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Tynedale Group Meeting  (10 members present - April 13 Maundy Thursday)    Members forum   
             The Services and employment - records & other sources
The greater part of the meeting was devoted to discussions of Service records with Army, Airforce, Royal Navy and Merchant Navy records produced for the members to look at.  The Armed Forces records can be obtained from the appropriate branch and it was noted that the first approach produces a letter with forms to fill in and a warning that it could take months.  In fact, the records requested usually turned up within a very few weeks.  Unclaimed WW2 medals can also be requested.  One member had only recently acquired the army service records of his father and uncles and was stumped by the number of codes and acronyms needed to make sense of the record.  However, another member had been through this in the past and kindly lent him a long printout of the Army’s abbreviations.  It was suggested that various regimental museums or other groups , eg POW groups, are very willing to help with specific queries about people or records.  The official records do not necessarily tell the full story and other sources can be useful.  Examples of this were postcards picked up, though not always posted, at places visited en route.  When wives accompanied their husbands on long postings, eg in India, the birth records of children born abroad may give places and occupations such as army hospital sergeant.  The Chelsea Pensioner records cover army pensioners living anywhere in the country – not just those in red uniforms at Greenwich.  Censuses and war memorials may show further family connections.  There was some discussion as to why a call-up may be deferred eg a worker in the docks at Liverpool would not be released until he could be replaced.   Some people’s war work was too important for them to be called up so records are scarcer.  One member’s grandfather had been a blacksmith working on ship repairs at Dunston.  She had a couple of photos of him with his workmates.  He contracted TB which was probably job-related. He was paid a year’s wages to spend a year at Catton in the hope that the fresh air would help but he died on Tyneside in 1922.  The Merchant Navy had its own records including books with ships’ stamps showing every ship sailed on.  Some ancestors were hoarders, keeping all payslips, apprentice records etc while others only kept their first job appointment letters - if that. 
« Last post by Vglass on April 10, 2017, 02:14:07 PM »
Minutes of Meeting held on Sat 2017   at Bell View, Belford



BUSINESS: Members were reminded that the next meeting is the AGM and as usual co-incides with the Plant Sale at Bell View. Come early for bargains and even better bring some plants from your own garden to contribute!


Gill is a professional genealogist and house historian and undertakes work for clients wishing to find out more about their own house or houses their ancestors have lived in. She reminded us that in the past many people used their home as their place of work which adds another factor to the research. A knowledge of basic architectural terms is helpful and she often calls in specialists in timber, bricks etc to provide more expert advice.

We were taken through the many and varied sources of historical documents which can be used. Perhaps the more familiar one of Census Returns can also be the one with most pitfalls. For example the numbers on the left-hand side of the enumerator’s sheet do not denote House Numbers but the number of the household in sequence. Working out the route followed by the enumerator may help identify the property in question. Many houses in rural areas do not show a house number even in the 1911 census and it was not unknown for houses in a street to be renumbered at different times.  It is important to check an existing building with a modern map to ensure it is the correct one and then pinpoint it on an older map against permanent landmarks. Aerial maps can be used to identify landmarks in developed areas where individual houses are difficult to pick out.

Going well back into the past, entries from the Domesday Book are downloadable from the National Archives. These give the name of the landowner in 1086, though sadly not for Northumberland as it was then considered for the enumerators too far north (and wild) for comfort! However, if your ancestors lived in a Mill you may find it mentioned in these early records.

The modern day equivalent is the Land Registry begun in 1862 and compulsory for change of owner only since 1990. If you have no deeds to refer to, it is possible a full copy is available at the local Record Office. Otherwise deeds of nearby properties may shed light on yours. They are rarely catalogued so much searching through solicitors’ bundles may be required but you may be lucky and find wills and marriage certificates tucked inside!

Other useful sources are the National Farms Survey 1941-4 held at National Archives at Kew which may be downloadable for a fee and Land Valuations for 1910, normally kept at local Record Offices. The latter consist of notebooks of information with names of owner and occupier which match with a numbered property on the map.

