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June 2019 Update
published by Pat Hase on Sat, 01/06/2019 - 2:01

It’s the 1st of June and “Summer is a coming in” or so says one of the oldest English songs.  What are we going to do during the Summer?  Family History often takes a back seat during the summer when other attractions hold sway.  If you are mobile, why not make use of the fine weather to visit some of the places which your family knew in the past.  It’s strange how often when visiting a place where your ancestors lived you have a feeling of familiarity with the area.  Walk where they walked, visit places that they knew and learn the history of the area where they lived.  It all helps to understand their lives. 

Holiday Photographs

Do you have any photographs of parents or grandparents on their summer holiday?

This is my mother and her sister on holiday in (I think) Bournemouth in about 1923, with my grandparents.  I really do not know why my mother was wearing dark stockings on the beach!

Visit an Archive

Why not also arrange to visit an Archive to find out more about your family – not everything is online!  You might look at Overseers' Accounts, Wills or perhaps even Bastardy Accounts if they have them.  These may name the putative fathers of illegitimate children.

Overseers’ Accounts

I recommend you look at the Overseers’ Accounts for the parish in which your family lived.  They are only rarely transcribed but give such an interesting insight into the lives of ancestors.  They will tell you what taxes they paid to support the poor and if poor themselves what help they received. For example, there is an outline of the Overseers’ Accounts for Shropshire which explains why they are so difficult to transcribe.

Brian Austin has transcribed the Overseers’ Accounts for St John the Baptist of Weston-super-Mare which is available on the shelves in Weston Library in book form and is arranged in alphabetical order which makes them easier to consult than the actual Accounts

Somerset Wills

Many of the Somerset Wills were lost during the blitz but some can be found with other documents like deeds of property.  Weston Library has a copy of a book by Sir Mervyn Medlycott of an index to Printed and Manuscript Copies of Somerset Wills, which he compiled in 1993.   Check also with the Somerset Heritage Centre Catalogue online to see what else is available. Search with your ancestor’s name.  You can also search the Discovery database on The National Archives for documents that may be lodged in other local repositories.

Visit of North Somerset Archivist to Weston Library

A reminder that the next visit is on Thursday the 6th of June and you have just about time to order any documents you wish to see. More details can be seen here.

Free Online Resources

The Family History Federation, of which our Society is a member offers this section on Free Online Resources   It’s worth taking a look at it.

How to Prove your Family Tree Connections

There is nothing more frustrating than finding information online – perhaps in a submitted family tree which seems to be your family only to discover that there are errors in it.  Worse still if you accept it and do not realise that there are errors!  This seems to be happening more often now with the increase of DNA inspired research. This article will give you some ideas about how to ensure that your own family trees are error free by using the Genealogical Proof Standard.  If you spot a mistake in a submitted family tree you can always try to explain to the owner why you think there is an error.  You may find that you don’t get a reply or that they insist that they are correct, and it is you who are wrong, but others may thank you for drawing attention to it. 

Exhibitions and Shows

  • The Genealogy Show  The Genealogy Show is taking place at the NEC, Birmingham on June 7th and 8th – if any of our members are attending please will you let us know of any particularly interesting and useful stands
  • The Family History Show – South West  Nearer to Weston and perhaps nearer home to some of you The Family History Show – South West will take place on Saturday 6th July at UWE Exhibition and  Conference Centre, Bristol.  We are not having a stand there but we hope that our members may take to opportunity to attend to experience what these shows have to offer.
  • Kewstoke Local History Exhibition  There will be an exhibition in Kewstoke Village Hall from the 11th to the 14th July organised by the Kewstoke Local History Group at which our Society will have a Help Desk run by Graham Payne and others.  We look forward to meeting many of our members there.

Free Help Sessions

Our Volunteers in the Library are there each Saturday from 2.00 p.m. until 3.30 p. m. to help anyone – members or not – with their family or local history research.  Even if you are not researching local families do come into the library to see what is available to interest you or to discuss your research with others. 

Research Forum

This has been very quiet again during May – Only 4 queries and 2 of them were from me!   It would be helpful if replies to any queries could be sent to the website unless they contain information about living people because that way others can benefit from the suggestions made.  Having said that, no one answered my queries either directly to me or to the web site.  If our members really do not have any research queries perhaps they might consider giving some examples of recent successful research which might assist others. 

Next Society meeting – June 25th

Books with a genealogical theme are riding high in the charts these days and I for one find them exciting reading.  We are lucky to have in Weston a published author who is going to talk to the Society at our next meeting about her experiences in writing her latest book.  We look forward to hearing Lois Sparshott again.

Finishing on a high this month – I hope very much to resume attending meetings very soon as I have successfully completed the course of chemotherapy.  I am so grateful for all the messages of support which I have received and am looking forward to seeing you all again.

News TopicMonthly Update
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Berrow St Mary's New Churchyard Monumental Inscriptions
published by Graham Payne on Fri, 10/05/2019 - 10:04

The Berrow St Mary's new churchyard 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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May 2019 Update
published by Pat Hase on Wed, 01/05/2019 - 10:39

It's May 1st - How many of you have danced around a Maypole?  Did your ancestors?  May Day will be celebrated here on Monday 6th May with many traditional events.  The crowning of May Queens or Princesses and Morris Dancing.

