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Addition to Sept Update
published by Pat Hase on Fri, 06/09/2019 - 20:03

The announcement that the images from the Bristol Parish Registers were going to be released by Ancestry on Friday Sept 6th came after the Sept Update was published.  More details about this can be seen on the Ancestry Blog.  I've found the baptism of one illegitimate child for whom I already had a birth certificate which named a father!   Vicar knows best?!!  He did write in the margin "Not for the Parish Magazine!"

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Churchill John the Baptist Monumental Inscriptions
published by Graham Payne on Tue, 03/09/2019 - 10:40

The Churchill John the Baptist MIs are now available for society members to view online.

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September 2019 Update
published by Pat Hase on Sun, 01/09/2019 - 0:53

On September 3rd it will be 80 years since the outbreak of WW2.  If you have any memories of this time – your own or your parents’ memories - we would love to hear them before it is too late! Thank you to Ben Simpson for his article in the July edition of Buckets & Spades. Were you or your parents evacuated?  Did you have evacuees billeted with you?  Was your home damaged during the war?  What effect did the war have on your family?  Can you remember food rationing?  Did you have clothes made for you from parachute silk?  What about Utility furniture? Etc.

This is part of a photo-letter sent to me from my father in 1945 from Italy after he had been severely wounded at Monte Cassino in 1944.  I have several of these letters which were photographed and reduced in size before sending.

WW2 Research

  • The National Archives has many research guides to assist your research into the Second World War and many of them have resources available online.
  • The National Archives has also re-issued some videocasts done for the 70th anniversary which tell the real stories behind some of the well-known WW2 films
  • Historic England has published some aerial views of Weston which includes some interesting shots of wartime Weston including air-raid shelters on the Beach lawns and Reservoirs on Alexandra Parade

Dates for September

  • North  Somerset Archivist - Thursday 5 September  will be the next archivist visit to Weston-super-Mare Library- 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 order documents to be brought to the library contact Somerset Archives somersetarchives@swheritage.org.uk Please give 2 days notice.
  • Heritage Open Days 2019 - 13 - 22 September Every year in September, places across the country throw open their doors to celebrate their heritage, community and history. It’s your chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences – and it’s all FREE.   In North Somerset many of the Churches will be open - some having special exhibitions of their archives and some, St Mary’s Church at Portbury (for one) offering cream teas!  Take a look at all the places which will be open they include The Town Quarry in Weston, The Curzon Cinema at Clevedon, Uphill Church on the hill, The Mayor’s Parlour in Weston, etc. See Heritage Open Days for full details of places open in North Somerset 
  • Society’s Monthly Meeting - Tuesday September 24th our meeting at the Vintage Church in Hughenden Road will feature Peter Towey with British War Medals as his topic.  If you have any which you cannot identify or with a particular history please bring them along. 
  • Bristol & Avon FHS Open Day - Saturday September 28th We will have a stand at this Open Day on with many other organisations offering help with your research.  If you have even a passing interest in postcards, mining, Canadian research, Military matters, quilts, Railways, Caribbean research or maps as well as family history there will be something there to interest you.  Local History Groups, Family History Societies from Wales, Warwickshire and the South West, Record Offices and commercial enterprises which support your research will all be on hand to help you.  For full detail go to the Bristol & Avon web site  
  • Our Annual Lunch - Monday Sept 30th   The Society’s Annual Autumn Lunch will take place at Worlebury Golf Club – full details in the July edition of Buckets & Spades.  Contact Peter de Dulin if you have any queries.

Using family history research techniques for other purposes.

Many of us are also interested in house histories and research the families which lived in them.  The BBC programme “A House through Time” is an example of this and I understand that the next series in 2020 will feature a house in Bristol.  Researching a single street (a short one is best!) can provide an amazing amount of information about the area in which our ancestors lived. 

A display of Classic Cars in Weston recently reminded me that over the years, our family has owned and enjoyed a number of vintage cars.  As it was in the 1960s when we bought our first one, it was more difficult to find out about previous owners and the history of the cars. Today it is easier. Although the old log books with names and addresses of previous owners are no longer in use, it is often possible to find mention of the owners and even sometimes a photograph in newspaper archives.  Specialist car clubs have their own archives and museums and other enthusiasts have often posted histories and photographs of their cars on other sites.   I was surprised recently to find online a letter written by my husband in the archives of Motor Sport Magazine!

Researching one car gave us a happy time in Worcester Record Office looking for the original 1923 registration of a car that carried later number plates.  The records held there for cars registered in Worcestershire were fantastic and we eventually managed to get the original number back again.  That car also took us to the Museum of the South Staffordshire Regiment for information about the first owner where we also found a photograph of him.  We visited where the first owner had lived and a neighbour gave us information which led to us taking the car to see a close friend of the original chauffeur who was able to give us more information.  All very similar to tracing a member of your family.

