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Berkshire Family Historian
June 2002

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Berkshire Family Historian
Main Page, June 2002 Contents

The Bulletin

A word from our Chairman

The few weeks leading up to the weekend conference at Coventry in mid-April have been very busy for me, as I had been asked to prepare a demonstration version of a new pay-per-view website for the Federation of Family History Societies. This was just one of three major topics that were discussed by the delegates from the Family History Societies attending the general meeting of the Federation.

Of course, the 1901 census debacle was discussed. Everyone expects that the census will eventually be available over the Internet, but one major worry is that answers to questions in the House of Commons indicate that 78% of the transcription was carried out in the Indian sub-continent. A figure that wasn't revealed in any of the meetings between the 1901 Advisory Panel and the Public Record Office.

The White Paper Civil Registration: Vital Change ( whitepaper/default.asp) will have a much more serious effect than any problems with the 1901 census. I can't really summarise a sixty page document in a sentence or two, but the main message for family history researchers is that while there will be easier access to records of people born over a hundred years ago, information about address, occupation and cause of death will be restricted for anyone born less than one hundred years ago. The Federation of Family History Societies has published a 'Points for Discussion' document, and the text of the Federation's initial response, within the Archives Liaison pages within the Societies Section News and Announcements on their web-site at This highlights numerous practical problems with the current proposals and that 100 years is too long, particularly for death and marriage records. The website links to all these pages.

As I was presenting my pay-per-view website proposals at the general meeting, Cliff Debney kindly represented our Society in the Federation general meeting. Our society, like the majority, gave the go-ahead for a pay-per-view web site to provide another way of making our indexes and records available to the public. This will keep me occupied for the next few months while I work on the software and other related matters.

I very much enjoyed the opportunity at the conference to talk informally with officers and other people from other family history societies. One problem we all seem to share is the difficulty of attracting members without local interests to our societies. Without local members, we don't have local people to help with our Society and this affects all our members. Similarly, I would urge our many out-of-county members to investigate their local family history society, to join and go along to their meetings and help them help us in our research.

This is the final issue of the journal for the current membership year. We have made strenuous efforts to make renewing for the next year as easy as possible by providing a personalised renewal form. Unless your details have changed, you only need to sign the forms and return them with your payment - unless you're one of the kind souls who pay by standing order from your bank account. We've also been working on updating our database of members' interests and you should find any research interests you've sent in over the past few years on a form. Please update this form and send it back so we can update our records and publicise your interests more widely.

Wiltshire 1851 Census Index

A neighbouring county, Wiltshire, has been one of the more obvious gaps in the collection of 1851 census indexes in the Research Centre. This has now been cured as we now have a complete transcript on both fiche and CD-ROM, in addition to a CD-ROM with an 1871 index. We donated a copy of our transcript for the Hungerford area to Wiltshire 1851 Census Productions to help them check their transcript in the area where Berkshire and Wiltshire overlap. The CD-ROM is very detailed and includes a search program and Access database for those who use Windows and an Adobe Acrobat version for those who use other types of computers. The search program is effective rather than pretty. More details of these publications can be found on their website at and they are also available via

Dates for your diary

The Buckinghamshire Family History Society open day will be held on Saturday July 27 from 10am until 4pm at Aylesbury Grammar School, Walton Road, Aylesbury (south east of the town centre betreen the A41 and the A413 roads). There are many attractions for Buckinghamshire researchers including computer databases, library facilities and computer group demonstrations. There's free car parking and light refreshments will be available throughout the day.

The Marlow Society will be running their local and family history fair on Saturday August 17. It will take place at the Shelley Theatre, Court Gardens, Marlow from 10am until 4pm. Admission is 50 pence.

Warwickshire Family History Roadshow will be held on Saturday 14 September from 10am until 4pm. The venue is the Bulkington Village Centre, Bulkington, Warwickshire. Admission will be 1.50.

