Kent Family History Society

Deal & District Branch

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Tuesday 11th April 2000 (see also Pictures tab)

Around 90 KFHS members and guests packed the Cleary Hall for the inaugural meeting, despite the cold and wet weather.  Twelve new members signed up to the Society.

The Chairman of the Society opened the meeting and supervised the election of the Branch Committee before handing over to the new Branch Chairman to introduce the speaker.

Mrs. Meryl Catty gave an interesting and informative talk, based around her own research, with plenty to interest beginners and experienced family historians.  Meryl very kindly allowed the Society to record this talk, which is available on loan to members through the Network 11 Tape Library.  "It is an ideal introduction to family history and is highly recommended to all new members of the Society who are just starting out to trace their ancestry." (Ed. - KFHS Journal June 2000)

Members of the newly-elected committee were on hand before and after the meeting to offer help and advice to new researchers.

Tuesday 9th May 2000

Around 50 members and guests heard Mrs. Julia Page give her talk entitled "From Wellesley to Wellington".  A very interesting talk, but more "history" than "family history".

Tuesday 13th June 2000

Around 50 members and guests gathered to hear Alison Cable give a most interesting talk about her job as an archivist and about the new East Kent Archive Centre at Whitfield.

The Centre is part of the County Record Office network for Kent, the other centres being at County Hall, Maidstone, and Canterbury Cathedral.  It houses archive materials (non parochial) for the Thanet, Dover and Shepway areas around the coast of East Kent, from Margate to Romney Marsh.  Although currently only open one day a week (Tuesday), they hope to increase this to two days by the end of the year.

Ms Cable and her team (two archivists and two assistants) are busy behind the scenes cataloguing and conserving the archive materials, which are gradually being transferred from Maidstone and from various local collections.  They are currently engaged in rescuing the Lydd town records from the Town Hall loft!

Local archives are not generally useful as a primary source for family historians; it is only after you have traced your ancestors through the civil and parochial registers that you will want to "put some meat on the bones" of your family tree.  This is where the local archives can help, with their extensive collections of local information.

Members of the committee and other volunteers were on hand to offer help and advice and members were able to consult the 1999 and 2000 editions of the GRD as well as microfiche relating to Deal.

Tuesday 11th July 2000

Cliff Cole, Thanet Branch chairman, gave a very entertaining talk entitled "I don't believe it!", in which he demonstrated using examples from his own research that, if you can't find the person you are looking for, you are probably looking for the wrong name, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

Many of the records that we rely upon for our research contain anomalies (aka errors) of various kinds.  Cliff showed how, in one family, as many as four different birth dates could be got for each member by referring to the 1851 census, the 1881 census, the parish registers and the IGI.

He also demonstrated how, in a small parish, the vicar could spell a person's name four different ways on one page of the register.  These and other examples, presented in a humorous way, gave us permission to disbelieve what we find in the various sources and encouraged us to be patient in trying to find our ancestors.

Tuesday 12th September 2000

Gillian Willett, KFHS librarian, gave a brief talk about the resources available to members of the Society.  Members were invited to bring along their questions and problems for discussion and to consult the various resources provided by the committee and other members.

We now have 2 microfiche readers for use at the meetings and will be purchasing various records on fiche.  If you have any suggestions for possible inclusion in our stock, please contact one of the Committee with your "wants list".

Tuesday 10th October 2000

Mr. Paul Blake gave a very interesting and informative talk on using photographs and visual aids in your family history research.  He illustrated his talk with a large number of photographs from his own family collection and others, showing how we can easily be fooled into thinking that pictures are relevant when they are actually unrelated to the families that owned them.

Tuesday 14th November 2000

Mr. J.M.Greenstreet from the LDS Centre in Canterbury gave us a talk about the facilities and research materials available at the Canterbury Centre.

Tuesday 12th December 2000

Mr. Colin Allen gave us a fascinating and amusing account of his quest for information about the family of Cuffey, a West Indian slave, illustrated with examples from the various records that were used in his search, including newsletters, parish registers and prison records.

Tuesday 9th January 2001

Dr Stansfield has left the Canterbury Cathedral Archives to take up a post at Oxford University; we would like to wish him every success in his new position.

His place was taken by Miss Cressida Annesley, who gave a very informative talk about the Archives and their use by family and local historians.  She outlined the work that is carried out by the archivists and conservators at the Cathedral and gave us a brief, illustrated, guide to the numerous collections held at the centre.

Tuesday 13th February 2001

Good job it's wasn't a Friday!  After a number of technical difficulties (and no small measure of panic on the part of your's truly), your webmaster's talk was very well received (whew!) by an attentive and appreciative audience.

The talk outlined briefly what the Internet is, what is available in terms of research materials on the web and how we have used it in our own research.  It also tried to point out some of the advantages and pitfalls of using the Internet for genealogical research.

It was a very personal view of using the Internet for research, aimed at people with little or no experience of using the Internet.  The talk was illustrated with a number of examples from the speaker's own research.

Due to the large number of photographs and other images involved, the talk would not be suitable for inclusion on this site (the presentation, in MS PowerPoint, is approximately 45MB).

