.
Between the wars, I'm told that Dora's brother, John, cycled to Weston from Birmingham - I wonder whether he saw any of the attractions on this leaflet? I recently put this image on the Facebook Group called Memories of Weston and it provoked quite a bit of interest. I have a Guidebook to Weston for 1928 and I found it inside.
I wonder what an Electric Turkish Bath involved or was that just the way the water was heated? It is also interesting to consider how specialist shops like Over's coped with shops such as Woolworths offering "Pick 'n Mix" as the High Street developed over the years.
A reminder that the £1.50 Wills for England and Wales from 1858 are still available from the GRO.
I have found that the Wills of unmarried members of the family are surprisingly valuable as they often name nephews and nieces and other members of the family.
The National Archives
Whilst we are still unable to visit the National Archives they are still offering the Free Download of their digitalised documents. They include PCC Wills, Military Records and many others. Try entering the Place your ancestor lived to see what is available. Click on "available for Download only" to see the range of documents which you can obtain.
Closure of Victoria Methodist Church
During the Pandemic we were saddened to hear that the Victoria Methodist Church in Station Road was closing. The foundation stones for the original church on this site were laid in April 1899 and the School Room opened for services in September of that year with the church opening in Sept 1900. There had been a Methodist Church in Weston in Regent Street since 1847 (now Barclay's Bank). If you are searching for Christenings the records are sometimes confusing. For example Mary Ann PUDDY was born in Mark on the 4th April 1861 and christened in Mark Chapel on Mark Causeway, but listed as part of the Weston Circuit of which Regent Street was the main Church.
But the England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 on Ancestry has this entry!
Victoria Chapel had not been built in 1861 but this would have been correct for later entries after 1900. Is it surprising that so many trees on Ancestry are muddled!
Like many of you I have been enjoying "The Repair Shop". It is amazing how items can become so important in our lives. Each programme you hear "Family History" mentioned in connection with these articles. Normally in November at our "Members' Evening" we invite members to share stories about their treasured artefacts. This year we haven't been able to do that but perhaps you could write a short article for Buckets and Spades explaining the importance of your heirlooms and why you want to pass it on. Sue Maguire is always grateful for contributions however short to add to our journal. The latest publication has some fascinating articles - highlighting various aspects of family history.
Brian Airey is still waiting for someone to volunteer to take over the responsibility for the Society Library. Please consider helping out. Contact Brian to find out exactly what it entails.
Facebook Group and Research Forum
I hope to encourage those of you who are reading this and are members of the Facebook Group to post more queries about your family history to that Group. We have some very knowledgeable members who will be pleased to offer suggestions about how you can find out more about your family members.
Full members of the Society can of course post their queries to the Research Forum on this web site and the same thing applies.
Don't leave it to others to offer suggestions have a go yourself
This year we will be limited to how many can get together - As an experiment why not look at all your family on the 1911 census and calculate how many lived close enough to celebrate together on Christmas Day 1910. Who was pregnant? Who died between Christmas and the Census? Did anyone get married on Christmas Day?
Have Christmas celebrations changed over the years? I remember Christmas during WW2 - yes I was a child so excitement levels were high - but looking back, the home made decorations and gifts all added to the fun. Simple games played in front of a roaring fire with hilarious results still bring back happy memories. How about writing up your own Christmas Memories for inclusion in your Family History?
Christmas and 2021
So, with seasonal greetings from your newly exalted President, wishing all our members as good and enjoyable a Christmas as you can in the circumstances and looking forward to 2021 with optimism as the year when we will all meet up again, starting probably with Zoom Meetings! Watch this space!