Latest News from NNWFHS

Warwickshire Industrial Archaeology Society

A great resource if you want to find information about the places that your relatives/ancestors worked at.


The database of the Warwickshire Industrial Archaeology Society was born out of a desire to make an accurate, up-to-date list of the industrial sites of Warwickshire available to anyone with an interest in the county’s industrial archaeology and industrial history.  As such, it would act as the ideal first stop for anyone seeking to know what sites exist in Warwickshire, where they are located, and the possibility of accessing these sites. Interesting though they obviously are to the industrial historian, the database does not include sites that have disappeared and for which no evidence on the ground remains. This relatively modest goal is not without its challenges. The first was to decide the geographical coverage and the list looks at the existing county of Warwickshire, plus Coventry and Solihull. This broadly follows the pre-1974 boundary of Warwickshire.

Click here for the website

National Explore Your Archives Event

Event: Explore Your Archive

When: 19 - 27 November 2016

Place: Whole of the UK


Explore Your Archive is a joint campaign delivered by The National Archives and the Archives and Records Association across the UK and Ireland. It aims to showcase the unique potential of archives to excite people, bring communities together, and tell amazing stories.

Usually held for a week in November, the campaign showcases the phenomenal archival collections held by organisations across the UK and Ireland, whatever their size and scale, and wherever they are. Watch this space for news relating to the 2016 campaign and see below for some of the activities which took place in previous years. Sector professionals and organisations can find more information and resources here.

The Ryerson Index - Australian Obituaries

Do you have relatives or descendants in Australia, not sure or just interested?. Introducing (to some of us) the over 5.7 million Australian death notices contained in the free to use Ryerson Index.


The Ryerson Index is a free index to death notices appearing in Australian newspapers. The date range covered extends from the Sydney Gazette of 1803 up to newspapers published within the last week or so. The Index also includes many funeral notices, and some probate notices and obituaries.

Because the Index was originally created by the Sydney Dead Persons Society, its strength lies in notices from NSW papers - including in excess of two million notices from the Sydney Morning Herald alone. However, the representation from papers from other states continues to grow, with additional papers being regularly added, so that the Index can now truly be considered an Australian index.

Indexing is being continuously carried out by a team of volunteers, too numerous to mention individually, who give freely of their time to ensure the site continues to grow. Site updates generally occur weekly.

The index itself cannot by definition be considered a primary source of data, but is purely a research aid to direct the researcher to the original source of a notice.

Click here for the search page.

Medieval Soldier Names Database

800px Schlacht von AzincourtAgincourt By Chroniques d’Enguerrand de Monstrelet (early 15th century)
[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Do you have a relative who fought at Agincourt or was serving the crown during the period 1369 to 1453? then read on to find out!

An excellent project by Reading and Southampton University's has led to the creation of a database called "The Soldier in Medieval England".

  • Please click here to read "About" the database and the interesting origins of the records within it.
  • Please click here to search the database.

    If you find one please let us know!

Focus on Bedworth & Nuneaton

Since many of our members live in the Southern part of our ‘area’, we thought it might be useful to set up a website page with the focus on Bedworth, Nuneaton and the immediate surrounding area.

We need your imput for this !

Did your ancestors live in Bedworth or Nuneaton ? Were you born there ? Did you spend your childhood there, or go to school there ? Did you get married there ? Work there ? or bring up your family there ? Do you live there now ?

If so, you must surely have memories… be they funny, quirky or sad, we would like to hear of them. Think back to those long summer days… did you get up to mischief ?…. we all did, one way or another ! School days usually hold memories too… school friends remembered fondly, and teachers perhaps less so ?

Will you write a paragraph, or a page, for us of your reminiscences ? Feel free to illustrate it with photographs (provided you have copyright / permission to use them), and send it to me. Ian will then load it on to the website, and we can all enjoy them.

Get writing folks….


Recent Damage to Gravestones at Over Whitacre

A visit at the beginning of October to the burial ground at Over Whitacre church has left me deeply saddened. A number of gravestones have recently been damaged or toppled. On investigation it seems the destruction is by “accidental” mechanical means: there are very recent striations on some stones as would be made by heavy metal machinery dragged against/along them; there are edge stones overturned; there are stones completely toppled over (face down so no name visible); there are broken stones – one for burial in 2008 belonging to the STOKES family.

Man has not done this with a normal mower - something much larger was involved. I did wonder if a tractor with trailed mower had been in amongst the gravestones to cut the long grass – a totally unsuitable means of grass cutting [even with a mini-tractor] in such a confined area with some beautiful and old stones.