Tuesday 13th March 2001

Michael Gandy will be well-known to many Society members as one of the longest-serving members of the KFHS (membership no. 3).  His talk, about the problems involved in London ancestry, was very lively and entertaining.

He explained how, over the centuries, people migrated (and, to a certain extent, still migrate) along a series of axes from the central parts of London to the outer suburbs, following major road and rail links out of the city.  He also showed how, and why, unlike in the countryside, there would often be two or more families living almost next door to each other with the same, not
particularly common name, who were totally unrelated.  The significance of people's work to the areas in which they lived was also explained.

Tuesday 10th April 2001

The first Annual General Meeting of the Deal Branch was held in April.

As no volunteers were forthcoming, the existing committee was re-elected unopposed for another year.

In the absence of any volunteer speakers from the membership, a short talk on the subject of Gypsy ancestry was given by Sylvia McKean.  This was at the request of a number of members.

Tuesday 8th May 2001

Else Churchill of the Society of Genealogists gave a talk about using libraries for research.

Tuesday 12th June 2001

This was another open session for members to bring along their questions and problems for discussion and to consult the various resources provided by the committee and other members.  Local historian and branch member Les Cozens gave
a short, interesting - and often amusing - account of his memories of Deal as a boy in the 1930s.

Tuesday 10th July 2001

Branch member Ted Maynard gave us a talk about how he got started on his family history, dedicated to his wife, Jean, who died recently.

Tuesday 11th September 2001

Mr. Richard Ratcliffe, from Clacton on Sea, Essex, gave a very interesting and amusing talk, illustrated with examples from his own research.

He outlined some of the reasons why you might not immediately find your ancestors where you expect them to be and gave some examples of how to find out where they were.

Tuesday 9th October 2001

It is often said (or so we were told this month) that "you cannot read a document if you do not know what it says and you cannot know what it says unless you can read it".

If you haven't already experienced the difficulties of deciphering 17th century handwriting, you will eventually come across wills and other documents in your research.  This month, Miss Anne Oakley, for many years an archivist at the Canterbury Cathedral Archives and an expert at the art of paleography, shared some of her valuable knowledge and experience with an audience who were, initially, somewhat daunted by the idea of reading the extracts from parish registers with which they were presented.  However, within a short time Miss Oakley had them all reading some quite difficult entries.

The first trick is to familiarise yourself with the alphabet being employed by the writer.  This is where "knowing what the document says" comes in; for example, almost every will started with the words "In the Name of God Amen".  Once you identify this you have established a substantial amount of the alphabet: a, d, e, f, h, m, o, A, G, I and N.

The next important thing is to learn the different symbols and abbreviations used to save space in writing - remember that parchment and paper were very expensive.

One of the most common abbreviations is the Anglo-Saxon "thorn", usually written like the letter "y", seen in abbreviations such as ye (pronounced "the", not ye!), ym (them), yse (those), etc.  Others generally take the form of dashes above the
words, similar to the modern apostrophe (') to show that letters have been omitted.

Saturday 27th October 2001

Society Conference and Annual General Meeting

Tuesday 13th November 2001

In November, Jeanne Bunting gave a talk about using maps and directories to find places on the census the census.  The talk was illustrated with examples from her own research in London.

Tuesday 11th December 2001

A Dovorian, for many years a teacher and latterly headmistress at Dover Grammar School for Girls, Miss Lilian Kay has written a book about her memories of Dover.  The subject of her talk was "A Lucky Person", which had her audience roaring with laughter from beginning to end.  To say that Miss Kay's family had a colourful background would be an understatement, with tales of being the 13th child, with ancestors who were rather fond of the drink, being miraculously saved from drowning by a hangover.  This was the first installment of her family history; we look forward to hearing the rest at a future meeting.

Tuesday 8th January 2002

Your webmaster again foolishly volunteered to give a talk entitled "Misleading Cases", or why you should always check everything against reliable sources.  The intention was to show how we can be led astray by relying on secondary sources of information and family legends.  Examples were drawn from my own family history, from research we have carried out for other people and from odd cases that have appeared on the Global Branch mailing list.

Tuesday 12th February 2002

If you have ancestors who were in the armed forces, or the merchant navy, you will almost certainly need to visit the Public Record Office in Kew at some point.  This month, Mr. Duncan Harrington gave us an insight into doing research at the PRO.  He also gave us the latest information on the 1901 census on-line project that failed so spectacularly on its first day.

20 February 2002 - PRO, Kew

The branch organised a trip to the Public Record Office in Kew on Wednesday 20th February 2002.  Tickets for the coach were £10 and, with the help of the Ashford branch, we were able to fill the coach.  Unfortunately, the trip was dogged by delays due to heavy traffic, which left members feeling rather frustrated and tired by the long journey time.  The committee is unsure about the future of trips to the London record offices.  Please let us know what you would like us to do in this regard.

Tuesday 12th March 2002

This month's speaker, making a welcome return to Deal, was Mr. Colin Allen, whose talks are always very informative and
entertaining.  This month he gave us a very informative talk about researching military ancestors at the PRO, enlivened with personal anecdotes.

6 April 2002 - Ypres

The Canterbury branch coach trip to Ypres and the World War 1 Battlefields on 6th April was a great success.  See the June edition of the Journal for full report and pictures.

