By the time you get this, the deadline for registering for the AGM will have been and gone. I hope that many of you took advantage to join in with us to take part in the AGM online. This is another first for the Society to add to all those other firsts in the past twelve months. It means that all our members, wherever you are, can join in with the proceedings.
You may not think that attending AGMs are important, and I know I am as bad in this respect, but it is the only way that you can legitimately say whether you think the Trustees are doing a good job or not and voting accordingly. If you don’t agree with the way the Society is run, then join the Executive Committee and have your say.
If you are interested in attending an Executive Meeting (as members you are entitled to do this), let me know and I will send you details on the next meeting.
I am sure that those of you that listened to Rebecca Probert’s Talk on Marriage arranged by Leslie at our Kenilworth Group found it really enthralling. Rebecca certainly is a good speaker. Lesley said that there were 82 participants including visitors from Jersey, Dublin, and Australia.
Andrew’s Lound’s talk on Birmingham during the war certainly went down a storm (I was going to say a bomb but thought better of it!) We had over 80 participants listening in. W T Avery was one of many manufacturers in Birmingham bombed during the war.
One of the most famous was the BSA in Sparkhill. My dad and his brothers were all Firewatchers there. On the night of 19 November 1940, it was bombed and destroyed. One of the worst bombings of the war. Dad should have been on duty, but he had a bad chest and my mom talked him into staying at home. The man who took his place was killed. My Aunt’s husband went outside to have a smoke, and the bomb hit the building next to him. He survived but my sister-in-law’s grandfather was in the fire service there and he died that night.
If one of your ancestors served in the Home Guard, you might like to look at this website. http://www.staffshomeguard.co.uk/AWELCOMEstaffshomeguard.htm
We know there are so many family stories about the war which may be a long time ago now, but it is so important that these stories are told. If you have any anecdotes why not take the time to either write them down or tape record your stories for future generations?
TELLING YOUR HISTORY
My eldest daughter in Australia is doing just that. She said to me, “if you were an object, you would be considered an Antique now!!” Cheeky Madam! She sends me a list of questions each week about my childhood, etc. for me to write about. She says she will be putting it all in a book one day to pass on to our grandchildren. One of the latest questions asks if we have any notable ancestors, unfortunately not! Our ancestors were very lowly either Ag. Labs or Cobblers.
On the theme of writing your own history, I have had a book sent to me by a member in Australia. Her father, Paul Bruce FREE, wrote a series of essays for his grandchildren. He was born in Birmingham in 1923 and when he was 82 decided to write these essays about his life in Birmingham and Wolverhampton between the wars. His writings were on ordinary everyday life, visiting the grocers, home deliveries, the bus service etc. all of which is a complete world away from what we know today. These have all been collated into a book and published by his daughter Jane. As a Brummie I can relate to lots of the places and events remembered from my own childhood even though I hasten to add I was not born until after the War! Birmingham has changed so much during the intervening years, but there are some parts that are still Paul would still recognise now.
Something else received from Australia is a hand drawn family tree in the name of HADGKISS/HODGKISS originating from the Belbroughton and Bromsgrove areas. The person concerned is not a member but thought that we may be able to find somebody related to the family. It is very complicated to understand with quite a list of other names, but if this is one of your surname interests, let me know. NB: It is too big to photocopy.
MAY ONLINE TALKS:
Once again, we have a series of exceptional online talks for you, details below:
Bromsgrove: 11th May @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Goose Grease and Brown Paper – Speaker: Kath Reynolds
(This brings back memories!)
Kenilworth: 12th May @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm
The Blind Postmaster General and the Suffragist’ – Presenter Alan Godfrey FRPSL.The story of the lives of Henry Fawcett MP and his wife Millicent Garrett Fawcett. Henry was blinded at age 25 but went on to become a reforming Liberal MP and PMG. He introduced many innovations at the Post Office. Millicent was leader of the 50,000 strong NUWSS and was mainly responsible for obtaining votes for women in 1918.
(Alan is well known to us as he produces the Alan Godfrey maps)
Birmingham: 19th May @ 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Using DNA Testing to Trace Your Family Tree – Presenter – Karen Evans
This presentation covers how DNA testing works in very general terms, getting the most from the test (what the results mean) and how to use your results to validate your paper research or overcome brick walls such as illegitimacy. It also highlights the range and pitfalls of using DNA testing, particularly finding out where your family came from – Can you really be a Viking? Karen writes a monthly column for Family Tree Magazine on getting the most out of your DNA results.