These memorials are part of life’s history and form a permanent memorial to our departed forebears. From a selfish viewpoint, none of the stones connected to my family are damaged, but other families will be less fortunate.   If you have any connection with the church, do call and check your family’s gravestones. I hope that by posting this on the website, the church authorities will investigate and ensure no further damage is done.

Jacqui Simkins
Secretary, NNWFHS
4th October 2016

September 2016 Journal Issued

The September 2016 Journal has been issued and will be finding its way to members via their chosen delivery method [members can click here for a PDF version].  This edition features:

Front cover : Thiepval memorial to those fallen at the Somme.

Secretary’s scribbles, p.2
Programme for forthcoming events, p.3
Annual General Meeting – Notice and Agenda, p. 3
The Battle of the Sommeand three Doctor’s sons from Atherstone, p. 4
Help wanted – people outside Baddesley Club, p. 6
Reports on Speaker Meetings by Val Lewis:
    A missionary family, p. 6
    Victorian optical toys, p. 7
    Griff and Warwickshire coalfield, p. 8
Three generations of Bedworth Darlisons, p. 8
Mystery church, p. 15
Free to a good home – old Journals, p. 15
An unusual surname – Huffer Watts, p. 15
Rio Olympics update – Nick Skelton, OBE, p. 16
Web of intrigue: change of surname – Bezant of Tuckwood ?, p. 17
Abbreviations in family history, p. 18
Useful dates in civil registration, p.19
Nuneaton floods, May 1932, p. 19
The changing face of the parish of Austrey from 1861 & 1881 Censuses, p. 20
New members, p. 21

Back cover :  Focus on Great Packington

Remember the journal is only available to Members and for as little as £10 per year members receive four journals and exclusive access to copies of all journals issued since 2009 as part of their membership. In addition they have access to other databases and information put together by the Society that is not made generally available. If you are not already a member Join Now!.

NNWFHS Annual General Meeting 2016

The 2016 Annual General Meeting of the Society shall take place on Tuesday, 8th November at 7.30pm at the Chilvers Coton Heritage Centre, Avenue Road, Nuneaton. Notice of the meeting is provided in the quarterly Journal; a copy of final agenda will be displayed on the Society’s website (here). All paid-up members are entitled to vote at the AGM and are cordially invited to attend. The meeting will be followed by Sue King: A Tale of Two Hannahs – resolving shared names and ages
1. Apologies for absence
2. To receive the minutes of the 2015 annual general meeting
3. To receive and adopt the Chairman’s Report
4. To receive and adopt the Treasurer’s Report with Inspected Accounts
5. To receive and adopt the Annual Report of Membership.
6. To elect the committee of the Society for the period 2016/17:
a) To thank and re-elect the following to the committee for 2016-2017 [all agreed to stand]:
Carole Eales - Proposer: Seconder:
Hilary Hodgkins - Proposer: Seconder:
Sandra Horsley - Proposer: Seconder:
Celia Parton - Proposer: Seconder:
John Parton - Proposer: Seconder:
Val Pickard - Proposer: Seconder:
Ian Shuter - Proposer: Seconder:
Jacqui Simkins - Proposer: Seconder:
Dave Sutton - Proposer: Seconder:
Lee Whitehead - Proposer: Seconder:
b) To elect the following to the committee for 2016-2017:
Mike Pratt - Proposer: Jacqui Simkins Seconder: John Parton
c) To co-opt the following to the committee for 2016-2017:
Colin Cartwright - Proposer: Jacqui Simkins Seconder: John Parton
7. To receive any other business relevant to the AGM
8. Announcements
a) Note there will be no meeting in December: the social is now January at CCHC
b) Help desks available during refreshments or during quarterly meetings.

c) Click here for our webpage on The Role of NNWFHS Committee Members

2016 NNWFHS Calendar of Events - Updated

Here is out calendar for the remainder of 2016. Please feel free to download and save and or print a PDF version here.


Tuesday 8 November - AGM followed by Sue King: A Tale of Two Hannahs – resolving shared names and ages. A problem often encountered—and how Sue resolved her challenge.





