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January 2019 Update
published by Pat Hase on Mon, 31/12/2018 - 21:58

A Happy New Year to all who are reading this! 

My thoughts on DNA Testing

  • I have a feeling that 2019 will bring more questions to your family history research.  Hopefully, the popularity of DNA testing – or at least the fact that it has been so widely publicised with special offers - will attract more people to do some actual research about their ancestors. 
  • Many will have been tempted over the Christmas season to purchase kits, lured by the offer of an insight into their ethnicity but with no idea of where their grandparents came from, let alone where their ancestors lived hundreds or even thousands of years ago!  For example, take a look at this extract from a year ago when the presenters of Good morning Britain were tested and see their reactions.
  • The results of DNA tests are another tool in the researching of our family history when used in conjunction with traditional methods.
  • If you are considering DNA testing, I found this blog on Findmypast very useful 3 Reasons every family historian should take a DNA test
  • If you have tested, or are considering testing, be prepared to spend time researching the trees of your matches to find where the link might be or adding to your own tree in preparation.  For example, my best match so far is a 2nd to 3rd cousin once removed (on My Heritage) This means that we could share great grandparents or gg grandparents.  In order to find a link I am now filling in all the descendants of the siblings of my gg grandparents in the hope that we find a connection somewhere.  I think I know all 16 gg grandparents (and all 32 ggg grandparents) but this would be a good target for everyone to aim at during 2019.
  • Over Christmas I enjoyed the Royal Institute Lectures which were on the theme “Who am I?” and explored DNA.  They can still be seen on iplayer for another 3 weeks. As a background to DNA testing I found them very interesting.

Social History and Family History

  • I consider that apart from the documentary evidence which we use in family history research that the Social History of the period in which our ancestors were living is also important. This video provides some assistance in understanding the background to our families and gives some tips for research.  
  • There have been a few queries about addresses on our Research Forum lately.  For Weston addresses it is possible to have some idea if the number changed by using the address search available on Findmypast on censuses for 1901 and 1911.  If any of the residents in the street are there on both censuses, note their addresses for both years.  Many of Weston houses did not have numbers initially but were given names (which did sometimes change!) Look on Google StreetView for up-to-date images of the road – the numbers today should be the same as they were in 1911.

Cost of BMD Certificates from the GRO

  • If when you are doing any research you need to buy a copy of a birth, marriage or death certificate you should try to do it before the prices go up on Feb 16th 2019. See the Latest News Item on our own web site for more details
  • Don't forget that the GRO Index will give you the mother's maiden name from 1837 - 1917 and the age at death from 1837 - 1957.  The cost of the PDF versions is also going up.

BillionGraves

  • I have been surprised recently by finding some burials of relations on BillionGraves – they were in Manchester but there are a few more local ones as well. 
  • I also found the grave of Arthur Harold John PUDDY who was a 2nd cousin to my husband in Highbridge Cemetery.  The site is worth investigating and is free to search.

Roman Catholic Records

  • This blog on Findmypast explains the importance of Roman Catholic Records and where to find them and how to read them. 

Dates for your Diary

  • Just a reminder that the dead-line for articles for the next edition of Buckets and Spades is fast approaching – it’s the end of January and Sue Maguire will be delighted with anything you have to offer short or long.  Any new findings over Christmas or have any brick-walls been demolished?  Any resources you can recommend? Our Journal is a way of contacting all our members whether they are computer users or not and all will be pleased to read of your family history experiences. 
  • The U3A Family History Group will meet at St Paul’s Church Hall on Friday January 4th at 2.15pm – This Group has people who are beginners and some with vast experience so in the true spirit of the U3A is a Self-Help and Sharing Group.  It will meet monthly and the first meeting will be led by Grace Rubery who will offer an introduction and refresher presentation as well as investigating the needs of the group for 2019.  Grace has a programme planned until the summer – please contact her for more details.  Thank you, Grace and your team, for keeping this group going.
  • There are also two DNA for Family History Groups run by the U3A. One group meets in Worle from 2.00pm – 4.00 pm on the first Tuesday of the month and the other at Bleadon from 7pm – 9pm on the second Thursday of the month. Contact Jenny Towey for more information.
  • Society Subscriptions covering the calendar year from Jan 1st – Dec 31st and are now due and you can pay at the January meeting, use the form in the centre of Buckets and Spades or pay by credit card via the Parish Chest website.  See full details here 
  • After a break of a couple of weeks the Saturday Free Help Sessions at the Library will start again on Saturday the 5th January.   If you have any queries - please go along to the Library in the Town Hall in Weston between 2.00 until 3.30 pm to seek help.  Come at the start of the afternoon to ensure being seen by one of our volunteers. You don't have to be a member to come along.
  • The next meeting of the Society will be on Tuesday, January 22nd when Bill Caple will be looking back to September 1903 and the big storm and its effect on the Somerset Coast.  I was given a copy of Knightstone, The Story of Weston-super-Mare’s “Island” Theatre by Jonathan Shorney for Christmas.  The Theatre had been opened in 1902 and the audience of 500 that September evening was trapped until the storm subsided.

