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September 2023 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Fri, 01/09/2023 - 0:08

It’s September, the month when people have the time to become more involved in their Family History after the Summer break and coping with the requirements of family and possibly the gardening.  What new challenges have you set yourself? 

Free Help Session

After the mixed weather we have been having, the Free Help Session on Saturday Sept 2nd at the Library could be just the spur you need to pick up the research.  Our Volunteers will be there from 2.00 until 3.30pm ready to offer advice and encouragement. Take the opportunity to discover exactly what the Library has to offer in the way of resources for family history. 

  • Notably the Weston Mercury and Gazette on film for dates not available online,
  • Street Directories 
  • Electoral Rolls,
  • the Files on People and Places,
  • Maps,
  • Family Trees complied by Brian Austin.
  • If your family is not local, then the Library can give access to FindmyPast and Ancestry.
  • etc.


This is the 141st Newsletter that I have put together for the Society, and I do hope that you have gained some help or ideas for ways of approaching Family History from them.  Although I have continually asked for your comments and asked for you to share your own tips for research, feedback has been noticeably missing.

Research Forum

As a Society, all members have a part to play and just a few days ago I had some tremendous help by using our Research Forum.  Perhaps you saw it?  I was looking for the baptism of a Henry HASE – with various ways of spelling HASE and the answer came from a member who has contributed before.  He found the baptism which had been entered as Henry EAST – a variant I had not considered! Thank you, Rob! This was not a poor transcription as the original entry was very clear as EAST.

From Ancestry – Emmanuel Church, Weston-super-Mare, November 1852

The first names of the parents and the occupation of the father prove to me that this is the correct baptism. Now, all I need is the registration of his birth!

Do you have a query for which you need a second opinion? 

40th Anniversary Dinner 

We should all feel very proud that our Society has lasted for 40 years, and   our Open Day in May helped to celebrate that achievement. The Anniversary Dinner on the 18th September will allow members to meet up during a relaxed meal and to share experiences about our common interests.

Members will have received an email with the menu from Peter de Dulin and he is looking forward to finalising the numbers. Please send your menu choices to Peter at anniversarydinner@dedulin.co.uk or peter@dedulin.co.uk. If you have any queries or have not received the menu and details about how to pay, please let him know.

Family Profiles

Have you considered writing up the life history of just one member in your ancestry?  It need not be someone for whom you have to decipher Latin documents or spend hours in an Archive researching - why not start with someone who lived in the 20th Century? 

A young child in a white dressDescription automatically generatedUsing my mother as an example - She was born in 1910 and died in 1997. This photograph was taken in Sept 1912.

Little did anyone know then how life was going to change for everyone during her lifetime.  

She lived through the problems created by two World Wars.  She saw the way in which her mother coped during the privations of WW1 and the effect that gassing in the trenches of France had on her father.  As the war ended, she witnessed countless funerals passing into Greenbank Cemetery in Bristol caused by the ‘flu epidemic.

Brief days out in Weston were enjoyed by her and her sister as they, like countless others paddled in the tide. 

The second photo with her younger sister is at Weston in about 1919 showing in the background the long extension of the New Pier.

The rest of her life demonstrated how changes in the way of life in society, affected her.   She accepted and applauded the changing role of women in society. However, in fulfilling her role as a wife and mother, she cared for all generations in her family with commonsense and empathy.

Dr Janet Few is writing the story of her grandmother and it is inspirational  to see how any life story can be embellished around the dates and places found in family history research.

Engaging the younger generation in family history research

It is well documented that people become interested in researching their family history as they become older and then regret not starting earlier when their immediate ancestors would have been able to answer their questions.  As a Society we need to attract younger members – how can we do that?  What should we be doing to encourage participation in society activities?

