Essex Society for Family History

In Memory of Margaret Hammon 

In memory of Margaret Hammond


September 2020. The Branch very successfully held a "virtual" Annual General Meeting by email & post. Notice of the AGM was posted on this page in January 2020 before Covid 19 lockdown. The papers for the meeting were then published on the Society website during August with a link to the AGM papers. Members were sent an email reminder inviting comments or questions prior to the meeting. All officers had indicated their willingness to continue in their various roles, they were subsequently  proposed and seconded in accordance with usual practice. A copy of the Elections, Chairman's report, (wherein the deaths of Colin Francis & John Read are noted),  Treasurer's report (approved by all respondents)  & other issues are held with the minutes.  Although a Member's Christmas meeting was considered, it was felt that nothing definite should be planned at this stage.  There was no other business.   Mike Furlong. 

March 2020: Fortunately, our March meeting took place just before the Government’s advisory restrictions came into force. A small group of members continued work on the Baptism records for St. Mary’s Church, Saffron Walden. To date over 12,900 records have been processed.

This time we worked on the Victorian transcripts of the first Baptism Register held in the Church Records, which commenced in 1558. Although a very useful framework, the original transcribers' use of abbreviations meant that many transcripts had to be cross-checked with the primary register. However, we managed to deal with some 2,300 entries on the night.

Because we cannot foresee when we will meet again, one member has undertaken to continue the verification process at home. Martin Foreman

 December 2019: The meeting adopted the traditional Christmas theme, with members donating & sharing appropriate refreshments. Following a small non-alcoholic tipple, we tackled Mike Furlong’s specially designed quiz. This year he had interlaced the questions from history, family history and Christmas traditions. Despite some very tricky questions, two members, namely Margaret Graves & Janice Sharpe, tied on a creditable 15 points and it fell to Mike to quickly think up the tie-breaker which Margaret won. Custom dictates that the winner devises the quiz for next year. Members then enjoyed the shared seasonal fayre, whilst exchanging news and conversation relating to family history.

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. 

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