Dec 012019
Cover of CD case for Bampton MI CD, showing the church.
Bampton MI CD cover

This recently published CD of Monumental Inscriptions in Bampton covers those both in St Mary’s Church and in the adjacent Parish Cemetery, which together amount to 1,333 separate monuments and make this one of the biggest churchyards we have tackled.

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

Nov 082019

There is a big sale at FamilyTreeDNA (FTDNA) up until 28th November 2019. If you have Oxfordshire ancestry and want to help us with our Oxfordshire DNA/Surname project or have a relative with Oxfordshire ancestry who would value a Christmas present of a DNA test – especially males who take a Y-DNA test for their surname line, then do buy one.

There are lots of price deductions, so look at the website for details but of particular note is that the Y-67 test is temporarily suspended as the Y-111 test is being offered at Y-67 prices – for all those who want a good Y-test at a bargain price.

If you have already been DNA tested with FTDNA then upgrades to your existing tests are also available in the sale.

We welcome all people with Oxfordshire ancestry prior to 1875 in our Oxfordshire group, especially males who test their Oxfordshire surname line. When you have bought a test, if you don’t know how to join our Oxfordshire project, then get in touch via

See OFHS surname and DNA project for details on the actual research.

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 142019
Question mark

Oxfordshire FHS now has an advisor at Woodstock library (in the museum) offering help in the afternoons of the first and third Wednesdays of each month. He is happy to help with research both in and beyond Oxfordshire.

Sessions with the advisor need to be booked, which can be done in the library itself, or by phone (01993 814124). The sessions are available from noon to 4pm.

The Society also runs helpdesks at several other libraries – see

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.

Oct 022019

In just two days we start putting together the layout for the OFHS Fair. The time has flown by- electrical leads, covers and 97 tables have been booked. Banners, posters and masses of other items are packed and ready for the set up on Friday. Maps have been prepared for the event so all can find their way around. The catering is booked, the parking is organised people are assembling to pull together all the elements of the Fair. The power cables have been checked to see they are good to go, the books are packed in their boxes, the CD’s double-checked, and almost all last minutes queries answered. Saturday is so nearly here and here are a few more tasters of what you can find at the Fair.

Military historian Captain Graham Bandy will be one of our stallholders, with his wife who is very knowledgeable in her own right and has a particular interest in the Women’s Land Army.  Our Fair would therefore be an excellent opportunity for anyone with military ancestors they don’t know much about to get some expert advice. You can bring along copies or photographs of any hard-to-interpret military records,  as-yet-unidentified family photos of distant ancestors in military uniform.

Dave Beames, will be in the hall with the other OFHS helpers, giving advice on deciphering wills. If you have a will that you need some help with please bring it with you.

Chipping Norton Museum are hosting a stall. Apart from the artefacts in the Museum, they have an interesting reference collection for the area- well worth talking to them if your family lived in that area.

The Census Detectives have a very straightforward approach to searching for a missing person. Start with the first bit of knowledge and then work through all the difficulties. However, you will need to know that you have to book a slot on the day, and then remember to arrive promptly. Like many of the stands at the Fair, they are very popular so if in need of their help, do go there first.

New this year is the Crafty Genealogist. If you’re looking for a unique way in which to record your family history their stall is well worth a visit.

Finally- remember to bring some notes about your family history so you can make best use of all the help available.

Sep 282019

7 days now to go to the Oxfordshire Family History Fair on Saturday 5th October in Woodstock at Marlborough School and Enterprise Centre. For those who have never visited a Family history Fair before it is full of people who are all interested in tracking their relatives often from quite some years ago. On arrival, you will be offered the chance to win a year’s subscription to either “Ancestry”, “Find My Past” or “The Genealogist”. It is well worth filling in the form, as although all the county libraries have access to “Ancestry” and “Find My Past”, it is much more comfortable in the winter to have access at home.

Oxfordshire has an excellent record of transcribing old Parish records whether involving Births, Marriages or indeed Burials in the local graveyard. Thus, there is a large quantity of materials available to be found by those who have Oxfordshire relations. The bonus with this Fair is that we also have other organisations coming to join us. Amongst them will be Berkshire FHS, Bucks FHS, Northants FHS and Wilts FHS – our near neighbours. In addition Essex FHS, Hampshire FHS, Sussex FHS will be attending.

We have one author bringing their new book to the fair- do come and chat to the author and see what they have to offer. Angela Fortnum offers Leaflets and Pages of North Oxfordshire – My Lineage Pre 1700 – 1959. Her maternal family story begins eight generations before her and reaches back to the turn of the eighteenth century in England—and it is a story that she will tell and continue today. Please do come and chat to the author!

Oxfordshire History Centre, who are based in the redundant church of St. Luke’s in Temple Cowley, just off the Cowley Road, will bring with them some familiar faces to help visitors who have various enquiries. I am sure that they will appreciate plenty of attention from our visitors as well as the opportunity to catch up with others who already know them.

Do remember; free Parking, free entry, a good range of drinks and snacks and plenty of people to help you succeed in finding those missing people from the past. We look forward to welcoming you in Woodstock. Do pass the word around to anyone you know is also travelling this path to find their relatives.

Sep 102019

25% Discount on new VCH Wychwood volume

The latest VCH Oxfordshire volume (XIX: Wychwood Forest and Environs) can be ordered at 25% discount (£71.25) until 31 December. To obtain a discount, download an order form, or order online from Boydell & Brewer, entering discount code BB768 at the checkout.

Places covered: Ascott-under-Wychwood; Bruern; Cornbury Park; Fifield; Idbury; Leafield; Lyneham; Milton-under-Wychwood; Ramsden; Shipton-under-Wychwood (with Langley); Wychwood Forest.

Read more about the Victoria County History of Oxfordshire:

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.


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