The August and September editions of Family Tree have very interesting articles discussing how studying Family History can benefit our  Health and Well-being. Is it more than just a hobby?  One way in which we can ensure that our own memories are being shared is to use these 20 Questions with members of our family.  https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/the-stories-our-lives/201611/the-do-you-know-20-questions-about-family-stories It’s not the answers which are important but the fact that family stories are being talked about.  Research has shown that through story telling families can share experiences that offer a sense of continuity to the young people as they cope with the complexity of modern life.  They also assist with communication with older people with failing memories.

If you are a grandparent, why not encourage your children to spend time talking to their children about the family – perhaps using the 20 questions outlined above. 

A side issue which is mentioned is that having the skill of being able to research censuses and other resources gave greater satisfaction and self-esteem than that achieved from writing up the results!  With this I totally agree – it is the adrenaline rush when a problem is solved, and an ancestor slotted into his or her correct family that makes this such an addictive activity.

School Genealogy Clubs can also help.  This is an account of one set up in Liverpool which shows how the research skills can increase the children’s confidence and independence. https://www.family-tree.co.uk/news/new-family-history-club-with-a-difference

New Resources Online

From Ancestry

  • Take a look at the new and updated records in Ancestry    
  • During August  Ancestry has added these Burial Records for
  • Birmingham, England, Birmingham Cemetery and Crematoria Records, 1836-2017
  • With all the links between Birmingham and North Somerset you may find this as helpful as I did –It included 10 entries for HASE – all descended from one family who moved to Birmingham.

From FindmyPast

Have you discovered any new resources which have been helpful to you?

Digital Death Records

When I started family history research and bought full Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates they were £2.50 each.  Very often I omitted getting the death Certificates on the mistaken idea that I had already found the burial and didn’t need them.  The cost then rose, and the death certs became even less attractive.  However, with the digital image from the records now being available for £2.50 I’m in danger of getting carried away.  But it’s worth it!  Here’s my 3 x great grandmother’s death. 

Ann’s Inquest was reported with others in the press, showing a range of causes of death including “Sudden death by visitation of God” – presumably a heart attack or similar.

Newspaper articles are often the only way in which to get information about Inquests.

William Joyner ELLIS, the Coroner, was the son of the previous Coroner, another William Joyner ELLIS senior whose notebooks covering the Inquests he presided over between 1790 and 1823 have survived and have been deposited in the Gloucestershire Archives.  In 1998 the Downend Local History Society researched these records and produced a booklet which sheds light on the workings of a Coroner.  Coroner’s records are very difficult to find and this is a marvellous insight into his work. Most Inquests took place in Inns but they were also held in gaols, workhouses, homes of the gentry or wherever convenient.  The detail of his findings and his sympathy for the bereaved sheds light on society in an area where mining was the cause of many deaths.

A quote from Oct 13 1820

“To the Salutation Inn at Mangotsfield on the body of Hannah LACEY, aged 28 who dropped down dead in the kitchen of her dwelling House immediately upon her returning home from digging potatoes in a field half a mile distance without any previous illness.

Verdict: Sudden death by visitation of God

21 miles £1. 15. 9d”

Next Society Meeting

On Wednesday Sept 13th we have a meeting at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall with the Title “Guilty Pleasures: Chocolate, Beer and Tobacco by Chris Bigg.  The meeting starts at 2.30 pm and we hope that it will be well supported by our members and is open to non-members. 

Finally, as we say goodbye to Summer, I hope that you will all have more time and energy to make progress with your family history and consider how you can fully benefit from membership of this society.  Please add any comments you have about items in this newsletter and share any resources which you have found most helpful to you.

News TopicMonthly Update
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gmail accounts
published by Peter de Dulin on Fri, 18/08/2023 - 21:52


At present we cannot send emails to those of you with gmail accounts. We have informed our webmaster but have had no response as yet.

I therefore cannot send out reminders about the dinner via email because a third of our membership won't receive them.

News TopicWebsite
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Anniversary Dinner
published by Peter de Dulin on Fri, 18/08/2023 - 21:48

Just a reminder that our anniversary dinner is fast approaching.

