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May 2024 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Tue, 30/04/2024 - 23:28

Well, here we are in May already.  Years ago, we would have been celebrating by washing our faces in the morning dew, dancing around May Poles, electing a May Queen and welcoming the start of Summer with Morris Dancing.  Of course, some celebrations still take place. In Padstow there is the Hobby Horse and usually in Hutton and many other villages there are other community-based events, and this May we do have two Bank Holidays.

Future Events

Free Help Sessions Weston Library  - Saturday May 4th from 2.00 until 3.30 p.m.

Do you know what is available in Weston Library for family and local historians?  Have you ever visited our Free Help Sessions at Weston Library? – everyone is welcome whether you are members of the Society or not.  These are held in the North Somerset Studies Room with our experienced Volunteers to help you.  On the 1st Saturday of each month from 2.00 until 3.30pm. - just come along and get a second opinion about your research.   Apart from the material available in the library itself, including directories, maps, files about people and places, family trees compiled by the late Brian Austin, electoral rolls, etc. you will also have free access to Ancestry and  Findmypast and the chance to find out about what other sites are freely available on the Internet.  If you are an experienced member, would you  consider joining our team of volunteers?

Society Meeting – Wednesday May 8th from 2.30 until 5.00 p.m. at our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall

John Page, a keen and knowledgeable local and family historian, will be speaking about “Settlement Orders, the lives of the poor”.  Settlement Orders are very useful ways of keeping track of your poorer ancestors who may have been sent back to their original parish if they needed support in the parish in which they were living.  The Somerset Archives online Catalogue includes an Index to Removals and Examinations https://somerset-cat.swheritage.org.uk/indexes/settlement .
In my own family research, I have found these documents to be enlightening and interesting.  The Examinations often outline the lives of the people involved and explains how they obtain settlement in a particular parish. I can also recommend a book by Thelma Munckton  “Somerset Paupers, Unremembered Lives” which contains case studies she extracted from the Settlement and Removal Examinations.

Workshop by Zoom will be on Wednesday 22nd May and will be an Update on the 1939 Register by Peter de Dulin

The 1939 Register continues to be updated to reveal people who have died since the last update.  In addition, users may have sent in corrections to the transcriptions, so it is always a good idea to check again for people who are missing.

I am under the redacted entry here.  My Identity Card Number was OANB 12 4.  The OANB can be found at the top of the page.

If you have any queries about how to use the 1939 Register please let Peter know before the meeting so that he can answer them during the Workshop.

Workshop on June 26th – Union Workhouses with examples from Axbridge.

Rear View of Axbridge Union Workhouse.   I will be offering a Workshop about my research into the people who were inmates of Axbridge Workhouse and how they were treated.  If you have found any of your relations in Axbridge I would be interested in hearing from you.  Some information can be found on our web site  http://www.wsmfhs.org.uk/custom_page.php?pID=17

September Society Meeting - Away Day – Site visit to Mendip Hospital Cemetery on Sept 11th 2024

Jenny Towey has sent an email to all members about a proposed visit to the Mendip Hospital Cemetery to take place instead of the Society meeting on Wednesday Sept 11th   She wishes to know by email to her  jenny@towey.me.uk  whether

a)   you are interested in attending.

b)   you are able to offer transport to others and if so, how many?

c)   you will require transport.

If needed we can arrange a minibus which will incur a small charge.

A collage of a cemeteryDescription automatically generated

Views of Mendip Hospital Cemetery from the Friends Facebook Group.

Many people from this area were patients in the Mendip Hospital and may be buried there in this cemetery – This visit will be hosted by the Friends of Mendip Hospital http://www.mendiphospitalcemetery.org.uk/ and will include an exhibition in the chapel with new patient stories and more on the workings of the asylum/hospital, the entertainment, which was viewed as important for the patients and staff, a section on the staff and information on some of the medical history.

A room with a table and chairs and a table with a table and chairsDescription automatically generated

Picture from their Facebook Group. https://www.facebook.com/mendiphospitalcemetery/

Please let Jenny know if you are interested in joining the visit.

