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News & Information (Monthly Update)

July 2021 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Fri, 02/07/2021 - 10:38

It's July - How do you find time for family history when there is Tennis, Cricket and Football to keep up with?  Do any of our members have sports men or women in their ancestry?  What sports or leisure time activities did they enjoy?   Newspapers can give a glimpse of some of the events in which they took part. 

Some examples of sporting activities from my own family:

  • Young Henry HASE, a boy on board the Training Ship Formidable coxed a gig in a race as part of the Bristol and West of England Regatta in 1872 reported in the Western Daily Press – they came 4th (out of four!). 
  • His cousin, William HASE was a successful competitor running in several races in Weston – one a challenge over half a mile in 1878 watched by about 1,000 spectator which he won. 
  • My father and his brothers played football and cricket in local teams in Bristol reported in local Bristol newspapers.
  • My mother and her sister played hockey, seen here at both ends of the front row, my mother in the left and her sister on the right.  You are lucky if family photographs contain group photos such as this one.

 Hockey in Eastville Park

Society News

  • June Society Meeting - Scottish Family History  - The Society is extremely sorry for the problem which caused the late start of the last Zoom Meeting.  We know that some members gave up waiting and so missed a very interesting and helpful talk about Scottish family history research by Peter Towey.  The talk was recorded, and arrangements are being made to have it available for full members on our web site.  You will be informed when all the recorded talks have been added to the site.
  • July Society Meeting - Old Photographs - The next Society meeting is on Thursday 15th July at 7.00 p.m. when the talk will be Identifying & Dating Old Photographs” by Steve Gill.   Please make sure that your membership is up-to-date so that you receive notification about how to join this meeting.  Only full members receive emails with the necessary information to enable them to access what promises to be a valuable aid to our research.
  • Research Forum - It is difficult to know whether members have responded to individual requests for help because the questioner might have been contacted directly but it does look as if the Research Forum is not attracting many queries or responses from our membership.  It is no good for me to ask “Why is this?” because I’ve asked that question so many times before with very little reaction.  Have you all finished researching?  I would like to thank the handful of members who have responded to my queries – It is so useful to have a second opinion when you are unsure of your interpretation of the facts.
  • Transcriptions - Graham PAYNE is continuing to add to the Burials in Weston Cemetery and has nearly reached the year 2000. This is an incredibly useful part of our site.  After the Cemetery opened in 1856 churchyards in Weston were no longer available and although burials continued at Worle, Uphill and Kewstoke all burials whatever denomination took place at the Milton Road Cemetery.
  • Surname Interests - During June I had correspondence from Australia that someone had identified a link to a family he was researching by using the family tree which I had posted under HASE in the Surname Interests on our site. In case you had forgotten there is a facility for you to add a tree in PDF format under your SURNAME Interests.  This can be very helpful.  Have you posted a tree or Pedigree?  I have just posted a Pedigree for my husband’s great grandmother, Mary Ann HASE née NICHOLLS under Surname Interests of NICHOLLS and it has shown exactly where the gaps are in her tree.
  • Weston Worthies - I am now reaching the end of this project which I have found really interesting and by concentrating on one individual, who was not part of my family, it has taken me into areas of research which have required different approaches and given an insight into life in Weston in the mid 19th Century.  Have you tried writing a profile for a great grandfather or another individual in your tree?  I’m sure it would make a fascinating article for Bucket and Spades.
  • Facebook Group - This group does allow for immediate replies to queries and hopefully we can inspire new researchers. One discussion recently concerned how to get younger people involved and interested in family history. Another asked whether anyone had any evidence that Haile Selassie had presented cups at the Girls’ County School Swimming Gala in Weston during about 1936-38.  She had a family story that he had. Can any of our members help?
  • Publicity - We had an article about the Society published in a supplement to the Weston Mercury in June which prompts me to enquire whether any members have connections with any other publication which might be prepared to include information about us?  The first issue of a Free Magazine, called “Local Reach” was delivered to me during June which aims to offer free of charge publicity to local clubs and societies.  Do you know of others?

