There's nothing spooky about this Newsletter although it is Halloween and the spirts are abroad - A time for remembering the dead - surely something that all Family Historians do? A most commonly held view of genealogists is that they haunt graveyards seeking their past ancestors. When was the last time you visited a graveyard or even a County Record Office seeking information? Perhaps we should all do that more often. It is not all on the Internet!
Our AGM is scheduled for Wednesday November 8th at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall starting at 2,30 pm. Please make an effort to attend as your views are needed. Do we have your nomination for committee members? Afterwards the Speaker will be Dr Colin Chapman, the well known and respected Genealogist who was the originator or the "Chapman Codes" those 3 letter abbreviations for the Counties which we all use. SOM for Somerset MDX for Middlesex etc. Colin wlll be speaking of "Christmases Past - Some festive customs and traditions".
The current edition of Buckets and Spades will be available for you to pick up if you have opted for a printed version. Grace Rubery, has asked for raffle prizes to be donated for the December meeting.
It is important for us to talk to younger relatives about our experiences at Christmas and the joy given by simple homemade gifts and special food. What are your memories of Christmases in your childhood? The first of mine were in wartime but perhaps more of that in the next newsletter. I do remember receiving these blackboards and easels for Christmas 1943. This photo was sent to my father who was in the Army, with a note in my mother's writing saying that she had made them for myself and my cousin and she told me that she had followed instructions given in the Womans Weekly!
Researching for others - not related
I’m sure you will agree with me that it is so satisfying and quite a thrill when you find the connection for which you have been seeking. Just the other day I managed to locate a missing relative of someone who had asked for help. Subsequently the various parts of this family have been in contact and are busy exchanging information about the lost years. I was very pleased to have been able to help in this case with such a happy result.
There are times when you can use your research skills to find the family history of friends and neighbours with amazing results. Sometimes, however, you need to be tactful in sharing your findings because not everybody will be as excited (as I was) to learn that a 1st Cousin 3 times removed was a prostitute in London, murdered in Whitechapel and a possible victim of Jack the Ripper!
Memories of WW2
If you are old enough – do you have memories of the Home Front during WW2? If younger, do you have family stories about the experiences of your family during that time? How are you recording these? On our web site at http://www.wsmfhs.org.uk/documents_view.php?nID=183 we have some memories of life in Weston during WW2. These were collected in 2012 and some of those people who were interviewed are no longer with us. Can you add to these?
I was very young and living in Bristol when the second world war started. I do remember the distinctive sound of the German planes overhead, the smell of the paraffin heater and the dampness in our Anderson Shelter where we rushed whenever we heard the sirens wail, wearing a gas mask and its smell, seeing the results of bombing where houses looked like giant dolls houses with one wall removed exposing whole rooms complete with furniture, seeing my mother cry for the first time when my father was called up, the soldiers camping in Eastville park after Dunkirk. the first of the American troops arriving in Bristol, coming to my school and giving us chocolate. After the war I remember the rose bay willow herb and buddleia growing on the bomb sites in town. A strange assortment of memories but I was protected from the realities of war by a loving family – mostly female.
I have been asking my husband about his memories of that time. He remembers being in a Morrison Shelter in their back room in Whitecross Road when a bomb fell – he thinks in Dickenson Road - the blast shattered the windows of his room but luckily all the glass was caught by wooden shutters which had been put against the windows instead of using blackout curtains and tape on the glass.
At another time the top flat of 2 Albert Road was destroyed by an incendiary bomb but for some reason the division between the flats had a concrete layer so the bottom flat remained habitable. At that time a Nurse, Dorothy Jessie M PARKINSON lived in the lower flat which she refused to leave during the fire because she had bed-ridden patients who she was looking after. These accounts of bravery and courage need to be remembered. She died in Weston in 1974 – and was still living at the same address. Picture from Google Street view.
The Weston Blitz and the Royal British Legion Memorial Service in 2024
The Weston Branch of the Royal British Legion is seeking to contact any people who are related to casualties or have memories of the terrible time in Weston when it was subjected to the Blitz in the 1940s. It is intending to hold a Memorial Service in 2024 for those who died as result of enemy action during that time. Consequently, we have been asked to provide the names of contacts so that they may be invited to the Service.
