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Anniversary Dinner
published by Peter de Dulin on Sun, 02/07/2023 - 16:43

WSMFHS 40th Anniversary Meal at The Grand Atlantic Hotel

Monday, 18 September 2023 – 7.30 pm


Please find below the menu for our Anniversary Meal. The cost will be £25.95 per person. Please make your choices and return the form and payment.


You can do this:


1.    In Cash to the Vice-chairman

2.    By Cheque payable to ‘Weston-Super-Mare & District Family History Society’


For either of the above, send payment with your completed form to:

Mr P de Dulin, 12 Hazeldene Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 2XL


3.    By Online Banking to ‘Weston-Super-Mare & District Family History Soc.’ (Capital S in Super). Sort code: 40-46-18 and Account No: 51383493

Reference: Your surname and AD (for anniversary dinner)


Email completed form to: anniversarydinner@dedulin.co.uk














WSMFHS 40th Anniversary Meal at The Grand Atlantic Hotel

Monday, 18 September 2023 – 7.30 pm



Mushroom & Tarragon Soup 129kcals

served with a bread roll and butter

Smoked Salmon Crostini 167kcals

crispy baked sourdough and smoked salmon with

horseradish mayonnaise and mixed leaf salad

Brussels Pâté 245kcals

with toasted croûte, mixed leaf and sweet pickle

Breaded Brie Wedges 295kcals

served with cranberry sauce and mixed leaf salad


Steak & Kidney Pie 620kcals

made with suet pastry with chive mash and seasonal vegetables, topped with red wine gravy

Sweet & Sour Chicken 425kcals

tender battered chicken in a sweet and sour sauce on a bed of steamed rice

Salmon & Dill Fishcake 282kcals

served with garden salad and new potatoes

Vegetable Curry served with steamed rice and warm naan bread


Warm Apple Pie 514kcals

served with warm custard

Chocolate & Cherry Cheesecake 410kcals

with a raspberry coulis

Fresh Fruit Salad 192kcals

topped with ice cream

Duo of Ice Cream 214kcals

two scoops of your choice from our range

The cost will be £25.95 per person. Payment can be made in Cash, by Cheque or by Online Banking to: ‘Weston-Super-Mare & District Family History Soc.’ (Capital S in Super)

Sort Code: 40-46-18 and Account No: 51383493

Ref: Your surname and AD (for anniversary dinner)


Please complete your choices and return this form to Mr P de Dulin.















Apple Pie


Fruit Salad

Ice Cream









































News TopicEvents
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Anniversary Dinner
published by Peter de Dulin on Sun, 02/07/2023 - 16:41

Bookings will soon open for our anniversary meal at the Grand Atlantic Hotel on September 18th at 7 for 7:30.

Full details are in Buckets and Spades and also on the website.

The easiest (and cheapest for the Society)  option is to complete the form online and email it to anniversarydinner@dedulin.co.uk and transfer the money via online banking. (Option 3)

News TopicEvents
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July 2023 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Sun, 02/07/2023 - 15:48

We are halfway through 2023 and the web site and the facebook group has been rather quiet so I’m hoping that you are all enjoying the weather and perhaps planning to visit those places frequented by your ancestors.  If you need help in finding where to go you could do no better that use Know Your Place  which is tremendously helpful in providing maps and photographs of places of interest. To read more about places on these maps their facebook group has some fascinating and informative postings from Cat Lodge 

Free Help Session

It is too late to remind you of the July Free Help Session at the Library which was on Saturday, 1st July but the next one will be Saturday 5th August from 2,00 p.m. The Library is now offering FindmyPast as well as Ancestry to assist your research.

Missing email address

I recently received an email via our website but it reached me without an email address.  The sender lives in Australia and I would really like to contact her. Her name is Sally SUTHERLAND nee TOY and she is descended from Rebecca Hester Barnard HASE who went to Australia in 1881. Several years ago another descendant of Rebecca’s visited us and we took her over to Axbridge to see the Workhouse where Rebecca had spent some time.  If anyone has any ideas about how I can find Sally I would be delighted.

Next Society Meeting

On Wednesday, 12th July at our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall from 2.30 p.m. member Honey Langcaster-James will be speaking about “Meet my Ancestors” who she describes as early founders of Weston-super-Mare.  Honey has produced a web site Meet My Ancestor in which she reports her research into her family which includes Richard FRY, one of the Weston Worthies.  One of our longest serving members, Anne Woolforth, who carries the Membership Number 49, is the speaker’s cousin and is hoping to come to the meeting from her home in Sussex.