Other items of Interest

New Book by Sharon Poole

Sharon has just informed me that her latest book about Weston has been published. Called “Weston-super-Mare: Georgian Watering-Place, Regency Resort” it deals with Weston in the late 18th Century when it was a select watering place and is about the place and the people who lived and visited here. It is available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle or directly from her at £17.99.   Weston-super-Mare: Georgian Watering-Place, Regency Resort:  This is a time which is frequently overlooked when dealing with Weston – it is so often described as a “Victorian Town” as if it suddenly appeared with the railway.  Sharon has carefully researched the period and those of you who have heard her talk about Georgian Weston will know that it will be full of interesting and sometimes surprising facts.

Long Lost Family

I have mentioned this programme before but a new series is due to start on Monday 5th July at 9.00p.m.  Although designed as a moving entertainment programme it sometimes includes valuable hints for finding lost relatives and now-a-days DNA is extensively used.  The first programme features two people searching for their birth mothers and to quote from their own publicity "As Long Lost Family and its popularity demonstrate year on year, knowing your roots and being in touch with your family is incredibly important. And with many viewers having been separated from their loved ones during the pandemic, this series remains immensely poignant and heart-warming."

Was your Ancestor on the Stage?

As a sea-side town, we often get asked about people who may have performed here as entertainers.  STAR - Search for Theatrical AncestoRs  gives some valuable tips for researching and the Bristol University Theatre Archives on the same site has a searchable database for their large collection of theatrical archives which does include some 20th century events in Weston-super-Mare.

England's Immigrants 1330-1550

Depending on how far back you have got with your research and possibly aided by DNA this website offers useful information and a searchable database of immigrants to this country before 1550. Although this part of Somerset does not seem to get a mention I know that many of you are researching lines from other parts of the country and the breakdown of the  statistics gives a fresh look on immigration. The description of the sources used and their limitations is particularly important when accepting what this database has to offer. 

Using Newspapers to Research

Although the Weston Mercury and Gazette are available on the British Newspaper Archive the earliest Weston paper is 1845 and they have not yet covered anything past 1909/10.  However, do not restrict your search to the Weston Newspapers for news of Weston inhabitants.  The Somerset and Bristol newspapers also often carry items concerning Weston as do papers from further afield.  This is just one example of advertisements which can be found pre-1845 which give a view of life in Weston.Harse & Hill advert

20 Questions to ask your Grandparents

This was published last autumn but it struck me that if you haven't got any grandparents to interview, these might serve as a guideline to ask yourself and to include when writing up your family history.  They  help to describe the life you have had and are living. These 20 Family History Questions  may stimulate other memories to bring your history alive.  But what do you really remember or do you think you remember what you have been told you did as a child?   When elderly people are interviewed how accurate are their memories?   

Each month I ask for you to add comments to the Newsletter and to share additional resources which you have found useful but rarely does anybody respond.  Please let the committee know what sort of support you want from this society.  The next edition of Buckets and Spades will be issued soon - make sure that you have renewed your membership this year in order to receive it.

Wishing you all every success with your researching and as the Archives hopefully begin to reopen and visits are available again check whether you have to make an appointment before arriving at an Archive.

Share your successes and frustrations with us - you never know how that brickwall will tumble.

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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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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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April 2021 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Thu, 01/04/2021 - 13:35

All Fools Day!  What does that mean to you?  I think it was Abraham Lincoln who said, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”.  He must have seen some of the Family Trees which have been posted online!

I know we can all make mistakes in compiling trees but to mindlessly add information from another tree without checking it out is foolish to say the least.  These days, when DNA testing is another tool available to researchers, hints are often suggested based on similar names in other published family trees and this can cause no end of frustration and hours of fruitless research where the other tree is suspect.  

Zoom Meeting in March

We had a very interesting Zoom talk in March by Chris Reid from the Weston LDS Family History Centre who explained some of the benefits to be gained from using FamilySearch, a completely free site.  You do have to sign in but there is no charge. I come from a generation of researchers who cut their teeth on the extremely helpful IGI, (International Genealogical Index) searching through fiche after fiche to find christenings and marriages with very few burials available.  I did order some films which I was able to see at the Bristol Wells Road Family History Centre, but Somerset records were limited – said to be due to a Bishop of Bath & Wells who did not allow the filming of the C of E Registers. This has now all changed and the number of records available on this site matches if not overtakes other Commercial Sites and has some with images. But I have to admit that although I did have a great deal of help from a school friend who is a member of the LDS when the enhanced web site came online, I have never really used it as my first port of call.  I have not made myself familiar with all that the site has to offer and although I had put the start of a tree on the FamilySearch site I did not look at it very often. 

