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South Tyneside Branch / Branch Meeting 18 January 2017 Reminder
« Last post by Annf on January 13, 2017, 12:10:38 PM »
A reminder the next meeting of the South Tyneside Branch is to be held at 1.30 pm in St Hilda's Visitors Centre, Market Place, South Shields on Wednesday 18th January 2017.

The theme for the meeting is a Members Forum entitled 'Items I have Kept', when Members and Visitors are invited to bring along to the meeting an item which has helped, hindered or inspired them to research their, or even other peoples, family histories.  I am sure there will be some interesting tales to tell. 

Something to look out for!  The Shields Gazette will be running an article in their Nostalgia Feature on Monday 16th January 2017 featuring one such story that is causing one of our Member's some intrigue as to the involvement of an immediate family member???
Tynedale Branch / Reminder - next few Tynedale meetings
« Last post by Susanne on January 08, 2017, 09:37:29 AM »
Tynedale branch meetings are held in the Community Centre on Gilesgate in Hexham at 7pm on the second Thursday of each month.  Members and visitors welcome. The next few meetings are:

January 12 2017 Members forum Bring any items of interest.  This is a discussion meeting.  Bring any item that you think would interest other attendees and tell us why. eg photos, newspaper article, kitchen or workshop tool, identity card .....

February 9  2017  David Waugh  Changing Corbridge – people and places 

March 9  2017 AGM & Mike Gibson Along the Tyne from sources to sea in postcards

South Tyneside Branch / NDFHS January 2017 South Tyneside Branch Meeting
« Last post by Annf on December 19, 2016, 02:25:48 PM »
The next meeting of the South Tyneside Branch of the NDFHS will be held at 1.30 pm on Wednesday 18th January 2017 at St Hilda's Visitors Centre, Market Place, South Shields.

The theme of the meeting is a Members Forum entitled 'Items I have Kept'.  An opportunity for members, and potential members, to delve into the attic and bring along to the meeting to talk about an old photograph, newspaper article, medal, family heirloom etc., which is something that may have helped, hindered or inspired them to research the lives of those elusive ancestors.  No doubt there will be some interesting tales to tell!!

Members both past and present, as well as other branch Members and visitors are more than welcome to join us at this and future meetings.
South Tyneside Branch / NDFHS South Tyneside Branch December 2016 Meeting Report
« Last post by Annf on December 19, 2016, 02:13:14 PM »
The meeting held on the afternoon of the 14th December 2016 gave members an opportunity to tax their brains with a hugely enjoyable Christmas Quiz, with Ramona taking first prize.

This was followed by discussions on 'memories of childhood winters' which then developed into talking about ancestors who had fought and lost their lives in WW1 and the ways and means by which their records can be traced.

The next branch meeting takes place at 1.30pm on Wednesday 18th January 2017 at St Hilda's Visitors Centre, Market Place, South Shields and this will be a Members Forum entitled 'Items I have Kept'. 
Tynedale Branch / Report of December 2016 Tynedale branch meeting
« Last post by Susanne on December 10, 2016, 02:32:07 PM »
Today’s Meeting  (11 members present)    8 Dec 2016    Members Forum   
                               Xmas Quiz and shared buffet
  The Xmas quiz involved a lot of anagrams and occupations.  The main entertainment was in going through the answers later.  Anagrams of family history terms (like gravestone and descendants) were considered fiendish but Northumberland place-names much easier. Matching occupations to descriptions was not too difficult until it came to howdy, a local Borders name for a midwife.  Tidesmen and todhunters could be worked out by guess or elimination. Is "Northumberland"  "torn and humbler"? or "Yorkshire" a "risky hero"? Quite a few people had not realised that Parliament had stopped using Regnal years in favour of Calendar years, nevermind when. Was it 1952, 1963, 1997 or 2000?  Afterwards everyone enjoyed the spread of snacks and drinks available while chatting about their individual family histories.
North Northumberland Branch / JANUARY MEETING
« Last post by Vglass on December 07, 2016, 12:57:34 PM »
IN SHARP RELIEF - the story of a remarkable North-east Family by Liz O'Donnell. Talk at Bell View Centre, Belford on Sat 14 Jan 2017 9.45 for 10 am. All welcome!
« Last post by Vglass on November 29, 2016, 09:49:06 AM »



A record-breaking audience turned out at Belford for another talk by local historian, Mike Fraser, who began his talk with an acknowledgement to the late Diana Herbert of Belford. Diana had enquired of Mike when he would turn his attention to a socialist as a change from  his previous subjects, such as Grey and Beveridge! This talk is the result of his research. He had also been privileged to hear first –hand accounts from Sue Handoll, a Trevelyan descendant, and to have access to  correspondence and private papers.

