Funeral records can be a
revealing documentary source for identifying precisely where an
individual is buried. Burials very often took place many miles from
where individuals died, and where they exist these records can provide
a wealth of information. The records of Sargeant’s Funeral Parlour at
Colnbrook, Slough, from 1910 to 1950 have just been placed in the
Berkshire Record Office. They include the deceased’s name, age, date of
death and place of burial, as well as funeral items supplied.
Family history project
As part of the family history
programme transmitted at 8.55pm on weekdays the History Channel has
launched a project in which they are inviting viewers to submit.a story
involving their own family. The story, of around 250 words, can be sent
by post or by filling in an entry form on their website < www.thefamilyhistoryproject.co.uk
You are asked to indicate
documentary support for your story together with a family tree. There
are two categories to choose from. The first is for those who’ve never
attempted to research their family history and the second section is
for those who’ve had some experience. The five best stories from each
category will win a digitalcamcorder and twenty runners-up a digital
camera. Some of the best entries will be featured on television and may
appear in a book to accompany the series.
Lovelocks Alive 2004
A gathering of those
researching the Lovelock families will be held at the Bear Hotel,
Hungerford, on 12 June 2004. The aim of the gathering is to provide an
opportunity to meet other Lovelock family historians and distant
relatives, provide a forum to exchange ideas and to visit places
associated with the early Lovelocks in east Wiltshire. The cost per
person will be £40, which includes presentations and displays, a
buffet lunch, a coach excursion, and a three-course dinner with a guest
speaker. To book a place contact Jeremy Lovelock on < firstname.lastname@example.org
This is a major new online data
service which can be found at < www.nationalarchivist.com
>. There are three datasets at the moment, although more are
expected to go online fairly soon. Initially there are three datasets:
an index to divorce and matrimonial causes 1858-1903, an index to death
duty registers from 1796 to 1903 and births, marriages and deaths at
sea from 1854 to 1890. New datasets but a fee is charged for viewing
It will include early passport
registers, Colonial Office Registry of Emigration Shipping 1847-1855,
Ships List 1854-1890. This is a pay-per-view service but searching the
databases is free,
Thoughts from the Project Co-ordinator
Research Centre News
The new ‘one-stop’ facility to search several of our BFHS databases as
been warmly received both by members requesting postal searches and by
visitors to the Research Centre who can do their own searches. New
records are being added to the various indexes every month. Many postal
search requests are being answered by email, so don’t forget to include
yours when you write in (see page 108 for further details).
Wanted: somebody experienced
in Secretary Hand
The indexing of Berkshire marriages to 1837 is nearing completion.
Before we can finish and issue a CD we need somebody experienced in
Secretary Hand to help check the older registers at the Berkshire
Record Office. If you can help, please do. Email to <Projects@berksfhs.org.uk
or write to Projects Co-ordinator at Yeomanry House.
Wanted: a Christening Index
We plan to complement the successful Burial and Marriage Indexes by
developing a Berkshire Christening Index. Some records are already
available and others are being transcribed. Now we are looking for a
volunteer with organisational and computer skills to run with this
project. Anyone interested please email to <Projects@berksfhs.org.uk
or write to Projects Co-ordinator at Yeomanry House for more details.
The computer area has been
refurbished, and not just with new furniture. Most of the computers and
their monitors have also been replaced with an improved range of models
and modems. In the process the Administration desk has received its own
computer so the duty assistants can quickly look up information for
telephone enquirers and for researchers in the Centre.
The Administration desks and the furniture in their immediate area are
due to be replaced within the next few months. That will then conclude
the major refurbishment and reorganisation of the Centre.
The Reference Library Catalogue is being simplified, even rewritten, as
well as updated. It is available on our web-site
visitors to the Centre. The most actively increasing section is the
range of material available on the computers for study but new books,
particularly of Berkshire local history, are steadily increasing in
number. Due to the increase of study material on the computers it looks
as if it is getting to the stage of no more room on the screens.
However, the boffins have already got over that problem by one little
icon named ‘more’ which leads to a further page of resources available.