Yesterday, March 31st, when I looked at FamiySearch I found that additions have been made to my tree in a place where there has always been a stumbling block.  The parents of James MILLARD who married a Jane PARFREY in Axbridge in 1787 (my husband’s 3 x g grandparents) are now, according to the tree, Leaster and Ann MILLARD of Banwell.  It is possible but where is the proof?  There are several other contenders for the role of parents and I am looking for some sort of proof before committing them to a tree.  Chris Reid did talk about the collaborative trees – I’d be interested in your comments.  There is an article about how to correct trees on FamilySearch How to Correct Mistakes on the FamilySearch Family Tree | LDS365: Resources from the Church & Latter-day Saints worldwide which also gives the benefits of having such a tree.

Wedding at Holy Trinity on 3rd May 1945 - just 5 days before VE Day 

Back in 2012 we were contacted by an American, Nan Turner, who was researching information about her father's time in the USA Army when he was billeted in Weston-super-Mare in 1944/5.  We placed an item on the Research Forum for her with a picture of a Wedding which took place at Holy Trinity in Weston.  Although nobody replied to the site we were later able to help her with some information which she has now incorporated into a web site which includes more photographs of their stay in Weston.  Her father was a member of the 1270 the Engineer Combat Battalion this link will take you to her web site - you will need to scroll down a little between the photographs to enter the site.  Go to Weston-super-Mare in the left hand menu.  She is still interested in identifying members of the Wedding Photo. Her contact details can be found on her web site. See also the original Research Forum Entry and another one in 2018 with more response.  

Family History Federation - Really Useful Show

As a member of the Federation we will be included in the Really Useful Show on April 10th.  There is still time to buy a ticket for this online Show with a variety of excellent speakers.

Buckets & Spades

The March  edition of Buckets & Spades is now available to full members.  Thank you to all who contributed to it, to Sue Maguire, who edited it and to Paul Tracey who oversees the distribution.  There are some very interesting articles in it, several with a military flavour, while others covered other aspects of family history research. There is also a brief mention of resources held by Brian Austin whose contact details are on the web site.


Graham is busy adding more transcriptions - today Biddisham MIs.  Here's just an example

Biddisham MIs

The MIs, like all the parish registers are so easy to search by using "find on page" and give a marvellous amount of information.   


We are delighted to note that our membership numbers have kept up during the past year but are still puzzled about why we are not getting any entries in the Research Forum.  At a time when contact between members as been curtailed are there other ways in which we can we help other members in their research?  We encourage you to raise topics about your research whether it is based in Weston or not - most of our local members have family from elsewhere and I know that we have members with a tremendous amount of knowledge who could help others.

Facebook Group

We now have 331 Members.  It is difficult to know how many are actively researching their families or are thinking about it or are more interested in the locality but all are welcome.  Queries posted to the group are usually answered within a day and we keep a file of SURNAME Interests which allows members to see if someone else is interested in the same surname.  We have had some interesting discussions and some brickwalls have been knocked down.

When someone asks to join this private group they have to answer a question before being admitted.  Unfortunately, there have been several occasions where this question has not been answered and in spite of trying to contact them we have received no answer and therefore they have not been admitted to the group.

We do encourage full membership of the Society as the very low subscription rate of £9.00 per year brings with it our interesting Journal Buckets & Spades, the transcriptions and other items available only to full members and admission to our  Zoom meetings - there is an additional entry fee when we meet in a Hall.  

Zoom Meeting Thursday April 15th at 7.00pm

Although lockdown restrictions are being gradually lifted and those of us who have been shielding are now able to leave home I suspect that it will still be some time before our monthly meetings will be able to resume.  At our first Zoom Meeting it was interesting to see those members from further afield who have not been able to attend in person before, so there is a silver lining to the cloud which is still over us!  Our next meeting is due on Thursday April 15th at 7.00pm when I will be the speaker, talking about researching "Clara’s Cottage and Burlington Street" in Weston, the site of the Weston Museum. 

You will receive an email with instructions on how to join each meeting, if you didn’t receive one last month check that the email which we have for you hasn’t been changed recently.  There are several videos available on how to join Zoom for the first time – this is just one of them which might be helpful.  

