Family History

Group Contact  - Bren Mead
Telephone  - 01503 220647 when prompted Please say this is a U3A inquiry
email -

Where are you
I know you are in there !!!

        We meet the Second Wednesday each month at                                        The Red  Store, Lerryn

  •  Morning Group  10 - 12.30       
  •  Afternoon Group 2 - 4.30

 Sorry, both Groups are full, please email to be added to a waiting list if interested in joining either group  

       We are now on our Summer Break, we resume on Wednesday October 9th

Both Groups

Both Groups their do their own research every month, we are helping each other when we come up against problems we can't seem to solve ourselves, the 'Brick Wall' as it is called.


Morning Group

Today we were discussing various ways we store the paper information collected i.e BMD certificates, Census Return, Baptismal Records and any other information we print. Keeping our research in folders, scanning photographs and naming individuals in those photographs, writing a short story about an ancestor including all the evidence found while researching the person.

Also we looked at various Family History programmes, some are free to download others need to be purchased, this is another way of keeping track of all the information found, I gave a short demonstration on how the family history programme I use works

Afternoon Group

We were talking about the lives of our ancestors who fought in WWI and WWI, and the various we found the information about them. 


Afternoon Group
 Today, before we continued with our own research I did a talk on wills explaining what can be gleaned from this very useful source. Showing an example from my own research on how the will I found confirmed the information I had found in the records.

 Morning Group
This meeting I gave a talk on Parish Records, also showing various types of records from the 1600's to the present day for the group to see how differently records were kept and the difficulty in reading some of the handwriting in days gone by.


Morning Group

After our summer break we had a memory jogger meeting, going over what was discussed earlier in the year.

Afternoon Group

After the summer break we did our own research to get us all in the mood for researching during the coming months


Morning Group

This morning we were looking at Census Returns, I explained how the information was collected in the early years, why sometimes you can't find the person you are looking for on a census return because the surnames/forenames were sometimes written or spelt wrong by the enumerator, or he even misheard  the name, and ways to overcome these obstacles.

Afternoon Group

Today were looking at a site called Lost Cousins, here you enter the names of ancestors and census numbers from the 1841,1881 and 1911 census's, if another person has also entered the sames information, you are sent an email inviting you make contact with that person who is more than likely to be a distant cousin, when contact is made you can then share information if you want to. Be interesting to see if any of the group who have just joined this site get any contacts, one member who joined a while ago has had 6 contacts.

Morning Group

Today we continued where we left off last month firstly by searching for our own then our parents birth entry in FreeBMD and the GRO indexes, the I produced marriages certificates where things were not quite what they seemed, the first one was an illegal marriage which took place in 1891 between Walter Kemp and Jane Cole they were brother in law and sister in law, at that time this was an illegal marriage, the reason they married was Jane's sister Harriet Kemp had died leaving 8 children and Jane’s husband William Cole had died leaving Jane with 4 children, so Jane & Walter decided to marry, but on that marriage certificate Jane’s Father is entered as Edward Cole, when in fact is was Edward Hoy, who appears correctly on her marriage certificate to William Cole in 1880.

The second marriage certificate had 5 errors on it I explained them all as I knew the couple personally and told them what should have been written down, so it just goes to show even when you have a certificate you still need to look at it carefully and do research on the information to see if it is in fact correct.

Afternoon Group

Today we decided to tackle brick walls, I believe Sue got one of her walls concluded, Gill may have found what she was looking for, and is waiting for a reply from a contact on Ancestry, and I helped give some advice regarding an unusual birth certificate, but this one probably won’t ever be solved in full, but there were a few new avenues for her to try, so you never know, sometimes we have to acknowledge we will never find the complete answer we are looking for.


January saw the 5th Birthday of the Family History Group, this month we tried dating our photographs comparing pictures I removed from various Family History Magazines of people from the 1850’s to 1940’s, we compared our photographs with the fashion of the day through time, some of us did have some success in dating our photographs, thus helping to identify the person who is in our tree.


Today saw the birth of a new beginners group, we started by looking at birth index entries on the Freebmd website and the General Register Office (GRO) listings web site, to see how the GRO site helped us to identify the correct person in the index, eliminating the chance of acquiring the wrong birth certificate if we chose to order one,  I explained that errors can  occur both in the indexes and the actual certificates themselves, showing them examples, I demonstrated how to search  the indexes using the two web sites, then asked them to find their own families birth entries.

Next  month we will continue where we left off this month.



Reports from 2017 may be read via this link