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Ezine masthead image
Welcome to the September 2014 Edition of the FFHS Ezine                                                         No 48

Society Spotlight: The Quaker Family History Society

Friends Ambulance Unit

Discover your History Magazine

Who were Nonconformists & what are Nonconformist Records?

John Bunyan

Museum of Methodism

Presbyterian Church in Ireland

Early Stages of the Quaker Movement in Lancashire

This Month's Giveaways

Winners Announced!

WW1 Websites

The Canadian Letters & Image Project

Stitch, Sew & Hobbycraft Shows


Book Reviews

Diary Dates

Advertise with us

Competition Winners

Society Spotlight

The Quaker Family History Society


logoThe seventeenth century movement of the Religious Society of Friends, commonly called Quakers, spread quickly across the UK and abroad.  Quakers became a well-organised and influential group keeping good records from the late 1650s and there was an estimated 50,000 in Britain in 1660.  Their meticulous records are a gold-mine for family historians.

The Quaker Family History Society was formed in 1993 to encourage and assist anyone interested in tracing the history of Quaker Families in the British Isles.  We are a small educational charity open to all with a worldwide membership of around 200.  Although we are not a Quaker organisation some of our members are Quakers and we also work well with Friends House Library in London.  This is one of the main repositories relating to Quakers and their activities.

We meet three times a year and this year our meeting on 25 October is in Street, Somerset, the home of the Clark shoe family.  Our meetings usually last for a whole day and recent topics include: Quakers in Education; in Medicine; Conscientious Objectors and The Friends Ambulance Unit.  Pre-late 1850s Quakers were disowned on marrying non-Friends and this resulted in Quakers being inter-related.  This can result in members discovering a fascinating network of kinship so there is no better way to rediscover your distant cousins than at one of our meetings!  Bring along your family trees and research material to discuss over lunch or in the breaks whilst enjoying tea and biscuits.

All new members receive a starter’s information pack and members receive the magazine ‘Quaker Connections’, three times a year which is full of interesting articles, queries and members’ interests.  Although there are many records available online there are many more which are of interest and you can find further information on the types of records regarding Quakers on our website.  We have a small research grant available to support research of interest and value to Quaker family historians.  The Society also maintains a Rootsweb Mailing List QUAKER-BRITISH-ISLES.  For more help, research information, contacts or how to join us, please visit our website or email us!

Friends Ambulance Unit
The image of the FAU Section Sanitaire Anglaise 14 at Dunkirk 1916 is reproduced with permission of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain.The Friends Ambulance Unit (FAU) was established in the First World War and revived in the second. It was an unofficial Quaker organisation, constitutionally independent of the Society of Friends. It  provided an opportunity for active service for both Quakers and other pacifists who felt called to play a part, and who after the introduction of conscription in 1916, came (eventually, and to a limited extent) to be recognised by the Military Service Tribunals as providing an acceptable form of alternative non-combatant service. Its records are held in the Library (located in Friends House, London), along with personal papers, photographs and published accounts of its work. A project is currently underway to digitise the personnel record cards of the FAU (1914-1919) which, it is hoped will be made available online. A useful guide, ’Friends Service in the First World War’, along with other guides is available for download here. To find out more about the library and to search the online catalogue please visit the website.

The image of the FAU Section Sanitaire Anglaise 14 at Dunkirk 1916 is reproduced with permission of the Religious Society of Friends in Britain.

Discover your History Magazine cover

Discover your History Magazine
Discover Your History magazine offers its readers a selection of wonderful articles to help them research their family history and find out how their ancestors lived. 

We are offering FFHS Ezine readers the opportunity to try the magazine before they buy.

Go to the Discover your History website and register using your email and add the customer code FFHS46

You will receive -  a 2 issue FREE subscription and an e-book Tracing Your Ancestors by Simon Fowler.  For further information call Carolyn on 01226 734704.

