HURRAH! Hopefully after the end of January all restrictions will be lifted and we will be able to meet in person again.
Having said that we must all be mindful that the virus has not disappeared, so I will still be wearing a mask when I go out and about.
Before I get to the good news, I must tell you some bad news. The February meeting at the BMI in Birmingham on 5 February has been cancelled. Mainly due to the uncertainty of the speaker attending. We had hoped for this talk to be presented online, but the speaker is not keen.
In its place, Phil has organised another online event, on Wednesday 16 February at 2pm with a talk given by Kirsty Gray on probate searching Full details are available on the website.
Satellite Group Meetings:
Our Satellite Groups will also be restarting in February, and here is a list of their meetings:
7 February 7.30pm – North Staffs: Research Evening Meeting at St. John’s Hall, Trent Vale on 8 Feb 2022
• Dianne Shenton has said: Although it is a research evening, but she will take her computer with the new Roots Magic 8 programme and if enough people are interested we can play around with it and look at some of the online tutorials.
8 February 7.30pm – Bromsgrove: A brief History of Small Arms. Speaker Tim Barney Meeting at Methodist Centre, Stratford Road, Bromsgrove B60 1AS
9 February 7.30pm – Kenilworth: Online talk given by David Fray on Fred Hancox – an Edwardian Amateur Photographer from Coventry. Meeting at The Kenilworth Centre, Kenilworth CV8 1QJ
• Lesley Plant of The Kenilworth group has said they are planning to have an initial ‘live’ get-together for their meeting on 9th March – that will be exactly 2 years since the last ‘live’ meeting, pre-pandemic!
• We haven’t got a speaker for that – it is simply intended to be a ‘welcome back’ meeting, an opportunity to catch up with each other, especially those folk who didn’t join us on Zoom. Fingers crossed most people will be brave enough to pop in for a while.
23 February 7:30pm – Wolverhampton: Max Keen, dressed in period costume, talking about Prince Rupert of the Rhine – King Charles I’s pirate prince
Meeting at: Perton Civic Centre, Church Road, Perton WV6 7PD
• Penny has restarted her Family History courses at Perton. Although the one starting 1 February is fully booked, contact Perton Library for more details. firstname.lastname@example.org.
26 February 2:30pm – Stourbridge: Talk on A Yeomanry Trooper with Lawrence of Arabia given by Janet Byard-Jones
Full details of venues, times, etc. are in the yellow programme booklet or available on the website under Home / About / Local Groups /
• The meeting in Birmngham on 5 March will be a hybrid meeting (both in person and on Zoom) and Phil has asked if those members who live within easy reach of Birmingham could let him know if they will be attending in person. Linda, our Editor, will be presenting her talk on Shady Rock Cottages, Clent.
YOUR HELP IS NEEDED BY OUR GROUPS?
Although it is good that our Groups are re-opening, they do need your help. All our Groups are run by a committee and many of their committee members have stood down during the pandemic. If you want your local Group to survive, as well as attending, please step forward to join their committees, otherwise it may mean that the Group must fold. It is not onerous and if you are on your own, it could make the difference of being alone or making new friends. If you would like to help, please get in touch with the Chairperson of the Group concerned.
By the time you read this Myko Clelland will have given us his talk on getting the best out of the 1921 census. Really interesting it was too (If only I could remember it all!)
I know there has been mixed reactions to various aspects of the 1921 census, but it must be remembered that when FMP first started the transcription work three years ago.there was a lot of cleaning and conservation work to be done before it could be filmed and then transcribed. If you want to read about the work involved, go to https://www.findmypast.co.uk/blog/family-records/1921-census. Those of us that were party to the release of other censuses know that there are plenty of teething troubles to start with. Myko said that if you see any errors in the transcriptions, etc. email email@example.com instead of going through the webpage.
If you have ever transcribed census work, you will know that as a transcriber you do not see the whole page. The pages are split into pieces, and you would only see part of it. I know that one of our members down in Devon spent many a long hour literally going through census pages to spot mistakes and reporting them. I am not suggesting you do that, but every little helps. Also, when you buy an image, check the film strip to see if other images are included.
