A Happy, Healthy and Successful New Year to all the full members of our Society and to those who join us during the year! We are a Society of 40 years standing and have members who are finding out more about their families whether they currently live in North Somerset or if their family came from elsewhere and settled here. As a Society we try to share our experiences for the benefit of others and our web page has many transcriptions of Parish Records and especially those of Weston Cemetery which are not available online elsewhere.
New Year Resolutions
- It’s so easy to write New Year Resolutions but more difficult to keep them!
- One of the favourite ones is always - keep a record of the sources where you found your information or you will be looking at the same record time and time again!
- Another is to make sure that you have as many pieces of information- including death for all your ancestors. With the GRO offering digital records of death (and birth) for £2.50 now might be the time to discover whether you have the death of the correct person in your tree,
- How about writing up your findings in such a way that you inspire younger members of your family to take an interest?
- Have you tried sharing your direct ancestors on a fan chart? This way you can get it 6 or even 7 generations on one just page - Yes I know it doesn't include many facts but it might just spark an interest - one of my granddaughters remarked that she was surprised to note that all her ancestors came from within 150 miles of Bristol.
- Fan Charts also show where your gaps are and identify brick walls so that you know for what you should be looking!
Saturday Free Help Session
This is where you can go to get help finding those missing ancestors you've identified on your fan chart.
The first session of 2024 on Saturday January 6th will take place between 2.00 p. m. and 3.30 at Weston Library where you will have access to our experienced volunteers, Ancestry and Findmypast as well as all the contents of the North Somerset Library including film of Weston Newspapers which are not online.
The January meeting of the Society will take place on Wednesday afternoon, from 2.30 - 5,00 p.m on the 10th January at Our Lady Of Lourdes Church Hall. Baytree Road when Jean Routley will be speaking about "Why collect Postcards". Whether you are familiar or not with the excellent Facebook Group "Memories of Weston-super-Mare" run by Farrell Fox which is mainly concerned with his collection of post cards you will want to hear this talk about how they can relate to your family history research.
Workshops - Zoom
- Workshops take place by Zoom from 7.30 - 9.30p.m. and details about how to join will be sent to all full members.
- The Workshop on January 17th will be on How to Break down your Brick Walls. This should be of interest to all as we all are stumped somewhere. If you have a particular problem you want looked at perhaps you could contact Peter de Dulin with an outline of your problem as soon as possible. Or use our Research Forum!
- I will be offering the Workshop on February 28th which will be about Private Schools In Weston. At one time Weston was teeming with Private Schools - the sea air, healthy climate and large Victorian Villas all welcomed this type of school. Some of you may have ancestors who attended one of these schools - I know that some of our Society also attended them and may have memories - good and bad - which they may like to share.
The Facebook Group continues to grow but not many of the members contribute - I'm very grateful to those who do! - However, it does provide a chance for anyone to ask questions about their research and hopefully receive an answer. It has thrown up some interesting queries and hopefully is helpful to those just starting out. Don't forget that there are many free sites on the Internet. See this page on our web site for "How to start research" and "Some Free Sites" . Our own transcriptions may be able to help you at a fraction of the cost of Commercial sites. Full membership starts at £9.00 per year. You will also get access to Zoom Workshops and our Journal "Buckets and Spades". etc.
What happened 100 years ago?
Axbridge Union Workhouse
In the December Newsletter I mentioned Christmas in Axbridge Workhouse - this appeared in the January recounting the gifts offered to the inmates during Chirstmas 1923. I wonder whether any of your relations appear as benefactors?
1924 was the year my Mother was a Nymph!
Before you get too excited about what that means I am - I should say that she took part in the Bristol Pageant. The Bristol Pageant was a Community Production and as can be seen by this official programme, was to be part of the British Empire Exhibition in 1924. It portrayed seven scenes from the history of Bristol
The first performances were to be in the grounds of Ashton Court and then move to London - Wembley Stadium - Mum was 13 at the time, in her last year at school, and she was chosen as one of the dancers who accompanied Queen Elizabeth 1st into Bristol in the scene depicting her visit in 1574 - 350 years previously.