Lastly, it is the time for New Year Resolutions – one of mine is to get you all involved – so please when you have read this please add a comment where it says “Add new Comment” describing what your New Year Resolution will be in respect of Family History!

Many thanks for all the good wishes and cards I have received - Get Well, Birthday and Christmas Cards still fill the house and I am thankful for them all.  I am now almost half way through my chemotherapy and with the adjusted dosage I am not having the side effects which caused the problems with the first cycle.  I hope very much to be back with you all in the summer but I can still sit at a computer and research!

A Very Happy and  Successful New Year!

News TopicMonthly Update
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Cost of BMD Certificates from the GRO
published by Pat Hase on Wed, 26/12/2018 - 12:24

While you are enjoying the Christmas season, for those of you who haven't seen it - the Lost Cousins Newsletter (which I have recommended before) includes the information that from Feb 16th 2019 the cost of certificates and PDFs from the GRO will increase.  Full details of costs can be see on the Lost Cousins Newsletter. While you are digesting your Boxing Day fare you might like to consider whether you need to purchase any before the price goes up.  Happy New Year!

News TopicGeneral
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December 2018 Update
published by Pat Hase on Sun, 02/12/2018 - 17:07

It’s coming up to Christmas when families traditionally gather.  Here are some ideas for questions to ask members of your family to help jog memories.  It doesn’t have to be only the  oldest members of the family you talk to – replies from all ages will show how things have changed over even recent years!  Get the youngest members to contribute as well.  Answering the questions yourself might suggest things to be included as you write up your own family history.

Newspapers and Archives

Christmas is a time of celebration but looking at the resources which are available giving information about family members I am struck by the thought that many of them do not record happy times.  Records of Criminal proceedings, transportation, Workhouses, Asylums, Debtors Courts, Coal mining accidents, Military operations, etc. all tend to look at the harder side of life.  How did our ancestors enjoy themselves? 

  • You might have photographs of your family on holiday.  Where did they go?  How did they get there?
  • It is still true to say that bad news sells newspapers, but it is often possible to find evidence of what your ancestors did in their spare time.  The reporting of Sporting events often reveal an ancestor as part of a football or cricket team, or as a member of a boat competing in a Regatta. 
  • Flower and Produce Shows are often lovingly reported if your great grandfather won a prize for his turnips you can find that.  Your great grandmother might have won a prize for keeping a tidy cottage or for her strawberry jam.  These small titbits all add to the story of your family. 
  • Parish Entertainments may also show children dancing or singing, or taking part in amateur theatrical offerings.  A relation of mine regularly is found entertaining the inmates at a local Workhouse at Christmas!
  • The British Newspaper Archive, which is also available as part of the Findmypast subscription is a way to find Family announcements as well as your family name mentioned in news items.
  • Don’t forget that your library card allows you to have free access to the Times and other sites at home. The North Somerset Libraries Online provision can be found here (add NSC before your barcode number).    Look to see what is available where you live. You may not think that your family would get into the Times but you might be surprised – if your family name isn’t mentioned try searching for the place which they lived as you may find useful information. 
  • For more recent articles try the Newsstream Website also accessible by Library card (just underneath the Times Digital Archve)  - this can give obits and news items from the 1990s until the present day
  • Do try the John Johnson Collection as well as this is can be a really lucky dip.  Use the Jpeg version which highlights the words which you searching for – click on the highlighted number for a view of the page.  For example, searching for “Weston-super-Mare” - the first example (for a hair restorer) gives a photo of a Mr R H NICHOLLS  living in Montpelier and his letter of praise on Page 3.  Another example is in The Weekly Times of November 1st 1911 which publishes a letter praising Allinson’s flour by a Minnie JARVIS with details about her family which match the entry on the 1911 census in Meadow Street exactly.  Interestingly she says her family is vegetarian and we find her husband is a fruiterer on the census.

