Member Marian Crew enlightened us on her research into her Innkeeping ancestors and the various stories she had uncovered. Marian’s interesting presentation included photographs she had taken herself on recent visits to the London area.
Cornwall - it's easy
Ian Simons gave an interesting talk about the resources that are available for those lucky enough to have Cornish ancestors. We also formally agreed to absorb Wales into our sphere of interest, which made half a dozen members of the group very happy, and the rest mildly interested.
Off the Beaten Track
Mike and Lesley had a look at the treasure trove of family history records you can find in old books and other documents through websites like archives.com and familysearch.org
Peter Hamersley explored 'Tracing Living Relatives' -- he used a case study of an unusually named person and led us through freebmd and electoral rolls to build up quite a story on that individual.
And we had our AGM at this meeting. Co-Convenors Mike and Lesley (last time, folks, we won't be nominating next year) and a small committee of Peter Hamersley and Frank Hutchison
Our main presentation was given by Frank Hutchison. It was the story of John Hobden, Janet Hutchison’s direct ancestor, who was transported to Van Diemen’s Land for stealing ten pounds – making him literally a “Ten Pound Pom”!. Frank presented a lively story that was very well researched and illustrated. Presentations such as Frank’s are greatly appreciated and always welcome. Peter then updated members on various records that have been released since the December meeting. This was followed by a demonstration entitled “The Power of your State Library Card” where Peter showed members what resources were available for free once a card has been obtained from the State Library at http://slwa.wa.gov.au/ . In particular we focused on the free resources available from The National Archives (UK) site using the Discovery Catalogue http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ .
To finish, we had a look at how to effectively use the Lost Cousins web site and obtain it’s very informative newsletter on http://www.lostcousins.com .
Lesley presented her grandfather's WW1 story, called Jake's War. Based largely on the War Diaries of the 8th Battalion Royal Fusiliers, her grandfather's story is just one of millions of stories of the tedium of the War mixed in with days of extreme terror and mayhem. An emotional tale.
As well, we had a look at the recently released 1939 register of Find My past. Followed by the regular end-of-year shared lunch. Thanks everyone for your contributions.
Mike gave a presentation showing his DNA quest and journey over the last couple of years. This is an area of research that can bring surprising results for those who are willing to participate. Mike presented his findings and informed us of his surprise discovery of ‘lost’ cousins that have arisen since he submitted his DNA samples. It has opened up a new avenue of research for Mike with various possible outcomes, and has left plenty of food for thought!
We had two distinct sessions this meeting:
- SIG member Frank Hutchison gave a talk called "From Leith to London" and shared his research into two of his ancestors who moved from Bonny Scotland to the metropolis of London. A fascinating tale.
- Seamen/mariners discussion. We looked at queries to do with merchant seamen, and particularly examnined in detail a query from a WAGS country member, which was quite difficult, but it allowed us to review where the various records might have ended up. Peter Hamersley gave a comprehensive summary of the whereabouts of various maritime records, and also decoded for us the information that can be found on some individual records in the British Merchant Seamen dataset at www.findmypast.co.uk (available free at WAGS)
We had a short AGM, where the following were elected: Mike Murray and Lesley Silvester (co-convenors), Peter Hamersley, Karen Tregenza and Frank Hutchison (committee).
Mal Parr then showed us a series of historic photos he gleaned from various sources to tweak our nostalgia for things past. Much discussion from the floor.
Peter Hamersley led us through the history of the Music Halls, accompanied by a few of the songs of the time (Mike and Lesley did the singing, accompanied by many enthusiasts in the audience). And then we had lunch to celebrate another successful year.