Luckily there were only two names on the census I wanted to look at for now. My mother in law’s mother and her father who was living with two women at the same time. At one point the two women were living next door to each other and both had babies within a few months of each other. I did find them quite easily, but with the one, I searched using the name of the youngest daughter born in 1920, as this narrowed down the options.
Apparently, you can visit Manchester Central Library where you can view the census for free. You will need to register for a Reader’s card, but you can do this online and book a slot. At the moment only a 2 hour slot is available, but if they are not busy they do allow you to take the next slot.
For more information go to https://www.manchester.gov.uk/libraries
The census is also available for free at the National Library of Wales. https://www.library.wales/
The census is free at National Archives, Kew
According to the latest newsletter from the Balsall Heath Local History Group, a scheme was introduced via the Birmingham Mail Christmas Tree fund to help some of the children of returning unemployed soldiers. The Middlemore Homes had agreed to take in 45 children (30 boys and 15 girls), the main costs for which were paid for via the Xmas Tree Fund.
So if by chance you cannot find your ancestors, just put in their name and year of birth, you might be surprised what comes up.
I also find that sometimes it is better to put in less details than more as you are dealing with a machine which can sometimes throw a ‘wobbly’ when it comes to searching with too much information. Don’t forget to use Wild Cards as well.
I want to remind you about our Facebook groups where you can post questions and hopefully get answers that will help in your research. These are:
BMSGH Members Only Family History Group.
Midland Ancestors general page (open to anyone).
Midland Ancestors DNA Special Interest Group
These are also some Groups that we have an interest in:
1921 UK census users Group
Findmypast (Independent) Users Group
Don’t forget to look at the Members Area on a website. There are a number of indexes, charts, downloads, and talks. that you may find useful. The password for the Members area will change on 1 March, and the new password will be in the March journal.
We also host the Staffordshire Burial Index on behalf of Staffordshire County Council. This gives you the name of the cemetery and the quarter the burial took place. For more information see http://www.staffordshireburials.org.uk/
As well as the burial index, we also host the Staffordshire BMD and West Midlands BMD on behalf of UKBMD. These are the indexes for local Register Offices from 1837 as they are the ones that hold the original registers. So if you can’t find what you are looking for on other sites, try looking at UKBMD as they have similar schemes all over the country. At the moment not all the birth registrations contain the mother’s maiden name, but you can hopefully find this via other means.
For marriages, the one good thing is that it shows where the marriage took place, either a civil marriage or a church marriage, so if you wanted to you could go and look at the marriage registers for the church. http://www.staffordshirebmd.org.uk/
Phil has asked me to tell you that he has updated the guidance on how our Zoom events work. You can find these on our Midland Ancestors website by going to: https://midland-ancestors.uk/events-updates. Phil is not able to help with setting up your computer, that is down to you. I know he is good, but he is not a miracle worker!
One of the questions I often get asked is if the talks we present on Zoom are recorded. This really depends on the Speaker. Obviously, some of the speakers make their living by presenting these talks and the fact that we view them online instead of in person does not alter the fact that the talk belongs to them and if they don’t want them shown, we cannot do anything about it.
Also I have nothing to do with the actual mechanics of these events and once I log into the talk, I switch everything else off, so it is no use trying to contact me until the talk is over.
I’ve had a few enquiries recently about reading old documents. If you are an expert on this, or any other aspects to do with family research, please let me know and I will place you on my Researcher’s list.
To those that want to have a go themselves, there are a number of online courses available, these are just two:
National Archives; https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/palaeography
Future Learn https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/ems-palaeography
There were/are several books available, but I think you will have to search for them. Try Amazon it is always good for second hand books.
Finally, or two really!
Don’t forget to send your articles in to Linda Newey for the Midland Ancestor.
Just to let you know, I shall be unable to contact from 9 March for six weeks so there will be no newsletter for March and April. If there is anything you would like me to announce, let me know for next month.