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January 2022 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Fri, 31/12/2021 - 23:15

Wishing a Happy and Healthy New Year to all our full Society members and to the members of our Facebook Group.   I suppose the highlight of January will be the release of the 2021 census. It is unlikely that many of us will see another census release as the 2031 census was destroyed during WW2 and there was not a census taken in 1941 which is why the 1939 Register has been so helpful.  I would love to see the 1961 census as I do not remember exactly where I was living when that was taken.  Was it Bristol, Churchill or at one of two addresses in Weston?  Unless I break records as being amongst the oldest people alive in 2061, I will not find out!   On Dec 16th, 2021 – a woman claiming to be the World’s oldest  person at 135 years old died in China.  There is of course some doubt as to the accuracy of her birth date!

Looking back over the years as I am inclined to do at this time of the year – I remember, December 1942, when my father was called up for active service in WW2.  One morning, at breakfast time, he left our home.  As a four-year old, I was eating cornflakes, and looked up to see my mother crying – something I’d never seen before.  Of course, I didn’t know then that she must have only recently discovered that she was pregnant at the time.

She would have also remembered the situation and the shortages of WW1 - I have this card sent to my maternal grandmother during WW1 from my grandfather to celebrate her birthday on December 12th.    I have others sent by him to my mother for Christmas and another which looks forward to Victory.

My mother told of the circumstances of his return from France when she and her sister were not allowed to hug him until his uniform had been debugged and he had been bathed and changed into fresh clothes.

Looking back on the past year the contribution made by the NHS has been outstanding and I wonder how many of you have ancestors who were employed as Nurses or Doctors before the NHS was instituted?  The other question I have is about epidemics which caused deaths in your family.

1918-19 Spanish Flu

Following WW1, the pandemic of Spanish Flu caused the death of many of the returning service men and women.  A great aunt of mine died in Bristol from this influenza in 1918, she was aged 40, she had been a schoolteacher before her marriage and they had three sons, the youngest only 3 when she died.  This photograph of her with her husband and eldest son was taken at Ilfracombe in 1910.


1957 - Asian 'Flu

While talking about pandemics – I managed to contract Asian ‘Flu in the autumn of 1957, about a fortnight after I had started my college training.  The college was later closed, and we were all sent home probably to pass it on to families!  There was no social media to spread information and very little publicity.  I have never felt so ill as I did then!


More details can be seen here 1957–1958 influenza pandemic - Wikipedia

To find out what might have caused the death of your ancestors over the years I can recommend a booklet by Dr Janet FEW – “’Til Death do us Part - causes of death 1300-1948”.  It was published in 2015 and contains a list of British epidemics including Smallpox, Measles, Typhus, Plague, Diphtheria, T.B. and ‘Flu. Janet also suggests sites which may help with your research.

If you have medical relations, a list of Nurses already in employment was drawn up in 1949 to encompass those who were taken over by the NHS and can be found on Ancestry. 

This paternal aunt, born in 1913 in Bristol, became a Nurse after a spell as a telephonist – She trained at the Bristol Homeopathic Hospital from 1945, before the NHS was instituted.    She then went to London to complete her midwifery training before studying to become a district nurse obtaining a Queen’s Nursing Award. Touches of “Call the Midwife” here from what she later told me about her experiences in London.  After some employment in Bristol, she accepted a post in Wedmore as Midwife and District Nurse until her marriage in 1961.

 Pre NHS Life

The advent of the NHS certainly affected my family.  In 1947 I contracted Rheumatic Fever which my sister also developed, and we were put under the care of Prof C Bruce PERRY of the Bristol Royal Infirmary until we were 18.   I liked him very much and felt he was really interested in us.  His obituary showed that he was more deeply involved in rheumatic heart disease that we realised at the time.  The cost of consultant fees was difficult for our parents to find at first, but they insisted on nursing us both at home.  I was away from school for 15 months but with support of family and friends we both recovered but there was relief when the NHS took over the cost. 

