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December 2020 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Tue, 01/12/2020 - 19:25

Let me start this Newsletter by saying how honoured I am by my new position as President of this Society which you will have seen announced in the latest edition of Buckets & Spades.  I am incredibly grateful to those who have contacted me with their congratulations, but I can only be President with the support of our excellent committee and the membership as a whole. Thank you all.

Well, here we are nearly at Christmas and still severely affected by restrictions in our lives due to the Covid Pandemic.  The one constant factor is our family history research.  I have found it invaluable as a distraction from the reality of life and being able to assist others with their research queries gives me great pleasure and satisfaction.  Researching people with whom I have no genetic connection has widened my experience and has made me look at records from other parts of the Country which in turn helps me with my own research.

The success of the BBC’s programme “A House through Time” has inspired others to look at their own House Histories.

  • One of our Members, Keith GRAHAM, is researching Hill Road – his request for help can be seen on our Research Forum    He is particularly interested in the house built and lived in by the architect Hans Fowler Price,  Tyn-y-coed.
  • David TYLER is researching Moorland Road and would welcome information about any of the families who lived in that road over the years.  Several houses were damaged during the blitz with fatalities – CHINN, ETTERIDGE and WILKERSON
  • John HARDING is also researching Moorland Road – in particular his ancestor’s connection with “The Moorland Pedler”   Can you read what is reflected in that window?
  • Some years ago, I took a look at Holland Street because I was fascinated by the buildings (designed by Hans Fowler Price) with their very long gardens, wide access to the rear, and stone built out-buildings. The censuses revealed that the majority of the men worked at the nearby Pottery whilst the women took in washing which were washed in boilers situated in the buildings at the bottom of the gardens and the washing lines made the most of the long gardens.  Was this use just a coincidence or were the houses built with this occupation in mind?
  • The Bristol & Avon FHS is advertising a book written by one of its members “Saints, Crooks and Slavers” about their own house which was short-listed for the BBC programme  It includes tips on how to research your house.

AncestryWest Midlands, England, Police Files and Ledgers, 1850-1950

Birmingham Police

Ancestry has released some new records some from the Birmingham Police and I was surprised to find a HASE relation amongst their ranks.  I knew about Dora HASE – I even had a letter from her when we were first married – but had no idea that she had ever joined the Police.  This must have been her war work as she was with them from 1942-1946.  This is one of the advantages of having a relatively unusual surname (although it often gets misspelt) and to look at new records “just in case”  Dora's grandfather was a greengrocer in Meadow Street, Weston-super-Mare.

Family History is not just collecting names and dates, we need information such as this to add necessary detail to our tree.  The Women's Auxiliary Police Corp was a new one to me.  Founded in August 1939 after the National Council for Women pressed for and were successful in ensuring the creation of the WAPC. They dealt with a large range of police duties, initially mainly administrative but expanding to take on roles formerly performed by Police Officers. On the 1939 Register Dora was a Ledger Clerk and Assistant Cashier so presumably her office skills would have been utilised in the Police Force.   This document also describes her stature and appearance but we have to look elsewhere to discover that she was a keen and competent pianist and singer and married a widower in 1957 but had no children.

Between the wars, I'm told that Dora's brother, John, cycled to Weston from Birmingham - I wonder whether he saw any of the attractions on this leaflet?  I recently put this image on the Facebook Group called Memories of Weston and it provoked quite a bit of interest.  I have a Guidebook to Weston for 1928 and I found it inside.

I wonder what an Electric Turkish Bath involved or was that just the way the water was heated?  It is also interesting to consider how specialist shops like Over's coped with shops such as Woolworths offering "Pick 'n Mix" as the High Street developed over the years.


A reminder that the £1.50 Wills for England and Wales from 1858 are still available from the GRO.

I have found that the Wills of unmarried members of the family are surprisingly valuable as they often name nephews and nieces and other members of the family.  