PRO family history summer school. This annual event returns with a beginner's guide to the PRO, local and social history and using the Internet for family history. The school begins on Monday July 22 and ends on Friday July 26. The course is usually full so it is worth booking early to obtain a place. For further information and to book a place contact the Interpretation Team at the PRO on 020 8392 5202.

PRO Open Day. This popular. event will be on Saturday September 21. It is likely to have a 1950s theme.

The Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (AGRA) is presenting a day conference on Saturday, June 15, 2002, at the Abbey Room, Reading Central Library, King's Road, Reading, entitled 'The professional approach to Genealogy and record searching'. It's likely to be an informative day for anybody intending to establish a genealogical or record researching practice. The cost is 40 including a buffet lunch with wine. Further details can be obtained from AGRA, 29 Badgers Close, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 5RU.

P is for pauper

Julie Grisman at the Berkshire Record Office has found a document from Kintbury parish records which shows the lengths to which officials would go in their attempts to shame the poor into providing for themselves. The document records an agreement made by the overseers and churchwardens of Kintbury requiring that, whilst in receipt of poor relief, all members of that family 'shall weare the letter P fairly cutt out of RedCloth, and fast fixed on the Right shoulder of their upper garment'. They were to wear this 'badge' wherever they went. If they refused, the churchwardens and overseers would 'not for the future pay or give to him her them or any of them so refuseing, any Collection or Relief.

Berkshire Marriage Index

The film copy of the John Brooks' marriage index for Berkshire is now available at the Berkshire Record Office. Although it's a bit fiddly to operate as it is on 16mm microfilm it represents the best there is before the BFHS marriage database becomes available.

Error In March 2002 Issue

My apologies for the mistake in the March issue when I inadvertently gave the date of the Windsor meeting as June 15. It should, of course, have been June 25. Fortunately there was enough time for the correction to be made before the meeting was held.

Local history websites In Berkshire

Some towns and villages in Berkshire have been creating their own websites. Many of them have been established by local historians and contain valuable material for family historians. Two have come to notice recently. One is, the portal for the villages of Ascot, Cheapside, Sunningdale, Sunninghill and Windlesham, and another contains a brief history of the village and interesting information on the variations in spelling of Wraysbury. We would like to maintain a list of all the Berkshire sites, so if you have come across any pass them to the Editor at.

Magazine subscriptions

If you purchase the Family Tree Magazine or its sister publication Practical Family History then why not take out an annual subscription through the Berkshire Family History Society. We can obtain a substantial discount which helps our funds and you benefit by having them sent by post to you directly. If you would like to take out a subscription eMail.


Sue Healey, until recently the curator of the Thames Valley Police Museum at Sulhampstead, died on Saturday February 2. She was a member of the Berkshire Family History Society for many years and also a member of GOONS researching Winckles. Chad Hanna writes: 'I met Sue on a few occasions, including a Society Day at the Holt School in Wokingham, and on a Society trip to the Police Museum. She was a very memorable character, and very willing to help members of the Society'.

Another long standing member Dr. Michael Dumbleton died suddenly earlier this year. For many years he was a member of the Society and was also a member of the Bracknell Local History Society. I first met him when we did a MA course in Landscape History at the University of Reading. His research on Bracknell won him a distinction and his quiet scholarly presence at meetings will be sorely missed.


Jacqueline Harbor has a number of postcards which she would like to give away to anybody researching the following areas:

Caswell Bay, Swansea Llandudno
Rhyl Gardens Rhyl Promenade Dyserth Falls, Prestatyn
Prestatyn Holiday Camp (3) Weymouth Promenade Steyning High Street Vale Royal Arches near Northwich,
Ramsgate, Westcliff Chine
Coronation stone, Kingston-upon-Thames
Wemyss Bay Station
Weston-super-Mare bathing pool
Seiworthy war memorial
War Memorial, St. Michael's Mount
Market Jew Street, Penzance
Tourist main deck on 'Queen Mary'

Send a stamped addressed envelope to
Jacqueline Harbor (FHJun2002 postcards), c/o BerksFHS, 131 Castle Hill, READING RG1 7TJ

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Berkshire Family History Society 2002

updated 23rd June 2002