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Our quarterly journal has been published continuously since the Society was formed in 1975.  A complete set is available for reference in our Research Room in Bristol.


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Each issue aims to keep members up-to-date about events that may be taking place and presents regular features and a range of articles about family history and local history.  'On the Internet' articles (see below) are reproduced on this website in the month of publication and 'My Parish' articles are published 12-18 months after publication in the Journal.

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Journals are distributed to members each quarter (June, September, December & March) and members who join part way

through the membership year (which begins in April)

are sent copies of past Journals for that year.

We have an on-line index of all family names (or surnames) and article titles in our Journals from the first issue in 1975 to the present day.

Journal Editor - Penny Walters
BAFHS, c/o Bristol Archives, 'B' Bond Warehouse, Smeaton Road, Bristol,  BS1 6XN. e-mail: editor@bafhs.org.uk

Most issues of the Society's Journal contain an article about recent family history developments on the Internet;  these are included below so that you can access the sites listed more easily by calling up the articles below and clicking on the links rather than by entering the web address into your browser.  However, please note that links in older articles may no longer work.

Perhaps the most significant recent development has been the start of the long-awaited publication online of probate records for England and Wales. You can now search for wills from 1996 onwards at https://probatesearch.service.gov.uk/#wills.

If you find poor law or census records indicate that members of your family spent time in the workhouse, Peter Higginbotham’s workhouse website at www.workhouses.org.uk  provides details of each such institution together with a lot of general information about workhouse life. Peter has now produced a similar website for children’s homes at www.childrenshomes.org.uk . It is still a work in progress, and although many homes are listed (68 in Bristol, for example), only a percentage have full details. However, you will usually find a map, information about who ran the home, who attended and when, as well as a list published items about the running of the school.

The big news at the time of writing is the redesign of Findmypast (www.findmypast.co.uk). Although this had been announced in advance, no-one was prepared for the degree of change, or the poor execution which was immediately apparent. Favourite features had disappeared, and using the site required a totally different approach, which did not go well with users. The forums were full of complaints, with threats to cancel subscriptions and even to take legal action under the Trades Descriptions Act.

The centenary of the start of the First World War has brought a number of new releases of military records relating to this and other conflicts. Sometimes, there appears to be confusion in the publicity between war diaries, which are the official day by day records of individual service units, and those personal diaries kept by soldiers, sailors and others. Both have their individual value.