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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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March 2019 Update
published by Pat Hase on Fri, 01/03/2019 - 14:27

It’s March 1st bringing with it the daffodils with which to celebrate St David’s Day for the people of Wales and the promise of Spring.  February, the shortest month, has finished with the most surprising weather for the UK.  Days of warm sunny weather certainly makes our spirits rise.  But, how did the weather affect our ancestors? British Weather from 1700 to 1849 gives us a glimpse of unusual weather events and of special concern was during 1845-46 when the weather conditions caused a widespread crop failure leading to great poverty and migration from the rural areas. This was very evident in Somerset when many left to find work in industrial areas, particularly, in South Wales.

Useful Web sites

  • The British Newspaper Archive is continually adding new papers and this week has added the Central Somerset Gazette from 1862-1981 and I discovered with some amusement that in the edition of 5th June 1980 it was reported, under the heading of Women’s Institutes, that at the next meeting of the Rodney Stoke and Draycot WI there would be a “Cookery Demonstration of Summer Sweets and Salads by Mrs Hase”.  I remember it well – I was working at Weston College at that time.  I arrived early to take a look at the churchyard to see if I could find out anything about my husband’s CASELEY ancestors who came from Rodney Stoke!
  • This advertisement caught my eye on Findmypast  that “The 1921 Census is Coming  But even January 2022, when it will be released, isn’t that far away!  I remember the excitement of the 1881 census being released because it had all my grandparents on it – The 1921 census will answer some of the questions of those wanting to know what happened to members of their family in the 20th Century before the 1939 register.
  • Another new resource, if you have ancestors in the Bath area, is the free Bath Historical Directories which has Bath Directories  from the 1840s to the 1930s and offers several ways in which to search them.  I have spent many hours in Bath library searching through their Bath directories for members of the LONG family so this is actually very helpful.
  • The February Newsletter from Lost Cousins  included a master class on how to find birth certificates in England and Wales, which I’m sure you will find useful, especially if you are having difficulty with a missing relative.  Having just written that, I received another newsletter from Lost Cousins  with even more useful tips. It includes a short piece on a man marrying deceased wife’s sister – which always reminds me of the Fairy Queen in the G & S Operetta Iolanthe referring to the long- winded campaign to change the law when she sings of pricking "that annual blister, marriage with deceased wife's sister". If you do not already subscribe to this free newsletter I advise you to do so for up-to-date news about family history.
  • Our own web site is expanding to include information about the villages which we cover.  If you go to Information Sources in the left-hand column of the home page and then click on Places/Churches you will see a list of Places with the Church (or Churches) which serves them.  If you click on the Name of the Church you get the transcriptions of their registers (for members only) but if you click on the Name of the Place you will get some information and photographs about the place.  At the moment, there is information available for (in no particular order!) Abbots Leigh, Bleadon, Locking, Kenn, Chelvey, Badgworth, Brockley, Hutton, Chapel Allerton, Weare, Chew Stoke and Backwell.  More will follow.

 Dates for your Diary

  • The North Somerset Archivist will be visiting Weston Library on the 1st Thursday of March, June, September and December. Sessions are open from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm, and from 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm. The next session is on Thursday 7th March and for more information or to order documents contact somersetarchives@swheritage.org.uk  
  • The U3A in Weston is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its founding and its Family Group has been running from the start.  The U3A is holding an Open Day including an exhibition of what it offers on Saturday, March 16th at the United Reform Church in Waterloo Street.
  • The next edition of Buckets and Spades will be published at the end of March and is only available to full members but non-members - including our Facebook Group - can see selected articles from old issues.  Go to Journal Articles in the menu at the left hand side of the home page.
  • The Family History Show – South West will be held at UWE on 6th July 2019.  It is good to support this which will have interesting stands and speakers and it is much nearer than London!

Society News

I know that many of you will want to join with me in offering sympathy and condolences to Maureen Harvey on the sad loss of her husband.  Brian Austin is waiting for open heart surgery – we all wish him well and a speedy recovery. 