A letter from my father during WW2 dated May 11th had highlighted the worry caused by Doctors’ Bills. – I think it must have been 1944, from Italy.  He was wounded on his birthday May 11th 1944 during an assault on Monte Cassino, so it is likely that this was written just before that event.  He wrote:

“While appreciating the fact that everything is much dearer in these times, I agree with you that Dr Purcell’s Bill was a bit stiff, but as the children are well again that  is the chief thing.  Please use the money of mine to settle it with.  I know it is being put aside for Pat’s schooling, but there is apparently little prospect of you wanting it for that purpose I would be glad if you used some of it that way as it will soon accumulate again, and there will be plenty there when we want it for the original purpose,”                                                                                    

I think he was referring to the proposed Education Act of August 1944 which was to give free Secondary Education to all pupils.  .

Looking forward now to 2022 – What can we expect?   

  • On Ancestry – Devon Parish Records were added on the 13th December 2021 
  • On Findmypast – A message about the 2021 census
  • The Genealogist allows you to pinpoint the position of your ancestor on the 1911 census.  This is very accurate in London but not so good in other parts of the country.  Checking on Whitecross Road in Weston the road is located but not the actual house address. You need to scroll down for the map. 
  • Family History Federation of which we, as a Society, is a member offers advice on how to access free resources  
  • On the 6th January the release of the 2021 Census: Going by previous releases it may be difficult at access the Findmypast site on that day but try again later!

Society Meeting

At the moment, our next Member’s  Meeting is due to take place on Wednesday afternoon the 12th of January unless more Covid restrictions are in operation by then in which case it will be a Zoom Meeting.  It is entitled “Traditions of Death and Burial” and will be given by Helen Frisby.  Meeting starts at 2.30pm with speaker at 3.00pm.  We meet now at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall in Baytree Road observing all conditions for your safety – Please bring masks etc.  It will be recorded for those who cannot attend.

We all hope that 2022 will bring some stability to life and wish all our members success with their research - Have a Happy New Year!

News TopicMonthly Update
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December 2021 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Fri, 03/12/2021 - 12:46

Sorry that this is a bit late but I did start to write it on December 1st when I was woken that morning with Christmas music coming from ClassicFM indicating it must be the beginning of the season which usually is celebrated with family gatherings!  Whatever happens this year, if you are in contact with family or friends why not  discus what you have discovered about your ancestors and find out whether your research matches their memories or what they have been told?

Family Heirlooms

I have a christening robe reputed to have been made by my great grandmother, Sarah ELLY, shortly after her marriage in Bath in 1860. It has been used by several members of our family, descendants of Sarah ELLY, although not always appreciated by the child! 

christening robe

My grandmother told me that her mother made this robe and that she had been educated at the Blue Coat School in Bath.  However, I have recently confirmed that no one with  the name Sarah ELLY or anything similar is mentioned in the Record Books of the Blue Coat School in Bath – so it seems that my grandmother was mistaken about the school but hopefully not about the christening robe.

There is often a grain of truth in stories which are handed down and, in this case, – I have now established that one of my grandmother’s brothers was educated at the Blue Coat School in Gloucester so perhaps she was a little confused.  

How many of you regard  your Christmas Decorations as family heirlooms?  Rather than being fashionable all my Christmas tree decorations have a story to tell as they have accumulated over the years.  Carefully preserved each year they bring back memories to me of the days when my children and grandchildren were small and they helped to chose the one new item each year. 

Do you have any interesting family heirlooms?  

The popular BBC programme, Repair Shop, has produced some very fascinating items and stories attached to them. Your family heirlooms could make a worthwhile article for Buckets and Spades and often shed light on your ancestors.  What do you have which you would like passed down? 

My teddy bear given to me for my 2nd birthday in 1940 could tell a few stories - about comforting me when watching German planes fly over Bristol during the Blitz, accompanied me to the Anderson Shelter during subsequent raids, a constant companion during children's ailments meaning that he had to be send away to be fumigated along with all other soft furnishings (he lost his squeek then!)  A couple of years ago I decided he needed some new clothes but he has worn very well from the time I first unwrapped him on my birthday in my Grandfather's house to the accompaniment of a Warden shouting "Put that light out"!  

Teddy Bear  

Who do you think you are?

