News & Information (Monthly Update)
|April 2020 Update|
published by Pat Hase on Tue, 31/03/2020 - 23:25
I’m sure members will join with me in thanking the NHS and all Key Workers who by continuing to work are helping us to keep safe, whether medically, with essential services or by voluntarily keeping us supplied with our needs.
While we face the uncertainty of this pandemic the Family History Society, like all groups elsewhere, has suspended activities where we meet face to face. This should not and must not stop us communicating with each other. We have a common interest in the lives of our families in the past and present and an opportunity to make sure that future generations have more information handed down to them.
Buckets and Spades
Thank you to Sue Maguire who edited the 100th edition of Buckets and Spades published in March which as usual is full of interesting articles. I was particularly interested in the one about Charlotte MORGAN, the nurse who served in WW1 and died in November 1918. I wonder whether she died from the Spanish ‘Flu which was prevalent at that time? Looking through the Cemetery records which are available on this site the increase in the number of burials at that time is obvious and although not all would have been from that pandemic, I suspect that many were.
Whilst on the subject of Buckets and Spades – The next issue of ‘Buckets & Spades’ is due for publication at the end of July, so the deadline for articles and photos is 15 June 2020. Sue would be grateful for articles so that she can plan the contents.
I’ve just noticed that this must be my 101st Monthly Update and I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve praised the Lost Cousins Web site during that time but for those of you who have still not yet registered for its excellent newsletters the one published mid-March comes with the news that Lost Cousins will be completely free over the Easter Weekend. It’s a great way of finding others researching the same people – your “lost cousins”- and making contact with them. You will have plenty of time to fill in the census details which make the matches.
And their newsletter published today has amongst so many other gems included an incentive to fill in your census details, and highlights a possible effect of coronavirus in connection with postponed marriages which I hadn’t really considered but it might affect family historians of the future.
One of my “cousins” found on the Lost Cousins site has also tested her DNA. We share a common ancestor in my 3 x great grandparents confirming our relationship. Jenny TOWEY is offering advice on DNA testing and understanding the results – Contact her through our website using the “Contact us” button at the top of the home page and choosing “Chairperson” under category.
A couple of new queries have been posted today - take a look at them and I hope that you will consider offering suggestions in answer to these or post new queries as you consider your own research. The Research Forum should come into its own at this time when you have more time to question your own family trees. It always surprises me that it is not used more or have you all finished and are busy writing up your family history research? In which case there should be many more articles for Buckets and Spades in the near future!
How many of you have people in your tree who were transported to Australia? The web site Digital Panoptican has a tremendous amount of information. Not only does it give background information about transportation, but it also allows you to search for individual convicts and in many cases see the original documents which concern them.
Death in the Workhouse
If any of you have found people who have died in Axbridge Workhouse – or Ilex Lodge as it was later called, I’d be pleased to hear from you as I’m trying to update the records on our web site. I recently added a transcription of the 1939 Register when the building was still being used as a Public Assistance Institution and as a local Infirmary. The purpose-built Infirmary became St John’s Hospital when the NHS was founded in 1948 and the old Workhouse became the headquarters of the Axbridge Rural District Council.
After the Virus
Let’s start planning for the future – what should the Society be doing when we can all meet up together again? We were planning Workshops and attending more local shows to spread the word about the joys of researching your family – Let us know what you would like the society to do for you? What can you do for the Society?
Is there an area you would like to see more fully researched?
- We get a lot of questions about schools in the locality - is that a topic which you would be prepared to assist in researching? Weston was a flourishing centre for private education in the 19th century. How many young people were sent to Weston to be educated? What about the other schools?
- It doesn’t look as if we shall be able to commemorate VE Day as we had hoped – perhaps there’s some research to be done about WW2 and its effect on this area and how our families were involved.
We can’t say for certain yet when we will be able to meet again but, in the meantime, keep researching, naming your photographs, writing up your findings, asking questions of your relations. If you can’t find the answer use the Research Forum or the Facebook Group, and above all keep safe so that our families and friends stay safe.
