A Happy New Year!! I am sure none of us will forget 2020 or regret its passing. Our thoughts and prayers go to members who have lost dear ones during this pandemic and to those who are feeling the effects of loneliness and isolation while we keep ourselves and others safe from infection. Our thanks go, not only to the members of the NHS and other essential workers, but also to those who have made our lives so much easier by keeping in touch and with the random acts of kindness which have brightened our days. Welcome to 2021 bringing a fresh start and an optimism that things can only get better!
When future generations research our lives, they will wonder how we coped and how it affected us, just as we wonder about how our ancestors lived through other historic events. As we are part of our own family’s history, we could make it easier for them by recording our own thoughts and feelings about 2020. I remember reading an account which was found by one of our late members amongst the papers of his grandfather which simply described each member of their family as they sat around the fire one Christmas in the late 19th century. It painted an evocative picture, not only of the individuals but also mentioned how life was treating them. Yes, we now have photography, and you could record those family Zoom meetings but could one of your New Year Resolutions be (yet again!) to write up your family history and make sure that it is passed on to younger members?
Review of Some Online Resources
- The Genealogist During December The Genealogist released some new College and University Records and added to its Map Explorer Range. Their Tithe Maps are particularly useful because as they are accompanied by the Apportionments, you are able to see whether your ancestor owned or merely occupied land. It also shows an image of the Apportionment giving description and size of the propertyMap from The Genealogist – Tithe Maps. It has the usual misspelling of HASE but this was William HASE who was a Blacksmith in Cross between 1819 and 1853 until he moved with his family to Weston-super-Mare.
- Lost Cousins Lost Cousins is free to use until 12th Night and as always do look at their Newsletter to keep in touch with the latest genealogical news.
- National Archives The National Archives is still offering free downloads of some digitalised records. As we get back to normal during 2021 and visiting is allowed, this will probably stop but make the most of it now.
- 1939 Register If you have not already done so, you will find the Podcast issued by the Family History Federation about the 1939 Register interesting listening answering many questions about this survey.
- Other Archives Family History Blogs are useful reading and I am suggesting just one today – Other Blogs are available! – perhaps you can recommend others. This one suggests some available family history websites Dr Sophie Kay publishes some really thoughtful comments – it is worth looking at all of her offerings.
- This is an important asset for our members BUT it needs a home and someone to take responsibility for it or we will lose this feature of our Society.
- Please consider whether you could help – Brian Airey, our secretary and current librarian, would be pleased to explain exactly what is involved and we would all be grateful to whoever takes it on.
- The last new addition to our Surname Interests was made 4 months ago. Is your list of Interests up to date? - Perhaps that is another New Year’s Resolution?
- A reminder that under our Surname Interests you can add a PDF with a family tree for your family or part of it – this can also be seen by non-members and is helpful in allowing others to see whether they are researching the same family. As an example here is one of mine for part of a LONG family from Bristol. It is suggested that you do not include living people in these trees.
Those of you who are following these profiles will know that I am almost half way with them now but I am having some difficulty identifying a couple of them. I posted a query about John HARRIS - no response to it yet - but I am also looking for someone called JARRETT for whom I have no other information. Any help would be welcome.
They say that one way to keep the brain active is to use it – whether by crosswords, puzzles, quizzes etc. – and I think that researching your family’s history combines all of these and is a fantastic and productive way to exercise the brain (If frustrating at times!). It also serves as a motivation to learn something new. I know that genealogy was the reason for learning how to use the internet for many older users when it first became available. Many of us are now learning the implications of DNA testing and how it can help us add to our family’s history. As we delve deeper, aspects of history become more relevant - my interest in Axbridge Workhouse and the Poor Law grew out of family history.
Remember that your family history experiences are interesting to others so write them up and let Sue Maguire have them for insertion in Buckets & Spades. Use the Research Forum to solve your brickwalls, submit your Surname Interests and enjoy and benefit from your membership of this society. Wishing you all a very different year for 2021 during which we will be able to meet up again