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January 2024 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Mon, 01/01/2024 - 15:49

A Happy, Healthy and Successful New Year to all the full members of our Society and to those who join us during the year! We are a Society of 40 years standing and have members who are finding out more about their families whether they currently live in North Somerset or if their family came from elsewhere and settled here.  As a Society we try to share our experiences for the benefit of others and our web page has many transcriptions of Parish Records and especially those of Weston Cemetery which are not available online elsewhere.  

New Year Resolutions

  • It’s so easy to write New Year Resolutions but more difficult to keep them!   
  • One of the favourite ones is always - keep a record of the sources where you found your information or you will be looking at the same record time and time again!
  • Another is to make sure that you have as many pieces of information- including death for all your ancestors.  With the GRO offering digital records of death (and birth) for £2.50 now might be the time to discover whether you have the death of the correct person in your tree,
  • How about writing up your findings in such a way that you inspire younger members of your family to take an interest?  
  • Have you tried sharing your direct ancestors on a fan chart?  This way you can get it 6 or even 7 generations on one just page - Yes I know it doesn't include many facts but it might just spark an interest - one of my granddaughters remarked that she was surprised to note that all her ancestors came from within 150 miles of Bristol.
  • Fan Charts also show where your gaps are and identify brick walls so that you know for what you should be looking!

Saturday Free Help Session

This is where you can go to get help finding those missing ancestors you've identified on your fan chart.

The first session of 2024 on Saturday January 6th will take place between 2.00 p. m. and 3.30 at Weston Library where you will have access to our experienced volunteers, Ancestry and Findmypast as well as all the contents of the North Somerset Library including film of Weston Newspapers which are not online. 

Society Meeting

The January meeting of the Society will take place on Wednesday afternoon, from 2.30 - 5,00 p.m on the 10th January at Our Lady Of Lourdes Church Hall. Baytree Road when Jean Routley will be speaking about "Why collect Postcards".  Whether you are familiar or not with the excellent Facebook Group "Memories of Weston-super-Mare" run by Farrell Fox which is mainly concerned with his collection of post cards you will want to hear this talk about how they can relate to your family history research.  

Workshops - Zoom

  • Workshops take place by Zoom from 7.30 - 9.30p.m. and details about how to join will be sent to all full members.
  • The Workshop on January 17th will be on How to Break down your Brick Walls. This should be of interest to all as we all are stumped somewhere.  If you have a particular problem you want looked at perhaps you could contact Peter de Dulin with an outline of your problem as soon as possible.  Or use our Research Forum!
  • I will be offering the Workshop on February 28th which will be about Private Schools In Weston. At one time Weston was teeming with Private Schools - the sea air, healthy climate and large Victorian Villas all welcomed this type of school.  Some of you may have ancestors who attended one of these schools - I know that some of our Society also attended them and may have memories - good and bad - which they may like to share.

Facebook Group

The Facebook Group continues to grow but not many of the members contribute - I'm very grateful to those who do! - However, it does provide a chance for anyone to ask questions about their research and hopefully receive an answer.  It has thrown up some interesting queries and hopefully is helpful to those just starting out.  Don't forget that there are many free sites on the Internet.  See this page on our web site  for "How to start research" and "Some Free Sites" .  Our own transcriptions may be able to help you at a fraction of the cost of Commercial sites. Full membership starts at £9.00 per year.  You will also get access to Zoom Workshops and our Journal "Buckets and Spades". etc.

What happened 100 years ago?

Axbridge Union Workhouse

In the December Newsletter I mentioned Christmas in Axbridge Workhouse - this  appeared in the January recounting the gifts offered to the inmates during Chirstmas 1923.   I wonder whether any of your relations appear as benefactors?

1924 was the year my Mother was a Nymph!

Before you get too excited about what that means I am - I should say that she took part in the Bristol Pageant.  The Bristol Pageant was a Community Production and as can be seen by this official programme, was to be part of the British Empire  Exhibition in 1924. It portrayed seven scenes from the history of Bristol

 

The first performances  were to be in the grounds of Ashton Court and then move to London - Wembley Stadium - Mum was 13 at the time, in her last year at school, and she was chosen as one of the dancers who accompanied Queen Elizabeth 1st into Bristol in the scene depicting her visit in 1574 - 350 years previously.

Although the first night at Ashton Court shows had to be cancelled due to heavy rain the other performances were greeted with acclaim and they all headed for London. Trains of supporters went to London from Bristol as well. There were over 3,000 in the cast and this was my mother's first visit to London.  They stayed at a school and she spoke of the bus journey across London to Wembley. recognising buildings she had only seen in photographs.  As a nymph, she was dressed in green and unfortunately during one of the London performances it rained and the green dye ran so much that her underclothes became green as well! 