The next meeting of the Society, on the 26th March, will be about the Mapping Project “Know Your Place”. This is a very exciting and useful resource and one to which you can add photographs and information. It now covers Bath and North East Somerset, BristolDevonGloucestershire, Somerset, North Somerset and Wiltshire .  Take a look at the site before the meeting so that you can fully benefit from the talk.

The Saturday Free Help Sessions are continuing from 2.00 – 3.30 p.m. each Saturday in Weston Library. The facilities in the Local Studies section enables us to point you in the right direction whether you are researching somewhere in this locality or a family wherever it is.  Free access to Ancestry is a tremendous help.  Sometimes it just takes another person looking at your research to suggest a different path to take – this applies no matter how experienced you are.  Thanks to all who freely give of their time and experience to support this. 

If you have a stumbling block in your research why not ask for help either in the library or if you can’t get there, write on our Research Forum which has been rather quiet lately. I can't really believe that there are so few queries from members - every new thing I find poses another question!  If you see a query that you can help with, then please do post a comment – any help is really appreciated.  Non- members, including our Facebook Group can answer your queries with a reply directly to the questioner. Have you added your surnames to the list of Members’ Surnames and perhaps added a tree as well to explain a little more about your interests? 

If you have any comments about what the society has to offer please let us know as this is your Society and we want to share our enthusiasm for family history.

News TopicMonthly Update
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Missing books
published by Brian Airey on Fri, 01/02/2019 - 11:43

I have recently done a stock take of the books held by the society and have "mislaid" or not signed out the following to members. If you have one such book then just let me know please. Then, if finished with, return it at February's meeting. Thanks.  Brian

Somerset Wills before 1858 BMD/WILLS/6

Nelsons Navy 1793-1815   MIL/RN/1

Anglo Boer War 1899-1902 MIL/WD/2

More Sources of Army Ancestry  4th edition MIL/WD/10

My Ancestors were Agricultural Labourers OCC/11

My Ancestors were Coalminers OCC/12

A Glossary of household, farming and trade terms OCC/2

Brighton Presbyterian Registers 1700-1837  R/1

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February 2019 Update
published by Pat Hase on Fri, 01/02/2019 - 11:13

Welcome to our newly updated web site - thanks to Paul and Graham who have overseen this improvement.  If you are puzzled by any of the changes to the web site any queries may be answered here .Welcome also to anyone who is reading this monthly update for the first time.  Each month we try to keep you up to date with Society news and newly available resources, or perhaps remind you of a forgotten one!  

Buckets & Spades

  • The deadline for the next edition of our Journal has been extended until the end of February – this will mean that it can be published at equal intervals throughout the year.  Please send any articles or other items to Sue Maguire.   Have you made a breakthrough in your research, or are there any resources you can recommend? Buckets & Spades is a way of contacting all our members whether they are computer users or not and all will be pleased to read of your family history experiences. 
  • Some articles from our Journal can be seen by non-members by clicking on “Journal Articles”   found under the main menu on the left-hand side of the home page. 

Next Society Meeting – Doors open at 7.00pm

  • At the next meeting on 26th February at the Vintage Church in Hughenden Road, the speaker will be Ann-Marie Wilkinson.  If you are a member of the Somerset & Dorset FHS you will know Ann-Marie as she is currently its Chair.  The last time she spoke to us it was about a Photographic collection held at Wells which was very interesting.  
  • This time her topic is Early Censuses.  I doubt if Ann-Marie will include the census which took Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem – that’s probably too early! - but there are many available if you know where to look, with varying amounts of information. 
  • I’ve found members of my family in the 1801 census of Huntspill, a transcription of which is included here and others are in the 1831 census of Bitton, which is in the Bristol Archives.

W-s-M & District FHS Facebook Group

  • This has been formed to inform people about our society and its activities.  It is still very new  - You can see what is happening on it by accessing it through the Facebook link on our web page  or from this link
  • Many thanks go to Lorna Gibson (supported by her son Neil) for setting it up and for being an Administrator and to Jeanette Carter who is acting as a Moderator. 
  • It is a closed group so you have to apply to join and give a reason for becoming a member.  We now have just over 60 members.