I have watched Ed BALLS in “Who do you think you are?”.  It certainly pointed up the difficulty we all have in relating to events which happened over 100 years ago and looking at them from the 21st Century with its ever-changing acceptance  of standards of behaviour and conditions. The Swing Riots of the 1830s and their aftermath highlighted the conditions of  agricultural workers in the south east of England. 


I was of course particularly interested in the mention of the Workhouses.  One problem I had with it  was the use of images to illustrate conditions.  The interior view used was from a London Workhouse as was the painting of the queue outside.  Were there no images of Kent or Norfolk Workhouses which could be used?

A great deal of research has been done about conditions in Norfolk, which were slightly different from other parts of the country.   Anne Digby in her book “Pauper Palaces” describes the arrangements made prior to the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 to cater for the poorer elements of the population in Norfolk where Workhouses were introduced after the Gilbert Act of 1782. This allowed  parishes to join together to cater for the paupers  in their area.  Bristol also had an earlier Act of Incorporation in 1696.   This gave the Bristol Corporation the right to operate a joint relief system across the whole city and its many parishes including the setting-up of workhouses and the appointment pf paid Officers.  Sadly, many of these records were lost during the blitz. It is often supposed that the the Union Workhouses created after 1924 were the start of the Workhouse system but this was not the case.

The web site about the    History of the Workhouse      is an excellent place to discover more about the workhouses in the area wherever your family lived.

How do you tell others about what you have researched? 

Family History Blogs

One of our members, Honey Langcaster-James, who is descended from one of the Weston Worthies, Richard FRY, has this Blog which includes some history of the Weston area which you may not have seen. It is a fascinating site, Congratulations Honey, which may give you some ideas of how to publish your own findings online.  Her site is called Meet My Ancestor, 

Family Trees Online

  • Most of you will be familiar with the many sites where you can find family trees online. 
  • Some can be restricted to being available only to invited viewers who have a reason to be consulting them. 
  • Always check any details on these trees as errors can occur.

If you have placed your findings online, please let us know so that others may see it and perhaps get ideas of what is possible.

1921 Census

  • It has been announced that you can examine this census free of charge (via Findmypast) if you visit the National Archives at Kew and also In addition, visitors to the Manchester Central Library and the National Library of Wales will be able to access the 1921 Census of England and Wales via the Findmypast website for free following its publication in January.  This may be useful to members who live near either of these places.
  • The 1921 Census release will be augmented by a series of articles and exhibitions at the National Archives about life in the 1920s. 


Digital Exhibition


In line with Disability History Month, the Somerset Museum in Taunton is launching a digital exhibition about Sarah BIFFIN, the talented Somerset artist[PH1] . Sarah Biffin – South West Heritage Trust (swheritage.org.uk).  There are other digital exhibitions which may interest you on this site Digital Exhibitions – South West Heritage Trust (swheritage.org.uk) including one about the Bath and West Agricultural Society and its shows.

Research Queries

  • I have had a query about Joseph SHEPPARD 1834-1928, who painted the portrait of John Jeremiah Jackson-Barstow which I used in my talk after the AGM.  He lived in Milton (in the parish of Kewstoke) and more of his paintings can be seen on the Art UK web site Sheppard, Joseph, 1834–1928 | Art UK There are 21 paintings, including a couple of his father, Henry SHEPPARD 1792-1877, other local people and some views of Worle and Milton.  In 1911 Joseph SHEPPARD was living in Ashcombe Park Road with his long-time housekeeper, widow Elizabeth PETERS. When he died in 1928 he was buried at Kewstoke. 
  •  Another query I have received was about the locality of a Baptist Church near Rowberrow.  I was unable to answer so I put it on our Research Forum but presumably none of our members knew the answer either as there were no replies.  Does anyone have any idea about where a Baptist resident of Rowberrow might have attended  church?  I have found from my own family research that Baptist Records are notoriously difficult to locate as in many cases the registers seem not to have survived or have fallen into private hands.
  • I get many queries about schools in Weston, especially the private ones which proliferated during the 19th Century.  Often an ancestor has been found as a pupil.  A very brief history of Weston can be found here and the private schools are mentioned under "More growth in the 1880s".  More information can be accessed in Weston Library where many of these schools have files about them. One problem was that information about a school had been handed down in a family and it was eventually found under Weston, Bath!