More information about the place can be found on our own web site   http://www.wsmfhs.org.uk/custom_page.php?pID=18

Lost Cousins Newsletter

The latest edition of this excellent newsletter has recently been published and can be seen here - http://familyhistory.news/endapr24news.htm
Lost Cousins was first established 20 years ago and has offered valuable advice and encouragement to all. 
One of the items in this edition reminded me of the day before I was married.  We had sent our Banns certificates to the Vicar of the Parish where we were to be married. He had gone on holiday, so his housekeeper had forwarded all his mail to him in the north of England, but he had not received it.  We were contacted with the news that we would need to get copies of the certificates, or the wedding could not take place!  That Friday we had a rushed visit to Emanuel Church in Weston and St Cuthbert’s Church in Brislington, Bristol to get the necessary documents.

A person and person in wedding attireDescription automatically generated

That was nearly 63 years ago but we were legally married!

Inebriated Women

I have been helping a student who is now nearing the end of her dissertation on Inebriated Women of Weston.  She is going to join the Society. One of her case studies, Elizabeth STAPLES, is buried in Weston Cemetery in Grave Tu 381 and according to our records there is a memorial on the grave.  Would someone be very kind and take a photograph of the grave for her?  I can provide a map to show where the grave is.

Web site

The combined brain power of the Committee is being exercised about how to make our web site more friendly. We have a large amount of information available on the web site, but it is not always easy to find it or to add more. Very few people use the Research Forum to pose queries or to answer those from other members – Why? – Any comments or suggestions you have will be gratefully received.  But my newsletters do not receive many comments either!


Our Facebook Group is possibly not used as much as it could be.  We do have members with considerable experience in Family History Research who are willing to help others who are just starting out or are temporarilly puzzled. 
Sometimes people who are wishing to join our Facebook Group are delayed acceptance because they have not answered the simple question asked of them before we admit them.  If you recommend other people to join, please mention this as it does cause extra work our end to contact them and may disappoint them. 

Brian Austin – Worle Society Meeting – “Remembering Brian”

On Thursday May 2nd at 7.00 pm Worle History Society at Worle Community Centre, Lawrence Road will be hosting a special meeting in Remembrance and Celebration of Brian Austin, his life and work recording the history of Weston and its people. Non-members are welcome.

North Somerset Libraries

All North Somerset libraries will be closed on Tuesday 7 May from 9.30 to 2pm. This is so staff can be trained in using an essential new computer system for libraries. Libraries will re-open as normal at 2pm. Extended Access will be available at Nailsea, Portishead, Clevedon, Yatton, Worle and Winscombe libraries for customers who are registered for self-service. Alternatively, you can access eResources, make reservations and renew items at www.librarieswest.org.uk with your PIN.

New Resources Available.

Ancestry has published details of the Red Cross Volunteers during WW1.  https://www.ancestry.co.uk/search/collections/70927/

If you just enter Weston-super-Mare in the space for Key Word you get a list of all people with connections to Weston and some information of their work. There are some interesting people mentioned. Sybil Baker, the daughter of Ernest Baker who lived at Glebe House, Mabel and Vera Barstow, from the Lodge, and Marjorie Graves-Knyfton from Uphill. But one of the most interesting was Ethel Mary Pethick who as a Suffragette filled in the 1911 Census like this. “No Vote No Census”

A close-up of a registerDescription automatically generated

Ethel Mary PETHICK was the sister of Emmeline PETHICK-LAWRENCE who was the first Treasurer of the Women’s Social and Political Union.  Their father owned the Weston Gazette. Ethel Mary was the Assistant  Commandant at Ashcombe Red Cross Hospital from Dec 1914.

Ancestry has also published information during April about UK and US Blacksmiths and Related Trades 1720-1940. https://www.ancestry.co.uk/search/collections/62979/    

I was surprised to find an entry for William HASE and even more so to see that the information for him had come from me!  I do remember many years ago contributing to an index of Blacksmiths which has obviously been included in this collection. It does mean though that the information may not be totally accurate – except for mine of course!

Memorial Service in Weston Cemetery – 3.00pm, Sunday 9th June

Please do not forget to contact The Weston Branch of the Royal British Legion if you wish to be involved in their Memorial Service for all those who lost their lives during the Blitz in Weston.  If you would like to attend, please contact the Branch representative on 01934 709564 or e-mail r.potter60@talktalk.net


If you have any comments or questions about this newsletter, please feel free to add them together with any tips and advice you would like to share with other members.  We would like to be able to share your successes as well as help with any queries you may have. Not everyone can attend the face-to-face meetings and we hope that the Web site can provide a method of communication between members so that everyone feels involved in the Society.




