Mar 282017

On Monday, 3 April 2017, members of Oxfordshire Family History Society will discuss the topic  “What Family History Program”.

Previous surveys of OFHS membership have shown Family Tree Maker to be the most frequently used FH program. So Ancestry’s decision to stop selling it from 1st January 2016, and to stop supporting it after 1 January 2017, posed the question; “Now What Family History Program?”. The subsequent purchase of FTM by MacKiev has relieved the situation and promises the continuation of FTM updates and bug fixes but it still seems a good opportunity to address the other options available. As an established FTM user Jan Caddie will describe the current situation for this program and members of the panel will discuss other alternatives available including some or all of; Roots Magic, Gramps, GenoPro, Brother’s Keeper, or even PAF if anyone is interested!

We meet at the Exeter Hall, Oxford Road, Kidlington, OX5 1AB, with the meeting starting at 7:30pm.  Doors open at 7:15pm, when there will be a warm welcome for all.

Mar 282017

On Monday, 24 April, Jessica Feinstein will talk to Oxfordshire FHS on:

Tracing Jewish Ancestry

How is tracing Jewish ancestry different? Where can Jewish records be found? What do you need to know? Using ofhs-pictureexamples from her own research, Jessica will show you the wealth of resources available. The talk will be of interest to anyone who has already looked for Jewish records or who thinks that a branch of their family might be Jewish, and if time allows we will try to answer your research questions.

Jessica teaches family history locally and can be found once a month in Abingdon Library, helping visitors with their research. Jessica is a student member of the Register of Qualified Genealogists and edits the newsletter and journal of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain. Jessica has researched Jewish ancestors in many countries, and is keen to pass on tips about research methods, resources and useful knowledge gained over many years of practice.

We meet at the Exeter Hall, Oxford Road, Kidlington, OX5 1AB, with the talk starting at 8:00pm. Doors open at 7:15pm, when there will be advisors offering computer and genealogy help, and tea and coffee will be available.

Mar 272017

OFHS has started a new Oxfordshire surnames research project, examining surnames recorded in Oxfordshire parish registers from 1538 onwards, currently estimated at up to 20,000 key variants. The team is also using many other early recorded sources to build a comprehensive database of Oxfordshire surnames.  The aim is to trace their whereabouts in different parishes over time, their origins, hotspots, DNA connections and many other facets of Oxfordshire surnames. The project will take about 2 years to complete.

The project team is appealing for help in a number of ways:

– Those who have a good recorded family history in Oxfordshire or who manage a one-name study would be welcome to contact the team with a brief description and their contact details, so that when their surname is analysed they may be able to participate in submitting content for that name. All significant contributors will be acknowledged.

– People who have been DNA tested and are not yet part of the Oxfordshire DNA project on FamilyTreeDNA are welcome to join the project at The team also welcomes help with publicity to encourage more people with good Oxfordshire ancestry to be DNA tested. As an incentive, Oxfordshire Family History Society has donated the cost of six Y-37 tests to be won in a competition. Any male (or female who could persuade a male relative to take the test) is eligible. We are looking for the six best candidates with good Oxfordshire surname history on the pure  male line (father’s father’s father…) going back before 1870 and with good personal reasons to think a DNA test will be valuable. All that is required is an email describing your known Oxfordshire male line ancestry, why you think a DNA test would be valuable and full contact details. Full Ts & Cs can be obtained on application. The closing date is the 15th June 2017. If you know of a friend, relative or neighbour who might be a good candidate, then do tell them about this competition. Please mark any emails for the competition with a title of ‘DNA Competition’.

– If you are keen to help, there are a number of pan-Oxfordshire resources the team needs help in transcribing. Please get in touch if you are able to help. Many can be done remotely without being located in Oxfordshire. If you possess electronic versions of any early documents listing Oxfordshire names (for which you have obtained the original author or publisher’s permission for use), please contact the team.

If you have any queries, please contact Sue Honore via

Mar 172017

Tomorrow, Saturday 18 March, there will be a pop-up history exhibition at Bicester Library under the aegis of Oxfordshire Museum Service and Bicester Local History Society.

Details are at

Visitors can:
Enjoy a short talk about the history of Bicester at 11am and 2pm, or join in with the family activities spread throughout the day.