If you have anything you would like to add to this Update – please use the comment facility.
|March 2020 Update|
published by Pat Hase on Sat, 29/02/2020 - 13:07
It's a Leap Year and I wonder how many of you have relations who are celebrating their birthdays on Feb 29th? According to the 1939 Register there were 323 people living in Somerset with that birth date and of them just 26 lived in Weston and Worle at that time. Probably a bit of useless information and of course it doesn't take into account people who are still alive and whose information is redacted.
Locking Village Talk - Looking at Locking
At our last meeting in April we had an interesting talk about the history of Locking given by one our members and resident of Locking, Simon Begent. He highlighted the fact that there is a local history exhibition about the village, the airfield and the former RAF Locking Camp. in St Augustine's Church which is open to the public from !0.00am - dusk on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. You are welcome to visit. The Locking website also has a plan of the churchyard and a list of the burials there.
New Archive Card
For those of you who are planning to visit an Archive in the near future there is a new Archive Card coming into use.
The County Archive Research Network (CARN) card ceased last November and will be replaced by this new card. You can see more details about how to apply for a card and which Archives need one on this website
New Resources Online
It's often advisable to look again to see what new records have been added to the Internet. You do not have to subscribe to a commercial site to find out what is new.
- The Genealogist has released some new RAF Operations Book Records which make for fascinating reading. To find out more about these records, you can read Nick Thorne's article "RAF Operations books build a picture of WWII aircrew ancestors' action".
- For a bit of local colour about the RAF during WW2 take a look at an interview with Arthur Spencer who was later the first Head master of Priory School about his experiences as a Navigator in the RAF
- Findmypast update their site each Friday and you can read about their new records on their Blog. This Friday, being near to March 1st and St David's Day their new records include Welsh Burials. Findmypast also has new parish records from Surrey and Hampshire, some with images of original entries. Findmypast also has a collection of Devon Social & Institutional Records. This set of records includes information about paupers, vagrants, apprentices, peddlers and tradesmen.
- Ancestry has a few new collections and Jenny Towey has recommended this article about DNA for those of you who have tested with Ancestry
- Familysearch has this article which interested me especially as it features Mary Berry who attended the same college in Bath as I did (a couple of years earlier) but so many of her comments ring bells with me.
- Somerset Heritage Centre has a half-day course in reading Common phrases in Latin and English which are found in old documents. This will be on April 28th
- Bristol Archives has announced that the records for Arnos Vale Cemetery can be now be seen there. This is very welcome news and I know of several Weston people who were buried there. The catalogue entry with more details about these records can be seen here
I've been struggling with technology this week. Just over 20 years ago I backed up some research using the backup utility included with Windows 95 and 98. Safely stored on 3 1/2 inch floppy disks! I wanted to restore this but of course I no longer have a suitable disc drive so I purchased one - only to find that the backup files .QIC can not be restored as microsoft no longer supports their own backup files! I tried a programme which is supposed to be able to open all files with no success.
I wish I had just saved the data as a word file - those I can open - but at least I do have a printed copy - Paper it seems is best after all. I mention this as a warning to be aware that the speed with which technology has changed over the years and how we can get caught out by it. If any of our more technically minded members have way of restoring .QIC files I would love to hear from them.
Activities in March
The North Somerset Archivist visit to Weston Library is on Thursday March 5th This is so useful if you are researching a Somerset Family or building. Sessions are open from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm, and from 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm For more information and to ask for documents to be brought to Weston contact email@example.com
The Dorset Family History Society is having a Family History Day on Sat March 21st at Poole. Unfortunately we will not be represented but there are many interesting exhibitors and speakers who will be there.
Our Society Meeting in March on Tuesday the 24th March will see a return visit of Shirley Hodgson who has spoken to us before about the Home Children. This time her topic is the TS Formidable which was a Training Ship anchored off Portishead and was used as an Industrial School where young boys who had fallen foul of the local magistrates were sent to learn skills which would suit them for a life at sea. It was set up in 1869 and in 1870 a young Henry HASE, aged about 13, from Weston-super-Mare joined their ranks for 5 years having been caught stealing from a local shop so I have a particular interest in this talk and am looking forward to it.
The Saturday Free Help Sessions will continue as usual throughout March and we look forward to meeting up with some of you there. The Library is certainly not a quiet zone while we are in there and all the volunteers delight in suggesting ways of continuing your research. Beginners are particularly welcome and so are those who wish to update their skills or who just to discover what the North Somerset Local Studies Library holds.