Pamela Mary VOWLES 1929-2023

I was very sorry to hear of the death of Pamela VOWLES who had been a member of our Society for some time. Pam was brought up in Bristol but after her marriage lived in Weston. Until Covid she had regularly attended our meetings but had recently moved to Exeter to be nearer one of her daughters, however, she continued to attend zoom meetings.  We extend our sympathy to her family.

Getting Side-tracked

This week I also got sidetracked by the Ashes!   Although Ben DUCKETT has been associated with first class cricket for many years, I began to wonder whether he had any connections with the DUCKETTs of Somerset.  We have DUCKETTs in our family. Using mainly the free site FREEBMD I tracked his family back to the Liverpool area in the early 19th century and can see no immediate connection.  In fact, he seems to come from a different strata of society than the Wedmore DUCKETTs!


I’ve had a couple of enquiries about Divorce and how to find out about them. 

There are reports of divorces available in the National Archives – use their Discovery Search facility.

I have come across some divorces in our family and have found that newspapers are a resource worth researching.  Frederick Charles MARSHALL (known as Charlie) was an uncle of my husband and had married Doris Jane Maria CRIDDLE in 1935 in the Bridgwater District.  

The family story goes that while Charlie was away serving in WW2 that Doris had several men friends culminating in this Newspaper entry:

As this was held in Bristol details can be found in the Bristol Archives

Doris married again – not to Thomas BRADLEY – but to a William J DAVEY in 1953. Uncle Charlie married  Margery SLOCOMBE in Wells in 1952 and they went to live in Shepton Mallet in Victoria Grove.  Sadly, Charlie died suddenly in a London Hospital in November 1957. Now this is the surprising bit.  Late in 1958 I was sent to Shepton Mallett on Teaching Practice and had digs in Victoria Grove.  My landlady introduced me to her friend Margery who she said had been widowed a year ago.  How was I to know then that I was to meet and marry her late husband’s nephew!

New (and Old) Resources Online

  • Each Friday FindmyPast publishes its latest resources – take a look at  to see what has been added to their site and don’t forget that this is now available in Weston Library. You do need to book to use it . For more details see the announcement by the Library   
  • Ancestry  lists its latest acquisitions and updated records. It may be worth revisiting some areas to find new records.
  • The National Archives with its 155 Guides to Family History Research gives you a marvellous opportunity to familiarise yourself with the background to the records which you are using. 
  • The National Archives still has its free download of digital records such as PCC Wills and Medal Cards etc..  Yes, they can also be obtained through other subscription sources but they are free when obtained from here.  Go to The National Archives Discovery site register or sign in, search in the normal way and then click on “Available for download only”. When you find the document you require click on it and follow the instructions. I searched for “Weston-super-Mare” and the first document was this photograph.  It’s worth seeing what is available.

Wishing you all a happy and fruitful July with your research and don’t forget that the Research Forum and the Facebook Group are available to you to ask for help.  Any comments and advice you can offer to other members will be very welcome.         

News TopicMonthly Update
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June 2023 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Wed, 31/05/2023 - 23:51

Looking back on May, we had Bank Holidays Galore, a Coronation, Community activities and of course our own Society’s celebration of 40 years of Family History Research in Weston. The Open Day on Sat May 20th was an exciting and successful event.  Graced by the presence of the Weston Town Mayor, Councillor Ciaran Cronnelly who with his delightful Mayoress, his wife, Catherine, exhibited great interest, not only in our society, but also in all the other groups which were represented there.

It was interesting to note the extent of the local history research undertaken by the Kewstoke, Worle and Wick St Lawrence Groups and to see what secondary resources they hold.   The Friends of the Mendip Hospital, and the Weston Clevedon & Portishead Railway all had fascinating information about their particular Interests, giving an insight into how people lived locally.  Know Your Place with its array of available maps and how to access them, the Somerset Archives and Weston Library gave examples of how to further your research as did the Church of the Latter Day Saints in Ellenborough Road North. The Family History Group of the Weston U3A, the Somerset & Dorset FHS, the Bristol & Avon FHS, the Anglo-German FHS and our own Stand showed how belonging to societies can broaden your  knowledge.  DNA help was offered  along with a lucrative Book Stall.  And the refreshments were great!

