Newsletter No. 10 – February 2021
This week has been a beautiful week, I actually heard my first sky lark. Such a welcome sound. We have blue skies, the snowdrops and crocuses are out, but it still has been freezing in the mornings. At least it would appear that the weather is going in the right direction (sorry if you are heading towards winter), the days are getting longer and hopefully with the vaccine roll out, things are looking up.
I must apologise to those members who received a reminder letter, but had already paid their subs. We are installing a new database and on transferring the old data, some of the information was not uploaded. This has now been fixed so next year (fingers crossed) it won’t happen again.
Thank you to all of you who chose to ring me, it was so nice to have a chat, especially those who live some distance away and cannot get to our meetings.
Talking of which, our February talks went well. Phil had over 100 viewers for the talk on Ag Labs. It is surprising just how much you pick up when listening to somebody else. One thing not mentioned in the talk was that if you are looking for baptisms of their children, widen your search. Sometimes, Ag labs may travel from one farm to another, so children could be baptised in the nearest church to where they live. Plus, and this could apply to everybody, if the couple married in the bride’s parish, look there for the birth of their first child. Quite often, the bride went home to mother when she was expecting her first child.
Paul Hudson gave an interesting talk on the Archives at Worcester. It is a shame we cannot interest Worcestershire Archives in using our expertise, we have tried.
We do hold the Worcestershire marriage index with some records dating back to 1533. We also hold some marriage licence indexes from between 1660 – 1754. These containing not just the couple’s names, but also in some cases, ages, occupation, where married and abode. There are also details of the Bondsmen and sometimes witnesses. These cover Anglican, Roman Catholic, Quaker and other non-conformist entries.
We also hold the Worcestershire burial index. This formed part of the National Burial Index, which is available on FMP, but sometimes our index gives other information, age, relationship, etc. and quite possibly covers later dates.
If it is baptisms for Worcestershire you are after, contact Malvern FHS. They have been transcribing the baptism for Worcestershire which are available on the Genealogist website. One other thing to remember is that some parishes in any county may originally be somewhere else. Shipston on Stour comes to mind, this is now in Warwickshire, but originally was in Worcestershire. This also applies to some places in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Staffordshire.
You can search the indexes on all the major pay to view sites for free, it is only when you want other information that you must pay for it.
I know I have mentioned this before, but I always use http://www.dustydocs.com/. ; Enter your interested place and a list comes up of suitable indexes, some of which may be local indexes.
Familysearch uses batch numbers for their parishes, so if you use Archersoftware, you just click on the relevant batch number for the timescale you are looking for.
Once you click on the film for the parish you are looking at, insert the surname you are interested in. Click on the record details, which is just like a normal Familysearch page. If there is a film available there is a box in the right-hand corner saying “This record came from this set of images. You will need to look through several images to find this record”. You just click on the film. At the top of the page it will tell you how many pages are in the film. To change the page number, I alter the number in the box and press return and keep doing that until I get to the page I want. I have found this useful when looking for early records, not sure about later ones. They may not cover all records, but I have been lucky to find the ones I want.
If it is Warwickshire parishes you are interested in, Warwickshire County Record Office have rescanned all their registers, and we are checking transcribing and indexes each parish. Once completed these complete parishes and indexes will be available through our shop, but you can purchase various parishes now as a download without an index. If the parish you want is not shown, send Steve Freeman an email and ask if it is available.
Another set of records worth perusing is those of Internet Archives. https://archive.org; Put in the county of your choice and it comes up with image of transcripts of parish registers. They may not contain the images, but at least it gives you a helping hand to find your ancestors.
I must also mention the UKBMD indexes. We host the Staffordshire and the West Midlands BMD projects on our website. These are a collaboration between Family History Societies and local Registration Services to make the BMDs freely searchable via the Internet. This is not just on our patch but is available throughout the UK. Go to UKBMD for more information. You can also order certificates through your local registration office. Sometimes by checking on these local indexes, you will find entries that can be missing from the GRO index.
We also host the Staffordshire burial indexes, details provided by the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive Service. Whilst it is only a index, there is an extensive list of all cemeteries it covers with dates.
For our March talks online, on 17 March we have ‘the work of the War Graves Commission’ given by Sarah Moody. Sarah is public engagement co-ordinator at the CWGC and will tell us of their work. This is another talk I am looking forward to. Talk starts at 2pm.
On 23 March, the Bromsgrove Group will be hosting a talk on The Bromsgrove School given by Philip Bowen. Bromsgrove School is a co-educational, independent school within the town, very well known. Please note the date has been changed from 9 March.
For more details, go to the website and Click on the events/calendar.
Phil has been busy, when is he not. He has put the indexes to the 1888 Maps of Birmingham on our website. The index contains street names, churches, schools, pubs, etc. To find it hover your mouse over Resources drop down/ Hover over Birmingham and the maps tab with open.
Another useful set of Records are those of Staffordshire Archives. They now include Staffordshire Police Disciplinary Register Index 1857-1886 and 1904-1923 to their Staffordshire names index. Useful as well for criminal records relating to Staffordshire. www.staffsnameindexes.org.uk
I think that is about all I have to say now. (That is enough I hear you say). We appreciate all the feedback and encouragement you have given us. If you have anything you would like to cover in the newsletter or in the journal, either contact me or Linda Newey, who is always waiting for your contributions.
The UK 2021 census is being held on Sunday 21 March. We know as family historians just how useful previous censuses have proved, but I wonder if these censuses will be as useful in future years. In many ways, to me at least, it seems that there will be less information available about people in future. less marriages, less baptisms, no telephone directories or electoral rolls that we can view. Where would we be without previous censuses, electoral rolls, or other directories? We already know there is a big gap between the 1921 census and the 1951 census. The only thing in between is the 1939 register.
So when you complete the 2021 census (and it is against the law not to), keep a copy with your family history papers, it might prove invaluable in future.