News TopicMonthly Update
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WW2 Graves in Venray Cemetery
published by Peter de Dulin on Sat, 06/04/2024 - 16:21

A message forwaded from BAFHS because it mentions a soldier from WSM.

From: Sue Swanborough <swanbo42@btinternet.com> <0>

WW2 Graves in Venray War Cemetery
I became involved with this project after seeing Theo Vervoort’s  Facebook plea on a Yate Facebook page to find the background of a soldier who died in 1944 and came from Yate, which was successful.
Venray War Cemetery in Limburg, The Netherlands is the resting place for many British WW2 casualties.  Venray was liberated by Allied troops in October 1944, and the burials in the cemetery date from October 1944 to March 1945. A group of local volunteers in Venray are attempting to provide background information and a photograph for each soldier that is buried there.
They have been successful and been able to trace some relatives and obtain a photo of the service men.
However, there are many more soldiers buried there and they would love to identify relatives and hopefully have a photograph for each grave.
I am looking for descendants of three men from the Bristol area:
Oliver George BADMAN died27/11/1944 – he lived at Springleaze, Knowle Park, Bristol.  His parents were Oliver George and Elsie BADMAN

Leslie William LEONARD died 20/09/1944 – I think he lived at Stockwood Crescent in Bristol and his Parents were William Henry and Edith Leonard.  His wife was Lillian Betty Leonard(nee Harris)

John LENIHAN, died 24/03/1945 – son of Cornelius and Elizabeth LENIHAN, husband of Margaret E LEONARD (nee Kelly) They lived in Weston Super Mare.
I attach links to Venray Cemetery for you to access.  This is really a worthwhile project.
Venray War Cemetery in Venray, Limburg -(www.findagrave.com)
Venray War Cemetery | Cemetery Details | CWGC
Venray War Cemetery - World War Two Cemeteries - A photographic guide to the cemeteries and memorials of WW2 (ww2cemeteries.com)

News TopicMilitary
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April 2024 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Tue, 02/04/2024 - 0:02

Everything seems to be happening this weekend.  It is Easter with two Bank Holidays, the clocks have to be put forward 1 hour and it’s April Fool’s Day! And it's raining again!  How are you getting on with your family research?

Summer Time

Did you all remember to alter your clocks on Saturday evening?  As a child, I have a vague memory of the double summer time instituted during WW2.  Having to go to bed in broad daylight was a strange experience.  At least we had black-out curtains then which did help a little!

Easter in Rome

A portrait of a personDescription automatically generatedWatching the current Pope deliver his Easter Message reminded me that during WW2, my father who was severely wounded at Monte Cassino in 1944, after a partial recovery and classed as disabled, had spent the rest of the war in REME Workshops in Rome.  He did not come home until 1946. 

During this time,  he visited the Vatican with other troops for a gathering which was attended by the then Pope.  Not all his comrades were selected and several who were Catholics asked him (not a Catholic) to take various items with him so that when they sent them to their families, they could say that these had been in the presence of the Pope Pius Xll. 
My father kept this small card from that occasion.

This photo is of the group has my father sitting on the ground at the left hand end of the front row.



I have posted on Facebook the same request for information about inebriated women as you will find in our Research Forum.  This is an interesting project and has produced some relevant comments.  Looking at these women I can see that in some cases the Police Courts were sympathetic to their problems but in others (one woman was before them 17 times) less so but concerned about the welfare of the children involved. Looking at any problem with the benefit of C21st knowledge can sometimes produce a different result than if you were totally aware of the conditions and the social pressures of the time.

 Civilian Casualties of WW2 in Weston.

Here is a reminder that if you have any connection with any of Civilian casualties in Weston of WW2 and wish to attend this service please make sure that you let the BRL know as outlined below.  

REMEMBERING THE WESTON BLITZ 1941/42 – Sunday 9th June 2024

To mark the 80th Anniversary of D-Day the Weston Branch Royal British Legion will be holding a Memorial Service at the Civilian War Graves area of Milton Cemetery to commemorate those who lost their lives during the Blitz of 1941 and 1942. The Service will take place at 3pm on Sunday 9th June 2024.

The Branch would like to invite to this Service any relative, descendent or friend of those that lost their lives during the Blitz. If you would like to attend, please contact tthe Branch representative on 01934 709564 or e-mail r.potter60@talktalk.net

New Items on Ancestry

These items have been added or updated during March.