Gill often does research for Who do you think you are? TV series and by using old maps and even measuring out distances she succeeded in identifying the house in Norwich in which Mary Berry’s ancestor had lived.

Local Authorities hold minutes of Council Committees which may contain references to new buildings erected from 19th century. Where slum clearances took place and there is nothing left to go and visit, do not despair for there could be Engineers’ Reports, Letters of Objection and Newspaper Reports to look at.

Other valuable sources are Electoral Registers (street indexes are available for larger towns), advertisements in newspapers for houses for sale or rent and Trade Directories. Tithe Maps are underused but can uncover fascinating details after 1836 and are available in local Record Offices. They list owners as well as occupiers and are now available online.

Estate Maps (for example, that of Belford Hall on display at Belford Museum) often name tenants of properties. Manorial Records may also mention individual employees or tenants.

Finally Gill described some lesser-known sources such as Railway Plans, Parish Records, Land Tax 1780-1832, Probate Records and Poor Law Records.

This talk attracted a large audience and clearly had a wide appeal. The speaker has an in-depth knowledge of the subject as well as many years of practical experience. No doubt some of the audience will make their way to Berwick and Woodhorn Archives to investigate the relevant resources.

Our next meeting (the last of the current season) will be on Sat 20 May at 9.45 for 10 at Bell View, Belford and will be our AGM followed by a Members’ Stories session. The topic this time will be left open so you have a completely free choice of what to contribute!

South Tyneside Branch / South Tyneside Branch Meeting April 2017
« Last post by Annf on April 03, 2017, 03:32:00 PM »
The next meeting for the South Tyneside Branch will be held on Wednesday 19th April 2017 at 1.30 pm in the St Hildas Visitors Centre, Market Place, South Shields.

The speaker is Wendy Stafford who will be giving a talk entitled 'The Origins of Nursery Rythmes'.  Members and visitors are welcome to join us.
North Northumberland Branch / TRACING THE HISTORY OF YOUR HOUSE
« Last post by Vglass on March 22, 2017, 11:31:13 AM »
We are very much looking forward to this talk by expert house-historian Gill Blanchard whose popular book on the subject may be known to some of you. We will be meeting at our usual venue of Bell View in Belford and as always coffee will be available from 9.45 with Gill's talk starting at 10 am. We are expecting a good audience for this talk as it is a topic which is proving popular. If you don't live in our area why not make the effort to come to Belford (one hour's drive from Newcastle, 40 min from Morpeth) and join us? After the talk you can visit the amazing Belford Hidden History Museum in the village where we have helped many a visitor to find their ancestor in the records.
« Last post by Vglass on March 22, 2017, 11:02:59 AM »
Sometimes we stumble upon a piece of information relevant to our family history in the most unlikely place. Surely we have all experienced a name or place jumping out at us while searching for something else? This session was devoted to some of the unusual or special sources which have turned up important and interesting details of people in our family history.

Our first item was very appropriate – a report of the very first meeting of our group in 1998 at Fenwick Village Hall. So next year will be our 20th anniversary! We also looked at a list of names of family members with dates of birth, marriage and death, all in a relative’s own handwriting which sparked off thoughts about how long will we continue to handwrite rather than use a computer.

A diary belonging to her great grandfather containing many locally-significant details started one member off on exploring her family history, eventually leading to the wonderful discovery of an estate map dated 1788 at Woodhorn showing the property occupied by her ancestor with the latter’s name.

Co-incidences abounded in our stories, from the house in Somerset visited for another purpose which turned out to be the home of an ancestor who had moved from Ireland to the poster of an eccentric Tyneside  comedian grandfather- Harry Harvey. As his grandson was telling someone about this man, he looked up and realised a poster of said comedian was displayed on the wall!