Federation of Family History Societies

As a Society we are a member of this overarching group and this is just a reminder that its website is full of useful information.  Do look at it from time to time.  At the moment it is highlighting the following:

  • The rise in the cost of certificates from the GRO which takes effect from February 16th.  Get your orders in before they go up - Certificates will increase from £9.25 to £11.00.  At the same time the PDF versions of births and deaths will rise from £6.00 to £7.00. To order visit the GRO site.  
  • Transcription Tuesday Feb 5th is organised by the Who Do You Think You Are? magazine.  This year they've chosen to support three projects, led by FamilySearch and Heritage & Culture Warwickshire, along with a joint initiative from the University of Portsmouth, the Modern Records Centre and the National Railway Museum For more details see WDYTYA website   
  • Family Tree Live  - a New Family History Show taking place in London in April.  More details from Family Tree Magazine   Let us know if you would like a visit to this organised.

Rootstech – London Oct 2019

  • Rootstech is a mainstay of the American Genealogical scene and each year its Conferences are attended by researchers who benefit from the programme of Lectures and associated stands.  In 2019 there will be a Rootstech event held in London. For more details visit the Rootstech London web site  
  • The presentations given at the 2018 Rootech in Salt Lake City can be seen online and if you have the time to watch them you can pick and choose from a wide selection of topics.   I have just watched one entitled “A DNA match with No Tree? – No Problem” which gave some very useful tips for overcoming this problem. 

1939 Register and Free Help Sessions

  • Set up as the means of knowing who would need an Identity Card and a Ration Book during WW2, this is proving an extremely useful tool for finding members of your family who were alive in September 1939 and who have since died. 
  • It gives the full birth date of each entry and also if a woman has since married it gives her new married name.  It can be consulted on pay for view web sites such as Ancestry, Findmypast and My Heritage but also in the Library (free of charge).
  • If you come into Weston Library on any Saturday afternoon to the free help sessions you can be given some tips on using this.

Looking for a woman in your tree?

  • Findmypast includes useful blogs which you can access without a subscription – here’s one about how to find the maiden name of women in your family
  • Similarly, the Ancestry Academy has a video about searching for women.  It is very American orientated but the basic information it gives is sensible.  You do not need an Ancestry subscription to use any of videos in the Ancestry Academy - Just lots of time!!

Members’ Surname Interests

  • Has a member of this society already shown an interest in your family surname?  If you click on Members’ Surname Interests under the main menu you will find a list of names being researched by members and in some cases family trees have also been posted.
  • One of the changes on the new web site is that although only members will be able to enter names and make comments under that heading, anyone, whether a member or not will be able to contact that member directly through the site with information for them but the members’ email address will not be divulged. More information about that can be seen here.   

New Year’s Resolutions. 

  • In the January Update I included this – "Lastly, it is the time for New Year Resolutions – one of mine is to get you all involved – so please when you have read this add a comment where it says “Add new Comment” describing what your New Year Resolution will be in respect of Family History!”  Where were those comments?  Have you nothing planned for this year?
  • It’s probably too late for your resolutions now - but we are looking forward to members adding comments about anything on the web site (including the Monthly Updates!) and using the Research Forum to share problems and to help others solve theirs.

My final tip is that although many of you will be reading this initially as a notification on your phones do go to the web site and look at all that is available to you from the society.  There’s a lot there!  Good Luck with your research.

 

 

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Forthcoming Events

Society Meeting
Tuesday, 23rd April, 2019 19:00 - 21:00
Weston Library Help Sessions
Saturday, 27th April, 2019 14:00 - 15:30
Weston Library Help Sessions
Saturday, 4th May, 2019 14:00 - 15:30
Weston Library Help Sessions
Saturday, 11th May, 2019 14:00 - 15:30
Weston Library Help Sessions
Saturday, 18th May, 2019 14:00 - 15:30
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