Ypres is a medieval walled town in Flanders, Belgium, which was completely destroyed in WW1 and later rebuilt exactly as it had been before the war.  It contains some magnificent buildings, including the Cloth Hall.  The museums are well worth a visit (a knowledge of Flemish would be useful though: the labels on the exhibit have not been translated into English!) as is the Menin Gate where, every evening at sunset, the Last Post is played to honour the memory of the thousand whose names are
commemorated on its walls.

Tuesday 9th April 2002

April was the second anniversary of the founding of the Deal and District Branch, which means that we should have been having our Annual General Meeting to elect a new committee.  However, due to a number of committee members being unable to attend, the AGM has been postponed to 14th May.

Mr. Les Cozens once more entertained us, this time with true stories of smuggling in Deal and the forces ranged against the highly lucrative trade.  He told us how, if caught, smugglers would be fined £100 - a vast sum in the early 19th century.  However, with casks of brandy bought in France for 14 shillings (70 pence) and sold in London for 3 guineas (£3.15), a
cargo of 50 casks could net them a profit of around £150 on a single trip.  Even bigger profits could be made on American tobacco, shipped in from Belgium.

He also told us about how the contraband was hoisted up the cliff face at St Margaret's Bay and hidden in the local church (the Parish Clerk was a leading figure in the local trade) until it could be safely transported onwards to its final destination.

Tuesday 14th May 2002

The Branch AGM was held this month, postponed from April.  The meeting started earlier than usual so that the business of the evening could be concluded before the talk. In the absence of any volunteers from the membership, the remaining members of the standing committee were re-elected unopposed.

The branch needs you to take an active part - please give a little of your time to support our work.  The committee meets on the first Tuesday of the month, about four times a year, to discuss the running of the branch.  If we are to continue, we desperately need some new blood.  There are now three vacancies on the committee due to resignations: Events, Library and Bookstall.

Wills are a valuable source of information for family historians, giving us names of surviving children and other members of the family, but can we always rely on them?  Lilian Gibbens gave us a lively and interesting talk about wills and their use.

Tuesday 11th June 2002

This month's speaker was Meryl Catty, who made a welcome return to Deal to talk to us about newspaper heritage (she gave the talk at our inaugural meeting in April 2000).  Newspapers, both national and local, can be a very useful source for family history researchers.  Mrs. Catty gave us an interesting talk on their history, illustrated with articles from various publications from the 17th century to more recent times.

Tuesday 9th July 2002

Turnout was disappointing with only 16 members and guests joining the members of the committee to hear this month's talk.

Life and conditions in the post-1834 Poor Law Union Workhouses was to be the subject of this month's talk from Peter Ewart but unfortunately the weather prevented us from enjoying that talk.  No, it was not an outdoor event - the sun decided to come out after several dull, wet days and there are no curtains in the hall, so Peter could not show his slides.

Undeterred, Peter rushed home and came back with another talk about 19th century records, including Petty Sessions reports as well as Workhouse and Lunatic Asylum records.  This interesting and often amusing talk was very well received and well worth waiting for.  Members were encouraged to consult these records, particularly those of the asylums, as these often contain high-quality photographs of the inmates as well as considerable biographical details and descriptions.

We hope that Peter will return early in 2003 to give us the planned talk, when the evenings are dark.

Tuesday 10th September 2002

A disappointingly small audience heard Mr. Tom Doig give a fascinating and entertaining talk about the Victorian attitudes to death, illustrated with some interesting slides.

Tuesday 9th October 2002

Your Branch Committee decided to try something new this month: instead of hiring a speaker we organised an informal "round table" meeting at which each of us explained how we got started on our research and the problems we had faced.  After a free cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit, the meeting was opened up to anyone who wanted to contribute to the evening with the result that a number of members told us about their own experiences, including one who related the story of how he met and married his third cousin, once removed, through his research!

The meeting proved a great success, with members browsing through examples of written family histories, old photographs and various CDs and other resources.

Tuesday 12th November 2002

For the November meeting we managed to book well-known local author and "Prefab Kid", Gregory Holyoake, to talk to us about his childhood in post-war Kent.  A popular local speaker, Mr. Holyoake always varies his talk, in which he acts out scenes from his early life.  His memories, and the display of souvenirs from childhood, brought back many happy memories of youth to several members, including your webmaster.

Tuesday 10th December 2002

About 30 members and guests enjoyed our little Christmas Party, with warm punch (alcohol free!) and an assortment of nibbles.

Our speaker on this occasion was our own Jenny Noake, who took on the persona of her Lancastrian ancestor, Mrs. Bourne (with moral support from yours truly as her "husband"), to  talk about Christmas food through the ages and reveal some juicy gossip about her family history.

All proceeds from this month's raffle, along with a donation equivalent to what we would normally pay for a speaker, will be going to the "Save the Children Fund".  The committee would like to thank members who donated raffle prizes for this good cause.

Tuesday 14th January 2003

Your webmaster was yet again roped in to fill a gap in the programme this month.  The members were treated to a brief history of the census, followed by a look at the "modern" census from 1801 on, outlining what can be learned from the returns in each case, then looking at the possible future of the census in the UK.  The talk was to be illustrated with examples of interesting and unusual entries, as well as references to famous, and infamous, characters, but technology let us down when the projector caught fire!

