Newsletter No. 14
Just when we thought restrictions would be lifted, the decision has been put back until July 19th, so we will have to hang fire a little longer before we can get back to ‘normal’ – whatever that may be.
After discussing our present situation ‘in house’, plus canvasing various members, it was felt that once Groups can open, the decision as to when and how should be left to them and their members. After all, they know will know what safety arrangements prevail in their area.
We do have a Health and Safety Plan, but as the situation keeps changing, we cannot release this. Of course, this would also be in conjunction with any local Heath and Safety that local venues may have.
My suggestion was that each Group might like to canvas their members as to when they would like to attend an open meeting, Sept?, Oct?, Jan? because no matter what the Trustees decide, ultimately it is up to each Group to know when the time is right to open.
Our London Group are in the unfortunate position of having to look for new premises. They have met at the Society of Genealogist building for several years, but the SoG are in the process of moving, so the London Group will have to find somewhere else to meet. Chairman, Dave Kerr, is looking for suitable premises, but with their members coming from such a wide area, it will have to be central to everybody. He suggested the TNA, but according to Dave who surveyed his members last month, 40% were still concerned from the health standpoint and some about getting to TNA. Hence the need for something more central. If you have any suggestions, I am sure Dave would like to hear them.
He also said they have a visit booked to the Foundling Museum in January – subject to Covid which will hopefully get people out and such visits may be the short term answer.
No decision has been made about opening the Reference Library yet, again this depends on what the requirements are in July and our own Reference Library staff. Some are quite happy to return to the library, but some are understandably nervous. It may also mean that the library will only open on certain days and with an appointment system. As soon as a decision is made, we will let you all know.
I managed to miss two out of three talks last month, which was very disappointing for me. The only one I caught was Penny Smith’s talk on ‘Who’s the Daddy?’ From Penny’s work it just shows you that you must look at everything, even if it seems irrelevant. Lost father’s must be one of the most difficult parts of family history especially if you do not know who they are. DNA may point you in the right direction, but that may be the last resort.
My mother never knew her father, although we did at least know who he was. I finally managed to trace him in 2017 with the help of Facebook. If you want to read about my search, it was published in the September edition of the Midland Ancestor 2017, Vol. 19 No 3.
Our next talk will be on 21st July @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm – Park Street Burial Ground – The HS2 Dig
You may remember that there was a tv programme on the archaeological investigations for the HS2 terminal in Birmingham which included Park Street. The burial ground was used as an overspill burial site for St. Martins and was opened in 1810, closing in 1857 to new burials. To register for this talk go to https://midland-ancestors.uk/event/online-event-park-street-burial-ground/
In my last newsletter I mentioned that I had been asked to contribute to an article on the West Midlands in the Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine. I have now received a copy of the magazine, and I am glad to see that they included my questioning of the term West Midlands. The West Midlands did not exist before 1974 and by referring to it new researchers could be looking for a historical area.
Mike Sharpe, Chairman of our Bromsgrove Group also has an article in the magazine on Brass Workers. It was often referred to as ‘toy makers’, but this was not children’s toys, it was a general term covering anything small and made in metal, buckles, boxes, taps, etc. There were so many little factories, that sometimes it is difficult to pin point where your ancestor worked. In this instance, trade directories could be a goldmine. The only problem with Trade Directories is that although it says it covers a certain period, the information could have been collated over two to three years, so the firm you are looking for may have moved by then.
My sister worked in a factory making brass coffin handles, for which she was paid on a ‘Piecework’ rate. The rate paid was for a fixed number (e.g. £1 per 100). If for whatever reason she did not reach her target, she would only get paid for the work she had done. My gran used to sew buttons on cards at home, earning ‘piecework’ money. If you visited, you always had to help sewing the buttons on the cards. Never an idle hand!
