January 2009 Archives
It's amazing to think that a year has gone by since I wrote my first blog on 31 December 2007. When it was first suggested to me, I was very interested in doing the blog but also very apprehensive as to whether or not I could carry on doing it for a reasonable length o time. I thought that I would run out of ideas within a few months but now I find that I completed 21 blogs during 2008 and I realise that there are so many aspects that I haven't yet touched. Back at the end of the 1980s I wrote a weekly newspaper column and that was a struggle to get the copy in on time each week. That was before the days of email and typed copy had to be posted or handed in by a fixed day and time each week. Quite often I'd find myself getting up about 5.30 am in order to complete the column and push it through the letter box of the newspaper office on my way to work! Thankfully, there isn't such pressure with this blog.
This was never intended as a correspondence course in how to trace your ancestors but rather as personal experiences which would hopefully be of help to people who starting to research their family history. It is certainly not aimed at the people who are already experts but I hope that it's been of interest to some people. At least I know of one person who has benefited! She is Madeline Mahoney who turns out to be a third cousin about whom I didn't know anything before she got in touch with me in October. She had actually sent in a comment on a blog in June but unfortunately I hadn't spotted it. That was a time when I was preoccupied with health problems but I realise that I hadn't had time to check the comments at all. One of my New Year resolutions is to check for any messages on any blog and, where possible, respond to them. I'm looking forward to meeting Madeline within the next few weeks and we will have a great deal of information to exchange. Although I didn't set out to find new relations this has been a major outcome for me from the blogs.
I've received the latest edition of CyMAL, the magazine of the Museums, Archives and Libraries of Wales, and found an article on the Gwynedd-Liverpool Exhibition. To my surprise, the lead photo for the article is a photo of my mother as a nurse at the Royal Southern Hospital in 1934. This is the photo, shown in Blog 14 in September, which I'd given for the exhibition and was one of about 6 official photos, which included my mother, at the Southern Hospital. My mother would have been so pleased to know that one of her photos had featured prominently in the exhibition and then in a magazine and that some of her school certificates had featured in the school centenary exhibition. Old photos and documents are an important part of our family history but they are also an important part of our wider social history. If you have such photos and documents, treasure them and, if the opportunity arises, make them available for wider public use. If you really don't want them, then I suggest that you offer them to your local archive office as they may well find them of interest. Before doing so however, make sure that you write clearly on the back of photos what they are otherwise they wouldn't be of much value.
Last time I showed a couple of my mother's school certificates and this time I show one of her school reports (Christmas 1916) and I wonder what "Observation Lessons" would have been. I also show her Sunday School Certificate for 1923-24 which was particularly colourful and another for 1917 which is probably quite rare as it was when she attended the Tyn y Groes Sunday School. This was a small corrugated iron hut on the outskirts of Penmachno for the convenience of the Wesleyans living in that area to save them having to walk to Bethania chapel in the village. It closed in the 1920s.
Unfortunately I have to go into hospital for treatment again next week so there will a gap of a few weeks before the next blog. In the meantime I wish everyone a Happy New Year.
National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth
I've received information from the National Library regarding an exhibition called "Step by Step" they're in the process of preparing which will be opened in March 2009. The Library has a wealth of historical data and exhibition his will be an introduction to family history and presumably how to use the resources of the Library. They are inviting anyone who has interesting stories about their experiences in tracing their ancestors to get in touch. They're looking for volunteers who are willing to share their experiences and there's a possibility that their family tree could be included in the exhibition. Anyone who is interested should contact Catherine Tudor Jones on 01970 632475 or email@example.com
The next Gwynedd Family History Society meetings are:
Bangor, 6 January (first Tuesday of each month) 7.00pm at the Quakers Meeting Hall, Dean Street: Gwilym T Evans, "Tales of Morris Evans"
Caernarfon, 29 January (last Thursday of each month) 7.00pm at the The Library, Lôn Pafiliwn: Dewi Tomos, "Beirdd Gwlad yn y Teulu"
Dolgellau, 8 January (second Thursday of each month) 7.00pm at the Royal Ship Hotel: BUT this night. "Noson yn yr archifdy / An evening in the Archives"
Llandudno, 12 January (second Monday of each month) 7.00pm at Capel Ebenezer, Abergele Road, Old Colwyn (please note new meeting place):
Peter Brindley, "Bangor Pier"
Llangefni, 15 January (third Thursday of each month) 7.15pm at Capel Smyrna, Ffordd Glanhwfa: But this evening "A workshop in the Llangefni Archives"
Pwllheli, 16 January (third Friday of each month) 7.00pm at Capel Seion, Lon Dywod:
Dewi Tomos, "Bardd Gwlad yn y Teulu"