With thanks to Brian Airey for the photograph.  I understand that a full report with more photos will be in the next edition of Buckets and Spades

It was the first time that I had attended a meeting since Lockdown and my cancer diagnosis, and it was marvellous to be greeted so warmly by so many people.  Thank you all. 

Sadly, - I don’t think I picked it up there – but this week I have been suffering from a very heavy cold and I’m afraid that I am unable to complete this newsletter as I had hoped.  Perhaps other committee members will add reminders for all the forthcoming events which I am omitting. The bit about the Workhouse I had already prepared.

Free Help Session at the Library

Don’t forget that next Sat June 3rd will be a free Help Session at the Library from 2.00 – 3.30p.m.

Axbridge Union Workhouse

I have been trying to add the 1921 census to our transcriptions of Axbridge Union Workhouse.  This census distinguishes between inmates and patients making it possible to see whether they were in the Workhouse Infirmary.  Initially I was surprised at the lack of children included in that census until I realised that a Children’s home had been set up in Cheddar in about 1916 where 21 school children aged between 5 and 14 were housed.

 From Google Maps

Children’s Home entries:      Perhaps some of you are researching these surnames?

  •        There were five children with the surname PYMN, four girls and a boy – Winifred, Rose, Elizabeth, Catherine Lucy and George – it says that both their parents are alive – so why were they there?  Their mother’s  maiden name was LAVER and  an elder brother William John PYMN had enlisted into the RAF in 1919. Their father was John William PYMN.
  •        There were four SHEPSTONE children – Amy aged 6, Olive aged 7, Mary aged 9 and Daisy aged 10. It says that their mother had died. Their birthplace was given as Winscombe.
  •        There were five BAKER children from Highbridge – Minnie, aged 13, Mabel, aged 11, Ivy, aged 10, Lucy aged 9 and Janes, aged 8.  Their mother was dead.

Other children listed were

  •        George TOMS, aged 12 from Compton Bishop, mother dead
  •        Edward DEAN, aged 8 from Weare or Meare
  •        Ernest DAVY, aged 13 from Weston-s-Mare
  •        Raymond SALVIDGE, aged 7 from Burnham on Sea
  •        Elsie MILLS, aged 7, from Weston-s-Mare
  •        Hilda GAMLIN, aged 5 not known birthplace
  •        Gilbert Leslie SPRAGUE, aged 11, not known birthplace


     This last one was surprising because his name rang a  bell and I find that he was actually born in Axbridge Workhouse an the 28th May 1910, the s/o Emma SPRAGUE. So why was his birthplace not known to the Workhouse Authorities?  With Emma and his elder sister he was discharged from the Workhouse on the 9th August 1910 but by the time of the 1911 census he was boarding with a nurse, Mary Jane COX in Mark. No sign of Emma nor his sister.     

     There's a lot more research which could be done on these children - What happened next to them?  By this time younger children were often boarded out and a Cottage Home for the Children was favoured to remove them from the Workhouse atmosphere. 

Anyone got a cure for the common cold which might have been used in Weston in the mid-19th Century?




News TopicMonthly Update
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May 2023 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Mon, 01/05/2023 - 12:20

A Coronation, several Bank Holidays and a 40th Anniversary will make May a special month for us all.

First of all – today we have May Day!    Up at dawn to wash in the dew and then dance merrily around a May Pole!  Have you chosen your May King or Queen? This was an important annual event for our Ancestors to welcome the new season and to ensure the fertility of the land.  In the late 19th century and during the 20th century May the 1st also became known as Labour Day to celebrate and support the Workers of the World.

Free Help Session

The Coronation falls on the first Saturday of May and so we will not be having our free help session at the library that day but there are several events during May which should be able to help you with your research.

Next Society Group Meeting

During May we have a Society meeting on Wednesday the 10th May at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall at 2.30 p.m. when the Speaker will be Ann Ballard who will be talking about "Hidden Gems: an heraldic & genealogical journey"  Ann is a highly qualified family historian: she has a Higher Certificate, a Genealogy Diploma and a licentiateship in Heraldry & Genealogy.  Her family history research specialises in Wiltshire and Somerset and she has a particular interest in Heraldry.  Ann is going to tell us about fascinating tit-bits she has unearthed along her family history journey.