Our December Members' Meeting

It has been widely announced but a reminder that we are restarting to have physical meetings after a long spell of Zoom meetings.  The first one will take place on Wednesday December 8th in the afternoon from 2.30 p.m. until 5.00 p.m. at Our lady of Lourdes Church Hall in Baytree Road.  The speaker, Ian Sage will start his talk on Farler's Coal Pit at Nailsea  at 3.00 p.m. which will include his own family history research.  If you are unable to attend the talk will be screen at the same time and will be recorded and available as the Zoom talks have been for Members to watch at a time convenient for them.   Please observe the conditions in place to control possible infections and enjoy this Christmas meeting with seasonable refreshments served from 2.30 p.m. 

Our Lady of Lourdes - from Google Street View - there is car parking also at the back of the hall.

Our Lady Of Lourdes


Looking forward - Society meetings will continue to take place on the 2nd Wednesday afternoon of each month during 2022.

Wishing you all an enjoyable time during December.  If you have any queries please use the Research Forum and make sure that all your SURNAME interests have been added to the list.  If you have any comments or suggestions to help other members' research please add them to this Newsletter.    Happy & Heathy wishes for December and the New Year!

News TopicMonthly Update
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Portbury St Mary Monumential Inscriptions
published by Graham Payne on Wed, 24/11/2021 - 11:29

The Portbury St Mary MIs are now available for Society members to view online.

Please report any errors  or information regarding missing or incomplete transcripts to the author of this news article.

News TopicTranscripts
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Emmanuel Scout Troop
published by Pat Hase on Sun, 07/11/2021 - 17:43

I have added a file entitled "Emmanuel Scout Troop" to the Weston-super-Mare Page.  It is a collection of the names of Scouts who were mentioned in the Log Book of the 9th Weston-super-Mare Scout Troop which was set up in 1929.  Not all scouts are mentioned but if you have relatives who were young men in Weston between 1927 and 1944 it might be worth looking through this file.  I believe it also contains some evacuees.

News TopicPeople
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November 2021 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Sun, 31/10/2021 - 19:08

Release of 1921 Census

The biggest news in the last month has been the release date for the 1921 Census.  It will answer a few queries you may have about your family and their lives just after the 1st World War and no doubt raise more questions.  On January 6th 2022,  Find My Past will give you access to the last census many of us will be able to interrogate.  The 1931 census was destroyed and there was not a census in 1941 during WW2, which is why the 1939 Register has been so helpful.  There are several interesting articles online with the background to the 1921 Census including this one from the National Archives which includes information about some webinars it is offering during November to assist your preparation for the release.

New items on Ancestry

During October these new items have appeared

100 Years of Education

The clocks were put back 1 hour last evening. and the autumn leaves are now falling from the trees, bringing back memories of School Days when as small children we collected the multi coloured leaves, pressed them and created collages, incidentally learning to identify trees from the leaves.  The recent repeat of the BBC Programme "Back in Time for School" which is still available on iPlayer. featured the changes in education over the years. We have all had experience of some form of schooling and there were parts which made me want to shout at the TV.  I went to a mixed Primary School, a Girls' Grammar School and then taught in a Secondary Modern School and there were aspects which did not fully match my experiences or memories of that time. 

The development of the education provision in Weston is interesting with a large number of private boarding schools in the area.  The first National School opened in Weston 1844/5 was St John's School, on the corner where the College is now, had these rules.  The last one is particularly interesting in view of the current situation - this was against smallpox but was compulsory.

While on the subject of TV programmes - Last month I highlighted that "Who Do you think you are?" was returning to the screens,  The Genealogist has some featured articles including some which are reviewing these and other programmes.

