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News & Information (Monthly Update)

September 2021 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Wed, 01/09/2021 - 13:29

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!

Re-reading books

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.   

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August 2021 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Sun, 01/08/2021 - 23:29

We’re looking forward now to after the Pandemic and your committee is, like committees of other Family History Societies, giving considerable thought to what we should be doing for our members once the current situation is over.  You will find a questionnaire included in the July edition of Buckets and Spades and you should have received by email, another, more comprehensive one.  Please return both by August 8 th as we are keen to know what it is you want to happen and how you use our current provision.  It’s your society, let us know what you need from it and the way forward. 

Future of Family History

Although not concerned with changes caused by Covid, in 2019 Dr Nick Barrett spoke to the Guild of One Name Studies on “The Future of Family History”.  Described at the time – 

“This presentation reflects on the impact of media and technology on the way we research, share and connect - looking ahead to challenges and opportunities for family history and personal heritage to help improve the lives of individuals and communities” 

It can be viewed on YouTube (221) The Future of Family History by Dr Nick Barratt - YouTube  The sound is a little off at the start, but it settles down and the questions at the end are also interesting. Do you agree with the points he makes?

Society Talks - Hot off the Press!

Since unable to meet, we have had Zoom talks presented to our Society and today I have been informed that recordings are now available of some of them on our web site for full Members.  Log in to the website and look at the bottom of the main menu for your own name, under which you should find the word "Video"  which when clicked will take you to a selection of the videos which the presenters have given permission to be recorded.  If you missed any of them you will now be able to watch then whenever it is convenient to you.  

Please contact us via the web site using the category "Webmaster" if you have any problems.

Buckets & Spades

Once again, the latest edition of Buckets & Spades is full of articles of interest.  I really enjoy reading about how other people have managed to research their families and there is such a variety.  Every family is different and requires different approaches which can offer hints to you for your own research.  Thank you, Sue for editing the journal – it is an asset to the Society.

Re-Visiting your Research

Just recently, I have been taking a look at my own family tree and have been surprised to find more available online than when I last reviewed it.  It really is worth investigating brickwalls again. One of the problems of brickwalls is that each time you look at them you are inclined to think along the same route.  This is where another person looking at it may see something different and suggest alternative records to use. The Research Forum is the place to ask for help or to help others.  By answering queries, I find that it often helps my research as well.

Queries from the Web Site

I also get queries sent directly to me via the web site.  A new member asked where the Spread Eagle Hotel was in Weston as her ancestor had been the landlord at one time.  I was particularly interested because I had found this Challenge in a Local Newspaper which mentioned the Spread Eagle in connection with a member of the HASE family.  The race took place and William HASE won!

Newspaper extract

In the newspaper was also a list of residents and addresses which gave the address of the Spread Eagle at 37 Anstice Terrace (now Alexandra Parade) 2 doors west of Orchard Place but later documents give Meadow Street as the address for the Spread Eagle.  However, The National Library of Scotland View map: OS town plan - Weston-super-Mare sheet IX.15.20 - Ordnance Survey Town Plans of England and Wales, 1840s-1890s (nls.uk)  has a town plan of Weston-super-Mare which shows that this is the same building with probably entrances in both roads.

When the Free Help Sessions were running at the Library we used to quite a few enquiries wanting information about Public Houses, Schools and the Cemetery in Weston where connections had been found with their families. The same questions are asked now via the web-site.  We do have information about the Cemetery available for members but not for Pubs and Schools - perhaps we should try to add these?


During the London Olympics of 1908 a team had been chosen to swim the 4 x 200 metre Relay Race but at the last moment one was unable to swim so a member of the Water Polo team, Paul RADMILOVIC of Weston, was put in instead.  After an eventful race they won Gold which was the last time a British team won that event until this year! 

Free Resources Online

It is often difficult to find out where you can obtain information about the location of parish records in other parts of the country.

  • I often use Dusty Docs  DustyDocs - English Parish Registers Online   which is free and you can choose the Country, County and Parish to locate suitable records.
  • Another site is the Online Genealogical Index   OGIndex    which features in the August edition of Family Tree Magazine.  Most of the results are free but it also includes those which can be accessed for free at Family History Centres (FHC).  
  • The Family History Federation also lists some free sites  Free Online Resources | Federation Resources | Family History Federation   - I have found some very interesting details of London court cases at the Old Bailey, especially useful if your family were in London at any time.  Witnesses as well as the accused are mentioned.   
  • For help with any problem with your research I find that Rootschat   RootsChat.Com - Index   which is free can be extremely useful.  The information comes from other individuals so must be treated with care but there are some very knowledgeable people on that site who respond very quickly to any question.  


