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November 2023 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Wed, 01/11/2023 - 11:51

There's nothing spooky about this Newsletter although it is Halloween and the spirts are abroad - A time for remembering the dead - surely something that all Family Historians do? A most commonly held view of genealogists is that they haunt graveyards seeking their past ancestors. When was the last time you visited a graveyard or even a County Record Office seeking information?  Perhaps we should all do that more often.  It is not all on the Internet!

AGM

Our AGM is scheduled for Wednesday November 8th at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall starting at 2,30 pm. Please make an effort to attend as your views are needed. Do we have your nomination for committee members?  Afterwards the Speaker will be Dr Colin Chapman, the well known and respected Genealogist who was the originator or the "Chapman Codes" those 3 letter abbreviations for the Counties which we all use.  SOM for Somerset MDX for Middlesex etc. Colin wlll be speaking of  "Christmases Past - Some festive customs and traditions". 

The current edition of Buckets and Spades will be available for you to pick up if you have opted for a printed version. Grace Rubery, has asked for raffle prizes to be donated for the December meeting.

Christmases Past

It is important for us to talk to younger relatives about our experiences at Christmas and the joy given by simple homemade gifts and special food.  What are your memories of Christmases in your childhood?  The first of mine were in wartime but perhaps more of that in the next newsletter.  I do remember receiving these blackboards and easels for Christmas 1943.  This photo was sent to my father who was in the Army, with a note in my mother's writing saying that she had made them for myself and my cousin and she told me that she had followed instructions given in the Womans Weekly!  

Researching for others - not related

I’m sure you will agree with me that it is so satisfying and quite a thrill when you find the connection for which you have been seeking.  Just the other day I managed to locate a missing relative of someone who had asked for help.  Subsequently the various parts of this family have been in contact and are busy exchanging information about the lost years.  I was very pleased to have been able to help in this case with such a happy result.

There are times when you can use your research skills to find the family history of friends and neighbours with amazing results.  Sometimes, however, you need to be tactful in sharing your findings because not everybody will be as excited (as I was) to learn that a 1st Cousin 3 times removed was a prostitute in London, murdered in Whitechapel and a possible victim of Jack the Ripper!

Memories of WW2

If you are old enough – do you have memories of the Home Front during WW2?  If younger, do you have family stories about the experiences of your family during that time?  How are you recording these?  On our web site at http://www.wsmfhs.org.uk/documents_view.php?nID=183     we have some memories of life in Weston during WW2.  These were collected in 2012 and some of those people who were interviewed are no longer with us.  Can you add to these?

I was very young and living in Bristol when the second world war started.  I do remember the distinctive sound of the German planes overhead, the smell of the paraffin heater and the dampness  in our Anderson Shelter where we rushed whenever we heard the sirens wail, wearing a gas mask  and its smell, seeing the results of bombing where houses looked like giant dolls houses with one wall removed exposing whole rooms complete with furniture, seeing my mother cry for the first time when my father was called up, the soldiers camping in Eastville park after Dunkirk. the first of the American troops arriving in Bristol, coming to my school and giving us chocolate. After the war I remember the rose bay willow herb and buddleia growing on the bomb sites in town.  A strange assortment of memories but I was protected from the realities of war by a loving family – mostly female.

I have been asking my husband about his memories of that time.  He remembers being in a Morrison Shelter in their back room in Whitecross Road when a bomb fell – he thinks in Dickenson Road - the blast shattered the windows of his room but luckily all the glass was caught by wooden shutters which had been put against the windows instead of using blackout curtains and tape on the glass.

At another time the top flat of 2 Albert Road was destroyed by an incendiary bomb but for some reason the division between the flats had a concrete layer so the bottom flat remained habitable.  At that time a Nurse, Dorothy Jessie M PARKINSON lived in the lower flat which she refused to leave during the fire because she had bed-ridden patients  who she was looking after.  These accounts of bravery and courage need to be remembered. She died in Weston in 1974 – and was still living at the same address. Picture from Google Street view.

The Weston Blitz and the Royal British Legion Memorial Service in 2024

The Weston Branch of the Royal British Legion is seeking to contact any people who are related to casualties or have memories of the terrible time in Weston when it was subjected to the Blitz in the 1940s.  It is intending to hold a Memorial Service in 2024 for those who died as result of enemy action during that time.  Consequently, we have been asked to provide the names of contacts so that they may be invited to the Service.