Familysearch

Years ago, when I started my family history research, one of the first ports of call was the LDS with its IGI (International Genealogical Index).  Then it was available on fiche.  As the computer took over from transcriptions on fiche, I think the LDS records, which were eventually made available online became overlooked in favour of some of the commercial sites for which you had to pay. Familysearch  www.familysearch.org is still a free site and has an ever-increasing number of records available – some even have images of the original documents.   Like all web sites it takes time to get acclimatised and get the most from it, but worth the effort. 

Scottish Ancestors

Do you have Scottish Ancestors?   This is worth checking out.  It is a free site called  Scottish Indexes. If you use the Advanced Search don’t forget to scroll down the page to get all the results.  This seems an excellent site to use - possibly before spending money on Scotlandspeople

Society news

The AGM was held at the November meeting and the Committee was re-elected.   As Peter de Dulin and I are out of action at the moment - until we are able to return, Jenny Towey is continuing as Acting Chair supported as usual by Brian Airey as Secretary and Roy Smith as Treasurer. 

New Co-opted Committee Members

Bill Caple is returning to the committee and joining him is Brian Yandell and we welcome them both. 

Honorary Life Membership

At the AGM two long-standing and hard-working members were presented with Honorary Life Membership.  The committee wanted to express its thanks in a tangible way in recognition of all their efforts on behalf of the society and for their generous gift of time and expertise.

  • Brian Airey, membership number 241, currently our Secretary with all that entails but has been Chairman (at one time simultaneously with being Secretary), looks after our library and arranges our visits to Archives all with a cheerful and supportive attitude.
  • Graham Payne, membership number 461, is our Membership Secretary and is the person responsible for the transcriptions to be found on our site as well as overseeing our web site (with Paul Tracey). Graham also organises our stand at Family History Fairs and maintains the equipment used by our Help Desk at such events with a quiet efficiency which benefits us all. 

Buckets and Spades

The latest edition of Buckets and Spades is now available, and all full members should have access to a copy by now.  It highlights the commemoration of the end of WW1.  The deadline for articles for the February edition is January 31st 2019 and Sue Maguire is looking forward to receiving them.

As can be seen  elsewhere on our web site  we have published “May They Rest in Peace”  about those who died during that war from the Parishes of Hutton, Bleadon and Locking and researched and edited by Paul Tracey.  

Some of the events which took place in Weston and district to recognise the Armistice were very moving and congratulation to all those who organised or took part in them.  History really comes alive when you can connect to it through your own family.  I have recently been looking at a WW2 Roll of Honour for a Scout group – I’m sure that when the children see the local addresses of those names on the memorial it will become more than just a list of names.  How can we, as a society, encourage the interest of the younger generation? Next year is 80 years since the start of WW2 – perhaps we should chronicle memories of that before everyone who can remember are no longer with us?

Facebook Page

Lorna Gibson would like to hear from anyone who is familiar with Facebook with a view to getting the society’s new Page launched.  The ground work has been done but she needs some assistance to open it to others.  Looking at other society Facebook pages they do seem to attract new members and are a way of letting others know that we exist.  Please contact Lorna if you can help.

Library Help Sessions

These will continue in the Library on Saturday afternoons as usual but the volunteers are taking a well earned rest on Dec 22nd and Dec 29th when they will not be there – staring again on Saturday, January 5th 2019.   If you have any questions in the meantime please use the Research Forum  or the “Contact Us” facility using the Research Queries Category.

Membership Subscriptions

Subscriptions cover the calendar year from Jan 1st – Dec 31st and are now due and you can pay at the next meeting, use the form in the centre of Buckets and Spades or pay by credit card via the Parish Chest website.  See full details here 

Next Meeting

There is no meeting in December while you celebrate Christmas but we look forward to the January meeting - on the 4th Tuesday in January - which will be Bill Caple talking about the effect of the 1903 storm and resulting flooding in Weston-super-Mare.  The full list of Speakers for next year will also be available at that meeting.

Wishing all our members and visitors to our site a Very Joyous Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.

News TopicMonthly Update
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Free Weekend from Findmypast
published by Pat Hase on Fri, 09/11/2018 - 14:41

To mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, Findmypast are offering free access to their records including newspapers this weekend.  It is available from noon on Friday 9th November until noon (GMT) on Monday 12th November 2018.

News TopicResources
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Skidmores in WW1 Exhibition at Weston Museum
published by Graham Payne on Fri, 02/11/2018 - 9:05

News TopicPeople
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November 2018 Update
published by Pat Hase on Wed, 31/10/2018 - 21:43

100 years ago this month saw the end of WW1 which is being widely commemorated with gratitude and with remembrance of the terrible loss of life.  In Weston there will be several events to mark this occasion and details can be found on our own web site and here under Pages of the Sea  Do take a look to see what is going on and remember that although the war was officially over, deaths from influenza of returning soldiers continued to be recorded well into 1919. 

