Essex Society for Family History

In Memory of Margaret Hammon 

In memory of Margaret Hammond

RECENT MEETINGS AT SAFFRON WALDEN

June 2019: The evening proved to be both lively and entertaining with the members bringing their own accounts regarding family history to share with each other. An incredibly varied selection of stories were presented. These included victims of WW1 Zeppelin bombing in London, amazing WW2 bravery and intrigue, torpedoed convoys, an Austrian refugee, a lunatic asylum inmate with local connections, 19th Century corn stealing with hard labour, suicide after a broken love affair, saddlers apprenticeship and also the famous Sheffield Dam disaster of 1864. Following a refreshment break the Secretary shared his ideas for some additional Elizabeth 1 transcripts using Victorian records. This was supported by a majority of those present and he was asked to proceed forthwith. Mike Furlong. 

March 2019:A very good turnout ensured continuance of the Branch’s project to transcribe the Baptism Registers of St. Mary’s Church, Saffron Walden, which has been running for some years under the management of the Branch Secretary.  He was pleased to inform those present that the third CD of transcripts covering the period 1748 to 1793, representing the largest church register for St. Mary’s, is almost ready for release. He produced a copy of the new CD which was passed round for everyone to inspect. He went on to thank the Chairman for all her hard work, not only on the transcripts but also on the closing certification over the preceding 6 months to ensure the CD could be released by March 2019.

With that register finally put to bed, and despite members struggling with the poor quality of the next register images, the evening workshop session was devoted to the printout check of a whopping 880+ entries prior to them being cleared for entry onto the main database. They cover the period March 1794 to 1809.Once any amendments found have been input the Branch database will have more than 1250 fully checked baptisms, with a further 400+ up to 1814 awaiting final approval. More detailed work will be carried out at our June meeting towards completing the new register. The Secretary was asked whether he could investigate downloading clearer images from the SEAX records. Also, as an aid to helping volunteers read the print, a suggestion from one of the members was to ask if it may be possible for the Branch to borrow from the Church vaults the Victorian transcripts again. It would also add a third form of accreditation for all the entries in the current register. Mike Furlong. 

December 2018: Our meeting took the form of a Christmas themed social event, with members bringing along festive refreshments to share. Before enjoying the various delicacies, however, we all struggled with the “Miscellany” quiz devised by our Chairman, Janice Sharpe, who combined family history and general knowledge material. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth ensued as the questions taxed our brains to the limit. Indeed how many of you would know that the common garden wren has the scientific name of Troglodyte Troglodytes or the date of Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act? We all laughed at our miserable efforts, then enjoyed the seasonal fayre, whilst exchanging recently discovered nuggets of information relating to family history.

September 2018: Annual General Meeting . 

Chairman’s Report: Janice Sharpe commented upon our on-going programme of transcribing St. Mary’s Baptisms and was pleased with our efforts, especially as we released the first 2 CDs in January 2018. She extended her thanks to all those involved. She confirmed her continuing attendance at the Executive Committee meetings in Chelmsford. Treasurer’s report:  John Read presented the accounts to March 2018 and gave an explanation of the financial activity for the relevant 12-month period. He reminded attendees that the Society’s financial year ends in March and there is always a carry-over, (about 4 months); thus the accounts do not necessarily coincide with our Branch report. John also confirmed his desire to step down from the role of Treasurer. After some discussion he agreed to continue for this year (up to the financial year end in 2019). Election of Officers: The following members confirmed their willingness to continue and were duly re-elected for a further year. Chairman: Janice Sharpe, Treasurer: John Read (but see comments above). Secretary: Michael Furlong.  Workshops: It was agreed by all that we have little need for external speakers and the workshops will continue to be the focus of meetings into the foreseeable future. Christmas meeting. Janice Sharpe offered to step in as quiz-master in remembrance of Stan Sutherland. She will also organise the rota for refreshments from attendees. The official part of the AGM closed at 8.50 pm.

After a short break the members resumed the task of checking printouts from the St. Mary’s Baptisms database to the original register entries. Just under 500 records were completed before the close at 9:55 p.m. The Secretary thanked those present for their continuing efforts. 

July 2018: Stanley George Sutherland.

Today (18th July) family and friends, including a strong representation from Essex Society for Family History attended the funeral of “Stan” Sutherland at Radwinter Church, a place that he knew well with over 40 years residency in the village. Possibly many of those present would be unaware that Stan had single-handedly undertaken the transcribing of baptisms, marriages & burials from Radwinter Church Registers between 1813 and 2004..

Stan Sutherland was the founding Chairman of the NW Branch of the ESFH in 1986 and for many years he and his wife Joan regularly attended the Chelmsford meetings. He also served on the Executive in his role of Branch Chairman. He was a genealogy encyclopaedia, inspiring so many people to take up the hobby with his introductory courses. He gave talks on numerous aspects of family history, both locally as well as in Scotland and instigated several initiatives for Saffron Walden Branch, including the transcription process for Saffron Walden Cemetery.

He was a friendly, active and enthusiastic member with a wicked sense of humour and always there to welcome people to the meetings and rope them into a job if he could. For over 30 years Stan continued as a Branch committee member, even after handing over the reins of the Branch library. He undertook the role of quiz master for his well-established brain teasing quizzes at the Christmas meetings. Stan will be greatly missed by all who knew him.  Mike Furlong. 

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