Any Other Business!

If you have any information to add to this newsletter or comments about any of the items please use the Comments Facility at the bottom of the page.  Have a Happy April!

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March 2021 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Mon, 01/03/2021 - 12:26

Welcome to a new Month and a special mention for our Welsh members who will be celebrating St David’s Day today. Even if many will have discovered that they are not Welsh at all but have come from other parts of the Country including many from Somerset, you can wear your daffodil with pride!

The high spot of last month just has to be our first Society Meeting via Zoom.  It was a very successful meeting with an interesting and informative talk from our Vice-Chairman, Peter De Dulin about the 1939 Register.  Thank you to all concerned for arranging it and the Society hopes to run Zoom meetings on the 3rd Thursday of each month from now on. We welcomed some members who would not normally be able to attend local meetings and it was great to match names with faces. An email will go to all full members advising them of the contact details each month.  If you did not receive one last time, please check that you have not changed your email address.   If you have any ideas of topics for these meetings, please let Jenny Towey know.  Please note that the meetings are on the 3rd Thursday NOT 4th Tuesday.

Online Talks

I wonder how many of you have benefitted in the last few days from the wonderful selection of talks available from Rootstech which will still be available for another 11 months.   Perhaps you could recommend some of the talks you have found helpful to other members?


  • On March 21st the 2021 Census will be taken – I know it has been suggested that you copy your form to preserve in your own Family History Archives. You might consider asking whether other members of your family might do the same and let you have copies of their entries – it will save your descendants having to wait 100 years to access them!
  • I admit to having waited avidly for the release of the 1881 census and here we are, 40 years later, looking forward to the 1921 Census for England and Wales which will be released in January 2022, initially by Find my Past.  I think I know where my parents and grandparents were then but 3 of my great grandparents were still alive and it would be interesting to find out exactly where they were living and with whom.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

  • There was an interesting query on our Research Forum about some military graves in Milton Road Cemetery which revealed a piece of WW2 history which I had not really researched before although I had seen the graves in question.  At one of our Zoom meetings hopefully will be a speaker from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission – their site seems to have more information on it every time I go to it.
  • There will be a War Graves Week in May  to raise awareness of the work done by the Commission.  Their project for Wild Flower Gardens has already been oversubscribed.

Newspapers and Coroners Reports

  • A posting on our Facebook Group led me to the report of an Inquest in a local paper.  This reminded me that although Coroners Records have in the main not survived, amazing detail can often be obtained from the newspapers.  I find that although Find my Past does have access to the British Newspaper Archive, the search facility is so much better on the BNA site.
  • Many of the sites containing searchable resources update regularly, including the Newspapers so it can be productive to search again for mention of your families, remembering that newspaper entries can have errors in them!  One small thing I have become aware of recently is the use of the phrase “of this town” sometimes used in Family Announcements.  I spent some time looking for a man at an address in Weston only to find that although the notice was entered in a Weston newspaper it was under a heading of Somerset Events with a sub heading Burnham and he was from Burnham on Sea!

Leisure Activities

Newspapers are also very helpful at giving information about leisure time activities – often listing sporting teams, winners of flower shows, competitors at Music Festivals etc. 

From documents found with my great grandfather’s photographs I have found out that he was a fisherman. This was at the start of the First World War but presumably that was not going to stop him fishing. 

Fishing permit

For several years Samuel Thomas LONG had been a member of the Bristol West End Angling Association – he was also their Auditor – and their very posh Member’s Ticket for 1896, apart from their Rules and Regulations, listed the Railway Arrangements whereby the Midland Railway Company issued 3rd Class return “Fishing Tickets” at preferential rates to members provided that they showed their Membership Cards, Fishing Rod and Tackle at the Booking Office!  Although the newspapers did report their annual fishing matches, I cannot see that he ever won a prize.

Local History Groups

I know I have included this before but do not overlook the Local History Groups covering the area in which your ancestors lived.  In many cases they have web sites rich with historical information about their home places.


  • You probably know of my interest in Workhouses and Axbridge Workhouse in particular. There are a number of Axbridge records including, births, baptisms, deaths and censuses which I have transcribed and made available on our web site for members. Find them under Axbridge Poor Law Union in Main Menu
  • The Somerset Archives have released some searchable Somerset Workhouse Admission and Discharge Transcriptions for the whole of Somerset under their Index to Workhouse Admission and Discharge Registers from 1836.  It is not a  complete listing because not all records have survived and there is a 100 year cut off, but very useful if you have lost someone.

