Jun 112020
 

At the OFHS Executive meeting on the 3 June the decision was taken to not hold our annual Fair this year due to the uncertainties over Covid-19.  This decision was made with much sadness, particularly as we had already done quite a lot of work on the Fair (booking the venue, catering and tables and inviting stallholders).

There is the logistical problem of providing social distancing measures and restricting the number of people in the venue at any one time.  Equally for OFHS there is the problem of providing all the help that we have in the past.  As many of our volunteers are potentially in the vulnerable groups it would be very difficult to provide the search services etc. that many of our visitors to the Fair use.

We intend to hold the Fair next year, on 2 October, and will start our organising at the beginning of January 2021.

Jun 022020
 

Although lockdown is starting to ease, it is clear that we will not be restarting meetings in the Exeter Hall for some months. Similarly, we have no news as to when we might be able to restart our helpdesk sessions in Libraries and the Oxfordshire History Centre.

On the positive side, yesterday evening (Mon 1 June) we held our first online meeting with 100 members present (one member even joined us at 4am in her local time!)

More online meetings will be planned, but I’m afraid the popularity of last night’s meeting suggests we will not be opening those up to non-members! You may feel that our membership fee is a bargain for being able to attend meetings with so many other members present.

See – https://www.ofhs.org.uk/introduction.html
and – https://www.ofhs.org.uk/join.html

Our Helpline – help@ofhs.org.uk or 01865 358151 – remains available.

Mar 152020
 

In view of the developing situation, we have cancelled our March and April meetings, they are being rescheduled for 2021. We will decide whether or not to go ahead with the May meeting in due course.

As they are now closed, our helpdesk sessions in libraries and at the Oxfordshire History Centre have been suspended.

Our Helpline – help@ofhs.org.uk or 01865 358151 – remains available.

Feb 212020
 

In the light of the COVID-19 situation, this meeting has been cancelled.

On Monday, 23 March, Simon Wenham will talk to Oxfordshire FHS on:

Sculls, skiffs and steamers: the history of Salter’s Steamers

Salter’s Steamers (founded in Oxford in 1858 and known for much of itsexistence as Salter Bros Ltd) did more to popularise pleasure boating on the non-tidal river than any other Thames business. This talk traces the development of the firm and how it grew from a leading racing-boat constructor in Wandsworth to become one of the largest inland boat-builders and passenger boat operators in the country. It also describes many of the famous names associated with the business, including Lewis Carroll, William Morris, Edward VII, Jerome K. Jerome, T. E. Lawrence and C. S. Lewis.

Dr Simon Wenham is a member of the part-time tutor panel of Oxford University’s Continuing Education Department, where he focuses mainly on Victorian history.

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. Tea and coffee will be available. Non-members are very welcome, though we have a charge of £2 as an entrance fee for them to contribute towards the hire of the hall and the costs of speakers.

A summary of most talks will appear after an interval in the Members’ Only Area of the OFHS website. Summaries of previous talks are also available in the same place.

Feb 042020
 

On Monday, 24 February, Simon Townley will talk to Oxfordshire FHS on:

Wychwood Forest and Area: Landscape and People 1000-1900

Based on recent VCH work, this talk will look at the ancient royal forest of Wychwood (concentrated between Charlbury and Fulbrook) and its importance for surrounding villages. Exploited by the Crown for timber, underwood, and as a deer preserve, it also provided local employment and a shared communal resource, until its clearance and enclosure in the 1850s turned most of it into private farmland. The talk should provide important context for anyone with ancestors in the area, particularly in forest-edge villages such as Leafield.

Simon Townley joined the Oxfordshire VCH in 1987 and has been County Editor since 1996. So far he has contributed to eight volumes in the series, six of them as editor, and 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. Tea and coffee will be available. Non-members are very welcome, though we have a charge of £2 as an entrance fee for them to contribute towards the hire of the hall and the costs of speakers.

A summary of most talks will appear after an interval in the Members’ Only Area of the OFHS website. Summaries of previous talks are also available in the same place.

Jan 282020
 

On Monday, 3 February 2020, the Oxfordshire Family History Society (OFHS) meeting will be a Members’ Bring & Tell Evening, led by Kevin Poile. The meeting will be held at the Exeter Hall, Oxford Road, Kidlington, OX5 1AB, at 7:30pm (you’re welcome from 7:15pm).

Kevin Poile's grandfather's school certificate, aged 7
Kevin Poile’s grandfather’s school certificate, aged 7

Kevin says:

For this Bring & Tell Evening we are turning the tables and we want the audience to do the bulk of the talking. To do this we want members to come along and be prepared to tell us about something that they have found out relating to their family history, if there are photographs or objects involved all the better. Here are some ideas:

a. Found out something unexpected.

b. A family story they have proved to be correct or wrong.

c. Information found using an unusual source.

d. Something funny that has been added as a foot note to a record e.g. Notes added to Parish Registers.

I have various stories in my own family, one that still persists despite the evidence to the contrary is the story of my paternal grandfather who according to the family was discharged from the Royal Flying Corps during WWI because his first wife died and they had 6 children. However, his service record shows he joined the RAF after she died and he sent the children to live with his brothers.

The image is of one of my Grand-father’s school certificates which links him to part of my wife’s extended family and shows that testing of school children is nothing new (he was 7 at the time he received this certificate).

All we ask is that it not involve living people.