Please send in your menu requests to anniversarydinner@dedulin.co.uk. You don't have to fill in the form, just give me your choices.

News TopicEvents
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Land Tax Returns
published by Brian & Pam Airey on Fri, 11/08/2023 - 9:55

Somerset Heritage Centre has a project transcribing Land Tax records, which is digitising and transcribing their collections of annual tax returns from 1766-1832. They are a wonderfully name-rich source, and can help with family and property history as they list owners, occupiers and names of properties for each year. Although the project has been running for several years the Centre is needing help in transcribing the Winterstoke  hundred which covers Weston, Axbridge, Cheddar and surrounding parishes. The digitised images will be made available through their public access computers in the search room, along with a PDF of the transcription. The resulting index of all names and places will be available worldwide through their online catalogue. Volunteers will register with the Trust and be given full training. You can work from  home. Sets of images will be sent out via We Transfer, along with a template, handwriting guide, sample of completed work etc. Volunteers should be familiar with Excel or Office 365. Support and advice will be available during office hours. If you wish to get involved contact Kate Parr through https://swheritage.org.uk/about-us/volunteering/ 

Ensure you say you wish to undertake Land Tax returns so that Kate can deal.

Brian Airey

News TopicResources
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August 2023 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Tue, 01/08/2023 - 1:22

Welcome to the August Newsletter.  We do not have a meeting during August but hope to see you at the Hutton “Taste of Somerset” Show on August 30th where we will have a stand.  There will not be a Free Help Session in August but anyone can visit the library at any time it is open to add to their research. You will have access to Ancestry and Find My Past at Weston Library as well as the resources found in the Library.

Members are reminded of the Anniversary Dinner on the 18th September and encouraged to let Peter de Dulin know your choices.  More details 

Why did they move?

Some years ago, I  took part in a survey – I think it was run by Leicester University – to look at the reasons for internal migration in the UK. Why did your ancestors move around the country?  Just considering my own parents who only moved within Bristol was interesting. How moves can be made for reasons imposed rather than by choice. 

  1. My parents were married in 1935 and had saved enough for a deposit on a bungalow at Brislington, not far from where my father was employed at Crittall Windows on the Bath Road. 
  2. In 1939 the illness of my widowed maternal grandfather meant that my parents rented out their bungalow and went to live with him in Greenbank to care for him.  My father changed jobs at this point as well. They can be found with him on the 1939 register. I'm with them but I am pleased to see that as my entry is redacted I must still be alive!
  3. WW2 broke out and I have vague memories of watching war planes fly over while being held by my grandfather.  By 1941 my grandfather had recovered from his illness and had decided to marry again!  War time restrictions meant that my parents were unable to get their bungalow back and so had to rent accommodation in Eastville.
  4. It wasn’t until 1948 that they were able to return to Brislington and then it needed a court order to get the property back. 
  5. In 1961 my paternal grandfather died leaving his house to his 4 children.  It was agreed that my father could buy out his siblings and my parents moved back to his family home at Stapleton, where they remained until my father’s death in 1987. 
  6. My mother then had accommodation in my sister’s home in Filton until her death about 10 years later.

Why did your people move? 

We asked this question to our Facebook Members and had some interesting replies. They ranged from evacuation, for employment, for health reasons, to start a business catering for the holiday trade, to be nearer family members, to getting married. etc.  These reasons can all be included to enhance in your Family History as they breathe life into your story

Society of One Place Studies

10 years ago, Dr Janet Few started this Society to assist people to look in detail at a small area of the country which interested them or was involved their ancestry.  It could be the village or street in which you live or your ancestors lived - to see how it has developed over the years, and the occupations of other residents. it might be a local church, cemetery, prison or workhouse. It could be a local industry like a Pottery, Quarry, Shop, Theatre or Brewery etc., Perhaps the railway, other means of transport, or local sporting activities, the list is endless. Researching places also involves researching the people resident or working in that place.  