Tuesday 11th February 2003

February saw the welcome return of Cliff Cole, who will be gave us a fascinating story about the lives of twins separated at birth.  He told us about the amazing similarity between his life and that of his twin brother, separated from childhood by the Atlantic Ocean.

Tuesday 11th March 2003

Duncan Harrington kindly stepped into the breach after Peter Ewart was forced to cancel.  His talk was be based around the PRO and the various different record sources available to researchers, including some of the changes taking place in the near future.

Tuesday 8th April 2003

April means AGM time again.  We were lucky in being able to second three volunteers to join the committee in January.  The standing committee was returned unopposed for another year.  A number of changes to the roles and responsibilities of committee members will take place shortly.

Life and conditions in the post-1834 Poor Law Union Workhouses was the subject of this month's fascinating talk from Peter Ewart.  We were due to have this talk in July 2002, but unfortunately the lovely sunny weather prevented us from enjoying that talk as the hall had no curtains and we could not see the pictures!

We have been promised curtains in the hall in time for the July meeting!

Tuesday 13th May 2003

Mr. Richard Ratcliffe made a welcome return to Deal this month to give a talk entitled "Digging deeper into family history".

Tuesday 10th June 2003

Les Cozens gave us another of his interesting and amusing talks, this time relating the life and times of Deal pilot Stanton.

Tuesday 8th July 2003

Our prayers for a dark evening (or curtains in the hall) for this month's meeting went unanswered!  Mrs. Jean Debney explained to us how to date old photographs, with examples from her family collection.  The sun eventually went down and we were just able to see the pictures on the screen.  After the talk, Mrs. Debney offered to date members photos; a number of members brought their pictures along and took the opportunity to find out when they might have been taken.

Tuesday 9th September 2003

Lesser-known sources for family history was the topic for the first meeting of the 2003-4 season.  Our speaker was Mr. Eric Probert from Chelmsford.

The new curtains are now in place!

Tuesday 14th October 2003

This month ex-policeman Fred Feather from Essex gave us a highly amusing and interesting talk about the darker side of family history entitled "Victorian Murder"!  Taking on the persona of an inspector in the Essex Constabulary in the 1840s, he regaled an enthralled audience with tales of murder investigations and trials of the period.

Tuesday 11th November 2003

November saw the return of John Vigar (Leave No Stone Unturned - Society AGM 2001).  The title of his talk this time was "Bedrooms, banquets and balls"; an amusing look at the development of the English Country house.

Tuesday 9th December 2003

Our Christmas meeting was once again in aid of charity.  This month's talk was by Matt Pavitt on the work of the Lifeboat Service.  Members were entertained with first-hand experiences of the day-to-day life of a lifeboat man, both in the Channel and on the River Thames.

Free mince pie and soft drink were provided to all members and guests after the talk.

All proceeds from the raffle and admission were donated to the RNLI.

Tuesday 13th January 2004

Retired Superintendent Roy Ingleton, late of the Kent County Constabulary and author of a number of books on the history of policing, regaled us with an informative and amusing history of policing in Kent, from Anglo-Saxon Tithings and Hundreds to the amalgamation of the local forces into the Constabulary during WW2.

Tuesday 10th February 2004

This month's speaker was Mr. Martin Lloyd, who gave us an interesting talk entitled "Without let or hindrance - the history of passports", illustrated with many examples from the earliest "letters of introduction" given to travellers to guarantee them a safe passage.

Tuesday 9th March 2004

Mrs. Joan Finney gave us a light-hearted and highly amusing account of her time as an evacuee in World War 2.  Several members recalled similar incidents from their own childhood as evacuees.

Tuesday 13th April 2004

Surprise - the standing committee was re-elected on block at the branch AGM.

The business of the evening was followed by a highly informative talk on researching the forgotten heroes of World War 1 by Mr. Geoff Bridger.

Tuesday 11th May 2004

The Great Exhibition of 1851 was the subject of this month's talk by Ms Anne Carter.  Members were treated to a fascinating description of the building of the Crystal Palace and the Exhibition, illustrated by contemporary pictures.

Tuesday 8th June 2004

William Pitt and the Martello Towers was the subject of this month's talk from Mr. G. Hutchinson.  A familiar sight along the coast, the Martello towers formed part of the defences against a feared invasion from across the Channel.

Tuesday 13th July 2004

This month we had Mr. Joe Molloy from the Deal Maritime Museum who described the resources available for family historians at the museum.

Tuesday 14th September 2004

An article in the loc al paper attracted a good crowd to the September meeting, including a several new recruits.

Where do I go from here?  An evening for beginners - and others!  For our first meeting of the new season the members of the branch committee   mounted a small exhibition illustrating a number of different aspects of family history.  Our chairman gave a short talk about using various different sources to put the meat on the bones of the family tree, encouraging members and guests to write up their family history as a story, rather than just concentrating on creating a tree.  Among the sources illustrated were army pay books, discharge books and discharge certificates, undertakers' papers, newspaper articles and postcards.

Our talks organiser, Alan Foster, followed on with a talk for beginners, explaining how to start your family history and illustrating his talk with examples from his own research.