Who were Nonconformists and what are Nonconformist Records?
Have you come across a branch of your family that were religious dissenters? If so, The National Archives has produced an excellent guide which defines who were nonconformists and what are nonconformist records. The guide provides advice on the nonconformist records held at The National Archives, along with information on how and where you can find these records, whether you are searching online or are able to visit The National Archives in person. If your ancestors did not belong to the Church of England, particularly between the late 17th and early 19th centuries, the guide highlights records and other useful resources you should consult for details of births, marriages or deaths recorded outside of the Church of England as well as advice on various other kinds of records that uncover details of nonconformists. Whilst much data relating to nonconformists can be found on commercial websites there are also smaller datasets which can be accessed free of charge such as the website dedicated to the work of Dr. William Bengo Collyer (1782-1854) which includes information relating to worshippers at the Hanover Chapel in Peckham, London which can be viewed at www.wbcollyer.org.

John Bunyan (1628-1688)
John Bunyan was born in Elstow, Bedfordshire. He was a writer and preacher who wrote ‘The Pilgrims Progress’, which he started whilst imprisoned in Bedford Gaol for violating ‘The Conventicle Act of 1664’, which forbade religious assemblies of more than five people outside the auspices of the Church of England. John Bunyan was the fifth minister of the Bunyan Meeting in Bedford which is said to be one of the most important Non- Conformist churches in the UK; today, it is also home to the John Bunyan Museum and Library. The museum is currently hosting an exhibition ‘Lest We Forget – Commemorating World War One’, where you can discover how the Great War affected people from across Bedfordshire. For further details and opening times please visit the website.

Museum of Methodism
The museum tells the history of Methodism from John Wesley to the present day and its contribution to shaping Britain’s political and social history. The museum is housed at Wesley’s Chapel, London, which was built in 1778 and is still in use today as a place of worship. John Wesley’s house stands next to the Chapel, his home for over a decade it is one of the finest surviving small Georgian townhouses in London and contains some of his furniture and belongings.

Methodist Records for Family Historians by Richard Ratcliffe and published by  The Family History Partnership is just one of the publications reviewed by the FFHS Book Review panel. Why not visit the FFHS website for reviews of other books on a range of subjects likely to be of interest to family, local and social historians.

Presbyterian Church in Ireland
If you have Irish ancestors who you believe may have been Presbyterian, it is worth looking at the website of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland where you will find much useful information about where to find copies of church records and how to extend your research. It is worth noting that The North of Ireland Family History Society has a very active group of volunteers transcribing Church records which include those from many of the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches. The society offers a ‘Look Up’ service for members unable to visit the Society Library. For details about the society and how to join please visit the NIFHS website.

Early Stages of the Quaker Movement in Lancashire
If you have Quaker ancestors from Lancashire, you may be interested in the book, ‘Early Stages of the Quaker Movement in Lancashire’ written by Rev. B Nightingale, a prolific writer whose other titles include Lancashire Nonconformity, The Story of the Lancashire Congregational Union and The Heroic Age of Congregationalism. A PDF copy of the book which is ‘name rich’ can be viewed or downloaded for free here.

This Month's Book Giveaways

Ancestors on the Move book cover

Our first giveaway is ‘Ancestors on the Move – A History of Overseas Travel’, by Karen Foy. From transportation to trade, adventure to emigration, through persecution or for pleasure, the author seeks to explain the reasons behind our ancestors’ desire for overseas travel and reveals the records and archives available to assist you in your research. To enter the draw for this book, kindly donated by The History Press, please send an email with ‘Travel’ in the subject line to competitions@ffhs.org.uk before 10 October 2014. 



Our second giveaway is ‘The Rowntree Family of York’, by Paul Chrystal. The name of Rowntree will always be associated with the making of chocolates and sweets and with its home town of York. Yet, as Paul Chrystal shows in this book, there was much more to this remarkable family than profitable manufacturing. Driven by their Quaker faith, generations of the family concerned themselves with the welfare of their workers and society at large. To enter the draw for this book, kindly donated by Blackthorn Publishing, please send an email with ‘Rowntree’ in the subject line to competitions@ffhs.org.uk before 10 October 2014. 

The Rowntree Family of York book cover

Winners Announced!
Kayannie DeniganWe are delighted to announce that the winner of our competition launched last year in the inaugural issue of our Australasian really useful leaflet is Kayannie Denigan (pictured) from Mount Sheridan, Queensland.

The aim of the competition was to encourage the research and writing of a short story about an ancestor who served with the armed forces during the First World War. Kayannie wrote a very moving story about her grandfather Norman Baird who was Bama or Aboriginal and who served with the Australian Imperial Force.  Kayannie wins a one year’s Full World Subscription from findmypast.com.au.

