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.

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 082020

The following surnames were added to the OXfordshire Surname Interest List in December: –

ALCOCKAnyBanbury, Chipping Norton, Stow-on-the-WoldHilary Darque
ALLCOCKAnyBanbury, Chipping Norton, Stow-on-the-WoldHilary Darque
AYORSAnyBanburyHilary Darque
BEAL18c – 20cAnyJune Tipping
BEALE18c – 20cAnyJune Tipping
BLENCOWEAnyBicesterMartin Aldridge
BOWENAnyAnyJoanne Bowen
BRADLEY1700-1800ShiltonHazel Stirgess
BROOKES1850 – 1925OddingtonBrian Bridges
COLYER1700-1800AnyJane Townsend
CONSTABLE19cMiddleton StoneyAndrea Weider
CRESWELLAnyAnyColin E Allen
CROXFORD1640SydenhamJan Hutchinson
EDENSAnyAnyDerek Hunt
ELFORDAnyAnyTrevor Elford
EYERSAnyBanburyHilary Darque
FAULKNER1500-1600BurfordJane Townsend
FISH1700 – 1940BanburyWalter Veldsman
FLEMING>1732WheatleyGay Moller
GODFREY>1854GarsingtonGay Moller
HANKSc.1775-1798Long HanboroughJan Gregory
HAYLEY1600Aston RowantJan Hutchinson
HILLSDONAnyWheatleyJoanne Bowen
HUGGINS>1844GarsingtonGay Moller
LITTLEPAGE1650Aston RowantJan Hutchinson
MARTIN>1741WaterstockGay Moller
MESSENGER>1858GarsingtonGay Moller
MILLS1500-1800BurfordJane Townsend
MUNTAnyCuddesdonMargaret Brown
PHIPPSAnyBodicoteHilary Darque
POWELLAnyBicesterIan Malins
RADFORD1692 – 1858Waterstock, Albury, GarsingtonGay Moller
STACEYAnyBanbury, BodicoteHilary Darque
TASKERAnyAnyMargaret Brown
TOOVEYAnyAnyMargaret Brown
VICARSAnyBanburyHilary Darque
VICKERSAnyBanburyHilary Darque
WHITE1720Aston RowantJan Hutchinson

You’ll find the most up-to-date list of recently-added surname interests here.

May 312020

Oxfordshire Family History Society has just a few copies left of The Changing Faces of Bicester Book Two.

The book is full of photos, of Bicester people and buildings, and including family photos and ones at notable events, mostly with the people named. There are also maps and aerial pictures.

The sections include the Town Centre, the Causeway, Personalities, In Uniform, and Sport.

If you have Bicester connections, you may find a picture of your parents winning a sports cup, or you youself in a school photo or holding a May garland.

Changing Faces of Bicester 2

This, and a selection of other books, are available from the Society’s bookshop at https://www.ofhs.org.uk/books.html

Apr 032020

This is a double post, nothing to with Coronavirus, just a matter of a laptop having failed in late November.

The December and April journals have gone out to members and are available as PDF files in our Members-Only Area.

If you are thinking of joining our Society, you might like to read the December 2019 (right) taster edition (which includes details of the cover images) and the April 2020 (left) taster edition (which also includes details of the cover images)

You can receive your own copy three times per year by joining the Society.

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.

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 https://www.tackleyhistory.org.uk/

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 suejashton1@btinternet.com.

Go to King Island to join their commemorations 1-5 August, see the wreck site and artefacts.  Contact cataraqui175@gmail.com.

Feb 282020
North Leigh MI CD cover
North Leigh MI CD cover

This recently published CD of Monumental Inscriptions in North Leigh includes about 1,240 separate monuments. These include stones to members of long-established North Leigh families such as BREAKSPEAR, CALCUTT, LORD and PERROTT . The oldest legible stone in the churchyard is to Doraty BRUMIGAM, who died in 1676.

The CD contains photographs of all the monuments, and transcriptions thereof, plus a name index and a clickable plan of the churchyard.

The CD is available, at £6 including postage, from the Society through our shopping cart at

Feb 272020

Having had a successful day at The Family History Show in Bristol OFHS will next be attending Family Tree Live. This is the second year of this event which we thought was very successful last year.

OFHS will be selling our CD’s of Parish Records and Monumental Inscriptions together with the full range of Black Sheep books. Included in the Monumental Inscriptions are three new releases, Great Milton, Bampton and North Leigh. We will also be providing a search service to help look for that elusive Oxfordshire ancestor.



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