Nearly a year ago, I wrote a blog post detailing a large importing project I had begun to undertake. (Sadly?) As I publish this it is my final day Gloucestershire Archives. I will be jumping across the country to West Sussex, and so I thought it would be worthwhile to write about all the hard work our volunteers have contributed to our catalogue. Many of these collections have now been listed to piece level, providing greater detail with names, occupations, dates and other information that will undoubtedly come in handy for family and house historians. To list them first crudely, these collections have now had additional information added to their series and items:
A page from DA26/226/1 – Record of Arrivals by Dursley Rural District Council during World War One, now listed at piece level entry on our Online Catalogue
Between 1976 and 1987 Gloucester City Council decided to remove a large number of headstones from the chapel side of the old cemetery in Tredworth Road. This was to make maintenance of the grounds easier with machinery.
Advertisements were placed in The Gloucester Citizen asking if relatives objected and headstones marking graves of those who lost their lives in the two World Wars were exempt from the process.
Once this consultation process was complete the inscriptions from headstones identified for removal were recorded in registers prior to their removal. In instances where surviving relatives objected, the headstones were left in place.
Gloucestershire Family History Society were given permission recently to photograph all of the entries in the registers, some 2,500 photographs, and then to transcribe those entries into a more accessible format.
Volunteers from GFHS have now completed this task and have constructed a searchable database which shows the transcription on the removed headstone together with details of others buried in the same plot. This project has preserved information which no longer exists by a visit to a burial plot.
You can access this searchable database at The Family History Centre in The Heritage Hub.
There’s been lots of respectful remembrance activity across Gloucestershire over the last week, and it’s not quite finished yet. If you’re attending Cheltenham races on Sunday (18th), please make time to pop into the Centaur for a day long programme of activities and displays called Gloucestershire and Racing Remembers. Gloucestershire Archives will have a presence, in partnership with Cheltenham Local History Society.
An image appearing in the Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucester Graphic for Saturday 16 March 1918. When the racecourse should have been celebrating the annual National Hunt festival, it was instead being used as a VAD Hospital.
Officially, National Volunteers’ Week takes place from 1st -7th June every year. Here at Gloucestershire Archives we have cause to be thankful to our large team of volunteers every week of the year. Volunteers do things as diverse as reminiscing with an older person at one of our EVOKE reminiscence sessions and helping us to develop and maintain our profile on Social Media.
On 1st December we’ve invited all our volunteers to tea as a way of saying ‘thank you’ – but volunteers tell us that they already feel rewarded for their time and expertise:
‘I was always a ‘doer’ and I didn’t see that that should stop when I retired.I’m using skills I developed over a long working life, but I’m using them in a new way.I’ve surprised myself by how much I’ve got out of it.’
‘It wasn’t that I was bored – I work part-time and I’ve got children at school – but I wanted to meet some new people and try something different. In that sense it’s been a very positive experience’.
If you’d like to find out more about volunteering opportunities with us, please get in touch with Sally Middleton our Community Heritage Development Manager.
In the 1990s, a large business archive was offered to Gloucestershire Archives by the Dowty Group, an engineering firm based in Cheltenham but with subsidiary companies and factories not only throughout the UK but in South Africa, the USA, Canada and Australia among other far-spreading countries, employing thousands of people. Gloucestershire Archives took the collection, knowing it would require significant external funding to catalogue it. It was necessary to take the collection at the time because the Group had just been taken over and its assets were being sold off; the archive was therefore at risk of being dispersed or destroyed. More recently, the necessary external funding became available with the “For the Record” project, part of which paid for my job as the Community Cataloguing Archivist for two years to catalogue and open up the extensive archive. Continue reading →
My colleague Roz and I have in recent weeks begun to undertake a project which will hopefully increase the usage and visibility of the archives – importing volunteer enhanced records onto our database. Over the next few months, we aim to import much of the hard work our volunteers have put into making our collections more detailed and accessible for researchers.
Our first project was marriage licence allegations and bonds. These are useful additions to marriage registers, as an allegation or bond can provide details such as place of residence, occupation, age, and the occasional family member. As such, they can be a great resource. Or rather, they can be a great resource once you have sifted through thousands upon thousands of entries. To help mitigate this, our volunteers had painstakingly listed each and every entry for the usage of our visitors, and now they have been imported onto our online catalogue for you to see. If you click this link, then enter GDR/Q1, or GDR/Q2, or GDR/Q3 in the Finding Ref field, then click search, you can see for yourself the records, and refine the search by year, narrowing down the massive series.
Therefore, if you search for GDR/Q1, you will find over 21,300 individually recorded entries for each marriage bond we hold, from 1730 to 1823. If you search GDR/Q2, you will find over 18,400 marriage licence allegations (or affidavits) sworn before surrogates, from 1747-1837. Some of the allegations from September 1822 to March 1823 have certified copies of the baptismal entries of both parties attached, as required by the Confirmation of Marriages Act 1822. If you search for GDR/Q3, you will find over 36,800 entries from our volumes of marriage licence allegations (or affidavits) sworn at the Diocesan Registry in Gloucester before the Chancellor and his surrogates between 1637 and 1823. The records have been transcribed in their entirety, and as such there is now no need for the originals to be brought out to view in person. All the information provided in these documents is contained in each entry on our database.
So, let’s provide some context and more details for these records.