The National Archives

Whilst we are still unable to visit the National Archives they are still offering the Free Download of their digitalised documents.  They include PCC Wills, Military Records and many others.  Try entering the Place your ancestor lived to see what is available.  Click on "available for Download only" to see the range of documents which you can obtain.

Closure of Victoria Methodist Church

During the Pandemic we were saddened to hear that the Victoria Methodist Church in Station Road was closing.  The foundation stones for the original church on this site were laid in April 1899 and the School Room opened for services in September of that year with the church opening in Sept 1900. There had been a Methodist Church in Weston in Regent Street since 1847 (now Barclay's Bank).  If you are searching for Christenings the records are sometimes confusing.  For example Mary Ann PUDDY was born in Mark on the 4th April 1861 and christened in Mark Chapel on Mark Causeway, but listed  as part of the Weston Circuit of which Regent Street was the main Church. 


But the England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975 on Ancestry has this entry!

Victoria Chapel had not been built in 1861 but this would have been correct for later entries after 1900.  Is it surprising that so many trees on Ancestry are muddled!

Family Heirlooms

Like many of you I have been enjoying "The Repair Shop".  It is amazing how items can become so important in our lives.  Each programme you hear "Family History" mentioned in connection with these articles. Normally in November at our "Members' Evening" we invite members to share stories about their treasured artefacts. This year we haven't been able to do that but perhaps you could write a short article for Buckets and Spades explaining the importance of your heirlooms and why you want to pass it on.  Sue Maguire is always grateful for contributions however short to add to our journal.  The latest publication has some fascinating articles - highlighting various aspects of family history.

Society Library

Brian Airey is still waiting for someone to volunteer to take over the responsibility for the Society Library. Please consider helping out.  Contact Brian to find out exactly what it entails.

Facebook Group and Research Forum

I hope to encourage those of you who are reading this and are members of the Facebook Group to post more queries about your family history to that Group.  We have some very knowledgeable members who will be pleased to offer suggestions about how you can find out more about your family members.   

Full members of the Society can of course post their queries to the Research Forum on this web site and the same thing applies. 

Don't leave it to others to offer suggestions have a go yourself


This year we will be limited to how many can get together - As an experiment why not look at all your family on the 1911 census and calculate how many lived close enough to celebrate together on Christmas Day 1910.  Who was pregnant?  Who died between Christmas and the Census? Did anyone get married on Christmas Day?

Have Christmas celebrations changed over the years? I remember Christmas during WW2 - yes I was a child so excitement levels were high - but looking back, the home made decorations and gifts all added to the fun.  Simple games played in front of a roaring fire with hilarious results still bring back happy memories. How about writing up your own Christmas Memories for inclusion in your Family History?

Christmas and 2021

So, with seasonal greetings from your newly exalted President, wishing all our members as good and enjoyable a Christmas as you can in the circumstances and looking forward to 2021 with optimism as the year when we will all meet up again, starting probably with Zoom Meetings!  Watch this space! 


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Weston Worthies - 14 John GREGORY
published by Pat Hase on Fri, 27/11/2020 - 10:23

With thanks to those who assisted with the research for members of the GREGORY family I have uploaded the profile of John GREGORY which can be seen with the other Weston Worthies on the Weston-super-Mare Page.  All the documents are at the bottom of that Page.

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Montbatten- Hero or Villain
published by Brian Airey on Mon, 23/11/2020 - 16:39

Joan Sparke has submitted the following

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Weston Worthies - 13 Hannah GOULD
published by Pat Hase on Sun, 15/11/2020 - 15:41

Mrs Hannah GOULD has joined the ranks of the Weston Worthies as the 13th one to be posted.  Apart from GOULD she is connected with the following surnames:  BEACHAM, BURGE, DRISSLE, GANE, JONES, LIGHT, NEATHWAY, TOOP, VOWLES, and WATTS  Are you connected with Hannah in any way?

