Hurrah, February is almost at an end. I don’t like February, it always seems the dreariest month of the year, but it leads us into March, which hopefully will be start of Spring (Sorry if you are going the other way). My daughter in Melbourne is already moaning about how cold it is there – it was 42 degrees the other day! I would say it would be nice to get to that temperature, but I know it wouldn’t!
Following the success of our first Zoom self-help Workshops, these will now be held every month, except August, on the third Wednesday of every month starting at 2pm. Whatever is discussed will be decided by you, our members as long as it is family history related!
Trip to National Archives and Familiarization Session
Unfortunately Phil has had to cancel the trip to Kew on 18 March due to lack of bookings. With the cost of hiring a coach and the London central charge means that unless we have a full coach, we cannot afford to run the trip. He has also decided not to run the Familiarization Session because, if you are like me, you will have forgotten it all before the next trip. The next trip to Kew will be on 20 May, please contact Phil if you wish to go.
Anniversary Lunch – Sun 14 May 2023 12noon for 12.30pm
Your March journal should be arriving shortly containing the menu for our lunch. The cost is £30.00 each.
Once you have picked your selection, please send/email to me. You can either pay by cheque, or through our online shop using your debit/credit card.
I am so looking forward to seeing you all.
FORTHCOMING GROUP MEETINGS
BIRMINGHAM – 4 March 2pm
The Friends Ambulance Unit Motor Ambulance Convoy 1914 – 1918 – Paul Handford
NORTH STAFFORDSHIRE – 6 March at 7:30pm – 9pm GMT
Where’s my bag – Michael Morton
WOLVERHAMPTON: Wed 29 March @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm GMT
Enclosure in the English Midlands (Re-arranged from pre covid) – Richard A. Churchley
KENILWORTH – 8 March 7.30pm (Live)
The last letter I ever received: Epistles, emotions, and the family archive from 18C England.
Dr. Imogen Peck, FRHistS,FHEA, Birmingham
BROMSGROVE – Tue 14th March @ 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm GMT
Researching 20th Ancestors – Mike Sharp
STOURBRIDGE: SAT 25th March @ 2:30 PM – 4:30 PM GMT
Talk on Family History – Vanessa Morgan
Dianne Shenton at the North Staffs Group has been in touch about an exciting project the Group are involved with. She writes:
“North Staffs latest project is to index all the Cremation records for Carmountside Crematorium in Milton, Stoke on Trent. Our committee has managed to come to an agreement with them that we will photograph the pages of the record Books and members will then index the entries from the images. By the latest estimate we think there will be around 100,000 entries. The records add what happened to the Ashes as some were removed to another location.
This index will not be made available online but will be at the Crematorium, Stoke on Trent Archives at Hanley Library and of course available at North Staffs Meetings.
For anyone not familiar with the area Carmountside Crematorium opened in 1940 with the cemetery in 1947 and I believe is about 63 acres in size. They computerised their records about 1995 but previous records are all on paper and were added by date order. So currently if anyone wants to know if their relative is in the records it costs £35 for the staff to search the record books unless an exact date of death can be produced.
As we have been photographing pages we have noticed that the residence of the deceased person can be from miles away. eg Doncaster. Also there are well known people eg Freddie Garrity from Freddie and the Dreamers if anyone can remember the 1960s.
If you would like to know more, or would like to get involved, please go the North Staffs website, http://www.northstaffsfamilyhistory.co.uk.“
Don’t forget if you have time, Rob Carter needs help photographing headstones and internal monuments of churches in the North Staffs area. This has been an ongoing project of Rob’s for many years, but it is not something he can do on his own. If you can help, Rob can be contacted on Robcarter@hotmail.com.
Talking to Martha from Familysearch who is here on secondment, she tells me that they now use mobile phones to photograph records, headstones, etc. (It’s probably top of the range), but the cameras on mobile phones are good now. They can then send them direct to be processed in Salt Lake City. How clever is that!
Can I also remind you about a request for volunteers in my last newsletter to help with UKBMD local project group of family history and genealogy web sites, in collaboration with local registration services to make the indexes freely searchable via the Internet.
As many of us know the GRO main index contains many inconsistencies, duplicates and errors. Sometimes local Register offices are the best bet when we cannot find what we are looking for.
