Welcome in 1997, welcome back in Cambridge.
Last term was exciting as always in C.U.H.&G.S. At the first meeting Dr Gordon Wright, our Senior Treasurer told us the story of the Cambridge Armorial. Together with Robin Millerchip he is preparing another publication, this time about the non-University heraldry of the town.
Mr Nicholas Norman amazed us with slides about the most splendid arms and armours from over the centuries.
It is difficult to describe the atmosphere at the talk of Miss Bliss. She told us an unbelievable story of a bell that once belonged to Lady Clare, whom Clare College is named after, and after a long and still mysterious journey arrived to Miss Bliss. She is yet to find an appropriate place for this 14th century bell, and some of the audience were rather happy to help her with ideas – the story might continue.
Then at the end of November, we heard a rather amusing talk from Honorary Vice-President Cecil Humphery-Smith. Following our traditions, we closed the term with a very nice dinner.
This coming term should not be less interesting. The key event of the year is of course the Annual Dinner, the details of which should reach you soon. This is a must for present and past members of the society, and I hope that we will celebrate the anniversary in great number. I am looking forward to see you on many of our other meetings, too,
László Á. Kóczy
On Tuesday, 24th February, 1998, a set of five 26p postage stamps featuring the Queen’s Beasts was launched by the Post Office. The designer, Jeffrey Matthews, F.C.S.I., was inspired by the wonderful display of Woodford’s sculpture which had been placed outside the entrance to Westminster Abbey when our present Queen was crowned in 1953. The idea of providing this Guard of Honour of beasts, supporting shields with Royal Arms and Badges reflecting the Queen’s descent, was suggested by Sir George Bellew, the then Garter King of Arms.
In 1513, Henry VIII’s pavilion at the Field of the Cloth of Gold had been decorated with a series of beasts and, subsequently, the beasts appeared in profusion at Hampton Court and at Windsor. However only the following ten were selected for the 1953 Coronation and these are the ones which appear in pairs on the new stamps.
These commemorative stamps are very attractive not only to the dedicated philatelist but also to everyone with an interest in heraldry. First day covers were available from the British Philatelic Bureau which applied a rampant unicorn cancellation mark whilst the City of Westminster Post Office postmark was a Royal Shield.
Derek A. Palgrave
Present: László Kóczy (President), Gordon Wright (Senior Treasurer), Nicolas Bell (Junior Treasurer), Richard Marquis-Hirsch (Archivist), Robin Millerchip (Committee), Evelyn Logan (Committee), Sarah King-Lewis, Bari Logan, Tim Cockerill, Julian Cable, John Horton and Maria Klepacka. The meeting began at 3-12 p.m.
Apologies for absence were received from William Sanders, Chloë Cockerill, Hugh and Hermione Montgomery.
The approval of the Minutes of the A.G.M. of 1996 was postponed in their and the Secretary’s absence. (The minutes are appended to these and will be submitted for approval at the A.G.M. of 1998)
Any matters arising from the absent minutes were redesignated as Any Other Business.
The accounts for the academic year were presented. The Junior Treasurer made the following remarks:
The President reported on the year’s events, in the Secretary’s absence. He expressed concern that he might have concentrated on too much on the fortieth anniversary celebrations and insufficiently on resolving various problems. The primary problem, the dearth of undergraduates at meetings can only be ascribed to disinterest and heavy work-loads on their parts. To show that the Society has serious purposes, some of our more knowledgeable (and older) members should help man the stall at the Societies Fair. This would be one demonstration of the general principle that ideas are more productive than mere criticism. The return of the Library to the Society is much more pleasing and Robin Millerchip, Richard Marquis-Hirsch and Gordon Wright must be thanked for their persistence in this regard. Likewise, The Eschutcheon has come on apace, largely thanks to Derek Palgrave, who has been a vital contact with the F.F.H.S. and the outside world. Despite various problems, it has been a successful year: speakers gave good talks and left with good feelings about the Society, and the dinners were attended above expectation Nicolas Bell pointed out that another aspect in which the Society had excelled was in its Internet pages, for which the President was entirely reponsible.
The President proposed the motion, arising from the Junior Treasurer’s report, that given the favourable financial situation and unfavourable membership situation, membership fees should be reduced, adding that they were presently more than most University societies' fees.
The following officers were elected (all nem. con.)
The Vice-Presidents and Senior Treasurer were re-elected.