Other Society News
Facebook Group - This continues to grow and members have made some useful contacts through it. As it is a closed group you have to join to see what it contains but for those of you who use Facebook it might be worth a look. There is a link on our home page.
Workshops - The Committee is hoping to offer some Workshops in various aspects of Family History Research and Peter de Dulin would like to hear from any member who has ideas about timing, topics and/or venues for these Workshops. You can contact Peter here
This is your society - let us know if there is anything you would like to see the society doing to aid your research.
|February 2020 Update|
published by Pat Hase on Sun, 02/02/2020 - 23:39
A warm welcome to any new members who are reading this Update and we wish you all a successful time with us finding out more information about your family history. Please add your surname interests to the list so that you can find out whether you share a surname with other members.
A brief reminder to other members that, if you have not already done so, your annual subscription is now due and can be paid directly to our membership secretary, Graham Payne, details here or online via Genfair when you can choose whether to have our journal supplied digitally or sent to you as a printed booklet.
- Due to circumstances out of our control the Weston Library will be closed next Saturday - that's the 8th February - which means that our Free Help Session will not take place. We will be there on Saturday February 15th as usual from 2.00 - 3.30
- An unexpected benefit of this is that members will be free to visit the Family History Show on Saturday 8th Feb which is being held at UWE in Bristol from 10 a.m. until 4.30 p.m. This is the largest family history event in the South West and apart from the exhibitors there will be free talks throughout the day.
- Over the years there have been many ways in which the advent of the internet has produced helpful ways of allowing people with similar interests to meet and compare research. But changes are now happening and those of us who have benefited from belonging to Yahoo Groups and Rootsweb Mailing Lists are having to learn new ways to keep in touch as these are closing. Much gratitude is due to those who administered and kept them going. I attended several annual meetings (we called them "Bunfights"! ) of people from one of the Rootsweb Mailing lists covering our area. These were friendly and enjoyable to be able to put faces to the names who were so helpful in answering queries.
- New methods will take their place and I do recommend taking advantage of these - it is always beneficial to share your problem and to gain help from people with a similar interest.
- This leads me to the use of our own Research Forum for full members and our Face Book Group for non-members. There is a wealth of experience to be tapped - why not use these avenues for research? We have opened the Research Forum to members who are researching their ancestors from other parts of the country as our local membership does not necessarily have local ancestors.
- Ancestry - which is available free of charge in the Library - has updated "Find a Grave" and it now includes burials at sea, burials in other parts of the world and more from the UK. I have been able to find some recent burials of distant relations.
- Find my Past has a useful guide for beginners with a 5-step guide to tracing a family back to 1911 which may be particularly useful when encouraging younger relatives to take an interest!
- Janet Few continues to provide thought provoking blogs about research and this one about the "Words and Voices of our Ancestors" may inspire you to record any living relatives and to consider the dialects which our ancestors used and how they were interpreted by enumerators!
- The deadline for items for the next edition of Buckets and Spades is fast approaching - February 14th - This will be the 100th edition of our journal and our editor, Sue Mcguire, is looking forward to all your contributions.
- At the last meeting a new catalogue of the Books in our own Library was made available to our full members who attend meetings. Brian Airey brings a selection to each meeting relevant to the topic of the evening but with this catalogue you can see the all which are available. It is available online on our webpage and printed copies are available at meetings
Speakers and Society Meetings
- Thanks to Peter Lander, our member, and archivist of the Birnbeck Regeneration Project for his interesting talk at the January meeting. It coincided with yet another newspaper account speculating about the future of this historic landmark. Many of our ancestors who lived in the area would have been familiar with the pier (or bridge) and island as Peter called it, through the attractive funfare installations, the Lifeboat, the popular boat trips along the Bristol Channel and towards the end of its active life the Victorian Musical Evenings and Banquets. If you do have any photographs of Birnbeck do let Peter have them as they all add something to its history
- Our next Meeting, on Feb 25th, will have another member Simon Begent, as the guest Speaker. He will be talking about Locking , his home village. Locking is also linked closely with RAF Locking and at least one of our members was an apprentice there. The history of Locking is fascinating linking it with Woodspring Priory and the Bristol Merchant Venturers amongst others. What would it have been like to live there during the Monmouth uprising?