In September, to celebrate this 10 year Anniversary there will be an event called“All about that Place” which will introduce you to this type of research which uses those skills which you have honed in your Family History Research

10 minute Talks

The British Association for Local History which is sponsoring “All about that Place” also offers some very interesting 10-minute Talks on video covering a range of subjects. You might not want to spend longer than that watching a video, but these short ones are worth investigating.  Do try one of these 10 minute talks  which interests you. 

Researching the previous inhabitants of your home or road.

If you are choosing to research a road – try a short one!  Just recently I put all the residents of Ewart Road in 1921/22 taken from a Street Directory on to our Facebook Group which resulted in several people recognising their ancestors living there. When comparing the residents with the 1921 census you can see the occupations of all inhabitants and a couple of the wives were taking in washing -describing themselves as Laundress. 

EWART ROAD in 1921/2
From Milton Road
3 TANCOCK, Edwin
11 PHILLIPS, G, Stoke Villa
12 RICE, G
13 KNIGHT, C, Spaxton House
14 STOCKER, Alfred, St Neots
Here Cross over
15 HOCKEY, O W, Surrey Villa
16 ROSSITER, A, Needwood
17 BOND, Wm, Belmont
18 FEAR, Herbert W, Glencoe
19 BOARD, F and LOVELL, R A, Lydenburg
20 WEBB, B J
21 BURNELL, Lewis and MORLEY, D, Lilton Villa
22 BENNETT, Arthur, Brynville
25 BENNETT, F., Ivydene
Other roads in Weston which give examples of work undertaken at home include Holland Street where the long gardens allowed the washing to dry, the buildings at the bottom of the gardens or attached to the house contained the boilers and the wide drives allowed horse and carts to bring laundry from houses on the hill. Check the 1891 census to see how many women are employed as laundresses.
Palmer Street has archways between the terraced houses to allow access to the rear for workmen to bring horse or donkey carts.  Again check on censuses to see what employment the residents have.
Research Forum
As you all seem very reluctant to use our Research Forum – Why is this?  I have asked this question in several Newsletters but never got a reply. 
Where do you get help for your research when you are stuck?   
I find it helps to unravel my research problems by writing them in the form of a request for help.  Sometimes then you can even solve them yourself!
UK Railway Records
While considering movement of ancestors. My great grandfather, William PINNOCK worked for the GWR. His movements were governed by his employment.  
He was born in Winterbourne, Gloucestershire. From his Railway Record (found on Ancestry) I was able to follow his employment from initially joining at Swindon. On the 1871 census he can be found boarding with his uncle’s widow, Esther PINNOCK and described as a fireman on goods trains.
In July the same year he was moved to Weymouth to become a fireman on passenger trains. In Feb 1873 he was stationed at Paddington again as a passenger train fireman.  He married a Jane HARRIS in Weymouth in October 1875 – presumably they had met while he was based in Weymouth and in December 1875 he moved to Reading to work in the Yard as an Engine Turner (responsible for the turntable and for shunting engines).
Jane died in Reading in 1877 and in 1878 he married  my great grandmother, Annie STOKES. from Wraxall who was working as a domestic servant in Reading giving his occupation as an engine driver. They had 5 children before his death in 1885. Annie returned to Bristol as a widow.

His Records also show when he was reprimanded for breaches of the rules.  There is no mention of an inquest on a fellow railwayman – a signal man - who was accidentally killed by his engine when shunting it into the shed.  No blame was attached to him.

This newsletter seems to be more about local history than family history but I hope that it may encourage some of you to look at your research in a different way.  

Please feel free to comment on this newsletter - perhaps to offer advice to other members about how to get the most information about your families and the places in which they lived. 


News TopicMonthly Update
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St Martin's Worle Burials
published by Graham Payne on Fri, 07/07/2023 - 10:18

St Martin's Worle burial transcripts have been up dated to include the period 1938-1964 and are now available for Society members to view online.

Please report any transcript errors to the author of this news article.

News TopicTranscripts
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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
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