In connection with Bicester Library, a mention of our Family History helpdesks there. Pat Ford, one of the OFHS advisors, is at the library on Wednesdays and Fridays. Slots to have an advice session with Pat may be booked by phoning 01869 252181.

Mar 102017

If you missed the opportunity to buy tickets at the early bird price a discounted rate on two tickets is still available.  Two tickets can be purchased for £28 rather than £36.  Visit the WDYTYA website below and enter code EL28.

Oxfordshire FHS will be attending as are Berkshire FHS, Northants FHS and Wiltshire FHS.  A full list of exhibitors currently signed up can be found on the WDYTYA webpage by clicking on “Exhibitors”.

John Cramer

Oxfordshire Family History Society

Events Co-ordinator


Mar 012017
Posted on the Oxfordshire History Centre Facebook page with permission received for circulation.

We would like to clarify Oxfordshire County Council’s plans for the future delivery of Oxfordshire History Centre’s services from late 2017 onwards.

A staffed public service for the consultation of archive and digital collections, including the existing on-site strongroom storage, will continue to operate at St Luke’s, Cowley. A staffed public service for the consultation of local studies and digital collections, including the photographic archive, will be relocated to the Westgate library in central Oxford in October. This will give the History Service a prime location in the new Westgate development, with increased footfall and exposure. Staff will be working across both sites and detailed plans are now being formulated to ensure that the service is as integrated as possible.

Feb 282017

On Monday, 27 March, Simon Townley will talk to Oxfordshire FHS on:

Benson to Bruern – Recent Victoria County History Discoveries from the Chilterns to Wychwood

This talk will pick out some of the highlights from the Victoria County History’s recent work on Ewelme Hundred 13_ewelme_almshouse_ext_dsc00406(published in the spring of 2016), and its ongoing work on the Wychwood area. Ewelme Hundred stretched from the Thames around Benson and Warborough to the Chiltern uplands around Nettlebed, with its medieval brick and pottery industry. Ewelme is widely known for its Chaucer connections and its 15th-century almshouses, while Benson was successively an Anglo-Saxon royal centre, a coaching stop, and site of the modern RAF station. The ongoing Wychwood work takes in a dozen parishes in and around the ancient Forest, including Shipton-under-Wychwood and the tiny hamlet of Bruern, where the impact of the medieval abbey is still clearly evident in the local landscape.

Simon Townley started working for the Oxfordshire VCH in 1987, and has been County Editor since 1996, overseeing volumes on Witney, Henley, and the Minster Lovell and Kelmscott areas. He is involved in several county societies including the Oxfordshire Record Society, the Oxfordshire Buildings Record, and the Oxfordshire Local History Association.

We meet at the Exeter Hall, Oxford Road, Kidlington, OX5 1AB, with the talk starting at 8:00pm. Doors open at 7:15pm, when there will be advisors offering computer and genealogy help, and tea and coffee will be available.

Feb 092017

The following interests were added to OXSIL, the Oxfordshire Surname Interest List, in January.

Search at to see links to the researchers.

If your interests aren’t on OXSIL, do use the add surnames tab!