Members of the committee answered a wide range of questions from the floor and chatted to new members after the meeting.

Tuesday 12th October 2004

The "Cinque Ports and Two Antient Townes" date back almost a thousand years and were important in the defence of the Kingdom from invasion from the sea for hundreds of years until most of the harbours became silted up.  Our speaker this
month was Lt.Col. D. Bolton.

Tuesday 9th November 2004

November saw the return to Deal of the Society Treasurer, Mr. Cliff Cole, who gave us a lively (if sometimes controversial) talk entitled "What's in a Name?"

Tuesday 14th December 2004

No report available 

Tuesday 11th January 2005

No report available 

Tuesday 8th February 2005

Mrs Audrey Gillett regaled us with a talk on the clothes our ancestors wore.

Tuesday 8th March 2005

March saw the welcome return of Mr Peter Ewart, who talked to us about education in Victorian England - an evening not to be missed.

Tuesday 12th April 2005

As usual, April means the Branch AGM.  Your Chairman having resigned in December, Alan Foster was confirmed as Chairman for the coming year.  Mr Harry Harris was voted on to the Committee and the rest of the standing officers and
members were re-elected.

Our speaker this month was Miss Alison Cable from the East Kent Archive Centre, who updated us on the resources available at the centre and answered questions about holdings at Whitfield and the other Kent archives.

Tuesday 10th May 2005

There was a local theme to the May meeting as Mr Dick Barber talked about the history of the White Mill at Sandwich.

Tuesday 14th June 2005

Mrs Gwen Jones presented another subject relating to Kent this month in her talk on the hop industry and the people working in it.

Tuesday 12th July 2005

For our final meeting of the 2004/5 season we had engaged Mr Bob Pryor to regale us with a talk about the SS Titanic.  Unfortunately he was unable to attend at the last minute and we were fortunate to find a substitute speaker from the National Trust, who spoke about lighthouses, in particular the South Foreland lighthouse at St Margaret's Bay.  The talk was illustrated by a working model of the lighthouse.

Tuesday 13th September 2005

Following the Sea Britain events commemorating the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, our usual beginners' session was put on hold and our speaker this month was Lt. Col. Mike Martin, who gave us an interesting, informative and entertaining talk about Admiral Lord Nelson and the British Navy.

Col. Martin began by introducing himself and explaining how an officer from the Royal Hampshire Regiment came to be talking about the Navy.  He then went on to talk about life and conditions in 18th century England.  Next, he explained the naval origins of some common expressions and spoke about the Navy and life on board ship, including the Press Gangs and Recruiting Officers, and the "Ticket Men" used to take the place of sailors seconded into the Service.  Finally, Col. Martin gave us a potted version of the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Admiral Nelson.

We have already booked Col. Martin to give us another talk next year.

Tuesday 11th October 2005

It was with great pleasure that we welcomed back Miss Anne Carter (Great Exhibition, May 2004), who regaled us with the life of Napoleon Bonaparte.  Miss Carter gave us a whole new view of the French dictator, from his birth in Ajaccio in 1769 to his death on St Helena in 1821.

Napoleon was the son of Charles-Marie Bonaparte, lawyer to the Superior Council of Corsica,  and Maria Letizia Ramolino.  He married twice: the first time to Marie-Joseph-Rose Tascher de la Pagerie, known as Joséphine; the second time to Marie Louise Archduchess of Austria, who was the mother of Napoleon II.

Miss Carter's talk concentrated on the man and his family, rather than the popular stories of revolution and war, revealing a totally different side of the man who changed the face of the south coast of England.

Tuesday 8th November 2005

Our speaker this month was another returnee, Mr Roy Ingleton (Policing in Kent, January 2004).  His subject this month was Policing in Kent during WW2.

Tuesday 13th December 2005

Branch Christmas Party.  Your webmaster opened the proceedings with a short, thought-provoking talk about some of the problems found on a day at the FRC.  The tale revolved around a couple who gave their middle names when registering
the birth of their child in the mid-1800s.

The talk had the desired effect of getting members talking about their own experiences and problems.

Free festive refreshments were provided by members of the Branch Committee.

Tuesday 10th January 2006

January saw the return of yet another of out previous speakers: Mr Martin Lloyd (Without Let or Hindrance, February 2003).  This time his talk was again about passports, looking at particular cases where events have caused changes to the ways in which passports were issued.

The terrorist was the Italian patriot, Felice Orsini, who tried to assassinate Napoleon III outside the Opera in Paris in 1858.  This changed forever the way that passports were issued in England.

The traitor was William Joyce, who broadcast propaganda from Germany during WW2 under the name of Lord Haw-Haw.  Despite being born in America and having a German passport he was tried for treason in an English court and executed in the
Tower of London.

The spy was a German who had been married to an American woman and lived in the USA.  At the beginning of WW1 he was given the passport of an American citizen which had been stolen when the owner applied for an exit visa to return home at the outbreak of war.  He was then sent to England to spy for the Germans.  This led to countries around the world  putting photographs in passports for the first time.

Tuesday 14th February 2006

Valentine's day brought us a speaker new to the Deal Branch: Mr. Chris McCooey.  His highly entertaining talk was entitled "Kent Characters, Wacky, Weird and Wonderful."

