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Somerset & Dorset
Family History Society

The Greenwood Tree – March 2024

The theme of the March issue of The Greenwood Tree is Trades and Professions. Editor Paul Radford previews the edition which will be mailed to members at the end of February and which SDFHS members can already view or download from the Members’ Area of the Society’s website.

The Greenwood Tree 49-1 March 2024

The theme produced a bumper crop of stories from members, so much so that we have had to add four extra pages to accommodate them. Barbara Elsmore tells of the travails of her grandfather Ralph Collings in finding work during the Great Depression. Rachel Hassall offers an intriguing story of a ‘Yankee sharper’, a supposed American conman accused of defrauding a Somerset woman but who turned out to be innocent of the crime.

Ralph Collings at West Bay in 1933
Ralph Collings at West Bay in 1933

Veronica Golding finds a long line of ancestors who owned a Somerset inn while Mary Gibbs discovers that one of her grandfather’s first jobs as an apprentice carpenter was to make a coffin for his own father. Vanessa Oliver unearths medical ancestors who mostly had unhappy outcomes featuring debts, early deaths, abscondment and possible suicide. Jennifer Fozzard delves into the history of Frome and finds a link with an ancestor who invented the town’s unique street lamps.

Fozzard - lamp detail
Fozzard – lamp detail

In other highlights, Anne Warr and Ruth Hawkins tell the story of their grandfather William Packer, who was wounded on the Somme, and provide notes he wrote about his experiences as a prisoner of war. We also pay tribute to our former chairman Rita Pettet who passed away recently after a long illness.

Rita Pettet
Rita Pettet
William Packer 1915
William Packer 1915

In the latest of our series in which The Greenwood Tree editor interviews an invaluable contributor to our Society or its magazine, the subject is our Society’s secretary, Ted Udall, the calm presence who keeps the SDFHS show on the road.

Somerset Spotlight - NC Church #2
Somerset Spotlight – NC Church #2

Regular features include Somerset Spotlight, this time on North Curry, the SDFHS Photo Project, What the Papers Said, Book Reviews and Letters to the Editor.

Paul Radford

Member and Guest Blogs Welcome

We welcome guest and member blog posts on any topic with a family history connection and invite you to send your contributions, which should include photo/photos, to the editor Barbara Elsmore