Born in London in 1870, Charles Trevelyan was the son of a Liberal Government minister, Sir Charles Otto Trevelyan, who held high expectations of his eldest son. After studying Classics he was sent to work for the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland where he developed great sympathy for the Irish cause. Early on in his career he met Sidney and Beatrice Webb, who introduced him to Ramsay Macdonald. and he became friendly with George Bernard Shaw. He was courted by several Liberal constituencies and at the age of 29 years was adopted by Elland constituency. In 1905 the Liberals entered government and 3 years later he was appointed Under-Secretary at the Board of Education. By now he had married Mary (Molly) Bell, who was to prove a devoted political wife.

Trevelyan grew suspicious of Foreign Secretary Grey’s intentions and hoped until the last minute to avoid war. Horrified at Grey’s decision to go to war, he resigned office  immediately and helped found  the Union of Democratic Control, opposing the government’s war policies. Their members were denounced as German sympathisers and the government placed restrictions on anti-war activities. His own party voted to get rid of him- “It is a scandal he should be in Parliament”- and the rift between him and George, his historian brother, began. He lost his seat in 1918.

Throughout the war he wore a black tie and even continued to do so after the war, despite his daughter presenting him with a green substitute. He joined the Labour Party which caused problems in his relationship with his parents. However he had to stand for election as an Independent as there was already an official Labour Party candidate. It was probably no surprise that he came bottom of the poll. However, he stuck to his principles and spoke out against the outcomes of the war, believing that Britain had behaved very badly to enemy countries. Ever optimistic, he stood for Parliament again, this time as the official Labour candidate for Newcastle Central. Surprisingly, his father paid his election expenses, and he gained a glorious win, holding this seat from 1922 to 1931.

Ramsay Macdonald became Prime Minister of a new government which now had 30 UDC members as MPs, including 2 responsible for Foreign Policy! Charles became President of the Board of Education and joined the Cabinet. He was driven by the desire to provide opportunities for all children but did not manage to raise the school leaving age to 15.  His views were opposed by many and Ramsay Macdonald was very cautious. During the next period of Labour minority government when his Education Bill was rejected by the Lords in 1930 Charles resigned . He lost his seat in Newcastle in 1931 and his life took a new direction.

Charles inherited the family estate of Wallington in 1928 and opened the gardens free to the public. Members of the family showed visitors around. He regarded himself as “trustee of the property not the owner”, declaring “it is pure chance that makes me rich”. He resisted approaches by Morpeth Labour Party, preferring to run the estate. Eventually, he decided in 1937 to leave the house and estate to the National Trust, concerned that future owners might not keep it open to the public. The family would remain as tenants, however. Did he have other motives, prompted by changes in taxation and the profile of wider society?  Some may have thought so. Wallington became a centre for socialist- and internationally-minded people where WEA study weekends were held with links to the YHA and People’s Theatre in Newcastle.

It is known that, following Russia’s entry into the war, he displayed the hammer and sickle opposite the crown at the entrance to Wallington and was sometimes referred to as “The Autocrat of Wallington.”

His wife, Molly, never occupied the role of his political confidante. That was given to Edith Bulmer, his secretary,  by whom he had a son, Martin, late in life. Edith and Martin were moved into a cottage within the courtyard of the hall where they remained until her death. Local people speculated about Martin’s parentage, his relationship with Edith continued and he seemed oblivious to the situation of his wife. Yet Molly claimed he was devoted to her and hated to see her upset!

Obstinate and strong-minded, Charles was expelled from the Labour Party and remained a loyal supporter of the Soviet Union. He supported Britain’s role in WW2 and appeared on Hitler’s death list. He held fast to his beliefs and took a courageous stand in WW1. He seemed a man of contradictions - simultaneously acting as aristocrat, socialist, democrat and dictator. Yet, as his daughter commented, these created “no conflict in him!” Wallington Estate has remained intact but is no longer free under NT policy.