August has always been a holiday month and in the past we have not had meetings in August because people are doing other activities rather that researching.  Perhaps they are visiting the haunts of their ancestors or in the fine weather search the unrecorded plans of churchyards hunting for graves.  Coming back refreshed and eager to continue (or start) researching their families.  This month will be different because the Society is planning an August Zoom meeting on Thursday August 19th at 7.00pm when member Anne Lockyer will be talking about Mercer v Puxton: The Folly of Litigation. which sounds fascinating. 

August 19th is also our Diamond Wedding Anniversary so I might miss the actual talk - there are times when the living family takes precedence over any other activity -  60 years is something to celebrate! - but hopefully now  I will be able to catch up via the recording afterwards.  


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July 2021 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Fri, 02/07/2021 - 10:38

It's July - How do you find time for family history when there is Tennis, Cricket and Football to keep up with?  Do any of our members have sports men or women in their ancestry?  What sports or leisure time activities did they enjoy?   Newspapers can give a glimpse of some of the events in which they took part. 

Some examples of sporting activities from my own family:

  • Young Henry HASE, a boy on board the Training Ship Formidable coxed a gig in a race as part of the Bristol and West of England Regatta in 1872 reported in the Western Daily Press – they came 4th (out of four!). 
  • His cousin, William HASE was a successful competitor running in several races in Weston – one a challenge over half a mile in 1878 watched by about 1,000 spectator which he won. 
  • My father and his brothers played football and cricket in local teams in Bristol reported in local Bristol newspapers.
  • My mother and her sister played hockey, seen here at both ends of the front row, my mother in the left and her sister on the right.  You are lucky if family photographs contain group photos such as this one.

 Hockey in Eastville Park

Society News

  • June Society Meeting - Scottish Family History  - The Society is extremely sorry for the problem which caused the late start of the last Zoom Meeting.  We know that some members gave up waiting and so missed a very interesting and helpful talk about Scottish family history research by Peter Towey.  The talk was recorded, and arrangements are being made to have it available for full members on our web site.  You will be informed when all the recorded talks have been added to the site.
  • July Society Meeting - Old Photographs - The next Society meeting is on Thursday 15th July at 7.00 p.m. when the talk will be Identifying & Dating Old Photographs” by Steve Gill.   Please make sure that your membership is up-to-date so that you receive notification about how to join this meeting.  Only full members receive emails with the necessary information to enable them to access what promises to be a valuable aid to our research.
  • Research Forum - It is difficult to know whether members have responded to individual requests for help because the questioner might have been contacted directly but it does look as if the Research Forum is not attracting many queries or responses from our membership.  It is no good for me to ask “Why is this?” because I’ve asked that question so many times before with very little reaction.  Have you all finished researching?  I would like to thank the handful of members who have responded to my queries – It is so useful to have a second opinion when you are unsure of your interpretation of the facts.
  • Transcriptions - Graham PAYNE is continuing to add to the Burials in Weston Cemetery and has nearly reached the year 2000. This is an incredibly useful part of our site.  After the Cemetery opened in 1856 churchyards in Weston were no longer available and although burials continued at Worle, Uphill and Kewstoke all burials whatever denomination took place at the Milton Road Cemetery.
  • Surname Interests - During June I had correspondence from Australia that someone had identified a link to a family he was researching by using the family tree which I had posted under HASE in the Surname Interests on our site. In case you had forgotten there is a facility for you to add a tree in PDF format under your SURNAME Interests.  This can be very helpful.  Have you posted a tree or Pedigree?  I have just posted a Pedigree for my husband’s great grandmother, Mary Ann HASE née NICHOLLS under Surname Interests of NICHOLLS and it has shown exactly where the gaps are in her tree.
  • Weston Worthies - I am now reaching the end of this project which I have found really interesting and by concentrating on one individual, who was not part of my family, it has taken me into areas of research which have required different approaches and given an insight into life in Weston in the mid 19th Century.  Have you tried writing a profile for a great grandfather or another individual in your tree?  I’m sure it would make a fascinating article for Bucket and Spades.
  • Facebook Group - This group does allow for immediate replies to queries and hopefully we can inspire new researchers. One discussion recently concerned how to get younger people involved and interested in family history. Another asked whether anyone had any evidence that Haile Selassie had presented cups at the Girls’ County School Swimming Gala in Weston during about 1936-38.  She had a family story that he had. Can any of our members help?
  • Publicity - We had an article about the Society published in a supplement to the Weston Mercury in June which prompts me to enquire whether any members have connections with any other publication which might be prepared to include information about us?  The first issue of a Free Magazine, called “Local Reach” was delivered to me during June which aims to offer free of charge publicity to local clubs and societies.  Do you know of others?

