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Berkshire Family Historian
Main Page, March 2003
Berkshire Family Historian
March 2003

The Bulletin

A word from our Chairman

In this issue, I am going to note some of the things we are doing in our Society that may not be widely reported elsewhere.

I am pleased to say that the Berkshire Burial Index and Snare’s 1842 Reading Directory are now available on CD ROM from our Society Bookshop and the 1851 Berkshire Census can now be ordered. Congratulations to all those who worked so hard recently, and over the years, to make this happen. The CDs are already very popular and this will encourage us to produce more in this format.

Our Society is now preparing to become VAT registered like many other family history societies. This is not from choice, but because our annual turnover is now reaching the threshold when this becomes necessary. Inevitably this will mean some changes in how we do things so that we can minimise the amount of tax we pay.

Each year our Society attends the family fairs organised by the neighbouring family history societies, the Bracknell Fair and the Society of Genealogists’ Fair on the weekend of May 3 and 4 in London are two of the largest. We’re very pleased to meet our members at these fairs — and any local help to let us have lunch or wander is always appreciated.

Now that we are assured that we can remain in Yeomanry House for several years, the Research Centre is being reorganised to improve our services. The Bookshop area will be moved and improved and the computer suite will be upgraded to improve and support our popular workshops. Recent visitors will have noticed the new photocopier.

I regularly meet with the Berkshire Record Office to discuss items of shared interest. As an example, they sometimes have disabled visitors, as we do, who need basic help and assistance and we’re trying to work out how to organise some help for them. I’m very impressed by the digital camera they are using to image the enclosure maps and awards as part of the enclosure project. The New Opportunities Fund supports this valuable project and more can be found in The Berkshire Echo, the BRO newsletter available in paper form or under ‘News’ on the useful Berkshire Record Office website at

The Family History Online website that I’ve been developing for the Federation of Family History Societies went live on Christmas Day and at the end of January has over six million records from a dozen family history societies. We needed extra time to add a second disk drive to make the server more robust and obtain the necessary digital certificate for secure logins. Thank you to all our members who helped during the trial period. You should now discard the free trial voucher you received with the September Berkshire Family Historian, if you haven’t already done so. Current vouchers are on sale from our Bookshop, or alternatively, you can now buy ‘virtual’ vouchers online using your credit card.

Aah! Bisto

Voluntary transcribers of parish registers have found a number of unusual names whilst working on the registers. Surnames include Bathbun, Thickbroom, Sprouts, Blackberry, Mackarel, Rawbones, Egg, Halfhead and Mouldy, topped by Bisto. Among first names they found Voice, Organ, Freelove, Carnation and Lemontania. Enough to make a pudding. Some parents found it hard to resist giving their children unusual combinations of names: Christmas Day, Princess Britania, Angel Heaven, Head Wise, Will Winner and even Areana Kerenhappuch Petty. So naming your child after the Liverpool football team is not a modern phenomenon.

Berkshire Search Suite up-date

A short note in the last issue explained that we were planning to gather our electronic records into a single database which would then be available for searching by surname. This is still under development. Watch this space for further news. In the meantime, you will be able to search for the Berkshire Burial and Marriage Indexes and the 1871 census for Newbury registration district.

Berkshire Record Office acquisitions

Amongst recent acquisitions are the Wokingham Rose Street Wesleyan Methodist Church records from 1881­2002; St Saviour’s Church in Coley, Reading, registers 1922-1985; Drayton parish registers and Greyfriars Church, Reading, registers. A number of other more modern registers and records have also been acquired.

What’s on

The Gloucestershire Family History Society will be holding their annual open day on Saturday April 26 from 10am to 4pm. Many local societies will be setting up their stalls and there’s free help and advice from Society experts. It’s being held at the Crypt Grammar School, Podsmead Road, Gloucester, just two miles south of the city centre.

The annual Society of Genealogists Family History Fair will be held at the Royal Horticultural Society New Hall at Greycoat Street, Westminster, London, SW1 on May 3 and 4. All the usual stalls, plus help and advice from experts from the Society.