Local Scouts

I have temporary access to a brilliant Log Book of the Mendip Rovers which were the fore-runners of the 9th Weston-super-Mare Scouts attached to Emmanuel Church.  This handwritten book goes from Sept 1927 until Sept 1943 and contains many local names.  There were 4 Founder Members - L.HUMBY, E.ATKINSON, R.POPE and M.STOCKER with Mr R.E.MONK as their "Rover Mate".  For many of their activities they were supported by "The College" Troop - 10th Weston under Mr N.G. PARTRIDGE.  Their first Camp was at Max Mills Farm at Easter 1928 and they attended the opening of the Hospital in July 1928, acting a Stewards. By Sept 1929 they decided to become a Scout Troup with 2 Patrols - new members named after that included Eric KNOWLES, Reg GRIFFITHS, E.PHILLIPS, Henry ALLEN, J.HENDERSON, R. GARTH, R.WRIGHT, Warwick CASEY and D.WILLIAMS etc.  If you have any connection with these or think you may have other links I would be pleased to search for names for you.   

Another interesting item caught my eye that in 1940. 

"two members of the troop helped St Paul's troop to gather Autumn Crocuses for the Government , cycling to Shipham where they found them growing wild in the fields"

On further investigation I found that large quantities of Meadow Saffron (Colchicum autumnale) bulbs were collected to provide the drug colchicine, used to reduce inflammation. With 12 tones of bulbs needed in WW2, collectors were instructed to gather them from pastures and meadows in which they grew when these were being ploughed up to grow crops.

With Remembrance Day approaching it was sobering to read of the death of Eric KNOWLES, who lost his life at sea while serving as a Ship's Engineer in the Merchant Navy. 

The entries stop in 1943 and it appears that the troop was disbanded at that time although there is no actual mention of that. 

Society Meetings

On Thursday 18th November we will be holding our AGM via Zoom which will be accompanied by a quiz and a short talk by me about the "Legacy to Weston from the JACKSON-BARSTOW Family". 

This will be the last Zoom presentation, as actual meetings will start again at our new meeting place of Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall in Baytree Road on the 2nd Wednesday afternoons of each month starting on Dec 8th from 2.30-5.00pm.  This will be a Christmas Meeting with Ian Sage talking about "Farler's Coal Pit, Nailsea" and accompanied by seasonal refreshments.

Please add any comments you may have about this newsletter or to share helpful advice and information to other members.

News TopicMonthly Update
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Proposed Changes to Society Constitution
published by Brian Airey on Sat, 23/10/2021 - 10:27

Your committee proposes the attached amendment to our constitution to bring us up to date with digital age. This will be submitted to the AGM on 18th November.

ITEM 7 FINANCES. After " these shall be signed by any TWO of the Signatories or through recognised internet" Add " or telephone banking procedure"

ITEM 8. "Given the need for the Society to hold AGM and/or Executive Committee Meetings despite COVID restrictions on physical meetings, the Executive Committee resolve that in order to comply with good governance it will hold the next AGM and future Executive Committee meetings online virtually or as hybrid meetings despite the lack of authority to do so in the constitution. Persons who register to join the meeting online in accordance with the information supplied by the Society will be taken to be present and count as part of the quorum and be entitled to join and participate in the relevant meeting as if they were physically present"

ITEM 9. VOTING delete "by closed ballot" and insert "by show of hands"

The reasons for the amendments are as follows:

ITEM 7. Modern technology allows for both electronic means of making transactions. The safe guard will be that there are still 2 persons to authorise the transaction.

ITEM 8. Dispensation was granted to permit organisations to hold meetings of members (AGMs & GMs), committee meetings and regular meetings of members "virtually" despite the lack of authority to do so in the constitutions. The Corporate Insolvency & Governance Act 2020 (CIGA) permitted this and the dispensation was supported by the Charity Commission who adopted a pragmatic approach permitting delayed meetings and for them to be held virtually rather than face to face. Many societies took up the dispensation and indeed found it helpful to hold virtual meetings.

This dispensation ended on 30th March. COVID restrictions will no doubt vary over time but the above amendments should enable continued good governance of your Society.

Brian Airey


News TopicGeneral
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Forthcoming Events

Society Committee Meeting
Friday, 2nd September, 2022 10:00 - 12:00
Weston Library Help Sessions
Saturday, 3rd September, 2022 14:00 - 15:30
Physical Members' Meeting
Wednesday, 14th September, 2022 14:30 - 17:00
Workshop Session by Zoom
Wednesday, 5th October, 2022 19:30 - 21:00
Physical Members' Meeting
Wednesday, 12th October, 2022 14:30 - 17:00
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