Other items of Interest

New Book by Sharon Poole

Sharon has just informed me that her latest book about Weston has been published. Called “Weston-super-Mare: Georgian Watering-Place, Regency Resort” it deals with Weston in the late 18th Century when it was a select watering place and is about the place and the people who lived and visited here. It is available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle or directly from her at £17.99.   Weston-super-Mare: Georgian Watering-Place, Regency Resort:  This is a time which is frequently overlooked when dealing with Weston – it is so often described as a “Victorian Town” as if it suddenly appeared with the railway.  Sharon has carefully researched the period and those of you who have heard her talk about Georgian Weston will know that it will be full of interesting and sometimes surprising facts.

Long Lost Family

I have mentioned this programme before but a new series is due to start on Monday 5th July at 9.00p.m.  Although designed as a moving entertainment programme it sometimes includes valuable hints for finding lost relatives and now-a-days DNA is extensively used.  The first programme features two people searching for their birth mothers and to quote from their own publicity "As Long Lost Family and its popularity demonstrate year on year, knowing your roots and being in touch with your family is incredibly important. And with many viewers having been separated from their loved ones during the pandemic, this series remains immensely poignant and heart-warming."

Was your Ancestor on the Stage?

As a sea-side town, we often get asked about people who may have performed here as entertainers.  STAR - Search for Theatrical AncestoRs  gives some valuable tips for researching and the Bristol University Theatre Archives on the same site has a searchable database for their large collection of theatrical archives which does include some 20th century events in Weston-super-Mare.

England's Immigrants 1330-1550

Depending on how far back you have got with your research and possibly aided by DNA this website offers useful information and a searchable database of immigrants to this country before 1550. Although this part of Somerset does not seem to get a mention I know that many of you are researching lines from other parts of the country and the breakdown of the  statistics gives a fresh look on immigration. The description of the sources used and their limitations is particularly important when accepting what this database has to offer. 

Using Newspapers to Research

Although the Weston Mercury and Gazette are available on the British Newspaper Archive the earliest Weston paper is 1845 and they have not yet covered anything past 1909/10.  However, do not restrict your search to the Weston Newspapers for news of Weston inhabitants.  The Somerset and Bristol newspapers also often carry items concerning Weston as do papers from further afield.  This is just one example of advertisements which can be found pre-1845 which give a view of life in Weston.Harse & Hill advert

20 Questions to ask your Grandparents

This was published last autumn but it struck me that if you haven't got any grandparents to interview, these might serve as a guideline to ask yourself and to include when writing up your family history.  They  help to describe the life you have had and are living. These 20 Family History Questions  may stimulate other memories to bring your history alive.  But what do you really remember or do you think you remember what you have been told you did as a child?   When elderly people are interviewed how accurate are their memories?   

Each month I ask for you to add comments to the Newsletter and to share additional resources which you have found useful but rarely does anybody respond.  Please let the committee know what sort of support you want from this society.  The next edition of Buckets and Spades will be issued soon - make sure that you have renewed your membership this year in order to receive it.

Wishing you all every success with your researching and as the Archives hopefully begin to reopen and visits are available again check whether you have to make an appointment before arriving at an Archive.

Share your successes and frustrations with us - you never know how that brickwall will tumble.

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June 2021 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Mon, 31/05/2021 - 23:29

Another Bank Holiday and this time the weather is gorgeous.  I hope that you are all enjoy it in whatever way suits you. Something is buzzing in my mind about new clothes and Whit Sunday.  I seem to remember something about my mother being keen that we wore new clothes to church on Whit Sunday. Her sewing machine would be red hot from treadling away – no electric machines in those days – for days beforehand and we would have new summer dresses just in time. Does anyone else have similar memories?  I suppose that my mother was repeating what her mother did and the custom was falling out of common use in our time but that is what happens to traditions – they come and go!  

For example, trips to the sea-side – they came with the advent of the railway and were not always welcomed by the residents.  Where did the passengers who were "of a better class" come from?

The Weston Gazette of 30th May 1863 reported under "THE HOLIDAY EXCURSION TRAINS.