Tamworth St Editha Settlement Certificates CD added to Shop

(£4.80 to members and £6.00 to non-members - click here to buy it)

In a strong metal box locked away in the vestry of St Editha, Tamworth is a collection of mostly Settlement Certificates for people coming into the town to live. This unique CD lists all 281 documents in surname order – entries with an alias are indexed under each name used. These documents range from the 1690s to early 1800s when, to move to a new parish, individuals and families were required to carry a certificate of settlement addressed to the churchwardens and overseers of the parish to which they were moving signed by the churchwardens, overseers, witnesses and justices for the parish where they had a right of settlement. If they fell on hard times, their new parish had the right to return the family to their original parish.

The period of these certificates is largely the 18th century: the agricultural revolution was in full swing and the industrial revolution, too, with the canals coming to Tamworth in the late 1700s. In addition, Acts of Enclosure throughout England enclosed the shared fields of strips dispossessing some cottagers.

It was obvious from the collection that the town of Tamworth required certificates of settlement to be presented to them for people coming to the town from other hamlets within the parish of Tamworth as well as those from outside the parish. This collection therefore has more local content than may otherwise be anticipated: a fascinating and incredibly informative collection of documents. Some of the certificates were full of family detail – man, wife, children, occupation. Rarely are their ages recorded, but on some they are. Some name simply the man confirming – or not – that there is a wife and any family. Some confirm a single woman is pregnant – was she being “encouraged” to move one wonders.

Each document bears many signatures which are naturally difficult to decipher and we apologise for those incorrectly transcribed; however, as many as possible of these have been included, making this collection valuable to all “name hunters”, while the detail of those requiring Settlement is vital to those trying to establish the movements of their family. Only one document shows copy letters providing evidence of subsequent removals: the Healey family had a certificate to move from Tamworth to Yorkshire. It seems that the father then went to Manchester and the son gave evidence. There is a further statement of Ann being removed “via London”. This rare glimpse of the effects of settlement is included on this CD as images: they are difficult to read due to the state of the bleed through the paper, but interesting – and pure gold for anyone with the family in their tree.

Please remember that the year began on Lady Day – 25th March – until 1752 when it was moved to 1st January. Therefore 24 February 1714 would, in modern terms, be 24 February 1715. While working on these documents in the Vestry, attention was drawn to some stained glass set into the window. Photographs are included on the CD. While we have not – yet – managed to have the Latin inscription translated, the arms for Repyngton and Billington are beautiful and worthy of a wider audience.

© NNWFHS 2016

NNWFHS Journal Pages Reorganised and Updated

A new method of displaying our Journals has been introduced for both the Public and Member pages and the Years 2010 and 2011 have been added to the Public page. You may order now download, view and/or change the order of viewing for the Journals. There is also a Searchable Index that will identity articles and authors and in the very near future we will be adding a PDF search facility to allow single word search across all the Journals and the rest of the site.

If you are not a member want to see the Journals from 2012 to 2016 then become a member of NNWFHS, downloading just five of them is the equivalent cost of a Years Membership dues.

Click here to go to the Public Journal Pages.

  • Click here for the Members Journal Pages (you will need to login/be logged in)


NNWFHS Members Online Helpdesk Launched

Are you a Member of NNWFHS?, do you have a question about your family history?, are you having issues with a particular line of research?, well help is at hand as we have expanded our "in person" Helpdesk to include an online service for our Membership.

Access to the Helpdesk can be found by logging into the site and clicking on Members Pages and then "Members Online Helpdesk".


We look forward to hearing from you!!

NNWFHS Baptisms : Series 2 - 1862 - 1911

We are pleased to announce the second series of our area baptismal register transcriptions  are now available from our Shop.  Further, since September 2016, all our published register transcriptions are also available through FHS-online; members may access them for an additional subscription of £10 pa.  Details from the project co-ordinator, Carole Eales.

Each CD contains a full transcription of every entry recorded in the baptismal register between 01 January 1862 and 30 Jun 1911, with additional material as appropriate. CD parish groupings follow those used in Series 1, with the additions of churches that were concecrated after 1861.

We have used 1861 – 1911 Census returns and GRO registrations to fill in gaps and make sense of illegible entries (of which there are many !) and so present a comprehensive record of those children baptised within the NNWFHS area during this period. As of 01 July 1911, the maiden name of the child’s mother is recorded in the GRO Index, so this should allow complete family groupings to be determined; many of these children may now be identified on the 1939 Register.

CD 2 : 1 - Bedworth.

CD 2 : 2 - Ansty, Bulkington, Burton Hastings, Churchover, Monks Kirby, Shilton, Willey, Withybrook & Wolvey.

CD 2 : 3 - Atherstone, Caldecote, Hartshill & Mancetter.