Nicolas Bell pointed out that Cecil Humphery-Smith had expressed concern about a new postcard of the arms of Cambridge Colleges which blatantly copied the artwork of The Cambridge Armorial whilst claiming that its design was copyright by a certain Tim Rawle and that “the illustrations on this card were commissioned by, and specially prepared for, the Cambridge Portfolio ©.” To add insult to injury, it describes the shields as “armorial crests”. Robin Millerchip pointed out that legal action would most likely be foolish; Gordon Wright added furthermore that the copyright rests not with the Society, but with Cecil Humphery-Smith, himself, and the extant co-authors of The Cambridge Armorial. Nicolas Bell stressed that legal action was not on his mind, and received the Society’s approval for his intention, clarified by Maria Klepacka and John Horton, to write to the publishers of the postcard pointing out politely that their copyrght ascription was incorrect, that the designation of a shield as “crest” perpetuates an heraldic bête noir, and that it would be polite to mention either the Society or The Cambridge Armorial on the back.
Robin Millerchip bemoaned the paucity of committee meetings and pointed out that he had not been asked to do anything all year, even though it was clear that much needed to be done that had not been done.
Richard Marquis-Hirsch reported discreetly on the return of the library after its five-year period of absence. He thanked Robin Millerchip, Gordon Wright and the Senior Bursar and Head Porter of the offending former President’s college for their assistance and again raised the question of its future location. Gordon Wright promised to ask the Librarian of Clare if there would be room for a lockable cupboard in the Memorial Library, and Maria Klepacka said she would pursue the matter with an acquaintance at St John’s Library.
There being no further business, the meeting closed at four o’clock and was followed by tea and sandwiches.
Present: Paul Mitcham, Isabelle Dubois, László Kóczy, Gordon Wright, Derek Palgrave, Robin Millerchip, Sarah King-Lewis, Eve Logan, Nicolas Bell, Tony Finch, Tim Cockerill, Chris West-Sadler, Yumiko Seno, Richard Marquis-Hirsch, John Horton and Katharine Clare.
This book is one of the Teach Yourself series: this is, of course, singularly appropriate because family history is very much an activity in which you actually do teach yourself. One always learns from practical experience and, as the process of collecting the necessary evidence is essentially a solitary pursuit, the outcome is normally the achievement of a level of comptence through personal effort and not as the result of conventional teaching.
Of course no research can proceed without a plan and, in the 18 chapters and two appendices of this book, there are many extremely useful pointers. The basic requirement, to investigate all the source material in the hands of the family, is emphasised at the outset. Particular stress is placed on the value of reminiscences, family documents and heirlooms. The importance of data from birth, marriage and death certificates is given due prominence and the author takes the trouble to describe civil registration not only within the UK but also abroad.
The use of census returns, transcripts and indexes, which are such powerful aids to research, is explained in detail. Other official listings including those for electors, ratepayers, householders (in local directories) are noted, as are maps and local newspapers. In fact, on pages 108 and 109 a very comprehensive diagram reveals a very wide range of State, Church and private archives, their categories, whereabouts and accessibilities. Three chapters are devoted to parish registers including Nonconformists records and the International Genealogical Index (I.G.I.). The author also deals with marriage licences, banns, poor law documentation, probate and estate records.
The penultimate chapter, Fred Karnot’s Army, explores the family history of this famous entertainer and some of his contemporaries including Stan Laurel and Charlie Chaplain with his specifically Suffolk connections. By presenting their biographical and other details in the form of an attractive narrative, the author is able to lead the reader on to the final chapter which discusses ways of recording the results of research and preparing a suitable text for publication.
Because there are so many facets to the study of family history, the options on how to proceed are considerable. In consequence there are several textbooks to choose from. All offer valid advice but none can claim to cover every aspect of this field of study. Stella Colwell has had many years of practical experience so her methodology is well-tried. Although her approach is largely traditional, her book is packed with information that at a price of £7-99 it is is definitely a very good buy indeed.
Surname Place Period Occupation/trade Contact Address
Hancock Devon late 17 c Merchant/sailor R.W. Millerchip Clare Hancock S. Yorkshire 1870-1920 Steel/cutlery R.W. Millerchip Clare Hancock Overseas 1870-1918 Diplomatic service R.W. Millerchip Clare She(a)rtston(e) S. Yorkshire 1870-1920 Steel/cutlery R.W. Millerchip Clare
Other members of the Society are invited to submit details of any surnames they are researching so that others, with similar interests, can make contact.