Wiltshire Family History Society’s open day and AGM will be held on June 21 at the Haydon Centre, Haydon Wick, Swindon.

Research Centre News

Since the last report, writes Cliff Debney, the Research Centre has been settling down after its changes and has begun planning the next stage, which will affect the Administration, Bookshop and Computer network layout. At the time of writing, it is too early to anounce any particular details.

Jean Herbert, the Librarian, has continued her good work, tiding up fiche and putting them into a standard recognisable four-ring binder. This is making for a more presentable and uniform display on the fiche shelving. New labelling has also continued apace.

The stock of census indexes and transcriptions, comprising fiche, booklets and CD ROMs have again been increased. We now include some material from all the available census years from 1841 to 1891 inclusive. The holdings include census material for every English county, as well as many Welsh counties and some from elsewhere in the UK. Our holdings of CD ROMs is the fastest growing section of our Reference Library.

The family history classes run by Barry and Carolyn Boulton have continued during the first two months of the year and plans for further courses are being finalised.

Finally, may I remind all readers, members and others, that the Research Centre is not just a place where people can carry out research on fiche, film or computer but it is also a very good reading library. The Library holds over 7,000 books including many you will, or should, find on any good family historian’s bookshelf, together with books on all English counties, some for Wales, Scotland and overseas, many on specific subjects such as armed forces records, much of local history interest and of a general historical nature. Come and give it a try. Why not come on one of the Library Tours?

Mills and millers

Our own expert on mill owners, Tom Hine, tells me that the Mills Section of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings is set to open its Mills Archive at Watlington House, Reading. There will be a library and research facilities with an online catalogue of 5,000 items. It’s hoped that the Archive will expand taking over the index of mill owners maintained by Tom. The official launch of the Archive will be announced in the next issue of Mill News.


The Federation of Family History Societies PPV service was announced in the September issue of the magazine. Since then nine family history societies have joined the scheme: Cornwall, Berkshire, Glamorgan, Leicester & Rutland, Lincolnshire, Wiltshire, Cleveland, North Yorkshire & South Durham, Birmingham & Midland and Suffolk. A further five have indicated that they will include their burial indexes online. Amongst the indexed material you can expect to find are baptisms, marriage and census transcriptions, MIs, strays, and of course local burial indexes. In total there are over six million records which you can search. Payments to use the site are by pre-paid vouchers (similar to the 1901 census). They are valid for six months from the date of first use and cost £5 and £10 Other societies are expected to join as the year progresses so take a look at the site on

Rare baptism entry

While searching through the baptisms for Eversley, Barbara Dove found that Elizabeth Angela Veronica Rose, daughter of Lord and Lady Brocket of Bramshill Park, was baptised on June 26, 1938. Her Godparent was H.M The Queen (proxy Lady Helen Graham, Lady Burghley, Hon. Rupert Mitford, J.C.D. Harrington). On either side in the register is the daughter of a labourer and the son of an RAF LAC. Lady Elizabeth now lives at Woodstock.

Unwanted certificate

I have acquired a marriage certificate for Walter White and Annie Warner who were married on December 6, 1891. They both lived in Hosier Street and Walter’s occupation is given as town postman. His father was Charles White, also a postman, and Annie’s father was Joseph Warner, a farm labourer. If this certificate belongs to you then contact .

Traditional Heritage Museum

The Museum, based at the University of Sheffield, has a fascinating collection of artefacts housed in workshop displays illustrating typical Sheffield trades like filemaking, grinding, silversmithing and engraving. In addition, there’s a basketmaker’s shop, a clogmaker and shoemaker’s shop, a pawnbroker’s shop and a typical corner shop. Open days are held on a regular basis so if you’re in the area do call in.

Spotlight on a community

In future issues of the magazine I would like to include short articles on places of interest where your family lived. Whether it’s a village, town or even a small rural community, it might guide other researchers working along similar lines. It is very likely that you know more about that community, its history and the wealth of records that available than the people living there now. I have already asked a few members to write about their areas, but I would like your input too. If you’re involved in a local history project then let us all know about research underway. I look forward to hearing from you.

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created 30th May 2003