Although the first night at Ashton Court shows had to be cancelled due to heavy rain the other performances were greeted with acclaim and they all headed for London. Trains of supporters went to London from Bristol as well. There were over 3,000 in the cast and this was my mother's first visit to London. They stayed at a school and she spoke of the bus journey across London to Wembley. recognising buildings she had only seen in photographs. As a nymph, she was dressed in green and unfortunately during one of the London performances it rained and the green dye ran so much that her underclothes became green as well!
Mum as a Nymph!
Mum mentioned the great costumes worn by the principal characters, and how spectacular it all was. She didn't know that one of the characters in the 2nd Act was Gilbert BALDWIN, a young school master playing the Jester, who was a cousin of the man she would marry.
Bristol decided that as the show was well received in Bristol that it should run for another week at Ashton Court on its return. In the event this was very sensible - the attendances were disappointing in London and the pageant very expensive to put on and transport with the large set pieces creating a problem as well. Extra ticket money would help
The Pageant ran at a loss of about £3,000 and such a project was never undertaken again.
My mother knew nothing of the financial disaster nor did she ever mention the small attendances in London. I have included this because it demonstrates how an individual's perception of an event may differ from the reality. In this case my mother reported what she remembered but in other cases family stories may be embroidered to show a person in a more favourable light.
When you research handed down family stories have you found any discrepancies in them?
New Resources online
FindmyPast has new additions each Friday - they may not be in your particular area but it's worth looking from time to time. During December they opened some more records on the 1939 Register which had been redacted.
Irish Ancestry These may not be new but if you have Irish connections - have you tried this site for Irish records? It is part of https://www.irishgenealogy.ie/en/ and has many free records available. I was looking for someone with the surname Mcarthy and at the end of my first search was this comment!
Please be aware that there are variants of this surname that should also be checked. Variants include:
Maccarthy, Cartey, Carthey, Carthy, Cartie, Carty, Caurty, Charthy, Corty, M Carthy, M Cartie, Ma Carthy, Mac Carthy, Mac Cartie, Macarite, Macarthey, Macarthy, Macartie, Macarty, Maccarty, Macharthy, Mc Arthy, Mc Arty, Mc Carthe, Mc Carthy, Mc Cartie, Mc Carty, Mc Catrhy, Mc Curthy, Mcartee, Mcarthy, M'carthy, Mcartie, Mcarty, Mccarhty, Mccarhy, Mccarke, Mccartey, Mccarthey, Mccarthy, Mccartie, Mccarty, Mccathy, Mccearthy, Mccerthy, Mccharty, Mccrthy, Cartney
Familysearch should also be considered as it is a free source of many records - this page just covers what is available for Somerset
Whichever site you choose - if possible try to see the original entry before accepting it into your family tree. Some transcriptions are doubtful. This is one where the note in the left hand margin was not included in the transcription - "Not for Magazine"!
Annie PINNOCK was my great grandmother and you will note that no father was given for Reginald but when his birth was registered she gave her late husband's name as father in spite of him being dead for 7 years. Family members think that she was not the mother either but had informally adopted him. Perhaps the Vicar and others of the congregation would also know the true situation so that was why the christening was not to be mentioned in the Church magazine?
Family History Federation
When you go to the Federation site take a look at what it has to offer. You will see that at the moment The Federation has a Sale of Books It is always a good idea to treat yourself to a good book about how to research and understand the documents that we all use. These documents were not created for us to use and it is important to understand them and how to use them.
Buckets and Spades
The Deadline for the next edition is February the 1st so you have plenty of time to get your letters (or emails) and articles to Sue Maguire, the editor, who will magically produce another interesting journal. Thank you, Sue for all your hard work.
I have already given details of the meetings we are holding in this newsletter. So it just leaves me to wish all our members a Fabulous 2024 with all you wish yourselves.
As a Society we have many helpful members who help out at meetings, advertising our services, checking membership details, answering queries, transcribing documents and as volunteers at the Library our Free Help Sessions etc for which we are very grateful but we do still need new younger Committee Members. Our existing committee members, although very enthusiastic about the subject, have health and family concerns which prevent them from giving as much time as they would like. Please think about joining us. You could be co-opted initially and attend committee meetings, which are on Zoom, perhaps shadowing and/or helping one or other of the committee members.
Make it your New Year's Resolution to assist the society in some way. May 2024 be the year you fulfil all your own wishes and help others to research their family history.