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Berkshire Family Historian
Main Page, December 2003 Contents

Berkshire Family Historian
December 2003

The Bulletin

Funeral directors’ records

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 < >.

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 < >.

National Archivist

This is a major new online data service which can be found at < >. 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 original documents.

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

Berkshfre Name Search
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 <>, or write to Projects Co-ordinator at Yeomanry House.

Wanted: a Christening Index Co-ordinator
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 <>, or write to Projects Co-ordinator at Yeomanry House for more details.

Research Centre News

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 and to 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.

Collections Gateway

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 internet.

Community of St John Baptist, Clewer

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.

Parish locator

An online version of Darren Wheatley’s parish finder program has been launched at <>. 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 boundaries.

Pathe News

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 <>.

Admiralty records

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 — PROCAT. The index provides name,date and place of birth, age, rank, dates served and some other information.

Pedigree database

A new pedigree database has been launched by GeneKeeper at <>. 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?

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created 13th March 2004