40th Anniversary Open Day

Our own celebration in May will take place on Saturday May 20th and everyone is welcome at our free event for Family and Local History where you can visit stands run by groups with the expertise and enthusiasm to assist you with your research or just to share their knowledge of some aspect of the locality or research. Refreshments will be available. That day you will be able to meet many people who share your interests as apart from our own stand these groups will be participating. . You may want to familiarise yourselves with these groups before attending so I have included their web sites. The society would welcome any books to be included on the Secondhand Book stall.

Anglo-German Family History Society          


Bristol & Avon Family History Society


Church of Latter Day Saints – FamilySearch


DNA  Advice 

Friends of Birnbeck Pier


Friends of Mendip Hospital Cemetery


Guild of One Name Studies 


Kewstoke Local History Group


 Know Your Place 


Second Hand Book Stall

Somerset & Dorset Family History Society


U3A Family History Group


North Somerset Studies Library - Weston-super-Mare


Weston Clevedon & Portishead Railway Group


Wick St Lawrence Local History            

Worle History Society


Zoom Workshop

On Wednesday 24th May at 7.30 p. m. we will have a Zoom Workshop which will be an "Introduction and Update to Family Tree Maker"  by Mark Olson, the Family Tree Maker Genealogy Community Ambassador.  Many of us use Family Tree Maker and this will allow us to become more familiar with how to use it most efficiently and get the most from it.  Instructions for joining this Zoom meeting will be sent to all full members before the meeting.

Asking for Help

The Facebook Group and the Research Forum on our Web site are always available for you to post queries.  It surprises me how few queries we receive but hope that you are all happy with your research.  It really doesn’t matter how simple you think your questions are – believe me, we all get stuck somewhere.

Catching up with past events

During April we have had two Workshops – on “Breaking Down Brickwalls” and the “Use of FamilySearch” which should both now be available for all members to watch – find them under “Videos” once you have logged in to our web site.  The talk given to the Society on Nursery Rhymes is also available at the same place. 


  • What are your experiences in breaking down brick walls? 
  • Did you ask anyone for help? 
  • If so – Who?
  • What helped you most? 

The most recent Newsletter from LostCousins includes a thought provoking and helpful article about the availability of parish registers which you can read here http://www.FamilyHistory.News

Matching Signatures

I’m not an expert in handwriting but in my own research I have been looking at signatures. This is from the wedding of my ancestors Robert LONG and Hester PRIGG at Bitton in May 1767

And the following were the witnesses at a marriage between a Thomas BRYANT and Mary BRIGHT at Bitton in November 1767.


Do you think that this witness is the same  Robert LONG – as my 4 x great grandfather - John WRIGHT signed many marriages but sadly, I can find no more signatures of Robert LONG in the marriage registers and no connection with the names BRYANT nor BRIGHT.  However, his signature may occur on other documents in the Bristol Archives, especially the Overseers’ Accounts. 

In which County did your ancestor live?

Bitton is one of those parishes which over the time seems to change its County.  The parish comes under the Bishop of Bristol and so its parish registers are in Bristol but it is situated geographically in the County of Gloucestershire.  The Gloucestershire Archives contain  documents relating to education in Bitton, and other local history items referring to Bitton. Under the New Poor Law of 1834, Bitton was included in the Poor Law Union of Keynsham in Somerset and so Bitton or Oldland residents might be found in the Workhouse Records in the Somerset Archives.  This has happened elsewhere in the country, so it is useful to check whether county boundaries have been changed or administrative processes have ensured that documents are in a different Archive. 

  • Did your ancestor know where or when they were born?
  • Can you rely on information in a census?

Getting Side-tracked

In researching my husband’s family history, I have yet to discover a direct ancestor of his who was not born in Somerset. It is probably not surprising that one of the songs which he enjoyed singing with the Weston Light Orchestra was Fred Weatherly’s “Up from Somerset” (where the cider apples grow!).  Fred Weatherly was also Somerset-born, in Portishead, is still remembered for the words of Danny Boy, other early 20th century songs and incidentally, he was married at St Martin’s Church in Worle.

New releases by FindmyPast

Take a look at what was released last Friday – you don’t need to have a subscription to read their Blogs and they often give suggestions for further research.  Although I’m not sure about this statement which they give to help you understand the 1873 Owners of Land -

“There are a few acronyms pertaining to land size used in these records - so bear these in mind when exploring each entry. 'A' is an acre, 'R' is a rood, and 'P' is a square pool.