Second Prize winner is Barbara Spooner from North Turramurra, New South Wales who wrote about her father Ft. Lt. Dudley Ransom. Barbara wins a one year’s UK Heritage Plus Membership to ancestry.com.au.  The third Prize winner is Irene Davidson from Cabarita, New South Wales who wrote about her father Allan John (Jack) Chilvers who served with the Royal Navy. Irene wins a one year’s Global Data Subscription to myheritage.com.  To read the winning stories please visit our website

The FFHS would like to thank all those who took the time and trouble to enter the competition; the judges thoroughly enjoyed reading all your stories. Thanks also to our sponsors for providing the prizes.

First World War Centenary – Useful websites
We regularly update our list of useful websites that help family historians research their First World War ancestors who served with the Commonwealth forces. In addition to general websites there are regional sites covering England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well as overseas sites. Each entry includes a summary of what the site focuses on and a link to help you discover more. Why not take a look?

The Canadian Letters & Image Project
Can you help locate Canadian WWI materials?  What do you have in your closets and attics? The Canadian Letters and Images Project is an online archive of the Canadian war experience.  As an online archive we BORROW materials, digitize them, and then return them to their owners.  In this manner we can bring into the public domain archival materials which would otherwise not be seen.  Roughly half of the CEF in WWI was foreign born, largely from Great Britain, so when they wrote home those letters ended up in Great Britain rather than Canada.  We’d like to be able to tell their stories as well through the project.  We are looking to BORROW  letters, diaries, photographs, etc., connected to their wartime experience.  If you can help us, please contact us through the website or by writing to: Dr. Stephen Davies, Project Director, The Canadian Letters and Images Project, Vancouver Island University, 900 Fifth Street, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada,V9R 5S5.

Stitch & Sew logoStitch, Sew & Hobbycraft Shows
If you are a keen hobbyist and crafter perhaps you are planning a visit to one of the shows taking place this autumn.  The FFHS will be represented at:

Stitch, Sew & Hobbycraft Show, Westpoint Centre, Exeter 25-28 September 2014
Hobbycrafts, SECC Glasgow – 23-26 October 2014
Hobbycrafts, NEC Birmingham – 6-9 November 2014
Hobbycrafts, ExCel London – 28-30 November 2014

We would love to meet you!  Please stop by our stand and meet representatives from our member societies who will be happy to assist you with your family history enquiries.

Historyextra which is the online website of the BBC History magazine, has 10 of its best Victorian podcasts, ranging from: prisons; shopping; footballers and co-habitation.  You can also sign up for a free newsletter via the website.


The FFHS Ezine has a current readership of approximately 14,000 worldwide. To discuss sponsorship or advertising, please email Samantha Bourne Ezine Editor

Book Reviews

To read reviews of recently published books of interest to family historians

visit our Book Review Page

Ezine Competitions and Winners

All competitions are subject to our Terms & Conditions as published on our website

A full list of Ezine competition winners can be seen on the FFHS website

view competition winners

Diary Dates

For a list of events visit our Events Page on our website and GENEVA

Bristol & Avon FHS Open Day, Bristol, 27 September 2014
Oxfordshire FHS Family History Fair, Woodstock, Oxon, Saturday 4 October, 2014
Catholic FHS Conference, Manchester, Saturday 4 October 2014
Liverpool & SW Lancs FHS Conference & AGM, Liverpool, Saturday 11 October 2014
Glamorgan FHS Family History Fair, Merthyr Tydfil, Saturday 11 October 2014
Romany & Traveller FHG Open Day, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, Saturday 18 October 2014
Suffolk FHS Family History Fair, Ipswich, Suffolk, 11 October 2014
North West Group of FHSs Family History Fair & Symposium, Stockport, Sunday 12 October 2014
Hampshire Genealogical Society Family History Open Day, Basingstoke, Hants, Sunday 12 October 2014
Doncaster & District FHS Family & Local History & Craft Fair, Doncaster, Saturday 18 October 2014
Cambridgeshire FHS Family History Fair, Girton, Cambridge, Saturday 25 October 2014
Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain – One Day Conference, London, 26 October 2014
West Surrey FHS & Open Day, Woking, 1 Saturday November 2014
Huddersfield & District FHS Family History Fair, Huddersfield, Saturday 8 November 2014