Surname Timeframe Place Researcher
ABERY c.1650 Goring Maurice Wilkins
AUGER Any Great Milton Catherine Smith
BALLARD Any Great Milton Catherine Smith
BATCHELOR 1500-1700 Banbury area David Judd
BELCHER <1750 West Hanney Barbara Cox
BOOKER 18c Denchworth Barbara Cox
BROOKER >1600 Brightwell cum Sotwell, Chilton, Richard Grimsdale-Yates
BURROWS 18c & 19c Clanfield and surrounding area Maria Haines
CARTER 18c Sunningwell Barbara Cox
CHAPMAN Any Faringdon, Oxford, Headington Sandy Mursell
CHURCH 17c Lyford area Barbara Cox
CLARK Any Coleshill Kevin Harris
COLEMAN >1850 Faringdon Grace Abrahams
COLSELL 1740-1840 Crowell John Coshall
COLSHILL 1740-1849 Crowell John Coshall
COLSIL 1740-1840 Crowell John Coshall
COSHALL 1740-1943 Crowell, Oxford John Coshall
COX 1500-1750 Wheatley Robert Cox
COX <1800 Abingdon,Culham,Wheatley Barbara Cox
DAGLEY 17c Marston Barbara Cox
DANDRIDGE Any Stadhampton Catherine Smith
DEW <1700 West Hanney Barbara Cox
DORE Any Abingdon Sandy Mursell
DUNCOMBE Any Oxford Lynne Winger
FOWLER Any Stonesfield Grace Abrahams
GEERING 18c Lyford Barbara Cox
HAYES 1800 St Ebbes St Thomas Oxford Paul Hayes
HAYNES 17c Ashbury Barbara Cox
HEDGES 18c Clanfield, Witney Maria Haines
HESTER Any Watlington Magdalene Capstick
HORTON c.1814 St.Ebbe’s Oxford Carole Ford
HUTCHINS <1660 Hanney area Barbara Cox
HUTTON 18c Bampton Barbara Cox
ILES Any Coleshill Kevin Harris
IRVING Any Russell’s Water, Henley on Thames, Pishill, Northend, Assendon Maurice Irwin
IRWIN Any Russell’s Water, Henley on Thames, Pishill, Northend, Assendon Maurice Irwin
JOHNSON Any Standlake Sandy Mursell
LAMBETH 17c Ashbury area Barbara Cox
MARTIN 1800 Eynsham Carole Price
MURREY >1700 Wroxton, Hornton, Horley, Deddington Cliff Morrey
NASH 17c Shrivenham Barbara Cox
PARGITER <1750 Tadmarton, North Newington Judy Evans
POCOCK 17c & 18c Watlington, Thatcham Rose Bennett
ROGERS 18c Cumnor Barbara Cox
SELLWOOD <1700 Eaton, Appleton Barbara Cox
SILVESTER Any Sunningwell Barbara Cox
SIMPSON 18c Abingdon Barbara Cox
SIMS <1750 Marston Barbara Cox
SMITH 1800 Eynsham Carole Price
SMITH <1850 Botley, Swinford, Shillingford Patricia Pond
SNOOK >1800 Any Frank H MUIRHEAD
STEPTOE <1700 Tackley Barbara Cox
STRANGE <1700 Charney Bassett Barbara Cox
SWAINE <1660 Marcham Barbara Cox
TAYLOR <1800 Burford Julie TAYLOR
THEOBALD Any Coleshill, East Hendred Kevin Harris
THEOBALDS Any Coleshill, East Hendred Kevin Harris
TOWNSEND 18c Ashbury Barbara Cox
VOKINS 17c Ashbury Barbara Cox
WATTS 17c Marcham Barbara Cox
WEBB <1700 Burcott area Barbara Cox
WICKS Any Vale of White Horse Barbara Cox
WILLIAMS Any Oxford Lynne Winger
WILLIAMS <1850 Abingdon Barbara Cox
WILLS 1782 Wantage, Berkshire Sandra Lewis
WILSON Any Culham, Shrivenham Sandy Mursell
WOODBRIDGE 17c Charney Bassett area Barbara Cox
WOODINGTON 1550-1900 Any Maria Haines
WOODLEY 17c Hanney area Barbara Cox
Feb 042017

Cameras in the Sky     21 January – 26 March

Aerofilms Ltd was the first British company to make a business out of aerial photography.

Established in Hendon, London in 1919, Aerofilms’ founders were pioneers of the air. A collection of adventurers, showmen and aviation enthusiasts, the firm married the fledgling technology of flight to the discipline of photography.

From the very start of operations, Aerofilms took photographs of villages, towns, cities and landscapes all over the country. Continuing this far-reaching programme for 80 years, its photographs provide a unique view of the development of Britain’s urban centres and rural landscapes throughout the 20th century.

This collection of photographs shows Oxfordshire from above, featuring town and country, special events, industry and transport. The development of Oxfordshire, chronicled from above by Aerofilms is history like no other!

EPW000827 The Radcliffe Camera, Bodleian Library, All Souls College, St. Mary’s Church and Brasenose College Oxford ,1920 ©Historic England (Aerofilms Collection)

 The Oxfordshire Museum hopes you will be able to come along


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