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August 2021 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Sun, 01/08/2021 - 23:29

We’re looking forward now to after the Pandemic and your committee is, like committees of other Family History Societies, giving considerable thought to what we should be doing for our members once the current situation is over.  You will find a questionnaire included in the July edition of Buckets and Spades and you should have received by email, another, more comprehensive one.  Please return both by August 8 th as we are keen to know what it is you want to happen and how you use our current provision.  It’s your society, let us know what you need from it and the way forward. 

Future of Family History

Although not concerned with changes caused by Covid, in 2019 Dr Nick Barrett spoke to the Guild of One Name Studies on “The Future of Family History”.  Described at the time – 

“This presentation reflects on the impact of media and technology on the way we research, share and connect - looking ahead to challenges and opportunities for family history and personal heritage to help improve the lives of individuals and communities” 

It can be viewed on YouTube (221) The Future of Family History by Dr Nick Barratt - YouTube  The sound is a little off at the start, but it settles down and the questions at the end are also interesting. Do you agree with the points he makes?

Society Talks - Hot off the Press!

Since unable to meet, we have had Zoom talks presented to our Society and today I have been informed that recordings are now available of some of them on our web site for full Members.  Log in to the website and look at the bottom of the main menu for your own name, under which you should find the word "Video"  which when clicked will take you to a selection of the videos which the presenters have given permission to be recorded.  If you missed any of them you will now be able to watch then whenever it is convenient to you.  

Please contact us via the web site using the category "Webmaster" if you have any problems.

Buckets & Spades

Once again, the latest edition of Buckets & Spades is full of articles of interest.  I really enjoy reading about how other people have managed to research their families and there is such a variety.  Every family is different and requires different approaches which can offer hints to you for your own research.  Thank you, Sue for editing the journal – it is an asset to the Society.

Re-Visiting your Research

Just recently, I have been taking a look at my own family tree and have been surprised to find more available online than when I last reviewed it.  It really is worth investigating brickwalls again. One of the problems of brickwalls is that each time you look at them you are inclined to think along the same route.  This is where another person looking at it may see something different and suggest alternative records to use. The Research Forum is the place to ask for help or to help others.  By answering queries, I find that it often helps my research as well.

Queries from the Web Site

I also get queries sent directly to me via the web site.  A new member asked where the Spread Eagle Hotel was in Weston as her ancestor had been the landlord at one time.  I was particularly interested because I had found this Challenge in a Local Newspaper which mentioned the Spread Eagle in connection with a member of the HASE family.  The race took place and William HASE won!

Newspaper extract

In the newspaper was also a list of residents and addresses which gave the address of the Spread Eagle at 37 Anstice Terrace (now Alexandra Parade) 2 doors west of Orchard Place but later documents give Meadow Street as the address for the Spread Eagle.  However, The National Library of Scotland View map: OS town plan - Weston-super-Mare sheet IX.15.20 - Ordnance Survey Town Plans of England and Wales, 1840s-1890s (nls.uk)  has a town plan of Weston-super-Mare which shows that this is the same building with probably entrances in both roads.

When the Free Help Sessions were running at the Library we used to quite a few enquiries wanting information about Public Houses, Schools and the Cemetery in Weston where connections had been found with their families. The same questions are asked now via the web-site.  We do have information about the Cemetery available for members but not for Pubs and Schools - perhaps we should try to add these?


During the London Olympics of 1908 a team had been chosen to swim the 4 x 200 metre Relay Race but at the last moment one was unable to swim so a member of the Water Polo team, Paul RADMILOVIC of Weston, was put in instead.  After an eventful race they won Gold which was the last time a British team won that event until this year! 

Free Resources Online

It is often difficult to find out where you can obtain information about the location of parish records in other parts of the country.

  • I often use Dusty Docs  DustyDocs - English Parish Registers Online   which is free and you can choose the Country, County and Parish to locate suitable records.
  • Another site is the Online Genealogical Index   OGIndex    which features in the August edition of Family Tree Magazine.  Most of the results are free but it also includes those which can be accessed for free at Family History Centres (FHC).  
  • The Family History Federation also lists some free sites  Free Online Resources | Federation Resources | Family History Federation   - I have found some very interesting details of London court cases at the Old Bailey, especially useful if your family were in London at any time.  Witnesses as well as the accused are mentioned.   
  • For help with any problem with your research I find that Rootschat   RootsChat.Com - Index   which is free can be extremely useful.  The information comes from other individuals so must be treated with care but there are some very knowledgeable people on that site who respond very quickly to any question.  


August has always been a holiday month and in the past we have not had meetings in August because people are doing other activities rather that researching.  Perhaps they are visiting the haunts of their ancestors or in the fine weather search the unrecorded plans of churchyards hunting for graves.  Coming back refreshed and eager to continue (or start) researching their families.  This month will be different because the Society is planning an August Zoom meeting on Thursday August 19th at 7.00pm when member Anne Lockyer will be talking about Mercer v Puxton: The Folly of Litigation. which sounds fascinating. 