During October much of my research time has been taken up with trying to find the relatives of the 129 people who lost their lives during the bombing of Weston in the 1940s so that they can be present at this event next year - as I hope other members are also doing – It is not easy - but how are you getting on? Only a couple of members have replied via the web site. At the end of this newsletter is a document which is an updated list for you to check against. Please let me know how you are getting on so that I can pass the information to the RBL.
I did find that Alice Jane WILKERSON who died in Moorland Road was the sister of Susan SANDERS, the long-term housekeeper of my father-in-law’s father. John HASE, from 1908-1933. My father-in-law who was born in 1905 was really brought up by Susan SANDERS following his mother’s death in Dec 1907.
Thank you very much indeed for those who have been helping, in particular, Ann Baxter who is related to Stanley Follett HOOK and Richard Gardiner who responded on the web site with detailed research into Philip Herbert MASTERS (not a relation of his) and has helped me with the CHINN family. He also looked at the ADDICOTT family. From our Facebook Group and from other Facebook Groups I have had response from non Society members who are connected with ADDICOTT, ANDREWS, HANDCOCK, MARSHALL,
This photo was posted on our Facebook Group and shows the devastation of Stonebridge Road the day after the raid where 10 year old Malcolm MARSHALL lost his life at 13 Stonebridge Road, His grandfather died a few days later from his injuries.
Researching your own Family History
How have our members been doing in the last month with their own family history research? There have been no new entries in our Research Forum except for one which I put on. No new entries in the list of Surnames so no new trees entered there either. What does this say to the casual visitor to the web site – who might be thinking of joining?
As a member of the Bristol & Avon FHS, I attended an excellent Zoom meeting of 68 members the other evening given by Dr Nick Barrett about the making of "Who Do You think You Are". About 18 years ago I heard him at Taunton when he spoke about the same subject and it was fascinating this time to hear how the programme has changed to match the changing technology and perceived interest of the viewers (and participants). He did stress the need to visit County Archives, Libraries, Museums and the National Archives because not everything is online. It is only the items which are easier to index which the commercial companies will offer. And we all know how tricky their transcriptions are anyway.
Last week FindmyPast added some Electoral Rolls for Manchester Electoral Rolls for the 20th Century can be a great help in finding people especially as gradually those eligible to vote increase you can see the family grow. It is difficult to find families in the latter part of the 20th century without census records - you have to rely of Street Directories, Telephone directories and Electoral Rolls.
FamilySearch is completely free to use and apart from the records it holds, there are also videos and handouts with background information. Non-Conformist Records are often difficult to find so this handout may be very useful to you.
Take a look at what has recently been added to Ancestry. One item which particularly interested me is the "All London, England, Selected Poor Law Removal and Settlement Records, 1698-1922" Although this was new in August I must have overlooked it. It can be useful because with so many making their way to London to make their fortune but failing - it shows how many were sent back to their home parish. Don't rely on the index - the names of their home parish is often hidden in the description and not transcribed.
Each newsletter I ask for members to share resources which they have found useful with very limited success.
Free Help Session at Weston Library
A reminder that this Saturday, November 4th between 2.00pm and 3,30pm our volunteers will be at the library to assist anyone, member or not with their family history research. As the library gives you access to Ancestry and Findmypast this is a marvellous opportunity for you to discuss your problems with helpers who can guide you through these resources and those available in the library. As I have said elsewhere in this newsletter the Electoral Rolls and street directories which are on the shelves can be a tremendous help when searching for 20th century relatives.
The next workshop is scheduled for Wednesday 22nd June at 7.30pm. when the speaker will be our current Chair, Jenny Towey who will let us into some of the secrets of using DNA to research our family. The title is "Organising your DNA matches" and as I have already heard this talk I can tell you that it is excellent and well worth your time if you are puzzled by how to work with your DNA results.
I was horrified at the low number who attended our October Zoom Workshop on Wrington – I think it was 5! What must the speaker have thought?
December Meeting Wed 13th at 2.30 p.m. at our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall
This is a reminder that our December meeting is a chance for you to talk about your family heirlooms - celebrate and share your successes or explain your brickwalls to get help from your fellow members. There will be a Quiz to sharpen your brains, a raffle (Bring any donations to the AGM or to that meeting - Grace Rubery will be delighted to receive them).- and suitable refreshments. But as they used to say on a now forgotten TV program - "chiefly yourselves" - was it the Good Old days? Non members will be welcome.
Please add comments or anything which I have forgotten that you wish to share with other members.