Our quarterly journal has been published continuously since the Society was formed in 1975. A complete set is available for reference in our Research Room in Bristol. Each issue aims to keep members up-to-date about events that may be taking place and presents regular features and a range of articles about family history and local history. On the Internet articles are reproduced here in the month of publication and My Parish articles are published 12-18 months after publication in the Journal.
Journals are distributed to members each quarter (June, September, December & March) and members who join part way through the membership year (which begins in April) are sent copies of past Journals for that year.
Most issues of the Society's Journal contain an article about recent family history developments on the internet. However, please note that links in older articles may no longer work.
The major family history websites continue to add new resources to their holdings. The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/) has added over 2000 pages from the Bristol Observer in the 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s and a number of South Wales newspapers, which frequently include news from Bristol, Somerset and Gloucestershire. Findmypast (www.findmypast.co.uk/) has an extended list of England & Wales death 2007-2020. This list comes from a partnership with Wilmington Millennium and has been “compiled from civic records and funeral homes”. In my experience the records are usually accurate, but the list is not comprehensive. The GRO website (https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/) offers its own list for the years from 1984 to 2019, but it may be worth checking both.
Although you will read this in March, when hopefully the worst of covid is behind us, the days are longer and the skies brighter, it is being written in those dog days between Christmas and New Year. Just the time perhaps for some on-line research, and I am certainly finding that the recent new releases are giving me the opportunity to push back through the years and find some details from the eighteenth century that were not available previously. It is always good to go through one’s old research and see what might have been unavailable the first-time round.
I was unable to write an internet article for the September 2020 Journal, so this one includes some of what I already had drafted. It may therefore be a little out of date. Other material has resulted from some of the enquiries we received when the Research Room was closed. These enquiries often revealed good sources of information for subjects we had not needed to research before.
The big data release for us locally in 2019 was the publication of the Bristol Diocese parish registers on Ancestry (www.ancestry.co.uk). These were described at length in the December 2019 Journal, but experience of using these records has highlighted some problems and peculiarities. Now Ancestry has taken the next step with publication of over 400,000 nonconformist records held by Bristol Archives. These will be a useful resource for many people, but to avoid disappointment you need to be aware of what is included and what is not.