During October much of my research time has been taken up with trying to find the relatives of the 129 people who lost their lives during the bombing of Weston in the 1940s so that they can be present at this event next year - as I hope other members are also doing – It is not easy - but how are you getting on? Only a couple of members have replied via the web site.  At the end of this newsletter is a document which is an updated list for you to check against. Please let me know how you are getting on so that I can pass the information to the RBL.

I did find that Alice Jane WILKERSON who died in Moorland Road was the sister of Susan SANDERS, the long-term housekeeper of my father-in-law’s father. John HASE, from 1908-1933. My father-in-law who was born in 1905 was really brought up by Susan SANDERS following his mother’s death in Dec 1907.

Thank you very much indeed for those who have been helping,  in particular, Ann Baxter who is related to Stanley Follett HOOK and Richard Gardiner who responded on the web site with detailed research into Philip Herbert MASTERS (not a relation of his) and has helped me with the CHINN family. He also looked at the ADDICOTT family. From our Facebook Group and from other Facebook Groups I have had response from non Society members who are connected with ADDICOTT, ANDREWS, HANDCOCK, MARSHALL,

This photo was posted on our Facebook Group and shows the devastation of Stonebridge Road the day after the raid where 10 year old Malcolm MARSHALL lost his life at 13 Stonebridge Road,  His grandfather died a few days later from his injuries.

Researching your own Family History

How have our members been doing in the last month with their own family history research? There have been no new entries in our Research Forum except for one which I put on.  No  new entries in the list of Surnames so no new trees entered there either.  What does this say to the casual visitor to the web site – who might be thinking of joining?

As a member of the Bristol & Avon FHS, I attended an excellent Zoom meeting of 68 members the other evening given by Dr Nick Barrett about the making of "Who Do You think You Are". About 18 years ago I heard him at Taunton when he spoke about the same subject and it was fascinating this time to hear how the programme has changed to match the changing technology and perceived interest of the viewers (and participants).  He did stress the need to visit County Archives, Libraries, Museums and the National Archives because not everything is online.  It is only the items which are easier to index which the commercial companies will offer.  And we all know how tricky their transcriptions are anyway.

New(ish) Resources

Last week FindmyPast added some Electoral Rolls for Manchester  Electoral Rolls for the 20th Century can be a great help in finding people especially as gradually those eligible to vote increase you can see the family grow. It is difficult to find families in the latter part of the 20th century without census records - you have to rely of Street Directories, Telephone directories and Electoral Rolls.

FamilySearch is completely free to use and apart from the records it holds, there are also videos and handouts with background information.  Non-Conformist Records are often difficult to find so this handout may be very useful to you.

Take a look at what has recently been added to Ancestry.  One item which particularly interested me is the "All London, England, Selected Poor Law Removal and Settlement Records, 1698-1922"  Although this was new in August I must have overlooked it.  It can be useful because with so many making their way to London to make their fortune but failing - it shows how many were sent back to their home parish. Don't rely on the index - the names of their home parish is often hidden in the description and not transcribed.

Each newsletter I ask for members to share resources which they have found useful with very limited success.

Free Help Session at Weston Library

A reminder that this Saturday, November 4th between 2.00pm and 3,30pm our volunteers will be at the library to assist anyone, member or not with their family history research.  As the library gives you access to Ancestry and Findmypast this is a marvellous opportunity for you to discuss your problems with helpers who can guide you through these resources and those available in the library.  As I have said elsewhere in this newsletter the Electoral Rolls and street directories which are on the shelves can be a tremendous help when searching for 20th century relatives.  

Next Workshop

The next workshop is scheduled for Wednesday 22nd June at 7.30pm. when the speaker will be our current Chair,  Jenny Towey who will let us into some of the secrets of using DNA to research our family. The title is "Organising your DNA matches" and as I have already heard this talk I can tell you that it is excellent and well worth your time if you are puzzled by how to work with your DNA results.

I was horrified at the low number who attended our October Zoom Workshop on Wrington – I think it was 5! What must the speaker have thought?

December Meeting Wed 13th at 2.30 p.m. at our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall

This is a reminder that our December meeting is a chance for you to talk about your family heirlooms - celebrate and share your successes or explain your brickwalls to get help from your fellow members. There will be a Quiz to sharpen your brains, a raffle (Bring any donations to the AGM or to that meeting - Grace Rubery will be delighted to receive them).- and suitable refreshments. But as they used to say on a now forgotten TV program - "chiefly yourselves" - was it the Good Old days? Non members will be welcome.