We hope to have the technology to project photographs etc. onto the wall without the need to scan them first.

We don’t expect anybody to put a slide show on just talk for about 5 to 10 minutes, either from where they are sitting or up front (your choice).

Hopefully if you have read my article about my family forest in the December Journal this will have given you some inspiration.

For those members who can’t attend, we hope to put a summary of the talk in the Members-Only Area in due course.  https://moa.ofhs.org.uk/

Dec 032019
 

On Monday, 27 January, Liz Woolley will talk to Oxfordshire FHS on:

Leisure and entertainment in Victorian and Edwardian Oxford

In the mid nineteenth century changes in employment practices and rising real wages meant that ordinary working people found themselves, usually for the first time, with leisure time and with spare money to spend on recreation. All sorts of establishments arose to fulfill the new demand for entertainment, many of them aimed at keeping people out of the pub. This talk describes where and how Oxford citizens spent their free time, and how the middle classes attempted to impose ‘rational recreation’ on their working-class contemporaries.

Liz lives in Oxford and has an MSc in English Local History from the University’s Department for Continuing Education. She is particularly interested in the history of Oxford’s “town” – as opposed to “gown” – and in the lives of ordinary working citizens in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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. Tea and coffee will be available. Non-members are very welcome, though we have a charge of £2 as an entrance fee for them to contribute towards the hire of the hall and the costs of speakers.

A summary of most talks will appear after an interval in the Members’ Only Area of the OFHS website. Summaries of previous talks are also available in the same place.

Oct 292019
 

On Monday, 25 November, Nick Millea will talk to Oxfordshire FHS on:

From Agas to Ordnance Survey: Oxford’s changing townscape in old maps and new

The talk will introduce the Oxford atlas project, using existing maps as guideposts, and how to create new maps from old. It will cover the new maps created for the Oxford atlas and go over the problems encountered. Finally spin-offs from the atlas project and future aspirations will be discussed.

Nick Millea has been Map Librarian at the Bodleian Library in Oxford since 1992. He had previously been Map Curator at the University of Sussex. He obtained his undergraduate degree at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne and a Postgraduate Diploma in Librarianship at Manchester Polytechnic. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and has been and still is involved in various other cartographic institutions. He is the author of a number of publications including the Gough Map in 2007. He has curated a number of exhibitions in the Bodleian Library. The latest, Talking Maps, opened to the public in the Weston Library in Oxford in July this year.

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. Tea and coffee will be available. Non-members are very welcome, though we have a charge of £2 as an entrance fee for them to contribute towards the hire of the hall and the costs of speakers.

A summary of most talks will appear after an interval in the Members’ Only Area of the OFHS website. Summaries of previous talks are also available in the same place.

Oct 082019
 

On Monday, 28 October, Kathy Chater will talk to Oxfordshire FHS on:

Coroners’ Inquests

Coroners’ Inquests are not just about how a person died. They can provide much useful information for genealogists: where and how people earned their livings, how they got on with family, friends and neighbours and a host of other facts that rarely appear in other official records. Family historians may also find an ancestor involved in another way, as part of the jury, as a witness or one of the officials managing the hearing.

Kathy Chater has been tracing her own ancestry for nearly forty years. She is the author of Tracing Your Huguenot Ancestors (2012) and The Reformation in 100 Facts (2016) Her doctoral thesis was published as Untold Histories: Black People in England and Wales during the British Slave Trade (2009) and she has also writtenTracing Your Family Tree in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales (2nd ed. 2008) and My Ancestor Was A Lunatic (2014). She contributes articles and reviews on social and family history to magazines and websites.

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. Tea and coffee will be available. Non-members are very welcome, though we have a charge of £2 as an entrance fee for them to contribute towards the hire of the hall and the costs of speakers.

A summary of most talks will appear after an interval in the Members’ Only Area of the OFHS website. Summaries of previous talks are also available in the same place.

Aug 202019
 

On Monday, 23 September, Tom Doig will talk to Oxfordshire FHS on:

The Victorian Way of Death

In the 1800s, death did not hold the same taboo as it does today. Naturally. a funeral was a time for sombre celebration but it was also an opportunity for the family to gather and to exchange news and gossip. Many of the traditions have evolved and still, in one form or another, survive today. These traditions and their folklore which surrounded the Victorian rituals are investigated in this informative yet humorous talk.

Tom Doig is a qualified engineer, teacher and social historian researching rural life in the 19th and 20th century. He is well known for his books on local history and for his radio and television programmes and has lectured widely in the UK and abroad. During the 1990s, he held the post of Director of the Cambridge and County Folk Museum and subsequently the Amberley Industrial Museum. Tom has recently completed five books of old photographs in a series on Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire for the Francis Frith Collection. A member of the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of the Society of Genealogists’, Tom Doig served a term as Vice-President of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society. He lives in a remote rural part of north Hertfordshire in a converted cattle shed built during the 1840s as part of a model farmstead. When relaxing from his history research, Tom devotes his time to the preservation of his 1923 Morris ‘Bullnose’ Cowley and 1953 Triumph Renown cars.

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. Tea and coffee will be available. Non-members are very welcome, though we have a charge of £2 as an entrance fee for them to contribute towards the hire of the hall and the costs of speakers.

A summary of most talks will appear after an interval in the Members’ Only Area of the OFHS website. Summaries of previous talks are also available in the same place.

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