We start by congratulating her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on her Platinum Jubilee. The Platinum Jubilee Beacon at Uphill will be lit as part of the national chain at 9.45 pm on June 2nd preceded by a unique Bugle Call and the ringing of the old church bells. Just one of many local events to commemorate the occasion. More later.
During May we had the first of the Members’ Workshop Sessions which are planned for the 4th Wednesday of each month by Zoom. The Workshops start at 7.30 and the second one covering Marriages will be on Wed. 22nd June. The first was very successful, and thanks go to Peter de Dulin for organising this addition to our programme of activities. The opening session on Births and Baptisms is now available on video for members who could not attend on the night - you need to sign in first to see it.
Free Helps Sessions at Weston Library
It's good news that our Free Library Help Sessions are starting up again. Initially they will be once a month at Weston-super-Mare Library - on the first Saturday of each month - with the first session on the 2nd July, from 2.00pm to 3.30pm. You can bring your own laptop to work on if you prefer. Please bring whatever information you have about your family which will enable the volunteer to help you. Only four people can attend each session and this time you will have to book through the Library (the Society cannot take bookings). Contact the library on 01934 426010 or email Weston.firstname.lastname@example.org to make your booking.
The Weston Library is a great resource for family historians covering all the parishes in North Somerset. It can also give access to local to local newspapers on film; however, these are not indexed but if you are prepared to search the pages for it and not be side-tracked by all the interesting articles in the neighbouring columns it can be a rewarding experience! The Electoral Rolls and Street Directories are also a goldmine of information as are the number of maps available. Files of information about local people and places associated with the area are anther rich source. Don't forget Brian Austin's collection of Family Trees.
Free Web sites
I apologise that the list of free Web Sites on our home page is in need of correction. The North Somerset Libraries no longer give access online to some of the most useful sites like the Times Digital Archive, The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and others which can still be accessed if you have a Bristol Library Card! I will try to amend that list as soon as possible. Please check with your local library to see whether you have access to these as it seems to vary across the country.
Addition to Ancestry Church Records
- The Bristol C of E Marriages on Ancestry now covers 1754-1937 with images
- The Bristol C of E Baptisms on Ancestry now covers 1813-1921 with images
- East and West Sussex C of E Baptisms, Marriages and Burials from 1538 – 1920 (Baptisms) - 1936 (marriages) – 1995 (burials)
The 1950 Census of America
The 1950 Census of America was released during May. To search it go to https://1950census.archives.gov/search/ There is a useful series of videos on Youtube about how to use it to your advantage. More details about these can be seen here
Who do you think you are?
The web site has been very quiet – just one research query in the last 3 months – perhaps you may get inspiration from the current series of Who Do You Think You Are. The first one about Sue Perkins was really interesting especially dealing with the Isle of Mann and the Knockaloe Internment Centre during WW1 The following programmes are scheduled:
- Richard Osman - 9 June, 9pm BBC1
- Matt Lucas - 16 June, 9pm BBC1
- Anna Maxwell Martin - 23 June, 9pm BBC1
- Ralf Little - 30 June, 9pm BBC1
WDYTYA is still one of the best programmes for gaining tips for future research, but remember how many researchers they use and how many people have been discounted as not being interesting enough! Several TV programmes give a nod towards family history but many of them are designed as entertainment rather than giving any tips for research. The best of the DNA programmes is probably “DNA Family Secrets” with the brilliant, Professor Turi King, who explains the system rather than just giving the answers.
The experience of tracing and finding blood relations through DNA in these instances is a deeply emotional one and there needs to be a support network set up for both sides to see that mental health issues are addressed.
Irish Records Recovered
On June 27th a new free resource will become available for those of you who have Irish ancestry and who thought all records were destroyed in June 1922. More information can be seen on this short video called "Beyond 2022" This is an encouraging and inspiring project which has gathered together evidence from a multitude of sources to enhance the resulting digital archive.
Basic Research Caveats
- Not every record is online - one of the most valuable records - Overseers' Accounts - are difficult to transcribe or index but have fascinating information.