We forward to many of you using the Research Centre in the coming
months, both old hands back for the more recently acquired resources
and new members who wish to find out at first hand some of the
wide-ranging resources they can use for their national, indeed
international, research into their families’ histories.
Community of St John Baptist, Clewer
An exciting new ‘first point of
call’ for anybody wishing to locate information on research collections
in the Berkshire region has been established. The University of
Reading, the Museum of English Rural Life, Reading Museum and the
Berkshire Record Office have joined forces to produce an exciting and
growing new resource on the internet. Access to the Gateway is through
This is designed for family and local historians and includes local
prints and watercolours, information about local businesses (including
Huntley and Palmers), church and legal records, photographs and
archives relating to rural life. This is a must-visit for those using
The Berkshire Record Office has
just acquired an extensive and fascinating archive of the Community of
St JohnBaptist, Clewer, from 1849 to 1993. The Anglican Sisterhood was
founded in 1852, initially to run the House of Mercy established at
Clewer to rescue ‘fallen women’. Also undertaken by the Sisters include
work of the same kind in other parts of the county: orphanages and
children’s homes, hospitals and a convalescent home, and mission work
in new urban parishes, often in deprived areas.
Berkshire Record Office
As regular visitors to the BRO
will have noticed access to some records has been restricted caused by
the replacement of floors in the downstairs strongrooms. The building
work will take place throughout the winter months, but is likely to be
finished by he end of February 2004. Despite the work access to all the
resources currently available in the searchroom remains unchanged.
An online version of Darren
Wheatley’s parish finder program has been launched at <www.parishfinder.co.uk
It enables you to search for the county and grid reference for any
parish, but also reveals neighbouring parishes and the distances
between parishes. This is an ideal way of researching marriage horizons
and the closeness of individual families, especially across county
Before television the only film
of news in this country and abroad that could be seen was at the
cinema, either on Gaumont or Pathe News with its famous cockerel. Now
for the first time you can preview items from the entire 3500-hour
British Pathe Film Archive which covers news, sport, social history and
entertainment from 1896 to 1970. The pictures give a unique insight
into the twentieth century and can add to our understanding of our
parents, and grandparents, lives. The site can be found at <www.britishpathe.com
Because of the dedicated work
by Friends of the Public Record Office, searching for army records
before 1913 is now relatively easy. Now naval records are at last
becoming available. Until now they were notoriously difficult to find.
The Admiralty only began to keep detailed records of service for
officers from the 1840s, and for ratings from 1853. The key records
before 1853 is ADM 29/1-96 available on microfilm. It is described as
‘Admiralty Officers’ service records and covers the period 1802-1894.
But closer examination by Bruno Pappalardo has revealed that it is in
fact compiled by the Navy Pay Office from ships’ musters and pay books
for ratings, warrant officers and commissioned officers. Bruno, writing
in Ancestry, mentions that he has compiled a personal name index which
is available online on the PRO catalogue —
. The index provides name,date and place of birth, age, rank,
dates served and some other information.
A new pedigree database has
been launched by GeneKeeper at <www.genekeeper.com>. It allows
free hosting of GEDCOM files, but withholds details of individuals
marked as living. It has a very useful set of instructions on how to
create a GEDCOM ifie even if you don’t submit anything to the site.
Berkshire Family Historian 25 years ago
Peter Durrant wrote a
perceptive article on officials and their records and Sue Willmott
wrote a remarkable article on George Minter, vagabond-philosopher and
William, his respectable brother. Sue was able to find a biography of
George, one of her ancestors, in a local bookshop which told the story
of his life.
Unusual baptism entry
Carolyn Boulton found the
following entry in the baptism register for Beedon in 1857:
March 5, privately, Mary Jane
daughter of Joseph and Charlotte Butler, baptised by the curate. A note
has been added to the entry that this child was re-baptised as a boy at
Burclere Church by the Rev. Mr. Barker.
I am not sure how this confusion could bave occurred, perhaps someone
out there could tell me?