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Weston Worthies - 12 George GILL
published by Pat Hase on Sat, 07/11/2020 - 13:09

George GILL is the 12th Worthy to be uploaded to the Weston page.  I believe that several members have connections with the surname GILL both directly and indirectly - can anyone confirm his father's second marriage?

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November 2020 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Sun, 01/11/2020 - 18:00

It is the 1st of November already and time for another newsletter.  Yesterday we learned of another lockdown so that is the way we have marked Halloween this year.  It is scary enough living through this pandemic and my thoughts go to members of our families who lived through earlier ones. 

In the Autumn of 1957, I had just started at College when the Asian ‘Flu struck.  I don’t remember any guidance about controlling the infection and within a fortnight I was in the sickbay of the Hostel.  Within a week the college closed, and we were all sent home presumably spreading the disease.  By December 1957, a total of some 3,550 deaths had been reported in England and Wales.  Online newspapers for 1957 show how unconcerned the country was about this flu epidemic and the Government’s slogan was “Wait and Sneeze”.  Schools, colleges, factories, sporting teams and military establishments all reported multiple cases.

My mother was born in 1910 and lived near to the main gates of Greenbank Cemetery in Bristol.  She told me how as a girl she watched the arrival of the military funerals of the men brought back from the first world war.  Although her father was serving in France, she had not realised that many of the later casualties were as a result of the Spanish Flu pandemic. 

Although most of my grandfather's records were lost in the “Burnt Records”, just recently by using Ancestry and Fold 3, I was able to find a Penson Card which showed that in March 1919 he was granted a conditional pension due to the effects of pneumonia which was attributed to his war service.

A year later this was reduced to 30% for which he received 12/- a week plus 7/- for his 2 children.  After 6 months it was further reduced to 8/- a week – it is unclear how much for the children at this point but in July 1921 he was allowed a final total allowance of 7/6 a week for a further 35 weeks. He was considerably luckier than many of his comrades and lived a full and active life after that and returned to the job he had previously with the Bristol Cooperative Society. 

The lasting effects of the pneumonia may well have been like those described as pertaining to Long Covid and in his case were judged to last for over 2 years, although as he also had been gassed in the trenches that must have aggravated the situation.                 

        Remembrance Day

This year when we remember those who were lost in the service of their country on November 11th we will not be able to attend traditional parades at Cenotaphs and War Memorials.  Our thoughts should include those who came home carrying wounds both physical and mental which remained with them for the rest of their lives.  This was most tellingly portrayed in the recent “Who do you think you are?” episode with David Walliams. 

War Memorials

In all of our parishes there are memorials to victims of the two world wars sometimes inside the church and sometimes on a community War Memorial and sometimes in a workplace.  On our web site we have listed the names on the Grove Park Memorial in Weston but it would help our members if we could show these memorials under each parish.  This was suggested to me after the Research Query for information about casualties of WW2 from the 3rd Weston (St Paul’s) Group was posted.

Under our parish transcriptions there are many fantastic photographs and transcription of MIs for some parishes which, for example, does include the list of names on the WW1 memorial at St John’s in Weston.  If you have information about any of the War Memorials in a parish covered by this Society we would be delighted to add it.  There is a memorial to those from Weston who died in both wars and worked for the Royal Mail in the Warne Road Delivery Office  Do you know of others?   Incidentally, Ancestry have just added the UK Post Office Memorial Books 1914-1945 

There is a web site dedicated to War Memorials online which may provide some additional information but in many cases it contains photographs but not yet transcriptions. However, it may help you if you are looking for someone outside of this area.

Who do you think you are?

You can catch up with all the programmes on iPlayer they are available for a year.  Don’t forget that the last of the four is on Monday 2nd Nov on BBC1 and is about Liz Carr whose mother she  described as follows:  “ An armchair genealogist, my mum has dragged us around graveyards in search of our ancestors but to no avail so I’m hoping this will now all stop (probably not - knowing my mum!).” I think we can all relate to that except that in my case I dragged my mother around the churchyards!