Family History Federation

  • Following its re-branding from the Federation of Family History Societies the Family History Federation has published its Really Useful Leaflet 2019 which includes a list of useful Web sites many of which are free to use but where payment is involved the “£” sign is used to show this.
  • Our Members can also read the Latest Federation Newsletter on our web site – just click on FHS Newsletters in the left hand column on our home page

Helpful Hints

  • About a year ago Findmypast published a Blog covering 6 Common Genealogy Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them).  In case you missed them I've included a link to them because we all make mistakes!
  • If you are researching Wedmore families you might find this interesting – Dr John Westover  of Portch House Wedmore kept a Journal of information about the many patients he dealt with between 1686 and 1700.   It includes the cost and the cures he offered and makes fascinating reading. 
  • The Genealogist has released some new Records which they have called Little Dorrit, Dickens and Dad’s Debts - They are new Criminal records reveal the dark side of debt in the past
  • Ancestry has a new collection of historical postcards from the United Kingdom & Ireland 1893-1963.  There are several from Weston-super-Mare and district.
  • Winscombe has always been a large parish in this part of Somerset and the Winscombe and Sandford Parish Council Web site offers a historical aspect to aid in your understanding of the background.  It includes a mention of a book which can be read online by Francis Knight called "In the West Country". It covers a wide area with chapters on Winscombe, Woodspring Priory highlighting the rural nature of the landscape. 
  • I have been very impressed with the free web site ColouriseSG which takes black and white photographs and gently tints them.  They do not claim that the colours will be the same as the original subject but it is very good on skin colour and natural background and really brings old photos to life.  Do try it. 

 

 Society News

  • A reminder that I am collecting information about marriages which took place at Wadham Street Baptist Chapel.  Please let me have details of any which you have found during your own family history research.
  • The Free Help Sessions at the Library were quieter over the Easter Break but they will be available every Saturday afternoon between 2.00 p.m. and 3.30 p.m. All you have to do is to come in to Weston Library - in the Town Hall - and just bring your query with any information you have already found.
  • If you can't make the library then why not use the Research Forum?  That also has seen less use recently but we do have some extremely knowledgeable members who wold be delighted to share their experiences with you - you only have to ask.
  • The next Monthly meeting on Tuesday May 28th is presented by Clive Burlton who has written and helped to present a documentary about Bristol's role in the WW1.  Clive lives locally and will cover aspects of the Great War and the effect it had on Bristol and how Bristol reacted to the challenges. 
  • The ALHA Newsletters, which can be accessed from our web site, (see link in left hand column of home page) give more information about local events which may interest you.
  • If I have omitted any events and information please add them as a comment to this Update.

 

 

 

News TopicMonthly Update
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April 2019 Update
published by Pat Hase on Mon, 01/04/2019 - 11:39

I’m feeling optimistic.  The clocks have gone forward, there is evidence that Spring is well advanced, we have celebrated Mothering Sunday with Simnel Cake and are now looking forward to Easter. Today, the seasons do not affect our lives in the same way as they did our ancestors when they were dependent on them for their crops and livelihood but there is a certain uplift to the spirit at this time of year.  Perhaps I’m going to break down some of my brick-walls this year or am I being just an April Fool?

Breaking Down Brickwalls

On Findmypast there is an item entitled  20 Things to do when you are stumped which I have found helpful.  It includes various links to other helpful articles.  No 16 on this list is

16. Write a Family Sketch

Begin writing a family sketch, focusing on the family that has you stumped. Include each detail you have uncovered about the family as you write, and look for any patterns or potential contradictions in your data. Documenting each name, date, and relationship as you write helps to ensure your research is accurate and can often identify areas that could be researched further.

If I have a family history problem to solve; I try to explain the situation to another person – it could be as a Research Query on our Web Site – but by the time I have written down all the facts the solution often identifies itself. 

The Web Site & Research Queries

  • This month there have been just 7 queries posted on the Research Forum and 4 of them have been initiated by me and 2 by Bill Caple! – Doesn’t anyone else have any queries? 
  • Whilst thinking about the web site – don’t forget that the search facility at the top of the home page can be used to find out whether the site contains information about names, places and events you may be interested in.
  • If you have any problems in using the web site please contact Paul Tracey or Graham Payne who will be pleased to help you

Know Your Place & Using Maps for Research

I hope that some of you have been able to find some interesting facts about this area by using Know Your Place.  I gather that the presentation at the last Society Meeting was fascinating and for those who missed it or want to find out more about  it Know Your Place – West of England  includes an introductory video and links to enable you to research the area where you or your ancestors lived.

  • 50 years ago I was told by an elderly neighbour that our houses had been built on some tennis courts and, low and behold, the maps prove just that!

If you have a subscription to The Genealogist it has just introduced their Map Explorer which also offers comparison maps but for the whole country – useful if your family is not local and especially good for London families with the Lloyd George Domesday Survey 1910-1915.   You can access these videos without a subscription

  • I’ve just found the map showing exactly where a relation of mine, Frances COLES lived and where she was killed in Whitechapel.

