BerksFHS Logo  

Berkshire Family Historian
December 2000

upBerks FHS indexContents

Berkshire Family Historian
Main Page, December 2000 Contents

Items from 'The Bulletin'
   
Fleet Air Arm Pilot
Unknown Berkshire records
Popular surnames
Oxfordshire Family History Society Research Centre
Reading Market Place
Railway records
Wyvern Midland Railway index
From the cup of love
1901 Census
Overseers Project
Gypsy archives
Criminal records
Members' interests

Fleet Air Arm Pilot

The appeal for surviving relatives of the pilot killed in France during the last war has been successful. You may remember that an appeal was put out in the June issue of the Berkshire Family Historian for anybody who could help to trace the relatives of Lt. Rodgers who was killed in the village of Villeneuve-les-Beziers in August 1944. The village named a street after him and the mayor was anxious to have relatives at the naming ceremony. Soon after the story appeared in the journal I was contacted by an actress, now living in New Zealand, who was his daughter. She told me that her mother had married again and at one time owned 'The High', the health food shop in Reading Market Place, and also a cafeteria in Friar Street. She was so pleased to hear about the ceremony and is planning to visit England and France next year.

Unknown Berkshire records

While reading a copy of the Genealogists' Magazine for September 1946 I came across the following advertisement: 'Berkshire Genealogy and Local History. A composite index of Berkshire marriages, including parish registers transcribed by Mrs. E.E. Cope and other copies available in print or manuscripts. Berkshire local collections at the Reading Public Library or in private custody.

Miss Maplesden, M.A., 15 Northcourt Avenue, Reading, will undertake searches in the above and other Berkshire material, or in London and elsewhere, and will transcribe or catalogue old documents and deeds.' Miss Muriel Maplesden was still living at Northcourt Avenue in 1956, but what happened to her afterwards and where did she leave her collection of indexes and documents? The index of marriages alone would be interesting as would her own collection of local documents. If anybody can shed any light on this interesting family historian then let me know.

Popular surnames

If your name is Smith, Jones or Williams, Taylor, Brown or Davies, it won't surprise you to know that they are the most popular names in England and Wales. In a survey carried out on the National Health Service Central Register 39, 33% of the Register contains the top 500 names. What is certainly surprising are the names emerging further down the list. Migrations change naming patterns: the Irish brought with them Murphy, Connor, O'Reilly, Kelly, Donovan while the great Jewish migration in the nineteenth century greatly increased the number of Goldsteins, Blooms and Jacobs. Now the database contains Patel at number 24, Khan 64, Singh 70, easily overtaking Cook, Turner, Hill and Ward.

Oxfordshire Family History Society Research Centre

A new facility has just been opened to help family historians with connections in the ancient county of Oxfordshire. A new Research Centre with parish registers and monumental inscriptions transcripts, the IGI, and many reference books, some of which can be borrowed, is now open at the Holford Centre, School Lane, Stanton St. John, Oxford OX33 1ET. It is currently open for only three days a month and to get details of opening times write to the Centre enclosing a stamped, self addressed envelope.

Reading Market Place

A legal document concerning a notice to quit some tenancies in Market Place has just come into my possession. It involves Peregrine Lediard of Reading Linen Draper and it's dated 25th March, 1864. It involves Thomas Selby Little and Thomas Evans, who were agents and solicitors for Peregrine Lediard. The copy of the notice takes the form of a letter sent to Thomas Evans of Chepstow. The area of the tenancy is described in some detail and clearly refers to properties on the eastern side of Market Place. Tenants mentioned in the notice include Sarah Knight and George Heathrington. Macaulay's Reading Directory refers to P. Lediard as having premises at numbers 3 and 4 Market Place where he carried on a business as linen draper, silk mercer, and undertaker. It would seem to be a bizarre combination, but further along Market Place is William Jessett, linen draper and undertaker. According to the 1851 census Peregrine was 38, while his wife, Anne, was 37.

Railway records

The Great Western Railway was at one time a major transport route through the old county of Berkshire, with its main line and branch lines. So much so that many of us have steam in our blood with ancestors who worked on the railway. You may be interested to know that some 60,000 British Railway archives from 1848 onwards are to be transferred to the Public Record Office at Kew. Most of the staff records were transferred some time ago, but now the administrative records held by British Railways Historical Records at Porchester Road, near Paddington are going to the PRO. However, no date has been set for the transfer.