Our town on Monday and Tuesday was visited by thousands of excursionists from Bristol and its neighbourhood. On Monday three long trains of carriages brought from 3000 to 4000 excursionists, and the evening pleasure train was double its usual length. In addition, nearly every train that arrived was more than usually freighted with passengers. The excursionists were generally pretty well conducted, though of course among so many there were some " roughs." The trains on Tuesday were not so long, and the passengers were of a better class."

Society News

  • Our May Zoom Meeting featured the History of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and drew attention to the various aspects of their web site and the information which may be gained from it.  As it was War Graves Week at the end of May the Speaker drew attention to a new facility on their site which enables you to find out whether any of the casualties of WW1 or WW2 lived where you do today.  Just enter your post code on this site and it will show you the details.
  • Peter Towey will present the June Zoom Meeting which is at 7.00 p.m. on Thursday the 24th June and the subject will be "Researching your Scottish Ancestry" .  The amount of information given on Scottish Certificates is amazing and extremely helpful in making sure that you have the correct one.  
  • The dead line for the next edition of Buckets and Spades is the middle of June so please make sure that Sue Maguire receives your articles as soon as possible.  It is always interesting to read exactly how other people researched their family and how they overcame any obstacles. These accounts often suggest ways in which you can further your research.
  • The Weston Worthies are nearing completion and now have a new home on the web site.  You can find them at the bottom of the Main Menu on the Home Page.   The last one to be posted was that of Rev Richard QUARRELL.  He had a very complex early life which questions whether he should have been a Worthy or not, but that would be judging him by today's standards. However, there have been no comments about this.
  • The Research Forum  is still under used.  Why?  I had thought that without face-to-face meetings it would have had more questions not less.  How do you get answers for your problems? How often do you look at the web site?  Will anyone answer these questions?

Family History takes many forms and several television programmes, while not exactly guiding you through resource techniques, certainly offer ideas of what could be included to enrich our findings. Even "Who do you think you are"  does not now concentrate on how the information has been discovered and you have to remember that these are designed as entertainment programs and each will contain an uncertainty or jeopardy which keeps you hooked until the end.   Most of these can still be watched on catch up.  can you recommend others?

  • The Repair Shop, draws our attention to artefacts which played their part the lives of our ancestors. Do you have an object which highlights a particular person or event in your past?
  • Long Lost Families, especially the recent ones about foundlings, spotlight how the attitudes and values of society change over the years, and the danger of assuming reasons for actions of ancestors who lived through times different from those of today.
  • Dramas such as Call the Midwife emphasis the social conditions and concerns of about 60 years ago.
  • Archaeological Digs like the ones being reported about the graveyards under the new HS2 Rail link throw up issues which would have confronted our families who lived through the early days of the industrial revolution and the change from rural to urban living.  
  • Heir Hunters available on More 4 should ensure that you all write your wills so that your family and no one else benefits from your estate, whatever its size. 

Free Resources Available Online

  • The Family History Federation has a list of free resources which may be helpful - you may well be aware of some of them but a reminder is often helpful!
  • Familysearch has just announced a free lookup service for documents which can normally only be seen if you visit one of their Family History Centres.  You do have to locate the document yourself before requesting this but it looks a helpful addition to their site.
  • Local History Groups can also include free transcriptions.  The Keynsham and Saltford Local History Society  is a good example of this as it offers transcriptions of parish records and school admissions.
  • Although Bitton Parish History Group does not include transcriptions it has run a project during lockdown with its members posting articles about the history of the parish.  Other parishes may have done the same.
  • Convict Records of Australia is a free site which enables you to search by name, date, ship etc. 
  • If you have a favourite free site please let us know so that it can be shared with other members.  The list on our website under "Help and Advice" needs updating so now would be a good time add new ones.

In the past we have not held meetings in August but this year we will be holding a Zoom Meeting so put that date, the 19th August, in your diaries.   

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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! 

gg grandmother

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!

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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

Biddisham MIs

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.

Facebook Group

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!

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Forthcoming Events

Society Committee Meeting
Thursday, 23rd September, 2021 10:00 - 12:00
Zoom Members' Meeting
Thursday, 23rd September, 2021 19:00 - 21:00
Zoom Members' Meeting
Thursday, 21st October, 2021 19:00 - 21:00
Zoom Members' Meeting
Thursday, 18th November, 2021 19:00 - 21:00
Zoom Members' Meeting
Thursday, 16th December, 2021 19:00 - 21:00
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