Other stories included the tale of the knock on the door of a house near Norham in 1970’s from an unknown American relative who shared great great grandparents with the occupier, a mysterious silver brooch which turned out to be a Silver WW1 medal, lists of names of shareholders in a ship, a collection of Christie’s auction catalogues, a fascinating collection of over 600 letters found in a trunk in Barmoor Castle and many more too numerous to mention. Each of these could have been the subject of a talk in it.

We often find that amongst our own members we have enough tales to last a lifetime of Saturday morning meetings! Next month our talk will be on the popular topic of Tracing the History of your House by expert Gill Blanchard. Gill’s book on the subject is a mine of information. Come along to Bell View Centre, Belford on Saturday 8 April 9.45 for 10am and hear what she has to tell us. Everyone is welcome.
Tynedale Branch / Report of Mar 2017 Tynedale meeting- Postcards along the Tyne
« Last post by Susanne on March 11, 2017, 11:18:49 AM »
Tynedale Group Meeting  (15 members present)    9 March 2017   
AGM &  Mike Gibson    Along the Tyne from sources to sea in postcards
Mike Gibson collects stamps and postcards and it was the latter that formed the basis of a very interesting meeting. The format was a little unusual in that Mike set out half of his postcards and talked about them and the places they showed,  We then stopped to have a break and examine them more closely while having tea or coffee. (The postcards were protected with plastic covers.) The postcards were then replaced with the second set of several dozen which Mike described before we had another opportunity to look more closely at them. In hindsight we could easily have had two meetings: one for the North and South Tyne sections down to Hexham and another covering the Tyne from Hexham to the sea.  This was partly because the postcards and their background information were fascinating but also because of audience participation.  The majority of the cards dated from before World War 2 and it was interesting to see many of the changes.  Some changes were slight, others, for example one showing Plashetts, now submerged, contrasted hugely with the present view, in this case of Kielder Water.  Warden’s old and new bridges appeared.   Many local postcards were produced from their own photographs by Collier in the Bellingham area and by Gibson from his Hexham base. Mike accompanied several pictures with mini histories of the name origins and features eg of the churches, mills, or big houses shown.  Bridges figured largely in postcards. In Newcastle alone there were enough to make up a talk.  Not all the postcards were photographs.  Some cards were copies of engravings or paintings eg Hexham Market Place two centuries ago or Tynemouth Priory. Nor were they all scenic, though still of great interest such as the pedestrian & cyclist Tyne Tunnel. 
Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the evening and appreciated the opportunity to handle and discuss the cards with each other and with the speaker. The meeting ended at 9pm
Wansbeck & District Branch / Wansbeck & District Branch Meeting March 2017
« Last post by joycejackman on February 28, 2017, 01:56:36 PM »
Wansbeck & District Branch Meeting  March 2017

Probate Records in Northumberland & Durham

Speaker: Douglas Burdon
Tynedale Branch / Tynedale Branch Meeting March 2017
« Last post by joycejackman on February 28, 2017, 01:52:40 PM »
Tynedale Branch Meeting 

April 2017

Topic  Maundy Thursday.  Members Forum, Services and employment - records & other sources

May 2017

Topic  Drama in the family.  Speaker: Bill Saunders

June 2017
  Topic   Mills, Mines, Foundries & Factories - The Ouseburn  speaker:  Mike Greatbach

July 2017

Topic  Travelling ancestors - Passenger records and other sources of information

South Tyneside Branch / South Tyneside Branch Meeting March 2017
« Last post by joycejackman on February 28, 2017, 01:50:09 PM »
South Tyneside Branch Meeting   March  2017

The Hurlbutt Family - The Saga continues.

Speaker: Branch Member  Ann Franklin
Newcastle Branch / Newcastle Branch Meeting March 2017
« Last post by joycejackman on February 28, 2017, 01:46:20 PM »
Newcastle Branch Meeting March 2017

G.M Trevelyan & H R Trevor-Roper - two historians from Northumberland, different approaches to history: Charles Linaker.
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