Mum as a Nymph!

Mum mentioned the great costumes worn by the principal characters, and how spectacular it all was. She didn't know that one of the characters in the 2nd Act was Gilbert BALDWIN, a young school master playing the Jester, who was a cousin of the man she would marry.

Bristol decided that as the show was well received in Bristol that it should run for another week at Ashton Court on its return. In the event this was very sensible - the attendances were disappointing in London and the pageant very expensive to put on and transport with the large set pieces creating a problem as well. Extra ticket money would help

The Pageant ran at a loss of about £3,000 and such a project was never undertaken again. 

My mother knew nothing of the financial disaster nor did she ever mention the small attendances in London. I have included this because it demonstrates how an individual's perception of an event may differ from the reality.  In this case my mother reported what she remembered but in other cases family stories may be embroidered to show a person in a more favourable light. 

When you research handed down family stories have you found any discrepancies in them?

New Resources online

FindmyPast has new additions each Friday - they may not be in your particular area but it's worth looking from time to time.  During December they opened some more records on the 1939 Register which had been redacted.

Irish Ancestry  These may not be new but if you have Irish connections - have you tried this site for Irish records? It is part of https://www.irishgenealogy.ie/en/ and has many free records available.  I was looking for someone with the surname Mcarthy and at the end of my first search was this comment!

Please be aware that there are variants of this surname that should also be checked. Variants include:

Maccarthy, Cartey, Carthey, Carthy, Cartie, Carty, Caurty, Charthy, Corty, M Carthy, M Cartie, Ma Carthy, Mac Carthy, Mac Cartie, Macarite, Macarthey, Macarthy, Macartie, Macarty, Maccarty, Macharthy, Mc Arthy, Mc Arty, Mc Carthe, Mc Carthy, Mc Cartie, Mc Carty, Mc Catrhy, Mc Curthy, Mcartee, Mcarthy, M'carthy, Mcartie, Mcarty, Mccarhty, Mccarhy, Mccarke, Mccartey, Mccarthey, Mccarthy, Mccartie, Mccarty, Mccathy, Mccearthy, Mccerthy, Mccharty, Mccrthy, Cartney

Familysearch should also be considered as it is a free source of many records - this page just covers what is available for Somerset

Whichever site you choose - if possible try to see the original entry before accepting it into your family tree. Some transcriptions are doubtful.  This is one where the note in the left hand margin was not included in the transcription  - "Not for Magazine"! 

Annie PINNOCK was my great grandmother and you will note that no father was given for Reginald but when his birth was registered she gave her late husband's name as father in spite of him being dead for 7 years.  Family members think that she was not the mother either but had informally adopted him.  Perhaps the Vicar and others of the congregation would also know the true situation so that was why the christening was not to be mentioned in the Church magazine? 

Family History Federation

When you go to the Federation site take a look at what it has to offer. You will see that at the moment The Federation has a Sale of Books It is always a good idea to treat yourself to a good book about how to research and understand the documents that we all use.  These documents were not created for us to use and it is important to understand them and how to use them.  

Society Matters

Buckets and Spades

The Deadline for the next edition is February the 1st so you have plenty of time to get your letters (or emails) and articles to Sue Maguire, the editor, who will magically produce another interesting journal.  Thank you, Sue for all your hard work.

Next Meetings

I have already given details of the meetings we are holding in this newsletter. So it just leaves me to wish all our members a Fabulous 2024 with all you wish yourselves.  

As a Society we have many helpful members who help out at meetings, advertising our services, checking membership details, answering queries, transcribing documents and as volunteers at the Library our Free Help Sessions etc for which we are very grateful but we do still need new younger Committee Members.  Our existing committee members, although very enthusiastic about the subject, have health and family concerns which prevent them from giving as much time as they would like.   Please think about joining us.  You could be co-opted initially and attend committee meetings, which are on Zoom, perhaps shadowing and/or helping one or other of the committee members. 

Make it your New Year's Resolution to assist the society in some way. May 2024 be the year you fulfil all your own wishes and help others to research their family history. 

