Our Journal

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.

We have an index of all family names in our Journals and another of all article titles in our Journals.

Journal Editor
Jane Bambury

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.

June 8, 2021

On the Internet – June 2021

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.

April 8, 2021

On the Internet – March 2021

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.

January 9, 2021

On the Internet – December 2020

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.

January 9, 2021

On the Internet – June 2020

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.

March 7, 2020

On the Internet – March 2020

The main piece of news this quarter is that the GRO website now includes recent deaths. The new index covers the years 1984 to 2019, which presumably is the period covered by electronic record keeping.
December 29, 2019

On the internet – December 2019

This is a shorter article than usual, because some of the time and space has been taken up with a separate review and commentary of the Bristol parish registers which are now on Ancestry.
September 7, 2019

On the Internet – September 2019

Except for the famous, whose lives may be documented in the serious newspapers when they die, obituaries can seldom be found these days. It was different when local newspapers were keen to publish anything about local residents, on the basis that it was bound to increase sales...
June 11, 2019

On the Internet – June 2019

When I first started writing about the internet, many of the family history sites which I described had been set up locally and included transcriptions and information compiled by an individual or by a small group. Over time, the people involved have lost interest or been unable to maintain or grow the site, and the sites have closed down as the fees to host them went unpaid...
March 11, 2019

On the Internet – March 2019

The GRO website, with its increased information and flexible search options has been of great value to family historians, but all is not perfect. It has now emerged that some index entries are missing, and in some cases, duplicated...
November 25, 2018

On the Internet – December 2018

Recent articles have tended to concentrate on the major family history websites, so it is good to start this time with some useful data collected and published locally. The website of Keynsham & Saltford Local History Society already contains some excellent transcriptions of records, including baptism, marriage and burial records from both Anglican and non-conformist churches...


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