Inaccurate Original Documents

  • On our Research Forum we have had a query about a George GILL.  In a comment  in March 2018  from Dave Erasmus, one of our stalwart members who often answers queries and gives helpful advice,  sited an example of a marriage of a widow Emily Jane PAYNE whose father’s name was given as Silvester PAYNE.  This was an example of whoever was filling in the information forgot that the bride was a widow and assumed that her father would have the same surname.   
  • This is not the only time that errors occur and here I am not talking about transcription errors. 
  • In my own family I have at least two examples of birth certificates where the mother gives her surname as the same as the father and states she was formerly – giving her maiden name – but I have since discovered that they were not married at that time. 
  • The birthdate of Grandfather, Ashton Bertie HILL, is one week late as his parents hadn’t registered his birth within the allotted 7 weeks.  This resulted in him having to wait an extra week for his Old Age Pension to begin – I remember his reaction to this!
  • If you look at the military pension card above you will see his date of birth given as 1882 when it was actually 1880.
  • I have a marriage certificate where the bride (who was illegitimate) gives her grandfather’s name as father.  It is possible that she really thought this as she was brought up by her grandparents.
  • Harry MARSHALL was christened HARRY but the enumerator of the 1939 Register decided that he was really Henry and so he was entered as Henry.
  • Birth places on Censuses are notorious for being inaccurate – perhaps they didn’t know where they were born but knew where they had been living as children? – sometimes when the enumerator is at fault by using ditto marks in the wrong place and I have an example where a birthplace appears to be entered at random.  This is from the 1901 of Wells.  Harry MARSHALL was born in Wells in the same road where he was living in 1901 so where did the Gosport, Hants come from and why no entry for his wife Lilly who was born in East Pennard, Somerset?
  • Because I knew where they were born when searching for them I entered their birth places and of course drew a blank.  Be aware of this – sometimes entering less information can be more fruitful.
  • The latest newsletter from Lost Cousins  deals with how to overcome these problems with lots of useful tips for breaking down these brick-walls cause by inaccurate original entries.

New Resources online

As we are faced with more time at home – probably in bad weather as well – there are some fresh resources available

If you have Welsh ancestry, last August FindmyPast announced that they had released a collection of Welsh Parish Registers with images and  Ancestry have in the past week added the same Welsh Parish Registers.  As many Somerset folk moved over to South Wales these are very helpful to our members and I can research my Welsh cousins!

Our Society

  • Your committee will continue to meet via Zoom each month to monitor the situation.  As you will already know all our face-to-face meetings have been postponed but please keep in touch with each other and us to share successes and frustrations (about Family History). 
  • The committee is looking to start some short Zoom sessions with members in the new year and if you are not already familiar with Zoom it would be a good idea to sign up for Zoom (for which there is no cost) and make yourself familiar with the controls. Keep an eye on the website and Facebook page for announcements.   You could practise by setting up 'meetings' between friends to see how the system functions and whether your camera and/or speakers work etc.  If you only invite one person as a trial then the timing is unlimited but if you add someone else (have 3 people meeting) then you become a group and are limited to 40 minutes.
  • I have continued to upload the Profiles of the Weston Worthies –  please add your comments to these of you have any additional information.
  • We have added a section for the Mendip Hospital   to our Web site as so many of our members have family who were there at sometime or other.   The Harry MARSHALL mentioned above who lived in Wells was employed there as were others of his family
  • Jenny Towey tells me that she has some cardboard document wallets wanting a good home (She could deliver or leave them outside her front door for people to collect).  Contact her through the web site using the category “Chairperson”.   
  • We are still looking for a Librarian – if you are interested or want to know more about it please contact our secretary.
  • With the Free Help Sessions in abeyance please feel free to use our research Forum or the Facebook Group to share your problems and successes.
  • As you know we have postponed our AGM until further notice but the latest edition of Buckets and Spades should be available soon.  Thanks to all who continue to support the Society and we are looking forward to hearing what progress you are making with your research.
  • Keep safe!
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