A screenshot of a computerDescription automatically generated

It is always a good idea to check to see if your ancestor is included in any update.

New Items on FindmyPast

These items have been added or updated recently and can be seen on this blog I wonder how many of us have relatives in Country Life?!
However, as a side issue, many of you will know that we used to run a vintage car for Wedding Hire and the past owners of that car may well appear.
I don’t only research relatives but also those who connect with us.

Research Forum - Napoleonic Wars

A person wearing a red uniformDescription automatically generatedBrian Airey has posted that he has access to a file of information about the Napoleonic Wars compiled by the late David Milner.  Brian is prepared to look up any person you think might be included.  You never know what is included in this file.

David Milner, who for many years was our Treasurer, spent a great deal of his time researching these wars as he had an ancestor involved.  On Open Days he would dress in uniform to create a suitable atmosphere.

Please use the Research Forum if you need help in breaking down brick walls or are simply unsure of where to look for individuals.

Free Help Session

The next free help session in Weston Library will take place on Saturday, April 6th at 2.00 p.m. until 3.30 p.m.  Everyone is welcome, the Library has access to Ancestry and FindmyPast (which includes many newspapers) as well as on the shelves where you can find maps, street directories, electoral rolls, and files containing information about people and places in North Somerset etc.  Thanks go to our team of Volunteers who enable these sessions to take place.  

Scout Hut in Totterdown Road

My father-in-law was a scout with the 3rd Weston-super-Mare (St Paul’s) Scout Group  back during WW1 when they met in Whitecross Road. Much later, both our sons were scouts with the same Group,  meeting at the Gilcraft Den at 41, Totterdown Road and I served for some time on their committee. One of my sons is now a Trustee and has been involved in the planning and fundraising for a renovation of the Hut which is now taking place.

He is looking for exterior photographs of the Den as well as  maps to show its previous use as a cowshed.  The Somerset Archives has plans for it in 1923 and 1947.  If anyone is going to Taunton in the near future perhaps they could take a look for me? The next visit of the North Somerset Archivist to Weston Library is in June.


The National Library of Scotland has a map of 1929-1930 of Weston which does show it opposite the end of Whitting Road.  This is a good free source of maps as well as Know Your Place.

Next Society Meeting

There has been a change of speaker for the next meeting on Wed. 10th April at 2.30pm at Our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall.   It will be Merchant Seamen in the C19th & C20th by Lucy Browne: what their lives were like and how to research them. 
Many have a more praiseworthy service than our relation - Henry Austin HASE - who was born in Weston in 1857 but was sentenced to spend time on board the Training Ship Formidable in 1871.  From there he was apprenticed to the Merchant Navy and placed aboard the SS William from which he absconded in 1873 in Liverpool after his first voyage.

Ancestry has this record of him. 

A close up of a documentDescription automatically generated


There was an excellent Zoom Workshop in March given by Mark Bayley from The Genealogist.  It is now available for all members to view on our web site.  It made me realise that whatever commercial site you subscribe to – there may well be areas of it which you have  never used. So, make sure that you get full benefit from your subscription.

The Zoom meeting on April 24th will be hosted by Mark Olsen of Family Tree Maker with news on the website with discounts and door prizes included.  

The Society

We are still in need of assistance on the Committee and a great many thanks are due to all those who struggle on to support this society.  Please consider what you can do to make sure that it survives.  Your opinion about what you think a society should or could provide, how to attract  younger people and meet their needs is of great importance. 

News TopicMonthly Update
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Finding Eliza Carr
published by Peter de Dulin on Wed, 20/03/2024 - 11:49
News TopicFairs, Seminars & Talks
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Napoleonic Wars
published by Brian & Pam Airey on Thu, 14/03/2024 - 12:18

I have just been through our archives and found records produced by a former member, David Milner, on regiments, personnel and other records concerning the Napoleonic Wars. The file is too large for this website but I will be happy to do a look up for anyone interested in a particular name.

Brian Airey

News TopicMilitary
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Tickenham St Quiricus & St Julietta
published by Graham Payne on Thu, 14/03/2024 - 11:15

The Tickenham St Quiricus & St Julietta MIs are now available for society members to view online.

Please report any transcript errors or if you can provide information relating to incomplete entries to the author of this news article.


News TopicTranscripts
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Forthcoming Events

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