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June 2021 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Mon, 31/05/2021 - 23:29

Another Bank Holiday and this time the weather is gorgeous.  I hope that you are all enjoy it in whatever way suits you. Something is buzzing in my mind about new clothes and Whit Sunday.  I seem to remember something about my mother being keen that we wore new clothes to church on Whit Sunday. Her sewing machine would be red hot from treadling away – no electric machines in those days – for days beforehand and we would have new summer dresses just in time. Does anyone else have similar memories?  I suppose that my mother was repeating what her mother did and the custom was falling out of common use in our time but that is what happens to traditions – they come and go!  

For example, trips to the sea-side – they came with the advent of the railway and were not always welcomed by the residents.  Where did the passengers who were "of a better class" come from?

The Weston Gazette of 30th May 1863 reported under "THE HOLIDAY EXCURSION TRAINS.

Our town on Monday and Tuesday was visited by thousands of excursionists from Bristol and its neighbourhood. On Monday three long trains of carriages brought from 3000 to 4000 excursionists, and the evening pleasure train was double its usual length. In addition, nearly every train that arrived was more than usually freighted with passengers. The excursionists were generally pretty well conducted, though of course among so many there were some " roughs." The trains on Tuesday were not so long, and the passengers were of a better class."

Society News

  • Our May Zoom Meeting featured the History of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and drew attention to the various aspects of their web site and the information which may be gained from it.  As it was War Graves Week at the end of May the Speaker drew attention to a new facility on their site which enables you to find out whether any of the casualties of WW1 or WW2 lived where you do today.  Just enter your post code on this site and it will show you the details.
  • Peter Towey will present the June Zoom Meeting which is at 7.00 p.m. on Thursday the 24th June and the subject will be "Researching your Scottish Ancestry" .  The amount of information given on Scottish Certificates is amazing and extremely helpful in making sure that you have the correct one.  
  • The dead line for the next edition of Buckets and Spades is the middle of June so please make sure that Sue Maguire receives your articles as soon as possible.  It is always interesting to read exactly how other people researched their family and how they overcame any obstacles. These accounts often suggest ways in which you can further your research.
  • The Weston Worthies are nearing completion and now have a new home on the web site.  You can find them at the bottom of the Main Menu on the Home Page.   The last one to be posted was that of Rev Richard QUARRELL.  He had a very complex early life which questions whether he should have been a Worthy or not, but that would be judging him by today's standards. However, there have been no comments about this.
  • The Research Forum  is still under used.  Why?  I had thought that without face-to-face meetings it would have had more questions not less.  How do you get answers for your problems? How often do you look at the web site?  Will anyone answer these questions?

Family History takes many forms and several television programmes, while not exactly guiding you through resource techniques, certainly offer ideas of what could be included to enrich our findings. Even "Who do you think you are"  does not now concentrate on how the information has been discovered and you have to remember that these are designed as entertainment programs and each will contain an uncertainty or jeopardy which keeps you hooked until the end.   Most of these can still be watched on catch up.  can you recommend others?

  • The Repair Shop, draws our attention to artefacts which played their part the lives of our ancestors. Do you have an object which highlights a particular person or event in your past?
  • Long Lost Families, especially the recent ones about foundlings, spotlight how the attitudes and values of society change over the years, and the danger of assuming reasons for actions of ancestors who lived through times different from those of today.
  • Dramas such as Call the Midwife emphasis the social conditions and concerns of about 60 years ago.
  • Archaeological Digs like the ones being reported about the graveyards under the new HS2 Rail link throw up issues which would have confronted our families who lived through the early days of the industrial revolution and the change from rural to urban living.  
  • Heir Hunters available on More 4 should ensure that you all write your wills so that your family and no one else benefits from your estate, whatever its size. 