News TopicMonthly Update
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New records available from SWHeritage
published by Jenny Towey on Tue, 05/12/2023 - 9:28

Those good people at SWHeritage have finished transcribing the following records:

Settlement & Bastardy records (46,217 names)

Apprenticeship records (20, 297 names)

Deposition Books (7,234 names, from Bath/Wells diocese) eg statements on moral offences, matrimonial offences, defamation, property damage

Go to: somerset-cat.swheritage.org.uk/indexes/settlement

somerset-cat.swheritage.org.uk/indexes/apprentice

somerset-cat.swheritage.org.uk/indexes/diocesan

News TopicResources
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Illegitimacy
published by Brian & Pam Airey on Mon, 04/12/2023 - 11:36

Is everyone aware that if a child is born to people who were not married at the time of birth but subsequently do marry the child/parents may apply for a new birth certificate giving the father's name thereon. Look at the Legitimacy Act 1926 on National Archives website for full details. The Act has been amended a couple of times but is well worth looking at.

 

News TopicGeneral
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Help Session
published by Brian & Pam Airey on Mon, 04/12/2023 - 11:31

Just an update on Help Sessions.

Wsm Library staff have requested we attend our usual Help Session at the premises on Saturday 6th January as they have had requests for help from members of the public. We have sufficient volunteers so we will be there.

Brian

News TopicEvents
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December 2023 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Sat, 02/12/2023 - 1:35

Wishing you all a great time at Christmas however you and your family decide to spend the  holiday time.  After Colin Chapman’s talk on Christmas Traditions, a precis of which can be seen at http://www.wsmfhs.org.uk/society_news_view.php?nID=510  – go to the attached document “Seasonal Traditions”,  it is interesting to look back on how your own family has celebrated this season over the years. Have you written up your own memories of Christmas in your family?

December Society Meeting

As a Society, our December meeting on Wednesday afternoon, the 13th December from 2.30 p.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall will be a light hearted meeting with a chance for you to share your own memories and perhaps bring along items which you can talk about which mean something to your family.  Share your experiences of family history research, ask questions about DNA, examine the 1939 Register and see photographs of Old Weston as well as a Raffle and a Sales Table  with seasonal refreshments.  With many thanks to all the members involved in organising this event.  Visitors welcome.

Christmas Day in the Workhouse

For those of you who might have had ancestors in Workhouses at Christmas time you may have heard of the old poem by George Simms which starts

“It is Christmas Day in the Workhouse, and the cold bare walls are bright,

with garlands of green and holly  and the place is a pleasant sight”

But as was mentioned to me – there are other versions with which especially servicemen may be familiar!

A group of people standing around a tableDescription automatically generated

Perhaps someone in your family might remember the whole poem which is actually very sad. The full version may be read here  https://victorianweb.org/history/poorlaw/poem.html  It starts with the inmates having a Christmas meal provided by the Guardians but then tells the story of the old man who has recently lost his wife and had no alternative but to turn to the Workhouse for his support.

British Newspaper Archive

Newspapers often relate what was happening at Workhouses at Christmas.  Apart from the usual Christmas dinner of Beef and Plum Pudding this happened on Boxing Day at Axbridge Workhouse. It is a pity that the ladies from Weston, Langford, Winscombe and Banwell were not named, nor were the amateur entertainers - perhaps they were related to some of our members?

A newspaper with text on itDescription automatically generated

There is a much longer account of the festivities in 1888 -with names ! - on Page 3 of the Wesoh-super-Mare Gazette and General Advertiser of Saturday 29th December 1888.  Surnames mentioned include :-  TANNER of Sidcot, TEEK and BUTT from Compton Bishop, BOWERING of Axbridge, READ and MASONfrom Weston, GILBERT of Allerton, TOMKINS fron Weston, BIRD of Winscombe, and Mesdames LLEWELYN and YAYMAN.  The entertainers were STATTERmTYSSEN, TAYMAN, HAYWARD, VINCENT and Rev H LAW. 

Family Christmases

I’m sure you all have your own memories of childhood Christmases. Why not include them in your write-up of your family history.  For children Christmas is a magical time and as our family also had several birthdays and anniversaries in December as well it was always a special time.

My earliest memories of Christmas time are from 1940 when I had my 2nd birthday just a week before Christmas Day.

 It was War time, and we were at my maternal Grandfather’s house on my birthday when my grandfather, who we all called “Pip”, arrived home from work. He was the manager of a Co-op in Bristol.  I think this photograph was taken in Weston-super-Mare.

He rode a bicycle and always wore a bowler hat – that day he left the bike in the hallway and carrying a brown paper parcel entered the living room where I was sitting on the floor and gave it to me. 

It was a teddy bear! A treasured gift and I’m sure I’ve written about him before.  I never gave him  a name, but he has accompanied me throughout my life.  Sadly, after I caught measles, he was taken away and deep cleaned which resulted in him losing his growl.

 Nevertheless, he is still with me and although he is sorely in need of some TLC and some new inserts in his feet and paws – and a new nose – he is still much-loved. 

