AGM – Ideas for researching Non-Conformist ancestors. On Saturday 7th July 2018 the society held its AGM which was attended by the society’s patron, Lord St Oswald. The proceedings were opened by Deborah Scriven as President of the society. She reminded us that although the formal part of an AGM was important so was the part played by the many volunteers who help to keep the society going. That such organisations are a means of gaining and sharing knowledge. Lord St Oswald made reference to this year’s commemorations being held nationally to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1. He reminded us of the many men and women who were awarded medals for gallantry, some who survived but many who did not.
Once the formalities of the AGM were over a talk was given by Jackie Depelle. She lives at Fulneck, Pudsey which is the location for a Moravian church, museum and school. Her research was inspired by the discovery that many of her ancestors were non-conformists.
Jackie demonstrated how to research ancestors in this country who were not members of the Church of England. To begin with she advised that an indispensable guide is ‘Dictionary of Genealogy.’ Then various archive collections were referred to such as those at The National Library of Scotland, the Borthwick at York University and our own West Yorkshire History Centre. The National Archives at Kew have much to offer which are accessible by the website‘findmypast.’ Then there is the British Library facility at Boston Spa, the website ‘deceasedonline,’ and parish records must not be ignored. Many other ways were illustrated by Jackie but it was her sense of fun in carrying out such research that will provide new avenues to explore.
Next meeting is 4th August 2018 when David Burgess will give a talk ‘ One- Name Study: The Dowles of Romney Marsh.’
Hats and Huts: Ladies of the YMCA On Saturday June 2nd 2018 Sue McGeever gave an illustrated talk on a subject that had long fascinated her. She reminded us that the organisation, that is symbolised by the famous red triangle, was founded in London in 1844. Within ten years its influence had spread worldwide. However it was the outbreak of WW1 when large numbers of women joined the organisation that gained Sue’s interest that she decided to carry out research on the topic. Thousands of women from mainly middle class backgrounds volunteered to work in the ‘recreation huts’ that were set up in Britain as well as at the Front in Belgium and France.
In 1914, 40,000 of these women of means provided home comforts for soldiers who found temporary reprieve from the battle field. At these ‘refreshment huts’ Tommies would be provided with hot drinks, newspapers, stationery for letters home, games equipment and even the odd concert. Sue highlighted her talk with reference to individual women who served at the Front. One in particular, Betty Stevenson from Harrogate, died from shrapnel wounds at the age of 21. She was awarded the Croix de Guerre and given a military funeral. She is also commemorated in her home town with a large wooden memorial at Christ Church. Many members found Sue’s talk exceedingly interesting especially as so little is known about the subject.
Next meeting on July 7th 2018 is the AGM followed by a talk by Jackie Depelle on ‘Ideas for researching your Non-Conformist ancestors.’