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BerksFHS Berkshire Family Historian
June 2001

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June 2001 Contents

The Bulletin

From the Editor Western European Vital Records on CD-ROM
Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths Protestation Oath Roll
Doodlebug days Family History Centre, Exhibition Road
Additions at the Berkshire Record Office International Conference on Jewish Genealogy
Forward to the Past Tracing your family
Ancestors Summer holidays
Foot and mouth Joiner needed

From the Editor

Thank you to all of those who sent cards and messages after my recent illness. After an enforced rest I am now fully recovered, although my diet has changed and I have been told to get more exercise. So no more libraries and record offices, I shall have to spend more time in churchyards.

Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths

Birth, marriage and death certificates can now be ordered by email from enclosing your credit card details and filling in the subject line with one of the following codes: QR (for applications when you are supplying the GRO index reference) STD (for applications when you are not supplying the GRO index reference) RFD (when you have a query about a refund) RDR (when you are enquiring about an order you have placed but not received) GQ (when you have another question not covered by any of the above). Note: the code should be entered as a single word in the subject line, separated from the rest of the subject by spaces. Cliff Debney says he has used this system several times and certificates arrive in about a week.

It's now possible to order a certificate from Southport (once you have obtained the reference number) using a new dedicated telephone number. The new number will be 0870 23 7788 and it will be staffed as follows: Sam-6pm Monday to Thursday, 8am-5pm on Friday and loam-4Pm on Saturday. They will accept credit and debit card payments.

Doodlebug days

For those of us who remember the Second World War doodlebug the imperial War Museum will be holding a series of doodlebug days from August 11-26 from 11.30am to 2.30pm. Actors will be playing characters from the home front and you, and your children, will be able to find out about life during the dramatic summer of the V1 offensive.

Open days and events

The Oxfordshire Family History Society Open Day will take place on Saturday October 6 from loam until 4pm at Didcot Civic Hall, Britwell Road, Dideot. Admission is free and there will be the usual displays by other family history societies. To celebrate the Society's 25th anniversary Simon Fowler, editor of Family History Monthly, will be giving two lectures.

Hillingdon family history fair will be held on Sunday July 1 from l0am until 4pm at The Great Barn, Bury Street, Ruislip, Middlesex. Admission is 1.50 with free parking.

The Suffolk Family History Society annual family history fair will be held on Saturday August 4 at the Old School, Long Melford, from loam until 4.30pm.

Warwickshire Family History Society's family history roadshow is taking place on Saturday September 8 at Bulkington Village Centre, Bulkington, a few miles from Coventry, Rugby and Nuneaton. It's on from l0am until 4pm.

Buckingham's Open Day will be held on Saturday July 28 from loam until 4pm at Aylesbury Grammar School, Walton Road, Aylesbury. County and Local Studies records will be available, plus computer demonstrations and stalls from a number of local family history societies. Admission and car parking is free.

Public Record Office events

A one-day conference featuring recent research into the Hearth Tax will be held at the PRO on May 19.There will be lectures by Elizabeth Parkinson on the assessors and collectors, family names by Prof. David Hey and the houses of the Hearth Tax by Sarah Pearson, former President of the Vernacular Architecture Group. The conference including refreshments and a buffet lunch will be 35.

During the week beginning July 16 the second family history summer school will be held. It will combine teach-and show sessions with opportunities for individual research, together with a special preview of the 1901 census online project. Tickets are 150 with l00 concessions.

Additions at the Berkshire Record Office

The baptism, marriage and burial registers of Theale Congregational Church together with those of baptisms and burials from 1868 to the 1990s at Beech Hill have recently found their way to the BRO. The spring exhibition at the Record Office consists of the documents received or catalogued in recent years.

Forward to the Past

The Society of Genealogists is organising a major family history conference on twentieth century records at Imperial College, London from August 31 to September 2, 2001. There will be more than twenty lectures ranging from Lloyd George's Domesday survey and merchant seamen to sources for women and GI brides and babies. The total cost for the weekend including accommodation, lectures and a gala dinner is 198, but day tickets can be purchased for the lectures at 30. Further information can be obtained from the Society.

