It’s March 1st bringing with it the daffodils with which to celebrate St David’s Day for the people of Wales and the promise of Spring. February, the shortest month, has finished with the most surprising weather for the UK. Days of warm sunny weather certainly makes our spirits rise. But, how did the weather affect our ancestors? British Weather from 1700 to 1849 gives us a glimpse of unusual weather events and of special concern was during 1845-46 when the weather conditions caused a widespread crop failure leading to great poverty and migration from the rural areas. This was very evident in Somerset when many left to find work in industrial areas, particularly, in South Wales.
Useful Web sites
- The British Newspaper Archive is continually adding new papers and this week has added the Central Somerset Gazette from 1862-1981 and I discovered with some amusement that in the edition of 5th June 1980 it was reported, under the heading of Women’s Institutes, that at the next meeting of the Rodney Stoke and Draycot WI there would be a “Cookery Demonstration of Summer Sweets and Salads by Mrs Hase”. I remember it well – I was working at Weston College at that time. I arrived early to take a look at the churchyard to see if I could find out anything about my husband’s CASELEY ancestors who came from Rodney Stoke!
- This advertisement caught my eye on Findmypast that “The 1921 Census is Coming” But even January 2022, when it will be released, isn’t that far away! I remember the excitement of the 1881 census being released because it had all my grandparents on it – The 1921 census will answer some of the questions of those wanting to know what happened to members of their family in the 20th Century before the 1939 register.
- Another new resource, if you have ancestors in the Bath area, is the free Bath Historical Directories which has Bath Directories from the 1840s to the 1930s and offers several ways in which to search them. I have spent many hours in Bath library searching through their Bath directories for members of the LONG family so this is actually very helpful.
- The February Newsletter from Lost Cousins included a master class on how to find birth certificates in England and Wales, which I’m sure you will find useful, especially if you are having difficulty with a missing relative. Having just written that, I received another newsletter from Lost Cousins with even more useful tips. It includes a short piece on a man marrying deceased wife’s sister – which always reminds me of the Fairy Queen in the G & S Operetta Iolanthe referring to the long- winded campaign to change the law when she sings of pricking "that annual blister, marriage with deceased wife's sister". If you do not already subscribe to this free newsletter I advise you to do so for up-to-date news about family history.
- Our own web site is expanding to include information about the villages which we cover. If you go to Information Sources in the left-hand column of the home page and then click on Places/Churches you will see a list of Places with the Church (or Churches) which serves them. If you click on the Name of the Church you get the transcriptions of their registers (for members only) but if you click on the Name of the Place you will get some information and photographs about the place. At the moment, there is information available for (in no particular order!) Abbots Leigh, Bleadon, Locking, Kenn, Chelvey, Badgworth, Brockley, Hutton, Chapel Allerton, Weare, Chew Stoke and Backwell. More will follow.
Dates for your Diary
- The North Somerset Archivist will be visiting Weston Library on the 1st Thursday of March, June, September and December. Sessions are open from 11.00 am to 1.00 pm, and from 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm. The next session is on Thursday 7th March and for more information or to order documents contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- The U3A in Weston is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its founding and its Family Group has been running from the start. The U3A is holding an Open Day including an exhibition of what it offers on Saturday, March 16th at the United Reform Church in Waterloo Street.
- The next edition of Buckets and Spades will be published at the end of March and is only available to full members but non-members - including our Facebook Group - can see selected articles from old issues. Go to Journal Articles in the menu at the left hand side of the home page.
- The Family History Show – South West will be held at UWE on 6th July 2019. It is good to support this which will have interesting stands and speakers and it is much nearer than London!
I know that many of you will want to join with me in offering sympathy and condolences to Maureen Harvey on the sad loss of her husband. Brian Austin is waiting for open heart surgery – we all wish him well and a speedy recovery.
The next meeting of the Society, on the 26th March, will be about the Mapping Project “Know Your Place”. This is a very exciting and useful resource and one to which you can add photographs and information. It now covers Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol, Devon, Gloucestershire, Somerset, North Somerset and Wiltshire . Take a look at the site before the meeting so that you can fully benefit from the talk.
The Saturday Free Help Sessions are continuing from 2.00 – 3.30 p.m. each Saturday in Weston Library. The facilities in the Local Studies section enables us to point you in the right direction whether you are researching somewhere in this locality or a family wherever it is. Free access to Ancestry is a tremendous help. Sometimes it just takes another person looking at your research to suggest a different path to take – this applies no matter how experienced you are. Thanks to all who freely give of their time and experience to support this.
If you have a stumbling block in your research why not ask for help either in the library or if you can’t get there, write on our Research Forum which has been rather quiet lately. I can't really believe that there are so few queries from members - every new thing I find poses another question! If you see a query that you can help with, then please do post a comment – any help is really appreciated. Non- members, including our Facebook Group can answer your queries with a reply directly to the questioner. Have you added your surnames to the list of Members’ Surnames and perhaps added a tree as well to explain a little more about your interests?
If you have any comments about what the society has to offer please let us know as this is your Society and we want to share our enthusiasm for family history.