Buckets & Spades

Look out for the latest edition which you should be receiving shortly.  Please consider how you can contribute to the next one.  It is always interesting to read about other people’s family history and how they managed to find that elusive ancestor.

Facebook Group

We now have 319 members. and it is interesting and encouraging to see how links are being made between local families.   I am posting advertisements from a 1911 book about Weston which have been jogging memories of long-established trades people in the town and of how life was before our time and of course before WW1.  These have generated useful discussion.

Web Site

  • Graham Payne is still busy with the transcriptions and photographs of Memorials which are very well received by our members.  In particular the transcriptions of the burials in the Milton Road Cemetery are in great demand by full members as they answer so many questions about what happened to their relatives after 1856. 
  • Bill Caple is still adding pictures to the Places covered by this Society.  Go to Places/Churches and click on the name of the Place not the church. They give literally a snapshot of where our ancestors lived.  If you have any which could be added I'm sure that Bill would love to hear from you.

Finally, the future is looking more promising now, provided we do not let go too quickly as soon as the better weather comes.  We all want to meet up again but let’s not lose the advantage the vaccination programme has given us by rushing things.  In the meantime, please keep in touch through the Research Forum, contributing to Buckets & Spades, contacting us through the web site or the Facebook Group and join in with the Zoom Meeting on Thursday March 18th.

Yesterday, I had to add the death of a very dear first cousin to my family tree and although not unexpected, it has triggered a whole range of happy memories, from childhood escapades, through teenage confidences, to marriages and the sharing of family gatherings when our children were small to our last contact, a Zoom meeting over Christmas.  A whole generation of memories to be cherished – that is what family history is about - not just the framework of names, dates and places. It is recognised that it is more difficult, if not sometimes impossible, to catch the underlying aspirations and feelings of our ancestors but it is those which makes each family different and separates genealogy from family history.

News TopicMonthly Update
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February 2021 Newsletter
published by Pat Hase on Mon, 01/02/2021 - 13:09

The snow drops are out in my garden and snow is gently falling, as I write this on the last day of January.  This month has flown by, but that is the way time seems to go during Lockdown – days blend into each other and all the plans I have when I wake in the morning seem to be still plans in the evening!  The occasional zoom meetings and many phone calls and emails keep me in touch and I am grateful for those, and for the way in which researching my own family (and others!) has given me an escape from the reality of life during a pandemic.

Renewing Subscription

Can I gently remind members that their annual subscriptions are now due.  Normally many members renew at the January meeting, which of course did not take place, and it may have slipped your minds. If you can renew as soon as possible it will save administrative work sending out individual reminders.  Thank you to those who have already renewed.

New Members

We offer a warm welcome to New Members and hope that their time with us is productive and useful for them.  Take time to make yourselves familiar with the website - there is a lot on offer. Add your SURNAME interests to the lists so that others researching the same name can find you and share information.  Use the search button at the top right-hand corner of the home page to see if your particular interest, whether it is a surname, occupation, place or event etc. is mentioned anywhere on the site. Use our Research Forum to breakdown your brickwall.

For those who are not yet members I would like to point out that annual digital membership is very low, just £9.00 per year which as I have pointed out before, is less than the cost of an individual civil registration certificate. For that you will have access to our Journal, “Buckets and Spades”, the next edition being due in March, access to the transcriptions of parish records for most of North Somerset and the Axbridge Registration District and access to the Burial Records of Weston Cemetery, from 1856, when local churchyards were closed.  Local members also have access to our Library.

Our Library

The Society’s Library is in danger of being lost unless we can find a member who is prepared to give it a home.  One big advantage of volunteering to do this is that whoever holds the library has immediate access to the books.  We have been asking for someone to come forward for some time and we will have to make a decision soon about what to do with these books.  Please contact Brian Airey for more details about what is involved.