Saints and sinners, rogues and rascals, cons and icons; 36 memorable people, including the inventor of the bathing machine and the helicopter, the famous painter who murdered his father, adventurers, a journalist, the 18th century entrepreneur who started the first mail order business, a cricketer, a dandy, a miser, an ornithologist and spy.

Tuesday 14th March 2006

Our speaker this month was Dr. F. Andrews, who gave us a very interesting and informative talk about the development of railways in Kent.

Tuesday 11th April 2006

Local journalist and historian Bob Hollingsbee (Memories - Dover Express) gave us a fascinating talk about old Dover, illustrated with many photographs from his own personal collection, recalling many memories of youth for members like your webmaster who spent their early lives in the town.

Tuesday 9th May 2006

The May meeting was a departure from the norm for us here in Deal; your chairman organised a family history quiz night, with questions designed to get the teams talking amongst themselves to share knowledge.  Each team was arranged to have at least one experienced member as well as one or more beginners.

Tuesday 13th June 2006

This year's AGM was held in June (normally April).  KFHS Chairman Alan Makey took charge of the proceedings and the committee was re-elected to serve for the coming year.  Thanks are due to Mr Jim Cairns, who stepped down at the AGM to be replaced by Mr Trevor Isaacs.

Our speaker this month was Mrs Meryl Catty, who returned to Deal to give us an illustrated talk entitled "License to Marry".

Tuesday 11th July 2006

Our final speaker for this season was Mrs. L Oakley, who gave an interesting illustrated about the history and restoraton of Wallett's Court, the early 17th century manor house at Westcliffe, near Dover.

Tuesday 12th September 2006

The first meeting of the new season saw the welcome return of Lt. Col. Mike Martin, who gave us a very interesting and entertaining talking to us about the history of the Victoria Cross.

Regular members will remember that Colonel Martin opened the 2005/6 season for us with a very entertaining talk about Lord Nelson and the British Navy (13th September 2005).

Tuesday 10th October 2006

October's speaker was Mr. Stuart Bligh, KCC's new Archives and Local History Services Manager, who gave us a very interesting and informative talk about the work of the Service and some of the sources of information available to researchers at the Centre for Kentish Studies in Maidstone, the Canterbury Cathedral Archives and the East Kent Archive Centre at Whitfield.

There is a wealth of information on offer at the three archives, from the records of Temple Ewell Mill (1869-1934) and Dover Harbour Board (1682-) to the records of the Royal East Kent Yeomanry (1795-1932) and the manuscripts of the
Knatchbull family (1483-1983).

There are also a number of local history collections in public libraries around the County which have a much more local focus.

Tuesday 14th November 2006

Our speaker for November was Michael Gandy, making a welcome return to Deal to talk about Irish ancestors. Some of you will remember Michael's previous talk to the Branch on the problems of London ancestry (13th March 2001)

Tuesday 12th December 2006

The December meeting brought a new face to the Deal Branch in the shape of Kathy Chater, who talked to us about insanity. 

It didn't take much in the 19th century for somebody to be described as "simple", and the census forms of the time had a column for "imbecile, idiot or lunatic"!

Tuesday 9th January 2007

Our speaker this month was Mr. Jon Mills (no, not that one!), who gave us a talk entitled "From Scarlet to Khaki", about identifying 20th century military ancestors from their uniforms and badges.

Tuesday 13th February 2007

For for the "Eve" of Valentine's Day we made a departure from the normal format as a number of committee and ordinary members regaled us with stories from their own family histories.  This had the desired effect of getting members talking.

Tuesday 13th March 2007

A modern slant on family history this month, as another speaker new to the Branch, Dr. Geoff Swinfield, talked to us about "Genealogy and Genetics".  As more and more family historians are turning to d.n.a. testing to try to extend their trees this proved an interesting and informative talk.

Tuesday 10th April 2007

Our distinguished speaker this month was Lady Teviot, another new face for the Deal Branch.   Lady Teviot is a professional researcher with over 25 years' experience.  Her talk, entitled "Kill or Cure, Medicine in the 19th Century", was a fascinating insight into the conditions that our ancestors died from.

Tuesday 8th May 2007

Richard Ratcliffe returned this month for a very welcome third visit to Deal to give us 'A Comedy of Errors'.  On his previous Richard gave us "Missing from home - Not on the Census" (9 October 2001) and "Digging deeper into family history" (10th June 2003).  Richard, the Archivist at Methodist Central Hall, Westminster, gave us a very amusing talk about some of the strange directions our research can take when digging into our family history.

Tuesday 12th June 2007

Branch AGM - The business of the evening was dealt with promptly with the existing Committee, with the exception of Mr. Harry Harris, who stood down, being re-elected en block.

Our speaker this month was a newcomer to the branch, Mr. Ray Wiggins, who gave us an interesting talk about the history of the Salvation Army.

Tuesday 10th July 2007
Our speaker for July was another old friend.  Returning for a third visit, Martin Lloyd, gave an interesting and informative talk entitled "Buzz Bombs and Bicycles".  He describes how the "buzz bomb" (V1) worked and why it was developed, before taking us on a cycle tour of the launch sites in Northern France to see pictures of the sites as they exist today.

