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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?

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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.

 

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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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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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Forthcoming Events

Workshop by Zoom: Axbridge Workhouse: Pat Hase
Wednesday, 26th June, 2024 19:30 - 21:00
Library Help Session
Saturday, 6th July, 2024 14:00 - 15:30
Physical Members' Meeting
Wednesday, 10th July, 2024 14:30 - 17:00
Workshop by Zoom: Guild of One-Name Studies
Wednesday, 24th July, 2024 19:30 - 21:30
Library Help Session
Saturday, 7th September, 2024 14:00 - 15:30
<- View calendar for more






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