My Family & Jack the Ripper

Knowing that I had an interest in Jack the Ripper, I was recently given a new book about his first five victims.  It is called, “The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper” by Hallie Rubenhold and I found it enthralling.  The author has meticulously researched the lives of these women up to their deaths and as a social history it is a brilliant insight into their real lives and the circumstances of the society in which they lived. They become living breathing women, not the mutilated corpses depicted in the newspapers, and I found myself wishing that I could learn about my own ancestors’ lives in the same detail. Of course, a lot of the information came from the evidence given at their inquests, but other research into the way women were treated and lived during the Victorian era widened the scope. 

I was particularly interested because Frances COLES, a first cousin of my great grandmother was murdered in Whitechapel in 1891 and the press concluded that she was another victim of Jack the Ripper.  Using information from her inquest and coincidentally many of the resources available to Hallie Rubenhold, I had compared her life with that of her cousin, my great grandmother, in Bristol.  The awful inevitability of the downward spiral of her life (together with her parents and siblings) drew many similarities with this book which I can thoroughly recommend.

DNA Research

Have just received a notification that I have a DNA match with a possible 3rd Cousin and he has a tree on MyHeritage containing one person – himself!  That’s not a tree – not even a twig!  However, he has a match with someone else who does have a tree with seven people on it including my original contact.  With some additional research I have been able to identify our common ancestors who are my 3 x great grandparents but I still haven’t heard back from either of these matches to confirm my research.   One thing I have noticed is that the age of those who have tested tends to be younger than the majority of family researchers.  Is this a way of encouraging younger people to become involved in research?

Facebook Group

We now have nearly 100 members of our Facebook Group – and we welcome anyone to join who has an interest in researching their families from this area of North Somerset.  There is a link to the Group from the home page of our web site and there have been some interesting photographs posted by the facebook group.  The Facebook Group also advertises the activities of the Society and welcomes visitors to the Library Free Help Sessions and to the monthly meetings, encouraging them to become full members of our Society.

Buckets & Spades

You will now have had the March edition of Buckets and Spades – Thanks to our editor Sue Maguire who is now looking forward to your articles for the July edition.  Please consider writing up your experiences in researching your families.  How did you do it?  What difficulties did you overcome? What resources did you use?  Were your family stories, handed down through the generations, accurate? Do you have photographs?  Were they named?

Dates for your Diary

  • The next meeting of the society will be on the 4th Tuesday of April when we welcome back Lynda Hotchkiss with another of her talks – this time entitled “Time Gentlemen Please”. At the time of writing I have no further information about the content of this talk but going on past experience it will be entertaining and relevant to Family History research.
  • Looking further ahead, there will be an exhibition in Kewstoke Village Hall from the 11th to the 14th July organised by the Kewstoke Local History Group at which our Society will have a Help Desk run by Graham Payne and others.   More can be seen   about the Kewstoke Group which has an impressive collection of data about the Village.  Past Exhibitions have been well worth a visit – even if you have no family connection with Kewstoke the information which they have collected will interest you. 
  • If any of you know of events or resources which would interest our members please add them as comments to this update.  
News TopicMonthly Update
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Berrow St Mary's Old Churchyard Monumental Inscriptions
published by Graham Payne on Sun, 31/03/2019 - 9:45

The Berrow St Mary's Old churchyard MIs are now available for society members to view online.

These transcriptions are based on the inscriptions first published by the society in the 1980's.

The Church is currently under going major internal works so we were unable to gain access to photograph the internal MIs.

We have taken photographs of the graves in the new churchyard which we will transcribe and publish in the near future.

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

News TopicTranscripts
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Bristol Postcard and Paper Fair
published by Pat Hase on Sat, 02/03/2019 - 14:17

Message received from Janette McCutcheon,  Fair Organiser,  Forest Fairs forestfairs.janette@gmail.com

"I would appreciate if you could pass this message for the Bristol Postcard and Paper Fair onto your membership please?

The next fair takes place next Saturday 9 March at the BAWA Leisure Centre, Southmead Road, Bristol, BS34 7RF from 10am to 4pm. Admission is £1 and there is great catering and plenty of free parking (about 400 spaces). Our next fair after this will be SUNDAY 2 June 2019.

The Bristol Postcard and Paper Fair has postcards, ephemera, photos, cigarette cards and stamps. Our dealers cover all sorts of topics from local counties (such as Gloucestershire and Somerset) to countries such as Wales and Foreign cards, to subjects such as shipping, transport, topographical art cards, industrial history and archaeological sites, train stations and churches."

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Forthcoming Events

Weston Library Help Sessions
Saturday, 15th June, 2019 14:00 - 15:30
Weston Library Help Sessions
Saturday, 22nd June, 2019 14:00 - 15:30
Society Meeting
Tuesday, 25th June, 2019 19:00 - 21:00
Weston Library Help Sessions
Saturday, 29th June, 2019 14:00 - 15:30
Weston Library Help Sessions
Saturday, 6th July, 2019 14:00 - 15:30
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