August 19th is also our Diamond Wedding Anniversary so I might miss the actual talk - there are times when the living family takes precedence over any other activity -  60 years is something to celebrate! - but hopefully now  I will be able to catch up via the recording afterwards.  


News TopicMonthly Update
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Post-COVID 19 Society Meetings Ballot
published by Paul Tracey on Sun, 25/07/2021 - 20:19

Your Committee is looking ahead to when we will resume holding physical Members’ Meetings. We have had a good response from members who live outside our local area/abroad to us holding Zoom meetings and feel it would be unfair to stop having these once we are able to resume physical meetings again.

Consequently, we would like to canvass your opinion on how the Society should move forward.

Please complete the attached ballot form and return to our Chair, Jenny Towey, as stated at the bottom of the form.

News TopicEvents
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New Milton Road Cemetery Burial Transcripts
published by Graham Payne on Sun, 18/07/2021 - 7:33

The Milton Road Cemetery burial register transcripts covering the period September 1998 - May 2016 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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Weston Worthy - No 39 Henry WILLIAMS
published by Pat Hase on Fri, 16/07/2021 - 19:36

No 39, Henry WILLIAMS, of our 40 Weston Worthies has just been uploaded. There are three gaps still to be filled.  No 16 John HARRIS 1775-1855.  I think those dates are correct but there are several men called John HARRIS and I am not convinced that I have the correct one yet.  The other two missing ones are No 19 which might be a man called JARRETT who has not been identified and the very last one, No 40, which has no name on the back but might be a John WEEKES who was landlord of the Railway Inn.  The whole set can be seen under Weston Worthies in the main menu and any comments would be welcome on the missing ones.  

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Weston Worthy - Francis H SYNGE
published by Pat Hase on Wed, 07/07/2021 - 18:04

Francis Hutchinson SYNGE was probably the most worthy of inclusion in this Series of Portraits.  He was the first Chairman of the Town Commissioners of Weston when it became a town and as a local Magistrate with many other roles he certainly warrants being remembered.  He is No 38 of the 40 so not many to do now but there are a couple which need filling in because there is some confusion about their identification.  All can be found under Weston Worthies on the main Menu.   

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July 2021 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Fri, 02/07/2021 - 10:38

It's July - How do you find time for family history when there is Tennis, Cricket and Football to keep up with?  Do any of our members have sports men or women in their ancestry?  What sports or leisure time activities did they enjoy?   Newspapers can give a glimpse of some of the events in which they took part. 

Some examples of sporting activities from my own family:

  • Young Henry HASE, a boy on board the Training Ship Formidable coxed a gig in a race as part of the Bristol and West of England Regatta in 1872 reported in the Western Daily Press – they came 4th (out of four!). 
  • His cousin, William HASE was a successful competitor running in several races in Weston – one a challenge over half a mile in 1878 watched by about 1,000 spectator which he won. 
  • My father and his brothers played football and cricket in local teams in Bristol reported in local Bristol newspapers.
  • My mother and her sister played hockey, seen here at both ends of the front row, my mother in the left and her sister on the right.  You are lucky if family photographs contain group photos such as this one.

 Hockey in Eastville Park

Society News

  • June Society Meeting - Scottish Family History  - The Society is extremely sorry for the problem which caused the late start of the last Zoom Meeting.  We know that some members gave up waiting and so missed a very interesting and helpful talk about Scottish family history research by Peter Towey.  The talk was recorded, and arrangements are being made to have it available for full members on our web site.  You will be informed when all the recorded talks have been added to the site.
  • July Society Meeting - Old Photographs - The next Society meeting is on Thursday 15th July at 7.00 p.m. when the talk will be Identifying & Dating Old Photographs” by Steve Gill.   Please make sure that your membership is up-to-date so that you receive notification about how to join this meeting.  Only full members receive emails with the necessary information to enable them to access what promises to be a valuable aid to our research.
  • Research Forum - It is difficult to know whether members have responded to individual requests for help because the questioner might have been contacted directly but it does look as if the Research Forum is not attracting many queries or responses from our membership.  It is no good for me to ask “Why is this?” because I’ve asked that question so many times before with very little reaction.  Have you all finished researching?  I would like to thank the handful of members who have responded to my queries – It is so useful to have a second opinion when you are unsure of your interpretation of the facts.
  • Transcriptions - Graham PAYNE is continuing to add to the Burials in Weston Cemetery and has nearly reached the year 2000. This is an incredibly useful part of our site.  After the Cemetery opened in 1856 churchyards in Weston were no longer available and although burials continued at Worle, Uphill and Kewstoke all burials whatever denomination took place at the Milton Road Cemetery.
  • Surname Interests - During June I had correspondence from Australia that someone had identified a link to a family he was researching by using the family tree which I had posted under HASE in the Surname Interests on our site. In case you had forgotten there is a facility for you to add a tree in PDF format under your SURNAME Interests.  This can be very helpful.  Have you posted a tree or Pedigree?  I have just posted a Pedigree for my husband’s great grandmother, Mary Ann HASE née NICHOLLS under Surname Interests of NICHOLLS and it has shown exactly where the gaps are in her tree.
  • Weston Worthies - I am now reaching the end of this project which I have found really interesting and by concentrating on one individual, who was not part of my family, it has taken me into areas of research which have required different approaches and given an insight into life in Weston in the mid 19th Century.  Have you tried writing a profile for a great grandfather or another individual in your tree?  I’m sure it would make a fascinating article for Bucket and Spades.
  • Facebook Group - This group does allow for immediate replies to queries and hopefully we can inspire new researchers. One discussion recently concerned how to get younger people involved and interested in family history. Another asked whether anyone had any evidence that Haile Selassie had presented cups at the Girls’ County School Swimming Gala in Weston during about 1936-38.  She had a family story that he had. Can any of our members help?
  • Publicity - We had an article about the Society published in a supplement to the Weston Mercury in June which prompts me to enquire whether any members have connections with any other publication which might be prepared to include information about us?  The first issue of a Free Magazine, called “Local Reach” was delivered to me during June which aims to offer free of charge publicity to local clubs and societies.  Do you know of others?