Mike Fisher, on the Worcestershire Ancestors Facebook page recommends a useful data set on Ancestry, Worcestershire, England, Electoral Registers, 1837-1974. The actual coverage is strange, but it is a useful data set. I’ve taken a look and it is strange as some of the places definitely were not in Worcestershire, but could be another useful resource www.ancestry.co.uk/search/collections/62056.
Scotlandspeople has announced that indexed images of the 1921 Scottish Census will be released on scotlandspeople.gov.uk and in the Scotlandspeople Centre in the latter half of 2022. The release had been due on 20 June 2022, but that has been put back. For further details, see https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/guides/census-returns.
I have received an email from Riden Philip of the Derbyshire Record Society who are releasing a book on muster rolls for Derbyshire of 1638-9 listing over 18,000 individuals. They are publishing the work in two parts, the first of which should appear in July. I know that technically this is not within our area, but I know that lots of our north Staffordshire members may have ancestors in Derbyshire. I do not have any other information at the moment, but their website is https://derbyshirerecordsociety.org/
The Staffordshire BMD web site and the West Midlands BMD web site are part of the Local BMD Project group of Family History and Genealogy web sites. Both these sites are housed on our website http://staffordshirebmd.org.uk/ and http://westmidlandsbmd.org.uk/
Members of our North Staffs Group are involved in compiling these indexes and Bill Harrison, Chairman of our North Staffs Group, tells us that the Staffs BMD has been updated with the following:
Deaths: 598 for Lichfield (held at Lichfield RO), registers at Lichfield (1985-1987)
These are indexes only. The images can be seen at the relevant Archive offices.
We also house the Staffordshire Burial Index covering cemeteries throughout the County.
Ian Hartas of UKBMD tells us that The Staffordshire Burial Indexes has been updated to add: 38,400 for Bradwell Crematorium: 1965 to 1997
There are a Total of 497,242 contained in the indexes together with plans for most of the cemeteries.
To see the complete index, go to http://www.bmsgh.org/burialsearch/
Talking of deaths (!!!) can I remind you about Rob Carter’s ongoing project to record monumental inscriptions in Staffordshire. More and more churches and chapels are being lost or turned into restaurants or residential properties, so this begs the question were do the memorials go? Are they taken to the mother church? Are they left with the property? Are they dumped into a skip? Can you spare a little time to photograph the memorial located inside churches, chapels etc.
If you feel you can help, please email Rob and he will let you know which churches/chapels need to have their memorials photographed near you. email@example.com
Rob also produced the North Staffs newsletter which is available to download http://www.bmsgh.org/branches/northstaffs/newsletters/
If you haven’t done so, why not subscribe to the Family History Federation Really Useful Newsletter. It contains some really interesting information not just about various Family History Societies here and abroad, but also details of events, courses, etc. Just email Debbie Bradley at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask to be put on the mailing list.
If your ancestors came from the Balsall Heath area of Birmingham, The Balsall Heath Local History Society publish a monthly newsletter, which includes information on the Middlemore Homes lost children project. Their website address is www.balsallheathhistory.co.uk and their Facebook page is: Balsall Heath Local History Society and lostchildrenproject.
There are lots of these smaller Societies dotted around our area, details of some can be seen on our website. Why not just put in a Google search and see what comes up.
The Society of Genealogists have some interesting courses coming up. If you are a member of the SoG you will receive a 209-35% discount on talks and courses. To view their online events go to http://societyofgenealogists.arlo.co/w
The National Archives has a free online event on 6 July at 14:00BST on top tips for using Discovery, their online catalogue where users can currently download 100 free records a month. To register go to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/top-level-tips-using-discovery-tickets
Free Scottish Family History Virtual Conference – 10 July 2021
Learn how to trace your Scottish family history. The 11th Scottish
Indexes Conference will be held on 10 July 2021. For further details go to
I think that is all for now. Can I remind you as well to send your articles to Linda for entry into the Magazine. I am sure she would rather have too many articles than too few. Linda’s details are in the Journal.