Family Trees on Ancestry.

I recently posted a photo of my great grandmother, Annie STOKES, on our Facebook Group and have been looking at her side of my family.  She was one of 15 children and there are currently 31 trees on Ancestry which include her parents, Charles & Lavinia STOKES nee SPERRIN. 

The first one I looked at had 4 different birth dates for Charles STOKES – 1819, 1820, 1821 and 1833.  The first two dates I can understand as he was christened on the 2nd Jan 1820 at Wraxall and unless he was christened immediately it is likely that he was born in 1819.  The 1821 date was taken from an entry on the 1841 census where ages are approximated to the nearest 5 years downwards.  Unfortunately, the wrong Charles STOKES had been picked up.  This tree has chosen a Charles STOKES living in Shepton Mallet in 1841 whereas my Charles was still in Wraxall.  Just to confuse matters the researcher adds the Shepton Mallet “parents” of Charles to the tree.  I could go on, but I am now trying to get in contact with the owner of this tree!

Do check any tree before adding anything from it to your own research!

Research Forum.

I have posted a query twice on the Research Forum about Samuel STOKES (Father of the Charles STOKES) baptised in Wraxall in 1793 said to be the son of Joseph & Martha.  Neither time did I get any response, so I posted a similar query on the free Rootschat Forum and immediately had some really helpful suggestions which made me ask myself “Now, why didn’t I think of that?”  One of which was simply - did I have a death certificate which might show a relationship?  This led me to wonder whether members are not using our Forum because they think their query is too silly or the answer to someone else is too obvious?  Believe me, you can spend so much time going over in your own mind your own brickwalls but another person looking at the problem may see it from a different angle and make really useful suggestions.  A member once commented that they couldn’t answer any of the queries because they didn’t refer to their own tree.  The query might not be about your own research but in many cases you can use your own experience of how you built your own tree to help others.

Free Help Sessions

Many thanks to all the volunteers who turn up each Saturday not knowing what they are going to be asked to look at.  Today, the last Saturday in August, we looked at Indian Records – How do you send for an Indian Marriage Certificate?   We unearthed the marriage of a young woman who we eventually discovered used her stepfather’s surname when she married which was why we couldn’t find her marriage in the first place.  A young Air or Army cadet came in looking for a member of the Home Guard who had died in 1944.  The local newspapers which are on film (not online) gave us details of his inquest and funeral and our own transcriptions gave his burial in the Cemetery. 

News TopicMonthly Update
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Brent Knoll St Michael's Monumental Inscriptions
published by Graham Payne on Wed, 14/08/2019 - 14:03

The Brent Knoll St Michael's Monumental Inscriptions are now available for society members to view online.

Please report any transcript errors or information regarding incomplete entries to the author of this news article.

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East Brent St Mary the Virgin Monumental Inscriptions
published by Graham Payne on Sat, 10/08/2019 - 13:31

The East Brent St Mary the Virgin & parish adjoining cemetery Monumental inscriptions are now available for society members to view online.

Please report any transcript errors or any information regarding incomplete entries to the author of this news article.

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August 2019 Update
published by Pat Hase on Thu, 01/08/2019 - 18:04

It's the Summer Holidays and the schools have all broken up with Proms and Sports Days etc.  I found this photo (and it's named!) in the Pictorial Review of 1931 published by the Weston Gazette.  Anybody researching these surnames? - OVER, OSBORNE, CHARLES or ALFORD - I think that Doris OVER was connected with the Confectioners OVERs in the High Street

Wills

The notification that UK Wills from 1858 are now available at £1.50 each instead of £10.00 was put on our web site as soon as they became available at this price and caused great excitement.  Several members have already received Wills which have proved interesting.    It is likely that this price will only be held for 12 months so make the most of it.  See Who Do You Think You Are? magazine for details.

Family & Local History

I am a firm believer that Family and Local History go hand in hand and that you cannot do one without considering the other.  Many local societies have helpful websites and I have just mentioned just three societies below.  I know there are many other groups operating in our area.  Please add a comment to this Update to draw attention to others which could help other members.

  • Yatton Local History Society has a series of their publications available which can be searched and contain interesting articles about the history and people of Yatton. The first item on the page is an index to names mentioned in various publications, not all of which are online  
  • Nailsea & District Local History Society has also put a number of their Journals – The Pennant – online.  You can see them by clicking on the name of the society. Purely by chance, I note that  Pennant No 30 (the last one on the list) contains an article written by one of our members, Peter Lamb, about the MASSINGHAM Family.
  • The Clevedon Civic Society has a very strong Local History Group.  It has published PDF versions of their magazine the Clevedonian which ceased publication in 2014 but contain a variety of interesting articles about Clevedon.  They can be viewed by clicking on the name of the society and include a piece by Jane Lilly entitled “When we were very young” which may ring bells with some of our members.