Please add comments or anything which I have forgotten that you wish to share with other members.

News TopicMonthly Update
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WWII Blitz casualties' descendants
published by Jenny Towey on Fri, 13/10/2023 - 12:32

There is an interest in the casualties of the bombing in Weston from the Weston branch of the Royal British Legion. 

This Society has uploaded a list of the fatalities from that Blitz bombing onto this website. A version can be seen here   

Are there any relatives or descendants in this group or do you know of any?  (not all were from this area)

Please contact Pat Hase, who is co-ordinating this research (so that you don't end up researching someone who is already known to us).

Many thanks.

pathase38@gmail.com

News TopicGeneral
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October 2023 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Sat, 30/09/2023 - 22:58

40th Celebration Dinner and Brian Austin

The Dinner at the Grand Atlantic Hotel went very well was enjoyed by those who could make it.  Thank you to Peter de Dulin for arranging the celebration. A short tribute was made to Brian Austin whose sudden death had shocked us all a few days  previously. 40 years is a considerable achievement for any Society and in talking to Brian about our celebrations back in May, he had been delighted and surprised that what had started as one of his classes had lasted so long!  Does anyone have any photographs of the Dinner?

Future of the Society

Members will have received an email from the Jenny Towey, Chair of this Society entitled “The future of this Society” and Facebook members will also have seen the same message from her. As a co-opted committee member,  I have had the pleasure taking part in Committee Meetings over the past years and have seen the stress of maintaining a viable society during the pandemic when so much changed. All members should offer a tremendous vote of thanks to the existing committee for the way it has supported you while juggling personal problems and pressure on their time.  Consequently, we need new committee members to prevent the Society from collapsing so soon after celebrating 40 years.  You do not need to be widely experienced in family history research but just to have ideas about what you would expect from a Society, how to achieve it, how to energise members into supporting it and how to attract younger members.  Please think about it.

All About that Place – SOG free presentations

One suggestion which has been made about the Society is that it should cater more for the local and social history of the Area as family, social and local history are inextricably linked.  These last few days the SOG has been offering some free presentations under the umbrella of “All about that Place”. If you missed them, they are available on YouTube and although not necessarily about the West of England are well worth looking at. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCywn4HvGaYTMmycQ0FjZ79A

Researching History of your house and/or street

During September I started looking at the road in which I have lived for the past 60+ years!  It has been fascinating.  I have some directories at home and although the road wasn’t developed until the 1930s I have been able to extract the names of the Head of the House and the 1939 Register has given me some more details.  Searching for the road name in newspapers has thrown up more interesting facts from

·         minor motoring offences,

·         winners at Junior Arts festivals,

·         obituaries of some residents,

·         occupations (a lot of teachers!),

·         descriptions of houses when offered for sale,

·         a few break ins,

·         advertisements for servants!

·         Wills,

·         Letters to the press from residents.

·         awards and prizes in competitions, etc.

The road name on the Somerset Archives has given:

  •          dates of plans, additions and alterations to plans of buildings and
  •          repair of War damage.

Our own Cemetery Transcriptions gave:

  •          The date of burials of deceased residents

Know your Place shows me that the

  •          land of which our house was built had been part of a farm and
  •          later a Tennis “Ground”

The deeds give a complicated account of all previous owners of the land.

All in all, this is proving an interesting exercise, about the people and families who lived here.  I just wish the road was a bit shorter! 

Lost Cousins

The latest Newsletter from Lost Cousins can be seen here and includes some DNA advice http://familyhistory.news/latesep23news.htm

DNA based programmes on TV

I really enjoyed the start of the new series of DNA Family Secrets with Prof Turi King.  They are interesting and involving situations which may be solved by DNA testing but also need the use of the basic “paper” research to clarify the position. It was the balance of these which appealed to me as too often other programmes seem to totally rely on DNA to get their results. Do watch them if you have the time.

New Resources

On Ancestry - https://www.ancestry.co.uk/cs/recent-collections take a look at the new and recently updated collections of resources. It includes a list of WW2 Casualties – Officers and Nurses - where I found my Uncle, Capt H J JOHNSON, who was killed in a plane crash in East Africa just after the official end of the war in July 1945.