- Original records may have errors - age, name etc.
- You will make mistakes - we all do!
- Handed-down family stories may not be accurate but may contain a grain of truth.
- You will never finish!
And now, that Jubilee! We have Bank Holidays on Thursday and Friday the 2nd and 3rd June giving us a 4-day Holiday which we all hope that you will enjoying celebrating the 70-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II. If you are meeting up with family during this time, why not take the opportunity to record any memories. In the last newsletter I shared some memories of Coronation Day in 1953 in the hope that some of you might have added your own but perhaps you are all too young, as nothing materialised.
This time I’m looking at the Silver Jubilee in 1977. I recently found some photographs of that time in Weston. There were street parties – and a visit from the Queen. None of my photos actually show the Queen! – just the scouts and guides displaying on the Beach Lawns and the crowds lining the route.
Street Parties were put on for the residents of a number of roads – This is a poor photograph of the cake for a party near me - but it does name the streets involved:
Called the Selbourne Road Street Party (half of which was closed for the event) it included Addiscombe Road, Beaumont Close, Bedford Road, Dumfries Place, Southville Road, Stanhope Road, Totterdown Road, and Whitting Road. Strangely the only other road on the east side of Devonshire Road, Brownlow Road, is not mentioned - perhaps there were no children from there taking part. The food was a buffet along one side of the road and provision was made for other games for the children.
Guitar entertainment was provided by the late and talented Bob Allam from Uphill. I would take a small bet that one of the items he sang would have been a rendition of the highly appropriate Ralph Mctell’s “Streets of London”.
Bob taught Guitar at an Evening Class for what was then the Extra Mural Department of Weston College and the “Streets of London” could often be heard pervading the building.
There was also a fancy-dress parade for the children. If this “King for a Day” bears any resemblance to me, it must be due to DNA!
If you have any memories of the Silver, Golden or Diamond Jubilees, please add a comment.
Our Ancestors would have celebrated Queen Victoria’s various Jubilees. In 1897 her Diamond Jubilee was marked in Weston by a parade through the town, a tea for Children, a meat dinner for the elderly poor and a public collection to set up a free library. The resulting Grade II listed building was opened in 1900 in the Boulevard designed by Hans Fowler Price but sadly was sold when the library moved into the Town Hall.
The newspapers were full of plans for how each of the surrounding villages would mark the occasion but there was also this historical note about the Golden Jubilee of George III in 1809. It seems that history does repeat itself! Read more details here
I assume that Jubilee Road in Weston-super-Mare was named to honour the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1887. How many of our members or FB members have found ancestors living there? The 1891 census shows 73 households in Jubilee Road. That 73 does not mean that there were 73 houses because in several cases two families (households) were living in the same house. Each house had a name rather than a number. We have had several new members of the Facebook Group who have joined because they are researching the house in which they live. It is fascinating to look at the history of your house or the land on which it was built. Know Your Place can often provide an insight into the previous use of the land or building, sometimes you may find photographs in the Community Layer. County Archives are useful for planning permission and changes of use of buildings. The plans may list the original owner or architect and Censuses and Street Directories give more information.
Looking forward to August we are planning to take a stand at the Hutton Festival - "Taste of Somerset" which will take place on Wednesday 31st August in St Mary's Field in Hutton. More details to follow.
Next Members' Meeting
Our next Members' Meeting will take place at 2.30pm -5.00pm at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall, Baytree Road on Wednesday June 8th and visitors are welcome. At this meeting the remainder of our stock of Library Books will be offered for sale. If you are interested in any but are not attending please contact our Secretary, Brian Airey. The doors open at 2.30pm and the Speaker, Don Bishop, will start at 3.00pm. The topic will be the West Somerset Railway - his web site has a splendid collection of photographs of the rolling stock. For those members who are unable to attend, the talk will be recorded and made available later on our web site for viewing at your convenience.
Enjoy the coming celebrations but when researching don't forget to ask for help if you need it, either on our Research Forum on the Web site or by posting your query on the Facebook Group. Comment and additions to the Newsletter welcome.