Sharing Resources

We received a valuable suggestion from a member that members may own resources such as Street Directories, and they would be prepared to do look ups for other members.  To set this up on the website would have incurred a cost and the committee were uncertain about how many members would have taken advantage of it.  This is a shame because the closure of the Public Library has meant that access to Street Directories has been curtailed.  However, the Research Forum could be used for requesting help such as from a Street Directory.  Please make use of the Forum for furthering your research.  Why is it underused – nothing at all in the last month?

Buckets and Spades

The deadline for the next edition of Buckets and Spades is February 15th and Sue Maguire, the editor, would be pleased to receive copy for this or future editions.  Your family history research and how you went about it would be interesting to other members.

Resources online

Many sites are increasing their resources during the pandemic. Here are just a few, perhaps you can add others.

  • Just last week the Somerset Archives advertised a free session entitled "Somerset Family History: Online Q & A" on 11 February 10.30am - noon.  This proved so popular that it was quickly full but you can add your name to their waiting list for a repeat event.
  • Weston Town Council has posted this very interesting background to Milton Road Cemetery and some of the people who are buried there.
  • Weston Town Council also has a page devoted to honouring those for whom Blue Plaques have been erected in the town.
  • Know Your Place North Somerset has an interesting Facebook Group where the benefits of using this fantastic tool can be discussed 

Videos etc

Sometimes you may want to while away some time watching a video or a recorded Zoom presentation about family history research, many of which are now available on You Tube.  Although these are mainly from Findmypast the content is varied and can be viewed without having a subscription.

  • This introduction to the Electoral Registers which are available at the British Library is eye opening about what is actually available and how difficult it can be to use the records.  I found it particularly interesting because at about 25 minutes in they start to research a man by the name of Thomas William ALDWINCKLE.  This name was familiar to me as a Miss Marion Gertrude ALDWINCKLE was the founder of Westcliff School in Weston, who I had already researched and Thomas was her Uncle!
  • If you have Irish ancestors this presentation entitled “Irish Family History is Easy” may dispel some of the myths about the difficulty of researching Irish Records.  
  • I think I may have suggested this one before but as a background to Social History and an understanding of how the conditions in which our ancestors lived affected their lives this discussion is thought provoking and interesting. 
  • Many of us have found ancestors who married on Christmas Day but why did so many choose that day to tie the knot?  Christmas Day Weddings may answer that question.

 RootsTech in February

Normally this would be a live event in Salt Lake City but this year there is a free Virtual Event   taking place 25-27 February – you can register for free and then join in as much or as little as you wish.  Their publicity answers the question - What’s Included?

  • Celebrity keynote speakers
  • Dozens of classes to choose from taught by presenters all over the world and in multiple languages
  • An interactive expo hall with companies from all over the globe
  • Fun cultural activities/demonstrations geared to celebrate traditions from around the world


I hope that the vaccination roll-out continues to work well and those who qualify are accepting their vaccination.  I have been very impressed with the efficient and caring way in which our local centres have been operating and it reminded me of this certificate I posted on Facebook a short while ago which confirms that young Master PENNY had received his smallpox vaccination at a time when that vaccination was compulsory, and parents could be prosecuted if their children were not vaccinated.

Long Lost Family

I watched an edition of this ITV programme which was concerned with using DNA to identify WW1 soldiers whose bodies have recently been discovered in France over 100 years after they were killed.   It is available on the ITV Hub for 30 days

DNA Research

Peter and Jenny Towey are sharing their expertise in this field and one thing I have realised is that it is essential to have researched all the descendants of my ancestors in order to identify a possible match.  If the match is a 3rd, 4th or 5th cousin then there are many places in each generation where the surname may change.  I recently had a match on My Heritage which has me researching their tree to see if there is a connection and if there is it will break down a long standing brickwall!  I’m still waiting for a reply from them to see if I’m on the right lines. 

Facebook Group

You do not have to be a member to join our Facebook Group.  Our aim is to be available to quickly answer queries and make suggestions about future research. In this way we hope to attract full membership of the Society and to support all who share our interest in Family History.  We would welcome more contributions and queries both on the Facebook Group and on the website.

The Future

This time last year we had no idea that we would be in this situation now with no face to face meetings and we sincerely hope that it will not be too long before we can meet up again. Please let us know how you are getting on with your research, either by an article for Buckets and Spades, use of the Research Forum or on our FaceBook Group.  We would like to share your successes and frustrations as you unravel your family.  Happy Hunting!

News TopicMonthly Update
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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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