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Talk by Dr Pimpernel -The Agricultural Revolution
published by Brian & Pam Airey on Sat, 15/06/2024 - 10:03
News TopicFairs, Seminars & Talks
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Free Records for D Day
published by Pat Hase on Thu, 06/06/2024 - 10:23

To Commemorate the 80th anniversary of D Day Findmypast is free for everyone from 10.00am today, June 6th until Monday. Ancestry also has free Military records available. See The Lost Cousins Newsletter for more details. https://lostcousins.com/newsletters2/jun24news.htm

News TopicResources
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80th Anniversary Commemorations (D-Day and WW2)
published by SMaguire on Wed, 05/06/2024 - 19:08
A reminder that RBL Hutton, Oldmixon and Locking  Branch will be hosting an 80th Anniversary D-Day Cream Tea this Saturday, 8 June (2 - 4 pm) in Hutton Village Hall. Tickets (£5) are available from Liz Brown on 07508114334 (and see WSMFHS Calendar).
Also, there are a few other events happening in Weston-super-Mare in remembrance of the War.
4 June - for one week - Wartime Photographic Exhibition in the Museum Courtyard;
6 June - midday - Weston Town Council Commemoration Service at Grove House;
6 June - 2.30 pm - Sing Song of WW2 songs at St John's Church (near Weston College), followed by afternoon tea;
9 June - 3 pm - RBL Blitz Commemoration Service at Milton Cemetery;
13 June - 7.30 pm - Blakehay Theatre - 'Weston at War'
News TopicEvents
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June 2024 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Sat, 01/06/2024 - 3:39

150th Newsletter

I was surprised when it was pointed out to me that this would be my 150th attempt to write a newsletter. I hope that you find some of my ramblings useful!

Facebook – Writing up Family History
There have been some interesting postings about the ways in which your Family History could be written up.  Probably as many different suggestions as there are people.  It seems that the best way can differ depending upon the intended readership.  Some suggested including information about how you did it, some started with an individual and worked back, while others started with the oldest ancestor and worked down to the present day.  Whichever way you choose make sure that all your hard work is not lost and is recorded for your descendants and relatives.
What do you suggest?

D Day
As we celebrate the 80th anniversary of D Day.  What memories do your family have of this time? Were any of your family involved?  I was only 4½ years old, but I can remember seeing American soldiers in Bristol.  Many Americans were stationed in Weston, and I believe some camped in Ellenborough Park during the day but went out to the countryside at night. Others were billeted in Hotels such as the Cairo, and some with families like the evacuees.

Looking through the Weston Newspapers I came across this article – and there are others. 

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  • Capt John Braithwaite lived at 35 Nithsdale Road.  I think his mother was a widow, Mrs Emily D Braithwaite, born 22 Aug 1887.  His father, Bernard Leigh BRAITHWAITE died just before John was born in 1919 – probably from Spanish ‘Flu.   I wonder why the father was buried at Bitton?  The mother was buried at East Brent.

Other Serving Soldiers
It was the first time that I saw my mother cry when my father was called up just before Christmas 1942.  Of course, I didn’t know then that she was pregnant with my sister.  My father was not involved in the Normandy Landings as his regiment was part of the diversionary attack in Italy on Monte Cassino in 1944.  Like many others who served he did not speak of his experiences, so after his death I sent for his Army Record.  When it eventually came, I discovered he spent his initial time in the Primary Training Wing. This letter had arrived at that time.   

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He wrote to me several times from there to explain what he was doing, and to encourage me to wear a gas mark  and to eat up my food!  He had previously served in the Home Guard.  He was then transferred to the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry at the Infantry Training Centre where he trained as a signaller.  I seems that my mother was telling tales!

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I have many more letters from him, even after he was wounded - several in rhyme.  Unfortunately, I do not have my mother’s letters.  I was lucky in that he did come home – so many who were part of D Day did not. 

Blitz in Weston
In October last year we were approached by the Royal British Legion to identify any relations or friends of those who died during the Blitz in Weston.  We know that not all the people who are buried in the Cemetery were from Weston but they are keen to get as many there as possible. As I was involved in designing the notice on the Civilian Graves Plot I am including this in case you might spot a name which rings a bell.

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Memorial Service in Weston Cemetery – 3.00pm, Sunday 9th June
If you would like to attend, please contact the Branch representative on 01934 709564 or e-mail r.potter60@talktalk.net

Saturday Help Session
A reminder that on Saturday 1st June our helpers will be at the Library from 2.00 until 3.30 to assist anyone with their research.  You do not have to be a member to come along.  The library has  a great many items which can be helpful as well as the ability to use Ancestry and Findmypast.

North Somerset Archivist
If you find a document that you wish to consult is at the Somerset Archives (not everything is available online) the next visit of the North Somerset Archivist is on Thursday next. Thursday 6 June and then again on Thursday 5 September and Thursday 5 December.  Sessions are open from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm, and from 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm For more information contact somersetarchives@swheritage.org.uk  Let them know what it is that you would like them to bring to the library – use their online catalogue to identify the document. https://somerset-cat.swheritage.org.uk/

New Releases from Ancestry

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The Poor Registers for Scotland look like a complete set and some of you may also be interested in the England Cricket Players – I see that it includes Lauren Filer

New releases on The Genealogist.

New releases rom Findmypast
https://www.findmypast.co.uk/blog/new/womens-navy-coastguard-records With the refurbishment of the Old Pier you may find something of interest in these records.

Prices of BMD Certificates
The prices of certificates and digital or PDF images have all gone up.
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The online digital image at £3.00 (if available) is still the same as a cup of coffee!

The next Society Meeting
The next meeting will be on Wednesday 12th June and will feature the Agricultural Revolution  of 1700-1850 with speaker Jim Pimpernell.  It was important to achieve a high level of productivity and the old 3 field system was overhauled.  As Somerset was predominantly agricultural-based many of our ancestor would have been working on the land. As usual the meeting will be at our Lady of Lourdes Church Hall from 2.30 pm until 5,00 pm.  Visitors are welcome.

The next Zoom Workshop
I will be leading the next Zoom Workshop on Wednesday 26th June, and it will be about the Poor Law with examples from the Axbridge Poor Law Union and Axbridge Workhouse.  I asked last month if anyone had specific queries about the way in which the poor were treated but I had few replies or comments posted.  It’s not too late to add your queries if you have any.

Visit to Mendip Hospital Cemetery
In the last newsletter Jenny gave warning about a planned visit in September.  Have you all replied to her?

It is now officially Summer so traditionally family historians go off researching the areas where their families lived.  Don’t forget that you belong to a Society whose members would like to hear how you are getting on.  Please post your comments and advice to other members which you think maybe helpful.

News TopicMonthly Update
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”

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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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Forthcoming Events

Workshop by Zoom: Axbridge Workhouse: Pat Hase
Wednesday, 26th June, 2024 19:30 - 21:00
Library Help Session
Saturday, 6th July, 2024 14:00 - 15:30
Physical Members' Meeting
Wednesday, 10th July, 2024 14:30 - 17:00
Workshop by Zoom: Guild of One-Name Studies
Wednesday, 24th July, 2024 19:30 - 21:30
Library Help Session
Saturday, 7th September, 2024 14:00 - 15:30
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