CD 2 : 4 - Ansley, Arley, Astley, Attleborough, Chilvers Coton & Stockingford.

CD 2 : 5 - Nuneaton (St. Nicolas), Nuneaton (St. Mary) & Weddington.

CD 2 : 6 - Coleshill, Corley, Curdworth, Fillongley, Maxstoke, Packington Magna, Packington Parva & Wishaw.

CD 2 : 7 – Austrey, Baddesley Ensor, Baxterley, Bentley, Grendon, Kingsbury, Lea Marston, Merevale, Middleton, Nether Whitacre, Newton Regis, Over Whitacre, Polesworth, Seckington, Shustoke, Shuttington & Warton … is currently being completed and we hope to make it available in the Autumn 2016.

An Index to all Surnames is available on the NNWFHS website for the period 1813 – 1911.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have contributed to the transcription project; without them, none of this would have been possible. Anyone wishing to join the team would be most welcome !

Bonus CD Collections - Just £6 each

Excitingly Useful Collections – a bargain at £6 [Member price £4.80], plus p&p !

2013-14 [January 2014]

Directories: Atherstone 1830; Bedworth 1912; Nuneaton 1830.

Maps: Warks (part) 1722; Warks (part) 1787; Warks (part) 1820; Warks (entire) 1895; Staffs (entire) 1895; Leics & Rutland 1895.

Nuneaton diary of John Astley 1810 – 1845; Voyage of The Light Brigade – 132 emigrants to Queensland 1863; Sweyn Stevens’ Charitable Gift Hartshill Recipients list 1774 to 1850; Middleton Estate Sales Catalogue 1924; Old Journals October 2009 to July 2013.  Click here to purchase.

2014-15 [January 2015]

Astley Census 1782; Mr Warwick’s Charity 1777; James Roper’s Diary; Map of Warwickshire 1777; Map of NWR London to Birmingham; Map of working coal mines 1950; Postcards by Sidwell of Meriden; Postcards by Spencer of Meriden; Black’s Guide to Nuneaton and surrounds; Black’s Guide to Atherstone and surrounds; Black’s Guide to Coleshill and surrounds.  Click here to purchase.

2015-16 [December 2015]

Maps : NNWFHS area map showing ecclesiastical parishes and civil registration districts; NNWFHS area map showing Tithe apportionment plans; Borough of Tamworth 1841.

Atherstone Yards: photographs of some of the Yards; alphabetical list of Yards (many yards were known by different names at different periods).

Chronological schedule of Methodism within the Coventry area.

The Great War: Atherstone men who were killed during the Great War; Those who died listed alphabetically by year; Photographs of the men.

Nuneaton Infants Schools Registers - In memory of the late Alva King who transcribed much material for the Society - including these school registers. transcribed admission registers Nuneaton Infants schools 1864-1901; Nuneaton Infants School Log Book 1864-1895. Click here to purchase.






AD 1767 - Suspected Papists

The British Parliament ordered the collection of information about known – or reputed – Roman Catholics on various occasions between 1680 and 1781. The information collected survives in the Parliamentary Archives, which can be searched at www.portcullis.parliament.uk/ In most surveys individual names were not recorded – except 1767. The collection was made by dioceses.

This CD contains details of over 4000 suspected papists in the Diocese of Lichfield: Staffordshire - over 2,500 [some 400 in Brewood]; Derbyshire - almost 600; most of Warwickshire - nearly 700; north Shropshire - nearly 700.

Thanks are due to Lichfield Record Office who allowed access to this material.

The returns include, for most parishes, the names of adults in each household, with [sometimes] details of their children and, importantly for research purposes, the number of years resident in the parish. Finding your family surname listed as suspected Roman Catholics may open up a new line of exploration.


The cost, Public price £8 : Member price £6.40 : [plus p&p]

NNWFHS Meetings & Events

  • 2016 AGM & November Speaker Meeting Tue. 8 Nov, 2016 (7:15 pm - 11:15 pm) AGM , Speaker Meetings Tuesday 8 November - AGM followed by Sue King: A Tale of Two Hannahs – resolving shared names and ages. A problem often encountered—and how Sue resolved her challenge.   All are welcome. There is a small admission fee which includes refreshment. Chilvers Coton Heritage Centre, Avenue Road, Nuneaton CV11 4LU.  Doors open 7.15 pm, speaker at 7.30 pm.  There is ample free parking at rear of the Centre. Apologies to those living too far away.

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