EVENTS In conjunction with the Cheslyn Hay Library, we are offering free sessions in family history for beginners this month at the library on Thursday July 19th from 2.00 pm until 5.00pm. Malcolm Podmore has organised them and can be contacted for further information on 01922 410021 or 07794418295. There will also be experienced researchers to assist anyone and we will have access to almost 40 billion online records on hand.
OUR SALEM BASE is open from 9am – 2pm every Tuesday. Everyone welcome to view our photographs and archives with plenty of advice on hand.
REQUESTS William Thomason emails ‘I`m trying to find information, such as where and when born etc, on Thomas Peach(1838-1920) and his wife Elizabeth Leech (1838-1902). Their son Francis (1880-1973) married Ethel Wollaston (1886-1942) which suggests that Thomas and Elizabeth were in their forties when Francis was born, which is a possibility of course. Ethel Wollaston is my grandfather’s cousin.
RESPONSES Following the visit to the Base last week of Steve Evans and his daughter Alison from Carlisle we have received two most appreciative emails from them both. Alison says ‘Thank you so much for everything you did yesterday to make my Dad’s visit to Cheslyn Hay so successful. Everyone was so welcoming and you all went to such a lot of trouble to help Dad find out the things he wanted to, and to see again some of the places from his childhood. Dad still has lots of memories from his childhood growing up in the village and it was lovely to be able to spend time with so many people reminiscing about the past and sharing stories from their childhoods. It was fascinating for me too! Special thanks to Mike Belcher for being so helpful and escorting us down to The Lot and to everyone who came especially to say hello to Dad. You have an amazing set up there – not just in terms of all the well catalogued records you so carefully preserve, but also the wonderful social support and friendship you facilitate. You clearly provide a lifeline for lots of local people and volunteers. We went away with lots to talk about and it was lovely to have things to reflect on with Dad on the way home.’ Such visits always add to our own enjoyments at the Base and thanks to his incisive memory Steve was able to provide much insight of how life was during and after the war. However one casual comment by Steve deserves a little more research as he mentioned an evacuee he used to be friends with at the Mount Zion Chapel. Her name was Barbara Gill and she stayed with Mr Fred Smith and their family in Station Street Cheslyn Hay. In our archives we have nine photographs of her in both the Mount Zion and Salem choirs as well as at Great Wyrley School, so does anyone else remember Barbara?
And on the same line of thought another email arrived this week from Neil Anstee from New Zealand ‘On behalf of myself and my elderly parents can I please thank you for enduring my enquiring emails both from the UK and NZ over the past several months. As you may be aware, we all met Vi Leach a few weeks ago and to say that we were all so very impressed it would be a tremendous understatement. The detailed work that she has carried out for us is amazing and we are extremely grateful to her and to you for your kind patience. Thank you seems so inappropriate when we have such a lot to be grateful to you both for.’
After Sylvia’s request from last week we have been able to provide her with full information on all the burials of the Jukes family in the Cheslyn Hay cemetery and we are now researching all references we have to this family in our archives. An added bonus however was a contact a direct relative of Sylvia’s g-g-g-g-grandparents Job Dukes who was born in 1771. They are now in contact with each other and exchanging information.
And Donald Parbrook comments on his Whitehouse family including one who emigrated in the late 1700s after being sentenced to death but commuted to life in colonies. He has now got a ‘prime suspect’ family group in 1881 who have definite DNA links to him and also linking in with the Parbrook, Brevitt and Weetman families.
ARCHIVE ADDITIONS/ARTEFACTS/DONATIONS A set of Pastry Cutters from the Cheslyn Hay Infants School at Pinfold Lane and a Bean Slicer all added to the Don McCulloch Collection and a mincing machine from the early 1900s from Kath Walmsley. Plus two recent Memorial Service cards commemorating the lives of Patricia Margaret Potts (b 5 Aug 1924) and Reginald Thomas George Whittingham (b 18 April 1938).
WHAT HAPPENED THIS WEEK 50 YEARS AGO by Mike Belcher
27th June 1968 Cannock Advertiser Details of a full sports programme at the Cheslyn Hay Primary School naming Paul Fowler, Lesley Ryan, Graham Sambrook, Keith Rogers and Nulia Bylic.
27th June 1968 Cheslyn Hay Parish Council discussing the existing football pitch on the recreation ground currently being used by both Landywood and the Talbot.
FOR FAMILY HISTORIANS
A poignant poem from Judy Desha in Australia entitled ‘Dear Ancestor’
Your tombstone stands among the rest, neglected and alone,
The name and date are chiselled out on polished, marbled stone.
It reaches out to all who care, it is too late to mourn,
You did not know that I exist, you died and I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you, in flesh, in blood, in bone,
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse, entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled one hundred years ago,
Spreads out among the ones you left, who would have loved you so.
I wonder if you lived and loved, I wonder if you knew,
That someday I would find this spot, and come to visit you.
JANET RANKINE (nee GUNN) Janet, a long standing member from Littlewood Lane, sadly passed away last Tuesday 19th June, aged 78, after a long illness. Lived in Bridgtown until 1952 before her family moved to Mount Pleasant when she attended Great Wyrley High School and Cannock Mining College studying shorthand and typing which provided her with a career in the offices of Stella Tileries, Rosemary Tileries, Schrader’s and in later life for the DSS in Cannock. Described by everyone who knew her as ‘a kind, pleasant and lovely person who loved her home and family’. Our thoughts are with her husband John and the family. Funeral is on Friday 6th July at Bushbury Crematorium at 3pm. Family flowers only. Donations to Cancer Research.