Wyvern Midland Railway index

Although the old Midland Railway was not the largest of the great steam companies it did serve a larger part of the British Isles than any other. A team of dedicated enthusiasts is in the process of compiling a surname index from staff records from 1844 to 1923. So far they have gathered 11,000 names. They are also including all references to accidents on the Midland which involved staff, workmen or passengers, using transport records at Kew and local newspapers. If you would like to search the index send a stamped self addressed envelope, or three IRCS, plus 1 sterling for each surname searched to Chris and Judy Rouse, 18 Sarsen Close, Swindon, Wiltshire SN1 4LA. Unsuccessful matches will be held on file for future contact.

From the cup of love

If you have already read the article by Joan Dils on the archdeaconry records you will have discovered that our ancestors' sexual and social proclivities were not much different from today. Often the laws of the church or the civil authorities were ignored, and sometimes it was expedient to pretend that it never happened. During the weekend of April 20-22 next year (2001) the Federation of Family History Societies will be holding a conference entitled 'From the cup of love'. Issues being discussed include: prostitution, contraception, bastardy, incest, sin and sex in the bawdy courts, bigamy and the morals of army wives and camp followers. If you would like to attend write to Mrs. Jeanne Bunting, Firgrove, Horseshoe Lane, Ash Vale, Surrey GU12 5LL.

1901 Census

The Public Record Office has recently confirmed that record offices and libraries will be able to buy microfiche or film copies of the Census. This concession will help all those who do not have access to the Internet. The PRO say that they will review the sale of microfiche beyond record offices and libraries at a later stage.

The 1891 Census returns for Norfolk will be used for a pilot study. The returns will be scanned, transcribed and made available over the Internet. It is hoped that this will be made available in the spring of 2001. The pilot service will be charged so that all aspects of the system can be tested before the launch of the 1901 service. The exact rate of charging has yet to be fixed.

Credit cards can be used to pay for the 1901 service. If you have a credit card you simply log on and enter your details and then view your selected images or transcriptions (about 80p per image and 50p per transcription). There will a minimum charge, probably about 5 but once you have used up the first 5 it will be simply pay-as-you-go at the cost of each individual transaction.

Users will be able to conduct a number of searches for individuals using a free index. First a basic search using name (forenames and surnames), place and age. If this first basic search returns too many results then an advanced search is available using a variety of other fields to refine your search such as ,occupation' and 'where born'. Users can also search on an address or place, an institution or vessel. Place names will be transcribed as they are written on the original returns. Welsh place names will not be bilingual but as written on the returns.

Overseers Project

Now the BRO is open for business it is hoped to resume the Overseers Project with the Saturday Work-ins to transcribe the outstanding six volumes. Twenty of the twenty-six volumes are complete and can be seen in the BFHS Reference Library in Yeomanry House. If you wish to help with this project or to have more information please telephone Brian Hunt on 01344 483426

Gypsy archives

A major collection of gypsy archives has been handed to the University of Reading Rural History Centre at Whiteknights. The collection contains a large collection of books, notebooks and manuscripts recording research undertaken by Robert Dawson. For anyone with a gypsy ancestor the collection is a major source as it contains photographs and recordings of life on the open road. The collection has now been catalogued and is available to researchers.

Criminal records

A microfiche of British Trials 1660-1900 has just been acquired by the Public Record Office. It consists of pamphlets written at the time of the trial giving a record of what was actually said in court from murder to commercial disputes. The official documents of cases held at the PRO and in county record offices frequently provide no more than an outline of the case and the defendants. Details of the trials of highwaymen, forgers and burglars were avidly sought after by the public for their Sunday reading, just like the News of the World of today. During the suppression of the Chartists, and those involved in the Swing riots, printed pamphlets were often produced with a record of the face-to-face confrontation under cross -examination. The microfiche has a detailed index by name of defendant, victim and the type of crime.

Members' interests

Just a reminder that all the members' interests listed in volumes of the Berkshire Family Historian are cumulatively published on our website. The website lists the names being researched by individual members identified by membership numbers. Addresses are not given. If you would prefer not to have the names you are researching on the website then let the webmaster know.


Web-page produced by DandyLion Services
Please contact the webmaster with any queries
Berkshire Family History Society 2001

updated 21st June 2001