It’s Easter Sunday and there are signs of a new beginning. In Weston the Sand Sculptures and the Big Wheel have returned to attract holidaymakers and residents alike and in the tops of trees, rooks are beginning to spring clean their nests. Perhaps we could take the opportunity to spring clean our family history research. Do we have any odd twigs which are waiting for proof that they really are connected to our tree? Have we entered how or where we discovered “facts” about our families? If you are contemplating DNA testing you will find that an accurate paper trail will assist greatly in matching with other researchers.
Centenary of the Royal Air Force
On 1st April 1918 the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service were merged into a new organisation -The Royal Air Force - and here we are talking about all trades not only pilots.
- Findmypast has an Essential Guide to RAF Records which gives guidance for their use.
- Findmypast has the Royal Air Force Muster Roll of 1918 which lists each person’s trade and rank in their original service and their new trade and rank in the RAF. I found just one entry with the surname HASE - J. HASE No 35568 who enlisted on the 4th July 1916 and was a rigger in the Army becoming an aero rigger and A Mech 3 in the RAF.
- Findmypast has the British Royal Air Force, Airmen's service records 1912-1939 where I discovered that John HASE No 35568 lived at 41 Clevedon Road, Weston-super-Mare (he was my husband’s uncle) and transferred into the RAF on 1st April 1918. It also gives his marriage and the birth of his children.
Bleadon War Memorial
Whilst looking at WW1 issues in readiness for the centenary of the end of the war in November this year the Society has decided to produce a booklet commemorating the lives of the WW1 Casualties depicted on the War Memorial of Bleadon (one of our constituent parishes). With agreement from the Parish Council of Bleadon we are collecting information about each of the men featured in the War Memorial in Bleadon Church. If you are a full member you can see a photograph of it on our Bleadon Church page under “Bleadon St Peter & St Paul MIs” which has photographs and transcriptions of the graves in the churchyard and at the end, the War Memorials for both wars inside the church.
Paul Tracey has agreed to coordinate this project and if anyone has information about the lives and families of any of these people please will you contact him. If you know anything about those on the WW2 memorial in Bleadon please contact Paul as well.
For those of you who have connections with Bristol or Bath during WW2 you might be interested in a film issued free of charge by the BFI. As you will see, the film about Bristol and Bath starts with some shots of Chew Magna in 1942. The photographer was an American, Ernest D FEAR, who was born in Chew Magna, but by 1942 lived in Kansas USA. According to our transcriptions he was baptised as Edward Dennison FEAR in Chew Magna on the 30th March 1873, the son of a butcher, Samuel FEAR and his wife, Hannah.
The 35 minute Bristol & Bath colour film contains at about 20 minutes in (right at the end of the Bristol section) film taken about 1 hour after the bombing of 3 buses in Broadweir in Bristol with horrendous loss of life. The Commonwealth War Graves site shows 46 civilian fatalities from that one bomb.
Another result of the incident was that the 17th Century House at 19 Broadweir which had been the home of my ancestors between 1840-1880 and in 1942 was occupied by Taylor Bros – Printers - was so badly damaged that it had to be demolished later that day. It can clearly be seen in almost the final shot of that part of the film.
New Resources online
It is always useful to check if there have been any new or updated records put online. The following links should give some suggestions.
Ancestry (free of charge if used in the Library) link takes you to latest records - changes include an update to the following many of which also have images available
- UK and Ireland, Obituary Index, 2004-2017,
- Gloucestershire, England, Church of England Burials, 1813-1988
- London, England, Church of England Confirmation Records, 1838-1923
- London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932
- London, England, Workhouse Admission and Discharge Records, 1764-1930
Findmypast - this link takes you to a list of new resources which include:
- Prisoners of War 1715-1945
- Britain, Directories & Almanacs – 255 Directories for all parts of Britain including a Kelly’s Directory for Gloucestershire and Somerset (which includes Weston-super-Mare) for 1897,
- An essential guide to Royal Air Force Records - link given under RAF entry at beginning of this update
The Genealogist - this link takes you to some interesting background articles about new records.
If you can recommend any new sites – or old ones which you have found useful - please add a comment to this Update
Free Help Sessions
The dates for these sessions are on our Calendar and on Forthcoming Events. You are invited to attend any of them. Weekly, they are at Weston Library in the Town Hall and Monthly they are at Portishead, Worle and the Healthy Living Centre
Asking for Help
You can use our Web site in two ways to ask for help. Post a Query on the Research Forum or by listing a name under the Members’ Surname Interests, with a note giving a few more details. Answers to both appear as Comments on the right-hand side of the home page. If you feel you can answer any of the questions or give some suggestions as to how or where the answer may be found, please do so. Every little helps – even if the name isn’t actually in your own tree.
March Society Meeting
Neil Gibson gave an interesting talk about how to use Photoshop to enhance our family photographs. Every Picture tells a Story but some may have been badly handled over time. It is possible to digitally improve your images yourself or have them done professionally by someone like Neil. If you do not want to spend additional funds in purchasing Photoshop Neil did recommend some free software called GIMP which works in a similar way. But whichever you choose you need to learn how to use the programme to give the best results and Neil demonstrated how good those results could be in skilled hands. If you have any queries about the subject of his talk Neil can be contacted here
- April 12th Visit to The National Archives – Make sure that your Readers Ticket is up-to-date. Full details about the trip from Brian Airey
- April 14th FFHS Members - FFHS Every Ancestor Matters Conference details can be seen here.
- April 17th 2.00-4.00pm Weston Museum – Pleasures and Pitfalls of Family History Research. A workshop run by our Society. All welcome - Details can be seen here
- April 24th Members’ Evening. Led by Jenny & Peter Towey, members will be sharing their experiences of DNA testing. Bring along your questions about this latest aspect of family history research.
We were saddened and shocked to hear recently of the sudden death of Ian Edwards. Ian had been responsible for our website and was so supportive and helpful with any query which we had. I personally had reason to be grateful to him for his patience on many occasions when I found I had a problem with my computer. He regularly attended our monthly meetings and understood the needs of Family Historians. We extend our sympathy to Jennie and family and we will let you know when we have details of his funeral.