Essex Society for Family History

In Memory of Margaret Hammon 

In memory of Margaret Hammond


September 2019: Annual General Meeting . Under Matters Arising the secretary stated that the Saffron Walden Cemetery project is now complete (up to February 2017). The Town Council keep the records up to date and anyone wishing to search for a burial after that date is directed to the Town Council website. This was followed by the Chairman’s Report. Janice Sharpe reaffirmed the privilege she sees in her role as Chairman. She reminded everyone how successful a year it has been with our programme of transcribing St. Mary’s Baptisms, and the release of the 3rd CD in March 2019. She also mentioned the highly popular evening in June when members shared their stories & experiences at an open meeting. So successful was it that it had been agreed to repeat it after this AGM.She further confirmed her continuing attendance at the Executive Committee meetings in Chelmsford wearing the two hats of Chairman & also Minute Secretary. A copy of her report is held with our minutes.

Treasurer’s report. John Read presented the accounts to March 2019 and reminded attendees that as the Society’s financial year ends in March the accounts are already 6 months out of date. He said that payment for the hall is not a true reflection of the cost as sometimes we pay in arrears. John explained that there is little need to hold any petty cash so he has paid it all into the building society account. As John is standing down, Janice Sharpe proposed a vote of thanks to him for fulfilling the Treasurer’s role for so many years, and this was approved by all present.

The following members endorsed their willingness to continue and were duly re-elected for a further year. Chairman: Janice Sharpe, Secretary: Michael Furlong. Treasurer, following the retirement of John Read, Alan Stalley agreed to fulfil this role and was duly elected. Margaret Graves & Sandra Harris were elected as Committee Members.

For our forthcoming events, Mike Furlong said his Christmas quiz is ready for December 2019. It was also confirmed that we would be tackling the St. Mary’s Victorian Transcripts from the New Year. The Secretary brought a few examples of what to expect, including the database printouts. The first such workshop will be held in March 2020.

Under Any Other Business- Mike Furlong confirmed that he will be giving the Mary Whiteman Memorial Lecture to the Historical Society in October 2019. As the Memorial Lecture is always free, he encouraged everyone to attend as it is based upon our work of transcribing the St. Mary’s baptism records. Janice Sharpe indicated that there are likely to be significant Executive Committee changes at the AGM in Chelmsford on 21st September 2019. 

After a short break the members enjoyed the experience of sharing their stories and anecdotes from their research files.

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.

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