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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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Comments ..

Submitted by Jenny Towey on Fri, 02/07/2021 - 11:21

I think the '20 Questions to ask your grandparents' article is also a good starting point should you want to write up your own story for your children and grandchildren...

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Submitted by MDianeRogers on Tue, 27/07/2021 - 3:58

I think so too, Jenny.  I had noticed the 20 Questions article but after seeing it here, I decided to use the questions for my own 'morning journalling' this coming month. Thanks for jogging my brain. I may share a couple of the answers, but one question I won't answer :-) 

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Submitted by uphill on Fri, 02/07/2021 - 18:58

Re Research Forum comment - "not attracting many queries" and on same page Facebook Group Section- "this group does allow for immediate replies to queries" + discussion on Hailie Selassie - perhaps WFHS members on the Society website would be interested ? It seems one group is cancelling the other.


Maybe its something the Society need to look at ?


During Pats talk on Weston a lady "Catherine" said she had  house plans - Jenny Tovey asked her if she could download them onto the Facebook Group !  (Why not the WFHS Research Forum  for all paid-up members who had an invitation and were listening to the lecture at that time ?).

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Submitted by Chrissie8 on Tue, 06/07/2021 - 7:03

Following on from the Facebook v Website thoughts.
Whilst Facebook is often easier and quicker to use, I always think of it as transient, a modern form of euphemera almost.
There is no guarantee whatsoever that it will still be around in a few years time and any information posted to a Facebook page or group could very easily be lost.
I also find from personal experience, that many Facebook users are unaware of how to search for information.
A website on the other hand is more like a reference book in a traditional bricks and mortar library.
Information can be added and will always be available and hopefully easily and fully searchable.
I am guilty myself of choosing Facebook as an easier option, in fact I am a prolific Facebook user.
However, at this moment in time, I think there is a place for both options in our lives. x

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Submitted by John H on Tue, 13/07/2021 - 21:57

Facebook is a very open place to put any details etc about family


it can  be use by unscrupulous people name’s dates of berth etc 


I think our Webb page holds so much information of interest it cannot be beaten 


I am with Weston AC running club and so many now use Facebook 


the Webb page has been renewed but so much of the history of the club running times photos from over the years have been lost 


Face book is so much for today not yesterday or tomorrow 

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Submitted by Pat Hase on Wed, 14/07/2021 - 14:21

Thank you both for your comments.  Whilst agreeing with the problems of Facebook and understanding that people should use it with care, I feel that as ours is a Closed Group and no history of the Society is stored there it can be an asset to the Society.  We have gained new members from it.   It has the benefit of possibly attracting younger curious researchers who may be new to this addictive activity, who are guided to the website for further information.


As you say, Transcriptions, Photographs, Articles from Buckets and Spades, and information about the area covered by the society etc. are on our web site available to full members. 


However, I am unsure about how interactive our web site is being. Yes, the information is there but do members look at it regularly?  Why so few comments and queries?  

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Submitted by Derrick Norton on Sat, 24/07/2021 - 17:13

Why so few queries? Personal thoughts - 


1) I love family history, but have other interests, jobs to do, family, and less energy!


2) My research follows the four grandparents' lines, and only one line involves Weston-s-Mare. I would guess I'm in a majority in being a member of at least one other family history society. It depends which line is taking my time as to who I ask help from.


3) My research goes back to the generation who moved to Weston. Investigation further back moves elsewhere.


Thank you WsM FHS officials for help received so far. Having written this, I'm still wondering why you have so few comments and queries!

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Submitted by uphill on Sat, 14/08/2021 - 17:48

Thinking about the sitn/split of WFHS website research forum V WFHS facebook - I noticed on the open facebook page of  our neighbours Bristol and Avon FH Society the following (dated 30/12/2020) " Just a reminder that this BAFH SOC page is used mainly for society information and announcements- we cannot enter into any discussions about your personal family history research. If you have any questions, need any help with brickwalls or want to share your research results with others , then please add posts to the BAFHS Soc page where you are very likely to generate a number of posts..."


Is this a possible way forward for WFHS Facebook page - to make it an "open" facebook - advertising news/events etc - capturing the "younger " market and at the same time openly directing everyone to the WFHS Society research forum page - enabling a "one stop" shop - people know where they are ?

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Forthcoming Events

Society Committee Meeting
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