40th Celebration Dinner and Brian Austin
The Dinner at the Grand Atlantic Hotel went very well was enjoyed by those who could make it. Thank you to Peter de Dulin for arranging the celebration. A short tribute was made to Brian Austin whose sudden death had shocked us all a few days previously. 40 years is a considerable achievement for any Society and in talking to Brian about our celebrations back in May, he had been delighted and surprised that what had started as one of his classes had lasted so long! Does anyone have any photographs of the Dinner?
Future of the Society
Members will have received an email from the Jenny Towey, Chair of this Society entitled “The future of this Society” and Facebook members will also have seen the same message from her. As a co-opted committee member, I have had the pleasure taking part in Committee Meetings over the past years and have seen the stress of maintaining a viable society during the pandemic when so much changed. All members should offer a tremendous vote of thanks to the existing committee for the way it has supported you while juggling personal problems and pressure on their time. Consequently, we need new committee members to prevent the Society from collapsing so soon after celebrating 40 years. You do not need to be widely experienced in family history research but just to have ideas about what you would expect from a Society, how to achieve it, how to energise members into supporting it and how to attract younger members. Please think about it.
All About that Place – SOG free presentations
One suggestion which has been made about the Society is that it should cater more for the local and social history of the Area as family, social and local history are inextricably linked. These last few days the SOG has been offering some free presentations under the umbrella of “All about that Place”. If you missed them, they are available on YouTube and although not necessarily about the West of England are well worth looking at. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCywn4HvGaYTMmycQ0FjZ79A
Researching History of your house and/or street
During September I started looking at the road in which I have lived for the past 60+ years! It has been fascinating. I have some directories at home and although the road wasn’t developed until the 1930s I have been able to extract the names of the Head of the House and the 1939 Register has given me some more details. Searching for the road name in newspapers has thrown up more interesting facts from
· minor motoring offences,
· winners at Junior Arts festivals,
· obituaries of some residents,
· occupations (a lot of teachers!),
· descriptions of houses when offered for sale,
· a few break ins,
· advertisements for servants!
· Letters to the press from residents.
· awards and prizes in competitions, etc.
The road name on the Somerset Archives has given:
- dates of plans, additions and alterations to plans of buildings and
- repair of War damage.
Our own Cemetery Transcriptions gave:
- The date of burials of deceased residents
Know your Place shows me that the
- land of which our house was built had been part of a farm and
- later a Tennis “Ground”
The deeds give a complicated account of all previous owners of the land.
All in all, this is proving an interesting exercise, about the people and families who lived here. I just wish the road was a bit shorter!
The latest Newsletter from Lost Cousins can be seen here and includes some DNA advice http://familyhistory.news/latesep23news.htm
DNA based programmes on TV
I really enjoyed the start of the new series of DNA Family Secrets with Prof Turi King. They are interesting and involving situations which may be solved by DNA testing but also need the use of the basic “paper” research to clarify the position. It was the balance of these which appealed to me as too often other programmes seem to totally rely on DNA to get their results. Do watch them if you have the time.
On Ancestry - https://www.ancestry.co.uk/cs/recent-collections take a look at the new and recently updated collections of resources. It includes a list of WW2 Casualties – Officers and Nurses - where I found my Uncle, Capt H J JOHNSON, who was killed in a plane crash in East Africa just after the official end of the war in July 1945.
On The Genealogist these records are now available https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/news/ It’s always a good idea to see what records have been added to the lists. Your family may have come from any part of the country, and you may find the resources useful.
Have you ever tried using Dusty Docs http://dustydocs.com/ to find freely available parish records? It also guides you to other useful information such as the distribution of Surnames etc. This is the Distribution Map for the name PUDDY which occurs in our family history. You can see that it is concentrated in Somerset
Free Help Session
On the first Saturday of each month, we hold a free Help Session in Weston Library from 2.00 p.m . until 3.30., where experienced members give their time to assist others. You do not have to book but bring along anything you already know about your family and what you hope to find. Apart from the resources available in the North Studies Library at Weston you will also have access to Ancestry and FindmyPast. Everyone welcome, beginners or not.
Volunteers at the Library in 2017 some of whom are still part of the team.
Next Society Meeting – Oct 11th - Weston Cemetery – Jane Hill
We are looking forward to the next Society meeting on Wednesday, October 11th 2.30 p.m. until 5.00 p.m. when Jane Hill will be talking about Weston Cemetery.
Our web site has a marvellous set of transcriptions of all the burials at Weston Cemetery, available to members, from 1856 until 2016. It includes the Memorial Inscriptions, some of the early ones being collected by Brian Austin before they became indistinct by weathering. The rest were collected by members who volunteered to record them. Initially collated by the late Stanley Baker and more recently by Graham Payne who with the consent of Weston Town Council has transcribed the entries from the Burial Books and made them all available. The Society in conjunction with the now defunct “Friends of the Cemetery” used to hold Saturday meetings in the Chapel explaining the history of the Cemetery and finding the graves for visitors from the plans which we have.
The last Society meeting at Our Lady of Lourdes attracted 23 members, 1 of which was a visitor and 6 were committee members. Perhaps more would attend if it was an evening meeting, as it used to be, people who are not free during the day might be able to join in. What do you think?
Next Zoom Workshop –25th Oct - History of Wrington – John Gowar
Our next Zoom Workshop looks at the History of Wrington guided by John Gowar. It takes place on Wednesday the 25th of Oct from 7.30 until 9.30 p. m.
Wrington has a long and fascinating history with connections with many notable residents including John Locke, the philosopher who was born there in 1632, Henry Herbert Wills, a member of the Tobacco family and his wife Dame Mary Monica Cunliffe Wills, after whom the St Monica’s Homes were named following their outstanding philanthropy and Hannah More who lived at Cowslip Green and was buried in Wrington Church in 1833 with some amazing additional information in the Burial Register.
Have any of our members researched the history of a parish in our District or have any photographs or information about a parish or place where their ancestors lived which could be added to our web site under the Place name? This might help other members with their research.
Please consider the future of our Society and what you can do to assist it and its members to fully enjoy the activity of researching their family history. As we all know it is an activity which benefits greatly from being able to get help from like minded people and to share our successes with others.