Wartime records research

The Imperial War Museum will be organising a series of events to help those who are researching wartime records and experience. The first is on board HMS Belfast for a learning weekend on August 25, another at the Duxford Airshow on September 8 and 9 and finally at the imperial War Museum itself for the Armistice Commemoration.


Ancestors is a new bimonthly magazine published by the Public Record Office which aims to provide practical problem-solving advice on researching the past with the principle aim of helping family and local historians identify documents and sources. It's in full colour with many illustrations and at 3.95 is well worth the cover price. The first issue includes articles on the 1901 census, tracing the history of a house and finding military family history on the Internet.

Foot and mouth

As this edition of the journal goes to press we are just recovering from the latest foot and mouth outbreak. Although not as seriously affected as other counties it will undoubtedly have profound consequences for our landscape and farming practices over the coming years just as the agricultural depression did in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Then the agricultural economy was seriously affected by the decline; farming methods were changed and the number of labourers working on the land decreased with a growing number leaving the land to work in the towns. It affected our ancestors in many ways; let's hope that this disaster will have a more beneficial effect.

Western European Vital Records on CD-ROM

Twelve and a half million vital records from Western Europe are now available on CD-ROM from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Vital Records Index for Western Europe includes information extracted from birth, christening and marriage records from the Alpine, Benelux, French, German, Italian, and Spanish regions.

Ray Madsen, product manager for the Family and Church History Department, says this is the first time such a large database of records for Western Europe has been made available for home research. "It also has a very powerful search engine that allows you to search not just for individuals but for parents or particular locations."

The set Of 21 discs can be purchased for 28.95 from the Church distribution centre at 399 Garretts Green Lane, Sheldon, Birmingham B33 0UH or by credit card on 0121 785 2200. It can also be ordered on the Internet at

Protestation Oath Roll

For those of us fortunate to be researching Berkshire families during the seventeenth century the Protestation Oath Roll is one of the most important documents. In 1641 Parliament passed a resolution requesting all males aged over 18 to take an oath in support of the Crown and Charles I. In Berkshire the returns date from the following year 1641/2 between February and March. Most men took the oath and those that did not (mostly Papist recusants) were sometimes also listed. The names were listed parish by parish so it acts as a kind of mini-census at this crucial period prior to the beginning of the English Civil War when many men left their homes. The surviving returns are held at the House of Lords Record Office where they may be consulted. Returns have survived for about l00 Berkshire parishes.

Family History Centre, Exhibition Road

The largest of the Latter Day Saints Family History Centres in Exhibition Road, London, is about to get even bigger with the acquisition of more microfilm material. By the summer the Centre will hold up to 30,000 films formerly held by the LDS distribution Centre at Solihull. Exhibition Road is already the best of the Family History Centres but this expansion of library facilities will make it an unrivalled source for family historians visiting London.

International Conference on Jewish Genealogy

The 21st international conference on Jewish genealogy will take place at the Hotel Inter-Continental, London, from July 8 to 13. Lectures will cover Jewish ancestry in most parts of the world from the Middle East, Asia and Africa to Australasia and the Americas.

Tracing your family

Just be thankful we are not flies. According to a new book in just two months two flies can produce more descendants than there are people on earth. How big a family tree would be needed to deal with their progeny?

Summer holidays

During the summer when you will be researching your families in record centres and libraries don't forget to think about writing something for your magazine. The Editor is always keen to receive submissions from members either articles, letters, or help needed. In the meantime I hope that you find that elusive ancestor.

Joiner needed

The Research Centre needs a joiner to fit bookshelves in the Library. We will supply all the materials if you can supply the skill. If you think you can help give Ivan Dickason a call on 0118 978 6785.

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Berkshire Family History Society 2001

updated 9th August 2001