Other items of Interest

New Book by Sharon Poole

Sharon has just informed me that her latest book about Weston has been published. Called “Weston-super-Mare: Georgian Watering-Place, Regency Resort” it deals with Weston in the late 18th Century when it was a select watering place and is about the place and the people who lived and visited here. It is available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle or directly from her at £17.99.   Weston-super-Mare: Georgian Watering-Place, Regency Resort:  This is a time which is frequently overlooked when dealing with Weston – it is so often described as a “Victorian Town” as if it suddenly appeared with the railway.  Sharon has carefully researched the period and those of you who have heard her talk about Georgian Weston will know that it will be full of interesting and sometimes surprising facts.

Long Lost Family

I have mentioned this programme before but a new series is due to start on Monday 5th July at 9.00p.m.  Although designed as a moving entertainment programme it sometimes includes valuable hints for finding lost relatives and now-a-days DNA is extensively used.  The first programme features two people searching for their birth mothers and to quote from their own publicity "As Long Lost Family and its popularity demonstrate year on year, knowing your roots and being in touch with your family is incredibly important. And with many viewers having been separated from their loved ones during the pandemic, this series remains immensely poignant and heart-warming."

Was your Ancestor on the Stage?

As a sea-side town, we often get asked about people who may have performed here as entertainers.  STAR - Search for Theatrical AncestoRs  gives some valuable tips for researching and the Bristol University Theatre Archives on the same site has a searchable database for their large collection of theatrical archives which does include some 20th century events in Weston-super-Mare.

England's Immigrants 1330-1550

Depending on how far back you have got with your research and possibly aided by DNA this website offers useful information and a searchable database of immigrants to this country before 1550. Although this part of Somerset does not seem to get a mention I know that many of you are researching lines from other parts of the country and the breakdown of the  statistics gives a fresh look on immigration. The description of the sources used and their limitations is particularly important when accepting what this database has to offer. 

Using Newspapers to Research

Although the Weston Mercury and Gazette are available on the British Newspaper Archive the earliest Weston paper is 1845 and they have not yet covered anything past 1909/10.  However, do not restrict your search to the Weston Newspapers for news of Weston inhabitants.  The Somerset and Bristol newspapers also often carry items concerning Weston as do papers from further afield.  This is just one example of advertisements which can be found pre-1845 which give a view of life in Weston.Harse & Hill advert

20 Questions to ask your Grandparents

This was published last autumn but it struck me that if you haven't got any grandparents to interview, these might serve as a guideline to ask yourself and to include when writing up your family history.  They  help to describe the life you have had and are living. These 20 Family History Questions  may stimulate other memories to bring your history alive.  But what do you really remember or do you think you remember what you have been told you did as a child?   When elderly people are interviewed how accurate are their memories?   

Each month I ask for you to add comments to the Newsletter and to share additional resources which you have found useful but rarely does anybody respond.  Please let the committee know what sort of support you want from this society.  The next edition of Buckets and Spades will be issued soon - make sure that you have renewed your membership this year in order to receive it.

Wishing you all every success with your researching and as the Archives hopefully begin to reopen and visits are available again check whether you have to make an appointment before arriving at an Archive.

Share your successes and frustrations with us - you never know how that brickwall will tumble.

News TopicMonthly Update
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Forthcoming Events

Society Committee Meeting
Tuesday, 31st May, 2022 10:00 - 12:00
Physical Members' Meeting
Wednesday, 8th June, 2022 14:30 - 17:00
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Wednesday, 13th July, 2022 14:30 - 17:00
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Wednesday, 14th September, 2022 14:30 - 17:00
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Wednesday, 12th October, 2022 14:30 - 17:00
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