Charles Trevelyan died in 1958 aged 87. He was the last surviving member of the first British Labour Government. Our speaker believes him to be one of the most left-wing persons ever in government.

The achievements and opinions of this enigmatic personality were skilfully described in this most interesting account of an unusual Northumbrian by Mike Fraser.

South Tyneside Branch / NDFHS South Tyneside November 2016 Meeting Report
« Last post by Annf on November 20, 2016, 04:57:22 PM »
The speaker at the meeting held on the afternoon of Wednesday 16th November 2016 was Susan Lynn, who gave a power point presentation entitled 'Dolly - a North Shields Legend'.

Founded in 1225 North Shields became a busy seaport and through Susan's talk, the group were given an insight into the businesses, industries and social living conditions which existed in the area in the 1800's.  The 'low area',made up of 4 streets, at one time housed some 100 pubs, Dortwick Street known as 'salt pan village' and the opening of the Fish Quay in 1870 were some of the examples given, illustrated by early photographs of the town.

The 'wooden dolly' has been associated with North Shields for over 2 centuries, with there having been 7 'dollies' in total.  The original was a figurehead taken from the brig 'Alexander & Margaret' by a local businessman Alexander Bartleman.  His son David had lost his life when the vessel was attacked by pirates off the Norfolk coast in 1781.  Bartleman kept the figurehead in his garden until it was moved to the Quayside in 1814.  Over the years it has been necessary to replace 'dolly', the latest being made of molded clay and which is situated outside the Wooden Dolly public house (formerly the Kings Head), on the low street.

A most interesting presentation which not only illustrated the life of 'dolly' but a historical review of North Shields. 

South Tyneside Branch / NDFHS South Tyneside Branch - December 2016 Meeting
« Last post by Annf on November 19, 2016, 05:21:54 PM »
The next meeting of the Branch will be held at 1.30 pm on Wednesday 14th December in St Hilda's Visitor Centre, St Hilda's Church, Market Place, South Shields. 

This will be a 'Christmas Quiz' and member discussion on the theme 'Childhood Memories of Winter'.   All members and visitors are welcome to attend.
Tynedale Branch / Report of November 2016 Tynedale branch meeting
« Last post by Susanne on November 13, 2016, 04:17:14 PM »
Today’s Meeting  (11 members present)    10 Nov 2016    Members Forum  
    Gone but not forgotten: funerals, tombstones, legacies - or vanished

This was a good discussion topic with everyone contributing something.  The two main subjects were memorials/tombstones and people who had vanished for periods of anything from 2 to 30 years.  In some cases the family left behind knew where the person was via letters but the current day researcher just found a trail that had gone cold.  Only a lucky break, perhaps via newly discovered cousins, answered the question of why someone no longer showed up in the various records.  One such involved a photograph of an elderly bearded man with “The Old Settler” written on the back and a recurrent family name.  It turned out he had abandoned his wife and youngest teenage son and gone to the USA in the 1880s to live with an older son.  His wife claimed she was a widow in the next census. 12 years later, when she had died, he returned to Glasgow and was reconciled with at least some of his family.  Another man had left his wife and gone to Australia in his 50s – his diary of his time there was published as “Diaries of a Welsh Swagman”.  He returned to her in his 80s. One man, who was an Ag Lab in England went to Canada for 20 years working on the railways.  He came back, took 20 years off his age, married, bought a farm and settled down.  One ancestor born in Mull went missing from the records for 30 years but had a wife whose family grew between censuses where she was recorded as wife and Head of Household.  He had been at sea sailing out of Liverpool as crew on ships like SS Great Britain and the emigrant boats to Canada and Australia.   Some of the ‘vanished’ were more a case of trying to fill in holes in a record.  In one case a rural gravestone had been found listing people who were probably connected.  Some time later a photograph of the same stone, with the names and more detail on the back was passed on from an older deceased relation, thus proving the link. Other examples discussed were linked to memorial gravestones.  In one case the man’s employers thought so highly of him they erected a tombstone with the wording “to an Honourable man”.  In another, the Earsdon Memorial, to men killed in the Hartley Pit Disaster, explained the different surname of some children in a family: their mother, the widow of one of those miners had remarried.
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