A new project has been launched involving Kingston on Thames Registrars, but they need volunteers. Hopefully some of our members would like to volunteer to help. It involves photographing the birth, marriage and death indexes, then checking the typed indexes against the registers themselves. If you can spare a few hours a week to do this, please contact Steve on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don’t forget as well you can view the West Midlands BMD site (covering Sandwell, Walsall and Dudley registration districts) and Staffordshire BMD site (covering the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Registration districts) on our website. Click on the Resources tab on the website and either click on Birmingham or Staffordshire.
We also host the Staffordshire Burial Index which covers about 27 cemeteries/crematoria with a total of 521,758 records. Again click on the resources tab on the website.
There is also the ‘Tracing your Ancestors in Worcestershire page’ under the Worcestershire tab. This was the work of the late Arthur Lewis and something I refer to a great deal. It shows all the Parishes in Worcestershire, what records are available and where and even gives grid references if you wish to visit. Another great resource. https://www.worcesterbmsgh.co.uk/
Stafford Record Office
I am sure many of you may be aware, Stafford Record Office is closed for redevelopment to create the Staffordshire History Centre.
The History centre will be built across the garden and courtyard of the William Salt Library and the Record Office combining them to increase the size and make it more user friendly. There will also be an exhibition area to display some of the items currently at Shugborough. Some Documents will be moved to an offsite storage facility so may require 48 hours notice to view.
Stoke on Trent Archive (within Hanley library) is funded by Stoke on Trent Council not Stafford Borough Council so should be unaffected. For any enquiries email: email@example.com
There are limited facilities available elsewhere and more information can be found on https://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/Heritage-and-archives/contact/sro/Sources-for-family-historians.aspx
Somebody asked me recently about Wolverhampton birth, marriage, death and burial records and I could not remember where to find them. I eventually found the link: http://www.wolverhamptonhistory.org.uk/resources/indexes (Thanks to members of our Facebook page for pointing me in the right direction).
Warwickshire County Record Office:
The Record Office are running some interesting talks via their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/WarwickshireCountyRecordOffice/
This week’s Throwback ThursdayTale from the Collections comes courtesy of Carolyn Ewing, Archivists at Warwickshire County Record Office. She recalls an earlier epidemic which swept across Europe in the 1840s and explains how Leamington tried to deal with the problem of cholera in the 1850s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rq5DBLaq988
Don’t forget Midland Ancestors are manning the Family History helpdesk which is open 11-2:30 Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
ROOTSTECH by Familysearch 2 – 4 March 2023
Free Family History Conference you can attend online. There are over 180 topics with 1500 sessions which you can follow all year. Else Churchill will be speaking live at RootsTech 2023. For further info go to https://www.familysearch.org/rootstech/home
SOCIETY OF GENEALOGISTS:
Once again, the SoG have some really interesting talks this month:
Thursday 2 March 2pm – 3pm Live online
Getting the most out of the 1921 census – presented by John Hanson
Saturday 4 March 10.30 – 12.45 Live online
Tracing Ancestors in Wales – Presented by Gill Thomas
Saturday 4 March 2pm – 3pm Live online
Vanished City: London’s Lost Neighbourhoods – Presented by Tom Bolton
Saturday 11 March 10-30 – 11.30.
Mind the Gaps: Understanding and improving your online searches. (To be recorded)
Presented by David Annal
30 March 2023 – 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM BST
The UK Suffragettes 1 hour Live online
Presented by Penny Walters
These are just a few of the many talks available via Zoom all through the year from the Society of Genealogists. Some are free and for some there is a charge. https://societyofgenealogists
BMI Easter Egg Project:
The BMI are collecting and donating Easter Eggs to struggling families in Ladywood.
They have asked all users of the Institute if they are able, to donate an egg, crème eggs, mini eggs etc to the Institute, where they will be collected and distributed by the Ladywood Community Project team.
All donations to be brought to the Institute no later than midday on Wednesday 5th April.
FINALLY Can I remind everyone that the Society is run by volunteers who give up their valuable time for what is to us all a hobby. If some members feel that this is not good enough, all I can say is that if you can do any better, come and do it. It is never as easy as you think it is!