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."
- 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.