Buckets & Spades

Thanks to Sue Maguire for the latest edition of our Buckets and Spades – it made for some very interesting reading about families with connections in the Weston district.  On Page 36, Sheila MILLS mentions that her great grandfather Charles DAVIS was a “Journeyman” with the trade omitted.  Looking at the 1871 census of Bedminster I see that Charles was a Carpenter.  The term “Journeyman” means that he had completed an apprenticeship but had not set up in business on his own account and so was in the employ of someone else.  One definition of “Journeyman” is that he was “paid by the day” after the French for “Day” – “Jour”  not that he travelled around although of course, he might have done that looking for work.

The deadline for articles for the next edition is 17 Oct 2019. 

If any of you are stuck with your research we have started a section in Buckets & Spades on “Breaking Down Brick Walls”  - see Page 8 -  If you contact me with your the problem I will try to offer suggestions for your research to be published in the next edition with the hope that the suggestions might give ideas to others of how to solve their problems as well.  Looking forward to hearing from you.

The Research Forum.

The Research Forum is for full members only.  When you post a query on the Research Forum please use this page and use the link on the right-hand side of the page where it says "Post your Query Now" which will allow you to give it a suitable title (with the SURNAME in UPPERCASE to attract a response. The Research Forum is open for questions about ancestors in all parts of this country not only North Somerset

Facebook Group

For members of the Facebook Group who are not also full members of the Society and who are reading this – You can post queries on the Facebook Group and hopefully other members of the Group – we now have 135 members and some are vastly experienced - will respond with suitable suggestions

Free Help Sessions

These are continuing during August as normal and are open for everyone members or not.  Just turn up at about 2,00pm on a Saturday afternoon with some facts about your family and an idea of what you hope to find out and we will see if we can help.   If you are a full member but cannot attend the Weston Library you can use the Research Forum to post your query – which need not be about the Weston area and our volunteers will use their time in the library to find an answer for you.

Brian Austin Archive

We have recently put a list of the topics of the research which Brian Austin has completed over the years on the web site.  See The Brian Austin Archive for the full index to his work and detail of how to access it.  Some of it is the result of him, many years ago, spotting documents with were surplus to requirements being destroyed by officials at the Town Hall.  Brian removed them and studied their content, noting facts which have subsequently assisted family historians piece together information about their ancestors.  Brian’s research can be found in the Somerset Heritage Centre, Weston Library and at his home and he will reply to any query if you include a stamped addressed envelope. 

Newish Resources online

  • The Genealogist has announced a new selection of records from Norfolk including Bastardy Records which should interest any of you with Norfolk ancestors - You will need to scroll down to find the article.  These also include images from the Norfolk Archives.  The latest news from The genealogist can be seen here 
  • Findmypast now includes images of Devon Parish Records in its collection of records.  See which other parishes it has available.
  • To find which new items have been added to Ancestry go to this page - Some will have just been updated but some are completely new.

Who do You think You Are?

It’s that season again. Why is it, however much I want to see these programmes, that halfway through I fall asleep?!  It’s lucky that I can always catch up with them later!  The stories behind the celebrities make for good television but I want more.  How did the local expert actually find the information they produce from out of a hat?  Why did they need the expert?  Couldn’t they do it themselves?  Or would the programme be too long?  It’s taken me years to discover some facts but that’s because when I started the documents were not as accessible as they are today.  The celebrities are missing that rush of adrenaline when you finally discover the missing link.  They are allowing someone else to find that final piece of the jigsaw.  Mind you, if someone could tell me who the parents were of Robert LONG who married Hester PRIGG in 1767 in Bitton, how many children they had and when they died, I think I could live with that!

Society meetings

The July meeting looked at the history of the Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Light Railway.  My mother used to tell of a day when she was on that train somewhere near Wick St Lawrence and she became uncomfortably hot only to find that there was a fire smoldering away under her seat!  There were other tales of the train stopping for either passengers or the driver to pick mushrooms in a neighbouring field. If you would like to join a tour on Sunday 20th Oct 2019 along the route of the WC&P see here for more details 

Just a reminder that we do not have a meeting in August.  The September meeting on the 24th Sept will be Peter Towey talking about British War Medals. 

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Forthcoming Events

Society Meeting
Tuesday, 24th September, 2019 19:00 - 21:00
Bristol & Avon Family History Fair
Saturday, 28th September, 2019 10:00 - 16:00
Society Meeting
Tuesday, 22nd October, 2019 19:00 - 21:00
Society Meeting
Tuesday, 26th November, 2019 19:00 - 21:00
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