Free Resources Available Online

  • The Family History Federation has a list of free resources which may be helpful - you may well be aware of some of them but a reminder is often helpful!
  • Familysearch has just announced a free lookup service for documents which can normally only be seen if you visit one of their Family History Centres.  You do have to locate the document yourself before requesting this but it looks a helpful addition to their site.
  • Local History Groups can also include free transcriptions.  The Keynsham and Saltford Local History Society  is a good example of this as it offers transcriptions of parish records and school admissions.
  • Although Bitton Parish History Group does not include transcriptions it has run a project during lockdown with its members posting articles about the history of the parish.  Other parishes may have done the same.
  • Convict Records of Australia is a free site which enables you to search by name, date, ship etc. 
  • If you have a favourite free site please let us know so that it can be shared with other members.  The list on our website under "Help and Advice" needs updating so now would be a good time add new ones.

In the past we have not held meetings in August but this year we will be holding a Zoom Meeting so put that date, the 19th August, in your diaries.   

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Weston Worthies & No 33 Rev Richard QUARRELL
published by Pat Hase on Mon, 24/05/2021 - 11:30

The Weston Worthies have a new home on this web site and can now be found on the Main Menu. No 33 has just been posted which concerns the Rev Richard QUARRELL who was a curate at Emmanuel Church.  Like all the Worthies, researching his life has proved interesting and thought provoking and there are still questions to be answered.

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Weston Worthies - 32 Charles PHILLIPS
published by Pat Hase on Thu, 13/05/2021 - 13:08

Charles PHILLIPS, the potter who developed the Royal Potteries, has left his mark on Weston, not only with his earthen ware garden pottery but also by the tiles on some of the older property.  Number 32 of our Weston Worthies, you can read his profile on the Weston-super-Mare Page. Scroll past the photographs to the bottom of the page to find the latest Weston Worthy - Only 8 more to go!  

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May 2021 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Sat, 01/05/2021 - 18:41

Another month has flown by and the committee has been looking at the various protocols or hoops which we and any hall we hired would have to jump through before we can consider any live meetings of our society.  Consequently, we will be continuing as now until further notice.  Bearing this in mind, can the membership let us know whether there is anything that they would like the society to consider which would help them in their research? 

Over this Bank Holiday weekend both Lost Cousins and the censuses on FindmyPast will be freely available.  The 1939 Register is not a census so is not included in the offer from FindmyPast but if you do have a subscription, it is worth taking a look at it again as it has recently been updated on that site with the release of an additional of almost another 100,000 records.  These will include some who have recently died allowing entries which had been redacted to be opened.

After all I have ever said and written about the accuracy of Family Trees on Ancestry - yesterday I found a tree with a photograph of my great grandmother from Wraxall which is better that the one which my mother had given me! 

gg grandmother

The bonus is that it was on a tree of someone with whom I share DNA but whose surname is new to me as they are descended from a female line. The moral of this story is that it is beneficial to research all descendants from great grandparents because you never know where a link may be found.

Last month I watched a free talk about archaeology, Cheddar Man and ancient DNA which was interesting and thought provoking.  This was arranged through  Evenbrite  I looked to see what other talks Evenbrite had about Family History. They are not listed in date order so look through them all.   I see that Jenni PHILLIPS is giving a talk in June about Using Probate Records. This talk is primarily for the Glamorgan FHS but is open to others to watch. Jenni is a long-standing member of this society and regularly contributes to the Facebook Group. She had also recorded three talks for THE Genealogy Show in June.  

After my talk about Burlington Street, someone remarked to me that you could research any street and find interesting families with fascinating stories.  How true!  Every family has its own history to reveal and as has also been shown with house histories these can shed light on the way of life at that time.  It is not only people and houses which reveal an interesting past.  Members of my family seems always to have been interested in motoring and have owned some interesting vintage cars.  In the days when Logbooks were physically exchanged it was possible, using skills honed on family history research, to find out more about the cars and their previous owners.  We may not have aristocracy or money in our family, but the cars had them!  Some County Record Offices have archives containing car registration numbers and when they were issued and to whom. This reminds me that not all records are online and visits to County Archives after using their online catalogues and/or Discovery on the National Archives, which includes other Archives, to locate possible documents is still essential whether you are researching people, houses or cars.