We would welcome comments from members, especially if they have discovered new helpful resources or have any ideas about what they want from this society.
|January 2020 Update|
published by rockerjt9 on Fri, 27/12/2019 - 15:56
Welcome to 2020
A new year, a fresh start - new resolutions?...before you consider what to write on your list of resolutions...please ensure that you have renewed your membership in order to benefit from attending meetings, receiving the journal and having access to all the birth, marriage and death transcripts of local records - as well as being able to pick the brains of your fellow members on the forum!
Methods of payment can be found in the membership section...you can opt whether to receive your Buckets & Spades journal electronically or in the traditional paper form.
Select the Click Here to Download Membership Form to join or renew.
DNA testing for genealogy has set the family history world alight! Why do it? - because you can connect with cousins you never knew existed...and they may have photographs and family information that you don't. You will expand your knowledge of your greater family tree: discovering, for example, that great uncle Fred emigrated to Australia (voluntarily or otherwise!), Canada or elsewhere in the world. He may have lived an amazing life that you can tell your children and grandchildren about.
Brickwalls can be knocked down via DNA testing but - more importantly in my opinion - you can verify your research! I have been researching my ancestors for over 45 years so I have a lot of information - and when I find a DNA match with someone whose mutual ancestors go back to the C20th, C19th or even the C18th I am cock-a-hoop!!
Do email me with any DNA queries and/or come along to one of my U3A DNA sessions (1st Monday, 2pm - 4pm, at 5A Madam Lane, Worle; 2nd Thursday, 2pm - 4pm, at 4, Channel Heights, Bleadon).
Free Help Sessions
Every Saturday afternoon volunteers from the Society attend Weston Library, in the Town Hall, 2pm - 3.30pm, to freely advise and assist anyone (member or not). With our experience and expertise we can - usually! - discover information to add to your family tree: anywhere, not just in Somerset. Bring us your brick walls!!
The next Members' meeting - open to all - is on Tuesday 28th January at the Vintage Church, 25 Hughenden Road, BS23 2UR. Our speaker is Peter Lander on the subject of the Birnbeck Pier and people connected with it. This iconic, Grade II listed pier, designed by architect Eugenius Birch, deserves a future and, hopefully, Peter will be able to give us an update on what the future holds...
Refreshments are available.
Hope to see you there...
|December 2019 Update|
published by Pat Hase on Mon, 02/12/2019 - 15:18
It's nearly Christmas and late in November, our Society had a stand at the enjoyable St Mark’s, Worle, Parish Christmas Event which had been organised by our member Grace Rubery.
There we met people who were new to family history and were able to stress the point that we are open to anyone, not only those who are researching Weston families.
A school choir performing Christmas music meant that there were families present and the new My family Tree Booklet was very popular. If you haven’t seen it - look at the Family Federation Site and perhaps print it off to give as a stocking filler to your young relations. Perhaps you could help them fill it in?
During the November Monthly Meeting the Society held its AGM, returning a Committee which saw the official recognition and election of Jenny Towey as Chair. A full house enjoyed a light-hearted quiz, refreshments and an interesting presentation by member Ann Lockyer about a black sheep member of her family who suffered the privations of a spell on a Prison Hulk. The November 2019 edition of our journal – Buckets and Spades – was available and it is also available online to full members.
Christmas Day Marriages
At this time of year, it is more difficult to spend time researching the past amid the festivities and meeting up with living relatives. But it is interesting to spare a thought for the number of marriages which took place on Christmas Day. In my own family I have recorded 29 Christmas Day marriages. Most of them 120 - 300 years ago and I wonder how the day was spent after the ceremony?
The majority of these being before 1837 will have had to have taken place in Church of England Churches. My husband’s grandparents were married on Christmas Day in 1885 in the Congregational Church in Waterloo Street.
This building was destroyed by enemy action during WW2 and replaced by the United Reform Church using the same site and footprint.
It is amazing how new information emerges from the woodwork. I have been given some photo albums and documents by a cousin and was delighted to find a letter from Australia written in 1895 to my great grandmother in Bristol. A number of different family members were mentioned, and a story is developing – however, the photo albums have the age-old problem of un-named photos! Only a handful have any identification and it brought home to me once again the need to label photographs. It is so disappointing especially as one of them resembles my grandson as a child – I think the young boy in the photo might be my grandfather who was born in 1874 but have no proof.
