Family History Archive 2016-17

Meeting November 27th: Our discussion focused around the work undertaken by women from the 18th century to modern times with some references to our own research. We also considered how our families had moved over time, some not having moved far and others having moved for employment. As usual everyone made valuable contributions to enrich the discussion. We also compiled a long list of topics for future meetings!

Meeting October 23rd: This was a good meeting where everyone was actively involved in looking at how surnames had originated, the meanings of our names and sharing those peculiar to our own research. We considered how spelling had changed over time and how dialect may have influenced change. We also had some great suggestions for future group projects which we shall consider in more depth at the next meeting.

Meeting September 25th: Our topic was ‘Old documents’ and this encouraged members to dig out some old artifacts from their research. We looked at a variety of certificates, legal documents and personal letters which highlighted differences in handwriting and language used.

Visit – U3A Peak District Family History Network Conference: Four of our members attended this event at Buxton on Saturday 16th September 2017. It was a full day with four speakers and plenty of exhibitors ensuring that the two hundred attendees found plenty to interest them. The first speaker, Else Churchill, gave us lots of ideas for researching ancestors in England before 1700. Her presentation is being emailed to us and will be shared in a meeting at a later date. John Barker told us about his work as a probate researcher with some examples of cases he has worked on. After lunch we heard from Dr Gill Draper who explained how local history knowledge can help with ‘brick walls’ in our research and provided knowledge on a wealth of resources that could be tried, both on line and within record centres and universities. Our final speaker, John Titford rounded off the day with an informative yet humorous look at British accents and dialects. We came away with lots to think about and plenty of reading material in our ‘goody bags’.

Meeting July 24th: We were delighted to welcome a new member at this meeting, which took place in the upstairs room due to our increased numbers. Members had come prepared with some of their own research into early photography and fashions through the eras which enabled the entire group to learn from one another. There were many examples of old family photos being shared and efforts made to date them.

Meeting June 26th: This was a well-attended meeting and we managed to draw up a list of discussion topics that will take us through to the new year, with some to spare. We briefly revisited our learning on DNA and continued to discuss the advantages and limitations of trying this approach. Our free discussion covered areas such as local trade directories, use of local record centres, family tree charts and Bishops transcripts.

Meeting May 22nd: Members were treated to a slide show displaying Bill’s photographs of old Nottingham, concentrating mostly on the area around the Market Square and Trent Bridge. The photographs, many of which had been saved and restored by Bill, showed how and in what conditions our ancestors may have lived, worked and been entertained. For some it brought back memories of lost buildings and bygone times. A different and very enjoyable meeting. Thanks, Bill.

Meeting April 24th: Members shared their personal files and charts as part of a discussion in to how we record our findings. Many were anxious to find a way to succinctly record their family history whilst making it interesting for future generations. We looked at putting family stories together against the backdrop of social history as well as more classic charts. There is lots more to this topic and general agreement was that it would be revisited soon.

Meeting March 27th: We were pleased to welcome three new members for this months meeting, which was held upstairs due to breakfast running late in the dining room. After introductions we shared information about records from overseas and looked at the information stored in both Canadian and USA censuses and members shared their experiences of seeking information from overseas. We shared our recent successes and problems in research and learned about the ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’  Roadshow at the NEC, Birmingham, on 6-8 April 2017. We hope to have further reviews of this next month.

Meeting January 23rd: This month’s topic on DNA had led to all of the members present having done some research prior to the meeting. We all agreed that we had learned something new even though none of us had any plans to pursue this within our own research. We were also pleased to welcome Jim and Lorna who dropped in to see us.

Meeting November 28th: Our topic of ‘Wills and Probate’ led us to learn how an index of wills from 1858 onwards is available on the Government website, as well as ‘Ancestry’, although to obtain a copy of a will does incur a cost. Wills can be useful to confirm family members. We also learned how to seek older wills, especially for property owners, and looked at some examples of wills. There was time to discuss our own research and plan future meetings.

Meeting October 24th: Members enjoyed an interesting discussion about the workhouse and relevant records and looked in particular at the local area.

Meeting September 26th: Our topic of ‘Religion’ produced a widespread discussion about the Roman Catholic Church,  Anglican Church and the rise of non-conformist churches. We shared our knowledge of both old local churches (of which we found out there are many) and how to access their records. We also enjoyed learning about a Quaker school and looking at different books and documents brought in by the members.  Aside from our discussion we reflected on the success of the open day at the previous monthly meeting and viewed the photographs on this website. It was an opportunity for some members to see and use the website for the first time.

Meeting August 22nd: Our discussion theme of ‘Criminals’ led to several members sharing some of the shadier stories of their ancestors, including proceedings in the 1300s, deportation to Australia and local imprisonment. There was time to review our own research and to discuss problems encountered and how these might be overcome. We also planned future topics through to Christmas.

Meeting July 25th: We looked at the value of school records within family history research. Although few of these are available on-line most schools have their records deposited locally. Some schools that are still open have a section of their website devoted to past times and may include old school photographs, magazines and prize giving programmes.

We also discussed the forthcoming open day and members offered ideas and items for the display table. Finally we shared our research problems and successes since the last meeting.

Meeting June 27th: Our discussion around ‘Bishop’s Transcripts’ was enhanced by one of our members who had found some valuable background information, which helped us to understand the context of these records. We welcomed one new member to the group and we spent time discussing our individual research and offering help to members in the early stages of their research.

Meeting May 23rd: At this meeting the discussion focused on what jobs our ancestors did and the records that are available to help further our research, based upon their occupations. One member brought a list of ‘unusual occupations’ as found on 19th century censuses and we had great fun trying to work out what the jobs might have been.

Meeting April 25th: Seven members enjoyed an interesting group discussion, which centred around our ancestors military past. Thanks to members for sharing stories, memorabilia and photographs as we explored a range of conflicts and service. It was interesting to see original service records, medals and sad to read the letter sent when a soldier was killed in action.

Visit to Ilkeston Library Resource Centre – September 2015

Members met at the library and were shown the resources available. It was an interesting morning with time for some personal research.

Visit to the Nottinghamshire Archives -November 23rd

Thirteen members took part in this guided visit, which provided a behind the scenes tour including a visit to the strong room and conservation unit. As well as learning about the records that are available to researchers the group saw first hand some restoration work being undertaken on old documents and photographs. We also saw some very old original documents including parish and workhouse records, maps and personal diaries. We learned about the computer and microfiche facilities available and how to register for a CARN ticket to enable members to use the Archives to further their own research.