Tuesday 11th September 2007

Branch member Mr. Ebbett gave us a talk entitled "History Basics and

Tuesday 9th October 2007

For the October meeting we managed to book well-known local author and "Prefab Kid", Gregory Holyoake, to talk to us again about his childhood in post-war Kent.  A popular local speaker, Mr. Holyoake always varies his talk, in which he acts out scenes from his early life.  His memories, and the display of souvenirs from childhood, once again brought back many happy memories of
youth to several members, including your webmaster.

Saturday 20th October 2007

Your Chairman, Mr. Alan Makey, the Executive Committee and the Deal & District Branch Committee, welcomed members to the 33rd (2007) AGM of the Kent
Family History Society.

Doors opened at 10 am with a welcome tea/coffee and time to catch up with old friends before the morning talk at 11 am.

The speaker for this event was Mrs. Audry Gillett, who gave a talk entitled "Claims to Fame".

A break for lunch around 12 noon - 2 pm gave ample time to sample the food at one of the many local eating places.

The business of the day commenced promptly at 2pm, and concluded with refreshments (tea/coffee) at around 3:30.

Full details will be published in your September Journal.

Tuesday 13th November 2007

November saw the first visit to Deal branch of Cecil R. Humphery-Smith, President of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical
Studies (Canterbury) and author of many important books on family history.

The title of his talk was "The Roundabout of Family

Tuesday 11th December 2007

Your Webmaster was persuaded to give another talk for our Christmas 2007 party.  My talk this time was entitled "Putting the meat on the bones."  We all seek to create a family tree showing our ancestors but this talk is aimed at trying to encourage you to go much further and produce a family history with as much information as you can find.

The story began several years ago when a wallet containing some letters and photos came to light, revealing a hitherto unknown branch of the family in Pennsylvania.  Research in various civil and military records revealed a great deal about the common ancestor, Samuel Purdy, and a visit to the USA provided some valuable clues.

Members enjoyed some festive refreshments after the talk.

Tuesday 8th January 2008

Our first meeting in 2008 saw the return of Lt. Colonel Mike Martin, whose subject this month was "Britain on the Home Front".  Col. Martin has previously entertained us with talks on Nelson's Navy (13th September 2005) and The Victoria Cross (12th September 2006) and this month's offering was not
disappointing!  Colonel Mike livened up what was an extremely informative talk with his usual sprinkling of humorous stories and jokes.

Tuesday 12th February 2008

This month's speaker was Lea Oakely, who regaled us with the history of Oxney Court, near Ringwould, and the people who have made their home there over the centuries.  The house was destroyed by fire many years ago, but the current owners have restored it to its former glory.  However, the chapel is still in ruins, as it has been for a century or more.

A very interesting talk, illustrated with pictures of the house before it was burnt down and before it was restored - casual visitors with cameras are no longer welcomed!

Tuesday 11th March 2008

We had two for the price of one again in March when Meryl Catty and Audrey Gillett gave us their well-known double act in a talk entitled "Willpower".

As usual, this was a very well researched, interesting and amusing talk, with fascinating examples from various wills of the past, which all served to remind the audience of the huge importance of wills as a source of information for family historians.

Look out for the ladies again in September when they will be regaling us with a talk entitled "An Enumerator's Tale".

Tuesday 8th April 2008

Our speaker this month was new to the Branch: Mr. David Wright gave us a talk entitled "Death and Burials".

Tuesday 13th May 2008

Another new speaker for May - coinciding with the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the opening of the new pier by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh in 1957, Mr. Martyn Webster gave an interesting talk about Deal's piers.

Tuesday 10th June 2008

The Branch A.G.M. was held at 7pm to enable the talk to start at the normal time.

Our speaker for June was Michael Gandy, who made another
welcome return to Deal to talk about the East India Company. Some of you will remember Michael's previous talks to the Branch on the problems of London ancestry (13th March 2001) and Irish Ancestry (14 November 2006).

Tuesday 8th July 2008

Our speaker for July was to have been Committee member Jenny Noake, but circumstances prevented her from being with us, so Bob and Kathleen Hollingsbee kindly stepped into the breach at short notice and brought along some old copies of local newspapers for members to peruse.

Our thanks to Bob and Kathleen.  Hopefully, Jenny will be able to give her talk at some future date.

Tuesday 9th September 2008

Our speakers for the first meeting of the new season were Mrs Meryl Catty and Mrs Audrey Gillett, a popular double act who have given a number of talks to the Branch in the past, both individually and together.  Their subject this month was "An Enumerator's Tale," and quite a tail it was!  As usual, they gave us an extremely interesting, informative, and entertaining evening.

Tuesday 14th October 2008

October saw the return of another of our local speakers, Mr. Ebbutt, who was asking "Who are these people, and what is their relationship, if any, to me?"

No report has been received from the branch for this talk.

Tuesday 11th November 2008

Yet again, your webmaster was roped in to provide the entertainment.  My offering this time was a multi-media production entitled "A Letter From The Front", which was specially written for Armistice Day and included a 1-minute silence. The date is 22nd December, 1917, and Gunner Beer is on police duty on an ammunition park behind the lines, somewhere near Ypres ...