There have been several TV programmes lately with a family history and war time flavour - you might be able to catch up with them still.
- I was particularly interested in gary Lineker's "My Grandad's War" originally broadcast on Remembrance Day, Nov 11th. A description of the programme can be seen here. My own father was severely wounded during the Monte Cassino Campaign in May 1944 and the description of Gary Lineker's grandfather's experiences added to my understanding of the event. As I write this there are 16 days left to view this programme on BBC iPlayer
- Channel 4's 'My Grandparents’ War' featuring Helena Bonham-Carter can be still be viewed and the next programme in this series will be shown on Wed Dec 4th at 9.00pm it concerns Mark Rylance who explores the extraordinary World War II story of his grandfather Osmond Skinner, who spent almost four years as a Japanese prisoner of war.
- There are 10 days left to view the two programmes which cover Ant and Dec’s DNA Journey on ITV when Ant and Dec are given a unique insight into their lives using innovative DNA science and technology to trace their ancestors.
I continue to be pleased with the Wills which I have received at £1.50 each since they were reduced in price. It isn’t so much about what was left to beneficiaries but the names which are mentioned in the Will. The latest one to arrive added little to what I already knew but the Will was written just one month after the writer married (nothing strange there) and the witnesses were his father-in-law and the husband of his bride’s sister. Everything was left to his wife but as I knew the people involved it all built up a picture of the family.
- The Research Forum query about the Gallop Tea Gardens at Dundry produced some very interesting replies and the use of maps to aid in research was very useful.
- The newspaper accounts of events which took place concerning residents were a useful reminder that all that you read in newspapers might not be correct! Things haven’t changed much over the years. In this case the first name of someone who died 20 odd years previously was incorrect – but perhaps he was known by another name, different from the one he used on censuses and when he married?
- If you have any query and it doesn’t have to be about family in the Weston area please consider using the Research Forum. The replies can help others and suggest ways of furthering your own research.
Free Help Sessions
The Free Help Sessions in the Library continue every Saturday afternoon and the Volunteers are pleased to meet new people. The free access to Ancestry enables the helpers to deal with queries about people in other parts of the country. Situated in the North Somerset Local History Library we also have access to newspapers on film which have not yet been digitalised and therefore are not available online. However, unless you have a specific date of an event allow yourself plenty of time to trawl through the pages!.
We do not have a Society Meeting in December so the next meeting is on Tuesday, January 28th when member, Peter Lander will be talking about Birnbeck Pier: Past, Present & Future. Peter is closely involved with the Birnbeck Pier Regeneration Trust and is very interested in the history of the Pier in particular with the people involved with it.
Wishing all our members (past, present and future) a joyous Holiday season with plenty of opportunities to ask questions of and record the answers from older relatives - as Gary Lineker said - "Although we were close, my grandad never spoke to me about his wartime experiences… and now he’s passed away, it’s too late for me to ask him.” and name those photographs!!
|November 2019 Update|
published by Pat Hase on Thu, 31/10/2019 - 23:26
Tricks and treats are not only evident at Halloween but also in family history research. It sometimes looks as if our ancestors played tricks by purposely making it difficult to be traced when they disappear from all the usual resources. At other times, some documents may suddenly reveal amazing information which you are not expecting – a real treat!
- I’ve just received a Will of a maiden lady who I thought was an only child only to read that she left bequests to her six nieces who turned out to be the daughters of her two sisters and two brothers. Not only did she name all of them but gave their married names as well – which filled in many gaps in the family. For £1.50 that really was a bargain! The wills are now coming through quite quickly and have given quite a boost to my research.
- I’ve also heard via the Ancestry Site that someone has discovered that he is related both to me and to my husband. Now that is going to take a bit of sorting out! Who can say that they have finished their research?
- Remembrance Sunday this year falls on November 10th when we remember the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts. Not only those who fell but also those who were wounded, mentally and physically as a result of wars. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission Web Site should be the first port of call when looking for relations who died in any of these conflicts. Don’t forget that Civilian casualties are also recorded there.
- The CWGC site has more than lists of casualties. My father was severely wounded on his birthday May 11th1944 at the battle of Monte Cassino in Italy. The CWGC pages about Monte Cassino give an interesting look into this battle. It pays to explore this site.