On The Genealogist these records are now available https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/news/  It’s always a good idea to see what records have been added to the lists.  Your family may have come from any part of the country, and you may find the resources useful.

Have you ever  tried using Dusty Docs  http://dustydocs.com/  to find freely available parish records?  It also guides you to other useful information such as the distribution of Surnames etc. This is the Distribution Map for the name PUDDY which occurs in our family history. You can see that it is concentrated in Somerset

Free Help Session

On the first Saturday of each month, we hold a free Help Session in Weston Library from 2.00 p.m . until 3.30., where experienced members give their time to assist others. You do not have to book but bring along anything you already know about your family and what you hope to find.  Apart from the resources available in the North Studies Library at Weston you will also have access to Ancestry and FindmyPast. Everyone welcome, beginners or not.

Volunteers at the Library in 2017 some of whom are still part of the team.

Next Society Meeting – Oct 11th - Weston Cemetery – Jane Hill

We are looking forward to the next Society meeting on Wednesday, October 11th 2.30 p.m. until 5.00 p.m. when Jane Hill will be talking about Weston Cemetery. 

Our web site has a marvellous set of transcriptions of all the burials at Weston Cemetery, available to members, from 1856 until 2016.  It includes the Memorial Inscriptions, some of the early ones being collected by Brian Austin before they became indistinct by weathering.  The rest were collected by members who volunteered  to record them.  Initially collated by the late Stanley Baker and more recently by Graham Payne who with the consent of Weston Town Council has transcribed the entries from the Burial Books and made them all available.  The Society in conjunction with the now defunct “Friends of the Cemetery” used to hold Saturday meetings in the Chapel explaining the history of the Cemetery and finding the graves for visitors from the plans which we have.

The last Society meeting at Our Lady of Lourdes attracted 23 members, 1 of which was a visitor and 6 were committee members.  Perhaps more would attend if it was an evening meeting, as it used to be, people who are not free during the day might be able to join in. What do you think?

Next Zoom Workshop –25th Oct - History of Wrington – John Gowar

Our next Zoom Workshop looks at the History of Wrington guided by John Gowar.  It takes place on Wednesday the 25th of Oct from 7.30 until 9.30 p. m.  

Wrington has a long and fascinating history with connections with many notable residents including John Locke, the philosopher who was born there in 1632, Henry Herbert Wills, a member of the Tobacco family and his wife Dame Mary Monica Cunliffe Wills, after whom the St Monica’s Homes were named following their outstanding philanthropy and Hannah More who lived at Cowslip Green and was buried in Wrington Church in 1833 with some amazing additional information in the Burial Register.


Local History

Have any of our members researched the history of a parish in our District or have any photographs  or information about a parish or place where their ancestors lived which could be added to our web site under the Place name?  This might help other members with their research.

Please consider the future of our Society and what you can do to assist it and its members to fully enjoy the activity of researching their family history.  As we all know it is an activity which benefits greatly from being able to get help from like minded people and to share our successes with others.

 

News TopicMonthly Update
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The Future of this Society.......
published by Brian & Pam Airey on Thu, 28/09/2023 - 10:10

.......does it have a future? Only if you step forward and help to keep it going and growing. Many of your committee members -according to the constitution- should have already stepped down, but mainly due to covid, we stayed on and learnt how to create and record Zoom meetings; both for the benefit of keeping the Society going.

Do please make this the year that you "give something back" to the world of family history that we love so dearly. Join our Committee and  help us keep the Society alive.

Jenny Towey

Chair

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Nominations for Committee
published by Paul Tracey on Tue, 26/09/2023 - 20:46

The AGM is on 8th November. This is the time when you vote for the Committee team who will run the Society in 2024. Nominations have to be with the Secretary 7 days before AGM, so I am giving you plenty of time to think. Please help as health is sapping present members.

A nomination form is attached which will download to your computer.

Brian

 

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Brian Austin
published by Pat Hase on Sat, 16/09/2023 - 11:45

It was with shock and sadness that we heard of the sudden death of Brian Austin on the evening of Thursday 14th September.  Brian had given one of his inimitable talks at the Museum in the afternoon during which he had been on good form.

Brian will be greatly missed for his generous research into the family and local history of Weston, his home town.  It was from one of his classes in Family History that our Society grew - for which we are very grateful.  His continued kindly support and encyclopedic knowledge of the history of  the people, events and places of Weston was an inspiration to many.  Our thoughts and sympathy go to Annemarie at this sad time. 

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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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