Mar 092020

Oxfordshire Family History Society has been sent the following news:

Were people from your village or family among the 400 fatalities in Australia’s biggest peacetime disaster?

On 20 April 1845 the Cataraqui ship left Liverpool with emigrants bound for Melbourne.  A quarter of the 369 passengers were from Oxfordshire.  Many were poor families “encouraged” to take assisted emigration under a Poor Law amendment.  Close to its destination, on 4 August, the Cataraqui was shipwrecked on King Island in the Bass Straits (between Tasmania and mainland Australia).  Only 9 survived – mainly crew. The outcry which followed resulted in Australia’s first lighthouses.

The following Oxon villages and families had people who died in the Cataraqui disaster, including 58 children:
Chesterton (Andrews); Fringford (Cotterill, White); Fritwell (Rutter); Great Haseley (Knott); Kiddington (Savings, Simmonds); Rousham (Walton); Stoke Lyne (Loveridge); Stonesfield (Barrett, Oliver, Rolling); Tackley (Cook, Drinkwater, Floyd, Harwood, Hoare, Knibbs, Merry, Payne, Ryman, Savings); Wootton (Bishop).

Find out more about this piece of local history and its 175th anniversary commemorations at

Come to a talk Mon 6 April, at 8:15pm in Tackley Village Hall OX5 3AH; given by Neil Wilson & Rachel Strachan.
Shipwreck off Tasmania: the loss of 42 impoverished migrants from Tackley – 175 years on”.

The shipwrecked Cataraqui

There’ll be a commemorative service on Sunday 19 July in Tackley for all the Oxon villages and families involved; contact Tackley Local History Group via

Go to King Island to join their commemorations 1-5 August, see the wreck site and artefacts.  Contact

Sep 052019

Just 30 days until the OFHS fair in Woodstock on Saturday 5th October at Marlborough School and the Marlborough Enterprise Centre. Free entry, free parking and a good range of food and drinks to sustain you during a busy day. On board are a host of interesting people, OFHS advisors and plenty of other societies represented who are also keen on Family History. Please think about using these coming days to go back onto your family tree and identify the biggest gaps in the Oxfordshire part of your family. Using a notebook do make plenty of notes and prioritise the people who you have found the hardest to trace before. Then you will know who to concentrate on during your visit to the OFHS Fair. Make a note of their children, dates of birth of location of their parents and possibly death so that the researchers can make best use of their time.
Do remember that the families prior to 1900 did often vary the spelling of their names- it is always worth writing out all the possible variations so that you have a record of what might fit into your family tree. Although Vicars or Priests were expected to be literate they had a challenge to spell some names that they may not have ever come across before, but it was not their fault.
Oxfordshire has a rich history of unique surnames so investigating the stall at the OFHS Fair headed ‘GOONS’ might well be worth your time. This title stands for Guild of One Name Studies : follow this link and this will help you to see if they will be of interest on the 5th October 2019.
We look forward to seeing you there.

Apr 142019

Very excited to see our latest journal featured by Oxfordshire History Centre @OxHist on Twitter under the #Archive30 #friendship hashtags

Do follow Oxfordshire Family History Society’s twitter feed at @OXFFamHistory

Mar 292019

Oxfordshire Family History Society is holding its annual Fair in Woodstock, at Marlborough School, OX20 1LP, on Saturday 5 October 2019..  Do put it in your diaries now.

To date we have 24 organisations booked to attend with a wide range of expertise to share with our visitors.  For anyone who has not been to a fair like this before, the stalls are all concerned with helping people research their family history.

OFHS has done a large amount of transcribing of the Parish Registers, graves in many of the cemeteries, and war memorials throughout the county. These results are available on CD’s which are available for purchase. In addition, there are a range of books and details of plenty of details of other Oxfordshire families and their occupations. Other stalls will be offering maps, postcards and a wide variety of subject experts to ask for help.
As the Fair gets closer we will be highlighting some of the other attendees so do visit this site again.

The Fair is held in the main gym and the Marlborough Enterprise Centre and entry is free.  Easy access for all visitors and FREE parking makes it really easy to visit and with excellent refreshments available you can make a day of it.  Doors open at 10.00 hours and close at 16.00 hours.

We look forward to seeing you there.



Nov 022018

Members may be aware that there has been an ongoing audio project talking to some interesting people from this area. In the most recent episode, Elizabeth Mills of OFHS was interviewed on BBC Radio Oxford’s Lilley Mitchell show on Monday 29th October. She described an incredible story of her Jamaican ancestry and unknown cousins. You can hear the recording on iPlayer (from about 2:07pm on the show’s timer) at

Well worth a listen, especially if you have an interest in that part of the world.

OFHS members have the added bonus of being able to access this and all the recordings of our previous BBC interviews from the OFHS Members-Only Area –
– direct link

Sep 192017

The above event will be held at Sandown Racecourse, Esher, Surrey, between 10am and 4.30pm. Find out more at

Oxfordshire FHS will be attending the above show providing you with the opportunity to purchase CD’s of our parish records and Monumental Inscriptions. We will also have a range of books on sale at a discounted price. Members of the Society will be able to carry out searches to try and help with tracing those elusive members of your family tree. We look forward to seeing you there at this new event.

John Cramer
Oxfordshire FHS
Events Co-ordinator

Jul 242017

In today’s Oxford Mail, news that Colin Harris, one of our Vice-Presidents, has been awarded an Honorary Master of Arts degree by Oxford University, in recognition of his 50 years of “continuous and exemplary service to the Bodleian.”

The university said: “The outstanding feature of his career has been his truly dedicated service to all types of library reader – from senior academics to masters’ students, professional writers to amateur historians – whom he has advised with expertise and unfailing patience.”

Currently, Colin is Superintendent of the Special Collections Reading Rooms.

Congratulations, Colin, from Oxfordshire FHS!


Apr 052017

Sue Honoré, Oxfordshire FHS’s journal editor, chatted to Nick Piercey on Radio Oxford this afternoon, and the programme is up on iPlayer.

You can listen to it by going to

and then click on the play button on Nick’s shoulder, and then the Who Do You Think You Are? tab immediately under Nick’s chin!

We look forward to talking to many visitors interested in their Oxfordshire roots at the show in the next three days. Some of the team have been up there this afternoon setting up our stand – plenty of books and CDs are ready for visitors!

The show website is at


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