For those who have ancestors in Wedmore there is a very moving  Facebook Page called The Isle of Wedmore Remembers which has been active since 2014 remembering the fact that the Isle of Wedmore in Somerset sent over 400 of its men to fight during the First World War.  It has highlighted each of these men on the 100th anniversary of their death and a book listing all involved has been published information about it on the Facebook Page.

Our society is publishing a book covering the people from Bleadon who were involved in the First World War and has been researched by Paul Tracey – Look out for information when it will be available.

Latest Resources

Familysearch  

  • This free site now includes Irish Civil Registration records of births from 1864 to 1913, marriages from 1845 to 1870 and deaths from 1864 to 1870.   Go to Ireland Civil Registration, 1845-1913 which isn’t the index but does have other information such as mother’s maiden name on births and father’s names on marriage entries.
  • Also on Familysearch are some Passenger lists of ships which arrived at Sydney from the UK between 1839 and 1923.  These are unassisted passengers and do not include convict ships. They are listed under Australia, Victoria, Inward Passenger Lists, 1839-1923 and are free to use.

School Records

  • The Genealogist had advertised an increase in the school records which it has on offer.  I’ve been checking them out and they seem to be largely for private schools.
  • I note that FindmyPast has a great many National School admission books which give the dates of birth and guardians of the pupils.
  • Ancestry gives access to London School Records under the heading  London, England, School Admissions and Discharges, 1840-1911.

The Research Forum

The Research Forum has been rather quiet lately, does this mean that you have no research queries at all?  It doesn’t matter if your question is not about a problem based in a North Somerset Parish – we have members with expertise in all parts of the country who may be able to help you.  The Forum is indicative of the activity of our membership and others reading the questions and answers are helped with new ideas and suggestions for their own research so please make use the forum. 

Saturday Help Sessions

The numbers coming in to the Saturday help Sessions in Weston Library usually rise in September/October with new members starting their family history in the Autumn. This hasn’t happened this year and the volunteers have been busy doing their own research instead of helping others.  You do not have to be a member to come into the Library and there is no charge for advice.   Please spread the word to anyone who might be thinking about starting their research (or are stuck and feeling frustrated) that help is at hand. 

Autumn Lunch

Unfortunately, I missed the Autumn Lunch this year but I am told that a good time was had by all and it was an excellent meal in the company of like-minded people enjoying an informal social gathering.  Many thanks to Peter de Dulin for organising what is becoming an annual event.

Society Meetings

  • Peter spoke at the September meeting about his research and it was reported to me that he was entertaining and informative.
  • In October the society welcomed Shirley Hodgson with some timely advice about basic research techniques and a reminder that well-resourced research is essential to produce an accurate list of ancestors.
  • November brings our AGM and a light-hearted Members’ Evening.

Jim & Margaret Nigh

At the October meeting Jim and Margaret Nigh relinquished their long-standing roles of guardians of the Exchange Journals.  We are so grateful to them for expertly taking control of the Journals for so long and hope that we will continue to see them at some meetings when they feel that they can attend from their home in Bristol.  Thank you both.

If you have any Journals from other societies to which you belong please consider sharing them with our members by bringing them to meetings as we would like to continue the service which has for such a long time been supported by the Nighs.

Society News

I must finish with my heart-felt thanks for all the messages of good will I received during the sessions of chemotherapy which I am having.  Sadly, the first session went pear shaped and I ended up in hospital for 12 days but I’m glad to say I am now much better and am about to start another session this week.  Although I will not be attending meetings while my immune system is lowered I hope that once this is all over I will be able to take full part in the society’s activities.

It never rains but it pours and Peter de Dulin, our Vice-Chair, who was standing in for me, is now in hospital waiting for heart surgery following a heart attack. We wish you a speedy recovery Peter and send our best wishes to Gillian at this time while we look forward to you joining us again.

We have been very fortunate in that Jenny Towey has offered to temporarily hold the fort until either Peter or I return, and she will be taking the chair at the AGM.  To have someone with Jenny’s experience available and willing to take over is a tremendous benefit to the society and the committee is very grateful for her support.

News TopicMonthly Update
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Forthcoming Events

Society Meeting
Tuesday, 24th September, 2019 19:00 - 21:00
Bristol & Avon Family History Fair
Saturday, 28th September, 2019 10:00 - 16:00
Society Meeting
Tuesday, 22nd October, 2019 19:00 - 21:00
Society Meeting
Tuesday, 26th November, 2019 19:00 - 21:00
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