Not for those of a nervous disposition!  The talk was, I'm pleased to say, well received by all those present.

Tuesday 9th December 2008

For our Christmas party this year, our speaker was Helen Allinson, who talked about Kentish village life in Victorian times, including village feast days, such as Christmas and the tradition of "beating the bounds."

Tuesday 13th January 2009

Due to a family bereavement there was a change of speaker for this month.  We hope that Celia Heritage will be able to visit later in the year.

In her place we were able at short notice to book Mr. David Chamberlain, whose talk, entitled "Lost & Found," was about the Goodwin Sands.

Tuesday 10th February 2009

This month's subject was Sandwich Library: Revamped Local History Collection and Volunteering Opportunities.  The speaker was Lynne Steward.

Tuesday 10th March 2009

Gillian Rickard made her debut at Deal this month to talk about "Using Parish Records for Family History Research."

Tuesday 14th April 2009

Our speaker for April was Lady Mary Teviot ("Kill or Cure," 10th April 2007) , whose talk this time was entitled "I Never Thought of That."

Tuesday 12th May 2009

A new speaker this month: Linda Cherry, whose talk was entitled "How Adoption Can Affect Family Research."

Tuesday 9th June 2009

June saw the return of Helen Allinson (Christmas 2008) with a talk entitled "Farewell to Kent."

Tuesday 14th July 2009

We re-scheduled Celia Heritage from January to this month.  Her talk was entitled "Do You Know Who You Are Yet?"

Tuesday 8th September 2009

We had two for the price of one again in September when Meryl Catty and Audrey Gillett performed their well-known double act in a talk entitled "Leave no stone unturned."  As usual, the two ladies gave us a very interesting, thought-provoking and amusing talk.

Some of you will remember Meryl's previous talks to the Branch on newspaper heritage (11th June 2002) and marriage licenses (13th June 2006). She also gave a very interesting talk for beginners at our inaugural meeting on 11th April 2000.  Audrey has previously talked to us about the clothes our ancestors wore (8th February 2005) and claims to fame, at the Society AGM (20th October 2007).  Their previous double-acts were about wills (11th March 2008) and the census (September 2008)

Tuesday 13th October 2009

Our very own Jenny Noake took the stage this month with a talk entitled "Family Trails or Trials."  She began by encouraging members to share their own stories.

She then went on to talk about the importance of keeping diaries.  The talk was illustrated with examples from Jenny's own life and extracts from her diaries.

Tuesday 10th November 2009

November saw the first visit to Deal branch as a speaker by Alan Stockwell, whose subject was "Ellen Terry - Darling of the Gods."

Awaiting a report from the Branch

Tuesday 8th December 2009

"Rogues, Rascals and Rebels" was the fascinating title of this year's Christmas offering from Chris McCooey, another new visitor to the branch.

Tuesday 12th January 2010

* Please
Meetings will now open at 7pm for 7.30

For our first meeting in the new year we welcomed another speaker new to the Branch: Mr. Jerry Vyse, whose talk entitled "A Journey From Old Deal to New Zealand" described how he researched and produced his book of the same title.

Tuesday 9th February 2010

We were to have another new speaker this month in the person of Ms. Pat Smith, who was to be advising us to be "Looking Outside the Box," but unfortunately she was indisposed, and we were pleased to welcome an old friend in the shape of Mrs Meryl Catty at short notice.  As usual we were treated to a very interesting and entertaining talk, this time entitled "Mrs Goodwin's Little Book," which gave an insight into life in the late 18th and early 19th century.

We wish Ms Smith well and look forward to welcoming her on some future date.

Tuesday 9th March 2010

March brings yet another new speaker to the Deal branch: Mr. Ray Harlow, who will be giving us a talk on he Sandwich Guildhall Archives - a resource which I, for one, didn't know existed.

Tuesday 13th April 2010

This month saw the welcome return of Celia Heritage ("Do You Know Who You Are Yet?" July 2009), whose talk this time was entitled "Fleshing Out Your Family Tree."

Tuesday 11th May 2010

Another new face for May: Dr. David Wright, who gave us a fascinating talk about the life of "The Reverend Bryan Faussett, Antiquary Extra-ordinary."

Tuesday 8th June 2010

No report available

Tuesday 13th July 2010

This month we welcomed Mr Paul Shrubb & Colleagues (intriguing!)

No report available

Tuesday 14th September 2010

The first meeting of the new season saw the welcome return of Mr. Roy Ingleton.

In a speech during the 2nd World War, Winston Churchill paid tribute to the Police, referring to them as "Gentlemen."  This month's offering: "Gentlemen at War," told the story of the role played by the men, and a few women, of the police forces in the run-up to, and during, the war.

A most informative talk, illustrated with slides and enlivened with a few amusing anecdotes.

Tuesday 12th October 2010

Dr Mark Bateman

Canterbury Cathedral Archives

(no report available for this meeting)

Tuesday 9th November 2010

Hazel Basford

Kent VAD The Care of the Sick and Wounded Soldiers during WW1 by Local

(no report available for this meeting)

Tuesday 14th December 2010

For our Christmas meeting we were delighted to welcome one of our own members, Ms Pat Smith, who regaled us with a very interesting and entertaining talk entitled "Looking Outside the Box."