As you know, Phil is the person who ‘twiddles the knobs’ for our online talks and he could do with some help. It’s about letting people into the meeting; it really needs two people. I don’t think you have to be a computer expert, but just somebody with some computer experience who can help. If you can help Phil, contact him direct.
FAMILY HISTORY FEDERATION
The Family History Federation are running a free four-week on line course on ‘Beginning your Family History’. I know most of us are perhaps beyond the beginner’s stage, but it is always useful to have a refresher course. For further details head over to the Family History Federation website https://www.familyhistoryfederation.com/events. Begins 4 May.
Also on their site, under Forthcoming Events, you will find many Societies listing their online talks. Some may only be open to Members, but others may be available to all.
SOCIETY OF GENEALOGISTS
The SoG also have some cracking talks coming up in May.
Thursday, 6 May – 6pm
Finding Death & Burial Records in the United States
A one-hour talk Cost £10.00
Searching for ancestors in the USA can be very different to searching for your British ancestors. In the UK, we are used to centralised records, especially those for deaths. In the USA, there is no centralised death index for death certificates.
Saturday, 8 May – 2pm
Irish Church Records
A one-hour talk with Dr. James Ryan, cost £10.00
To successfully find your Irish ancestors, you need to know their religion as well more obvious facts, like their names and where they lived. This talk, essential for Irish family historians, explains the central role the churches played.
Thursday, 13 May – 6pm
Finding and Using Parish Registers in England & Wales
One-hour Recorded Talk From £6.50 Else Churchill
In this talk, Genealogist Else Churchill provides a useful grounding on how to find and how to use these vital records.
Saturday 22 May 2:00 PM – 3:45 PM
Family Historian Software tutorial.
Given by John Hanson, who is very well known in Family History circles. The cost is £12.00.
(There is one on using the MAC, but that was on 1 May).
For more information on all these talks and more, go to the SoG’s website https://societyofgenealogists.arlo.co/w/
MEMBERS INTEREST DATABASE
I don’t know how many of you completed the form you were given when you first joined about submitting your surname interests for the MID. The first time you complete the form your surname interests are published in the Midland Ancestor magazine. You can only have these entered once in the journal, but you can add and update your entries in the database at any time. The database is available for all to view on the Internet, not just members of the Society. You never know, it may bring forth that missing ancestor.
FREE UKBMD ONLINE CONFERENCE
Free UK Genealogy, the charity home of FreeBMD have asked me to let you know that theyare holding an online conference on 22nd and 29th May.
The theme of the 2021 conference is Open, Global Genealogy. Free UK Genealogy was founded on the principle of “openness” with the aim of giving everybody free access to all their family history data.
The conference has been split into two sessions, being held at opposite ends of the day (UK time) with the sole intention of enabling as many people as possible to attend part (or all) of the events, wherever in the world they happen to live.
The dates and times are: Saturday 22nd May from 4pm-7pm (UK time), and Saturday 29th May from 8am-11am. Both sessions will run on Zoom, so attendees will be able to participate and enjoy the proceedings from the comfort of their own homes.
To register your interest in attending the conference, please complete this form: https://forms.gle/RaJ1rsAjNZcSBg298
WORCESTERSHIRE INDEXES AND GUIDES
I am always being asked about the holdings in Worcestershire Archives, so I thought I would send you this link:
FRIENDS OF KEY HILL CEMETERY AND WARSTONE LANE CEMETERY
Jacqui Fielding of The Friends of Key Hill Cemetery & Warstone Lane Cemetery tells me that The Friends are reintroducing guided tours round the cemeteries. Key Hill was opened in 1836 and is our oldest non-conformist cemetery and Warstone Lane opened in 1847 is an Anglican cemetery containing two tier catacombs.
The tours start on Sunday 9 May 2021 with the Tour of Warstone Lane Cemetery, starting at 12 Noon and the Tour of Key Hill Cemetery starts at 2pm.
£5.00 per person per cemetery.
Children under 16 no charge.
Free to members of –The Friends of Key Hill Cemetery & Warstone Lane Cemetery Group who hold a current membership.
BOOKING essential: please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
FREE CENSUS ACCESS
Some of you may be aware of this, but there is Free access to all British censuses on Findmypast from 10am (London time) on Friday 30th April until 10am on Monday 3rd May.
FINALLY – Don’t forget to send Linda any articles you have for the Midland Ancestor.