Essex Society for Family History

In Memory of Margaret Hammon 

In memory of Margaret Hammond

RECENT MEETINGS AT SAFFRON WALDEN

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. 

June 2018: The first part of the meeting consisted of formal discussion about major changes to a local database that the Branch provides information to on a rolling basis. The Recorders of Uttlesford History website was set up 10 years ago to deliver a platform for all historical material collected within the geographic area of the Uttlesford District which includes Saffron Walden & surrounding villages. Since then the website has become somewhat cluttered and needs a complete re-vamp.Furthermore matters pertaining to Saffron Walden are often difficult to find. It is proposed that Town historical records and transcripts should be transferred to the newly formed Saffron Walden History Society website. This will make it easier and more user friendly for researchers to find specific information relating to the Town, with links to various resources. Our Branch has, for many years made the transcripts for the local cemetery records freely available through the “RUTH” website as well as bastardy bond transcripts. More recently we added the St. Mary’s transcripts, in abridged form, with a link to the ESFH main website for the purchase of CDs or membership of the Society. Much discussion took place, particularly as members were concerned about loss of focus, broken links and lack of promotion of our Society and its aims. A formal proposal was made to agree in principle to the move, subject to several caveats. It was voted upon and carried unanimously. The Secretary, Mike Furlong was asked to respond to the SWHS along the lines agreed. After the formal part of the meeting closed, the volunteers continued checking the St. Mary’s Baptism Transcripts against the printouts- more than 950 entries were completed by the close of the evening. A good effort by all concerned.

March 2018: The twelve members who came to the March meeting continued work on 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 Mike Furlong assisted by others. Mike was delighted to tell us that the first two CDs of transcripts covering the period from 1630 to 1748/9 have now been released and are available via Chelmsford. The members thanked Mike for all his hard work over recent years to achieve this milestone and for the assistance given by his sons in preparing the CDs for publication.

The CD of the marriages of the Baptist Church, Saffron Walden, which has been available for a while, has been repackaged and re-badged. All three CDs are priced at £6 each.

Further transcription work on the St Mary’s Baptism registers will be continued at our meeting on 14th June at 8.00pm and we would welcome any members who would like to become involved in this project to join us.

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