- My Diary for 2020 tells me that the May Day Holiday on the 1st Monday in May will not take place next year but instead there will be a Bank Holiday on Friday 8th May to coincide with VE Day or Victory in Europe Day, which marks the day during World War Two when fighting against Nazi Germany came to an end in Europe. That weekend there will be many commemorative events as we look back 75 years to May 8th, 1945.
- Victory celebrations were anticipated in Bristol. Late at night on May 7th, before the much-anticipated official announcement, my mother woke me to get out of bed to see the bonfires which had been lit along the railway line near what was then the thirteen arches in Eastville. I sleepily said “alright” and went back to sleep! I do remember the Street Party and the feeling of excitement during the days which followed, we as children, catching the mood of our elders. Do you or other members of your family have memories of this time? How should we as a Family History Society mark this occasion?
- On Saturday the 23rd November from 10.00 a.m. until 4.00 p.m. the Society will be having a stand at an event at St Marks Church in Worle. Please come along and support us. It will be in the form of a Help Desk so bring along your research and any queries.
- We are looking to attend more local shows next year. If you know of any Village, School, Scout or Guide fete or any other community show at which we could have a stand to publicise our society please let Graham Payne or any of the Committee know so that we can discuss this with the organisers.
- Please let your friends know about our Free Help Sessions each Saturday afternoon at the Library. They do not have to be members or researching local families. We would be happy to see anyone with a query.
Photographers and Photography
- The talk we had about Somerset Photographers in October was very interesting but has left me with more questions than answers. Some years ago, I was given an old photograph album by my Aunt. She told me that all the photographs in it were of her side of the family. Not one of them was named.
- Two of them were taken by J. G. Williams, Photographer of High Street, Weston-super-Mare and showed what I believed to be a young family on holiday in Weston-super-Mare and the children had been given buckets and spades to hold during the session. I thought that I could identify them. I thought they were my great grandmother’s sister and husband with girls born in 1872, 1875 & 1878 and two boys born in 1880 and 1883. The boys had not yet been breeched (put into trousers)
- However, from the book “Secure the Shadow” compiled by the speakers about Somerset Photographers 1839-1938 I discovered that J. G. Williams left the High Street in 1874 which did not match the ages of the children. I contacted Phil Nichols and he cast even more doubt on my identification of the family by suggesting that the style of photographs looks to date it to late 1860s or very early 1870s. Firstly, the carte has square, and not rounded, corners, and secondly the full-length poses are typical of the 1860s - see the descriptions of styles / fashions at http://www.cartes.freeuk.com/time/time.htm
- So, I’m now looking for a family in my tree with at least 5 children born before 1872. Back to the drawing board!
- I sound like the proverbial broken record here - but why are members not using the Research Forum? We have said that the queries do not only have to be about our area as many of our local members are researching family from elsewhere.
- There are under a handful of members who ever contribute to this Forum - either to ask a question or to give help and suggestions to others.
- I have just put a new item on our web site – it can be found under Information Sources, Places/Churches, and Wraxall. You will find a document relating to Wraxall – “My Wraxall Connection” click on that and you will be able to read about part of my maternal tree – the STOKES family. This is an experiment to see if we can add to the information and general interest available under the Information Sources.
- This isn’t a tree but a narrative about the place and people living there. Could you add similar documents under other places? Let me know what you think. I’m working on one now for Mark and my connection with the PUDDY family – but as they frequently wandered from Mark it is proving difficult!
Next Meeting and AGM
At our next monthly meeting on Tuesday November 26th will be our AGM and a members’ evening when you are asked to contribute. In the past we have had some fascinating items from your research. This month you are asked if you know of any Black Sheep in your family? Do you have Famous or Infamous people on your tree? Be prepared to talk about your naughty and/or interesting ancestors. The latest edition of Buckets & Spades will also be available for collection.
Tuesday, 28th April, 2020 19:00 - 21:00
Tuesday, 26th May, 2020 19:00 - 21:00
Tuesday, 23rd June, 2020 19:00 - 21:00
Tuesday, 28th July, 2020 19:00 - 21:00
Tuesday, 29th September, 2020 19:00 - 21:00
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