Virtual Branch meetings
Tuesday 28th November (7.30pm UK time; repeated on the 30th November at 9am UK time). Graham Grist, one of our Virtual branch members is a volunteer for the Commonwealth War Grave Commission, will be giving us a talk on the work of the CWGC, with special reference to Wiltshire.
Tuesday 23rd January (7.30pm UK time; repeated on the 25th January at 9am UK time). Graham Warmington is giving a companion talk to James Holden’s talk earlier this year. The topic is “The Dissenters and their records”.
Tuesday 26th March (7.30pm UK time; repeated on the 28th March at 9am UK time). Jenny Pope is having a new look at the census records in a talk entitled, “The Census revisited”.
Tuesday 28th May (7.30pm UK time; repeated on the 30th May at 9am UK time). Our Society President, Steve Hobbs, is going to help us how to research the history of the houses, and other buildings, that were important to the lives of our Wiltshire (and elsewhere) ancestors. This will be through maps, documents, and other resources.
Tuesday 23rd July (7.30pm UK time; repeated on the 25th July at 9am UK time). Terry Bracher, from the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre is giving an interesting talk on Wiltshire Black History which will be an exploration of the topic from the 16th Century onwards using documentary and archival evidence.
Tuesday 24th Sept 2024 (7.30pm UK time; repeated on the 26th Sept at 9am UK time). t.b.a.
Tuesday 26th Nov 2024 (7.30pm UK time; repeated on the 28th Nov at 9am UK time). The Historical Fiction writer, Jean Renwick, will be helping us to understand the physical and emotional struggles and adventures of those, who for economic and other reasons during the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century emigrated from the UK to various parts of the world. For this she will use the characters and their life stories of those who emigrated from Yorkshire to the USA in her "The Mourning Brooch" trilogy of which she has already published the first two books and is hoping to publish the third book in the near future. Based on an account concerning her own family, her research and understanding of the period on both sides of the Atlantic has been widely applauded. Whether we are amongst those who have direct ancestors who emigrated from the UK, or have family members who also emigrated (whether from Wiltshire or elsewhere in the UK), I am sure that listening to Jean will help us understand what our predecessors had to endure for the future of their immediate family.
We are always interested in hearing from our virtual branch members as to the themes they would like us to feature during our branch meetings.
29th August (repeated on the 31st August): John Hanson FSG on “Understanding the 1921 Census” – this was an excellent talk, as John has put together a comprehensive guide to the census, with ideas that most of us may never have thought of. During his talk, he mentioned the background for both the census itself (being the first one after WW1) as well as the special little querks of the returns, for example the schedule types (including P indicating prison, and I indicating institution). He highlighted the pieces of information that had been dropped from the previous census, but also mentioned the valuable details that had been added. These include: greater details regarding ages; the issue of divorce in some families, whether the children had both parents still alive or only one and whether they were in full time or part time education, etc. The biggest improvement was with regard to occupations, including fuller details of the work itself (inc. number codes for different jobs) and details about the employers and the place of employment. The talk was very much appreciated, especially as we were able to circulate John's notes to those who had attended.
27th June (repeated on the 29th): Dr David Church on the understanding of death pronouncements on historic death certificates. Members of the Virtual Branch were given a treat with a talk by Dr David Church. David is a member of the Wiltshire Family History Society and has been a major player in establishing and running the Society’s Virtual Branch. David has now proved that he is an excellent speaker especially with regard his keen interest in genealogy and his professional skills as a practicing G.P. (with an interest in historical ailments). The talk was entitled “Death Certificates and Causes of Death”. Speaking on this theme, he looked at what we can learn as family historians from the death certificates (both English and Welsh) and also the accompanying medical certificates and the more recent Crematorium forms – each containing a slightly different set of information data concerning the deceased. This was followed by an explanation of many of the historical names given to diseases that are now known by different names; including over 60 named diseases identified as causes of death in the London area during 1632. “Bloody Flux”, “King’s Evil” and “Tympany” were amongst the conditions that David explained. The session ended with a literal “surgery” with David explaining the meanings of various diseases and conditions that had been found on family death certificates obtained by members joining us for the talks.
23 January, the first live zoom meeting of 2023. With 40 members present, (plus over a dozen at our recorded meeting a couple of days later) our guest speaker was James Holden whose brilliant book on the development of Nonconformist Chapels in Wiltshire, “Wiltshire Nonconformist Chapels and Meeting Houses – a Guide and Gazetteer” was published in early 2022.
James’ theme for the evening was the development of chapel design from the 17th to the 20th Century. He also gave a very brief overview of the history of Nonconformity during this period of time, starting with the days of persecution following the restoration of the Monarchy and the Church of England after the Commonwealth period of history. Amongst other stories, he spoke of the Independent (Congregational) chapel at Tisbury, which had to be built by its members at night-time in 1726 to save detection.
Using pictures of County Chapels (both rural and urban) built in each of the four centuries, from Monks Lane Chapel near Corsham to North Bradley Baptist Church near Trowbridge, he described both the changes of developing styles and the similarities, such as the symmetry that can be observed in all but the most modern of chapels. (report by Graham Warmington)
October 2022. "Brick Walls". There are now a variety of sources to help study family history – Ancestry, FindmyPast, The Genealogist, Free FMD, Free [Con], Family Search, Wilts FamilySearch, Genuki/Wilts, On Line Parish Clerks, Free FMD and FindmyPast combined, Ancestry DNA, newspapers – obituaries, weddings and the like (extracts through FindmyPast), Google and Facebook, WFHS journal, publications and library, members’ interests, Wiltshire BMD, tithe awards and manor records.