If you have an address, Google Street View is also extremely helpful in seeing the area where your family lived.  Be wary though, I have an address of an aunt in 1955 of 50 Nuthatch Drive, which was non-existent when I looked for it – only a few newish looking houses in Nuthatch Drive.  Thinking more about it I remembered being told that she lived in a “pre-fab” and presumably the area has since been redeveloped.  However, Know Your Place was able to answer that question.  The area now had a completely different road plan.  

This aunt was a State Registered Nurse and Midwife.  Her records are available online on Ancestry under "UK & Ireland Nursing Registers, 1898-1968" and the  "UK, The Midwives Roll 1904-1959" each time listing where she was living and when she qualified.  Her aunt, my great aunt, was a teacher and her qualifications and teaching career can be found on Findmypast under Teachers’ Registration  It lists where she trained and all the schools where she worked.  But it does not tell the whole story.   She stayed on as a pupil teacher in her school and eventually trained at a Day College. A visit to the local Archives and a look at the logbooks of the schools in which she taught told me more.  That she lost her voice, that her classes were large, that she had to stay at home because her mother was unwell but was a good and effective teacher although very short!    Newspaper accounts show when she passed examinations.  I have some of the books she had while training and teaching which she gave me and some handwritten lesson notes all of which add to my memories of a great aunt.  Don’t forget to research those maiden aunts – very often they can add a lot to the family story.

Not much to report this month in the way of Society news. 

  • The next  Members' Zoom meeting is on Thursday 20th May at 7.00p.m. when the topic will be The Commonwealth War Graves Commission.  Make sure that you are a paid-up member of the society so that you get notification of how to join.
  • The deadline for the next edition of Buckets & Spades is on the middle of June so you have all of May to write an interesting article.
  • I would appreciate any ideas on how to encourage contributions in the form of queries or comments to the web site or postings on the Facebook Group.
  • As we are no longer meeting in person we rarely get any feedback on how you think the society is doing or what you would like to happen.  Please let us know by adding comments to this newsletter.
  • To paraphrase John F Kennedy - "Ask not what the Society can do for you - ask what you can do for the Society!"

I hope you all danced round a Maypole this morning and washed your faces in the morning dew - it was very cold!

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Weston Worthies - 31 Isaac PEARCE
published by Pat Hase on Fri, 23/04/2021 - 17:41

Weston Worthy No 31.  Isaac PEARCE was the 2nd person to be appointed a Policeman in Weston-super-Mare and you can now read about him on the Weston-super-Mare Page.  There are only nine more to go in this series.  Perhaps you might like to suggest people who should be added to the the list of Worthy citizens of Weston.

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Church War Memorials
published by Graham Payne on Fri, 23/04/2021 - 10:13

Transcripts of the following Church War Memorials  are now available for Society members to view online

All Saints (Weston-super-Mare)

St Saviours (Weston-super-Mare)

Christ Church (Weston-super-Mare)

St Paul's (Weston-super-Mare)

Emmanuel (Weston-super-Mare)

Victoria Methodist (Weston-super-Mare)

St Jude's (Milton)

Please report any transcript errors to the author of this news article.

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Forthcoming Events

Society Committee Meeting
Wednesday, 18th August, 2021 10:00 - 12:00
Zoom Members' Meeting
Thursday, 19th August, 2021 19:00 - 21:00
Zoom Members' Meeting
Thursday, 23rd September, 2021 19:00 - 21:00
Zoom Members' Meeting
Thursday, 21st October, 2021 19:00 - 21:00
Zoom Members' Meeting
Thursday, 18th November, 2021 19:00 - 21:00
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