When I was at school, I seem to remember that an ‘A’ was an acre which was equal to 4 Roods ‘R’ and a Rood equalled 40 Perches ‘P’.   Can anyone explain the square pool?

Example of an entry:  Owners of over one acre of Land in Somerset in 1873

Mrs William WALL of Wedmore could be Mary WALL in this census transcription of 1871, although the acreage does not tally.

1871 Census of Crickham, Wedmore, Somerset

First name

Last name


Marital status


Birth year


Birth place







Farmer of 100 acres employing 3 men








Farmer’s son








Farmer’s son








Farmer’s Daug








Farm Serv indoor

Somerset, England

 Transferable Research Skills

It’s great how family history research techniques allow you to research people and places other than your family and their homes.  I once spent a very happy hour or two in Worcester Archives getting the details of the original registration of 1923 for a car which we owned at that time enabling us to eventually restore its first number.  It turned out that it had been owned by a man who was later to become the Deputy Lieutenant of Warwickshire.  We managed to trace some descendants who gave us the name of the original Chauffeur who was still alive. We took the car to visit him and gave him a ride in it which seemed to delight him, bringing back many memories.  I don’t think he had ridden in the passenger seat before!

Surname Variants

The HASE family appears to have come from the Enmore area near Bridgwater and members are entered with many surname variants in local records such as HAST, HAISE, ACE, HARSE or HASTE etc.   It was only the branch which came to Weston-super-Mare, via Cross in Compton Bishop which became HASE - So disappointingly, that rules out Henry HASE who was the Chief Cashier of the Bank of England from 1807 to 1829 from being related.  

When I started to research this name I was told by a family member that William HASE, the blacksmith at Cross was really Wilhelm Henri HASE of noble German descent. As HASE is relatively common in Germany as a surname I gained help from the AngloGerman FHS (see their stand at our 40th Celebration on My 20th) However, more local research seems to have disproved this theory.

The case notes for a John HASE who was a patient in the Mendip Hospital are entered under HARSE but the Friends of the Mendip Hospital Cemetery found his burial in their Cemetery Records and even photographed the area where he was buried. The Friends will be present at our Open Day on May 20th.

Be aware of differing spellings of the surname you are looking for.  It may be that the name has been written “as heard” and as so many people were unable to read their surname when they made a mark, the spelling was not able to be checked. There are examples of the legitimate surname of ACOCK being entered as HAYCOCK because the person who heard it assumed that the “H” was being dropped. Of course, this name is then indexed under “H” which makes it more difficult to find.

New Releases from Ancestry

The latest additions to Ancestry can be seen at https://www.ancestry.co.uk/cs/recent-collections Your missing piece might just have been included so it's always worth looking again.

This is just a few which include an update to the Somerset Records.

Somerset Heritage Centre

For your information - The Somerset Heritage Centre will be closed to the public from Tuesday 2 May for essential building work & will reopen on Tuesday 23 May. Enquiries will still be answered during this period.

On the 1st June the North Somerset Archivist will visit the Weston-super-Mare Library where you can have to opportunity to discuss your research and to consult documents brought to Weston which you have ordered.  Look at the Somerset Archives Catalogue – to identify what you would like to see.  Sessions are open from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm, and from 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm.  For more information and to discuss your requirements contact somersetarchives@swheritage.org.uk

The Coronation

Great Aunt Maud

As I have mentioned before, I remember with warmth the last Coronation and a large family gathering to watch proceedings on a 12 inch TV - Great Aunt Maud, a much loved member of the family, who went on to live to be 100 with all her faculties, welcomed us all into her home.  To be honest I can't remember much about the Coronation itself just the family gathering and the endless sandwiches and glasses of lemonade! 

Make the most of the time during the next week to enjoy the Coronation and perhaps make time to record your thoughts about the occasion.  Looking back to the last Coronation, the world was a very different place and the way we lived was different too.  Your descendants may find your thoughts and feelings interesting.

News TopicMonthly Update
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Nailsea Christ Church Monumental Inscriptions.
published by Graham Payne on Sun, 23/04/2023 - 9:04

The Nailsea Christ Church monumental inscriptions 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
<- View calendar for more

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