More family Christmases

When I was a child my mother and her sister made sure that my sister, my cousin, and I had as a good a time as they could manage, especially during the war years. I remember the anticipation in the days leading up to Christmas, singing carols and the fun of making decorations – all those chains made with coloured paper with paper lanterns hanging from them, coupled with decorations saved from before the war. We were told the Father Christmas would not come unless we were very good and tidied our toys away!  
I don’t remember a tree, but Christmas day started with  the excitement of finding our Christmas stockings filled with  an apple (was there an orange as well?) in the toe and then other small gifts such as coloured pencils, a rubber, sweets, small toys and/or handmade gifts made specially for us. I do remember a new face flannel one year! What would children today make of that?! 
Christmas dinner meant chicken – a rare treat – no turkey in those days - and then time spent playing games. with lots of laughter. Board games were very popular and noisy! Snakes and Ladders and Ludo being amongst the favourites.

Card games such as “Happy Families” were also enjoyed by my family.


A couple of cards with textDescription automatically generated

 

Other Games and Pastimes

To celebrate Queen Victoria’s Coronation in 1883 this event was put on in Wells Market Square.  

These may not have been available at Christmas but there are some very familiar activities shown here which were popular in Victorian times -  Donkey racing, sack racing, a bran tub, gurning (grinning through horse collars,) weightlifting, bobbing for apples, etc.

A close-up of a posterDescription automatically generated

I’m not sure about “Whipping the Cock” but I have heard of chasing a piglet with a greased tail! 

Shingling was showing a skill in splitting chestnut wood to make roofing shingles.

 

New Resources for Family History

British Newspaper Archives

Although Shepton Mallet is not exactly in our area the Shepton Mallet Journal, 1992-1993, 1996, 1998 has been updated on the British Newspaper Archives and it is interesting to note how often it mentions events in Weston-super-Mare.  This isn’t Weston but it is my husband’s Uncle Doug celebrating his silver wedding on Boxing Day 1952. Another example of Christmas time Weddings.

Ancestry

During November these resources have been updated or added to Ancestry – Don’t forget that you can use Ancestry free of charge in Weston Library.

 

A screenshot of a websiteDescription automatically generated

GRO Index

The range of dates for digital birth or death records which you can obtain from The GRO  has been increased. Digital Images are now available for Births 1837-1922 and Deaths 1837-1957 and cost £2.50.  They have answered several queries which I had.    https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/login.asp

FindmyPast

 Pre-1841 censuses.  The first census was taken in 1801 and was administered by the parish.  Findmypast has an article about all censuses https://www.findmypast.com/blog/family-records/uk-census-records but members can see the 1801 census for Huntspill in our transcriptions.  It just lists the head of the Household and how many people are in that household.  Go to the Index of Parish Transcripts for Huntspill and you will find the 1801 census included.

FindmyPast is also available for you to use in Weston Library.  I find it one of the best sites to use in conjunction with the free sites of FreeBMD and Free REG especially when researching a quick and dirty tree to establish DNA matches or as a beginner just starting your research.

Familysearch

 Are you a parent or a grandparent?  Familysearch has some ideas for you to inspire the younger generation to be interested in their past.     https://www.familysearch.org/discovery/activities/about_me/14/tips   Familysearch is completely free to use.

Please post any resources you have found helpful in breaking down your problems.

 

Free Help Session in Weston Library

There will be a free help session in Weston Library from 2.00pm – 3.30pm on Sat 2nd December – Do go along with your problems and get the advice from our experienced volunteers.  There will also be a Help Session on January 6th.

Society Meeting Wednesday 13th December

As stated at the beginning of this newsletter visitors will be welcome to attend our December Meeting at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall from 2.30pm to celebrate the Christmas season.  N.B. This meeting is now due to start at 2.00pm and will finish at 4.30pm.

Seasons Greetings

Wishing all members of our Society and the Facebook Group a Very Joyeous Holiday season and lots of success with your Family History research.

News TopicMonthly Update
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Seasonal Traditions - A Talk by Colin Chapman
published by Brian & Pam Airey on Fri, 10/11/2023 - 16:46
News TopicFairs, Seminars & Talks
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Forthcoming Events

Physical Members' Meeting
Wednesday, 13th March, 2024 14:30 - 17:00
Library Help Session
Saturday, 6th April, 2024 14:00 - 15:30
Physical Members' Meeting
Wednesday, 10th April, 2024 14:30 - 17:00
Library Help Session
Saturday, 4th May, 2024 14:00 - 15:30
Physical Members' Meeting
Wednesday, 8th May, 2024 14:30 - 17:00
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