Message from Honorary Vice-President: Bridget Hunter

11 May 2020.


As I write this we are in lockdown because of the coronavirus.  Sadly all our exciting plans are on hold.  Our MONTHLY MEETINGS are not happening until further notice.  Our RESEARCH SESSIONS are also on hold until we get the all clear to restart. Our exciting and anticipated FAMILY and LOCAL HISTORY DAY had to be postponed and we hope to hold it in September in Wisbech Library. 

But in this quiet time our members have been able to get on with research projects, not only for themselves but also for others who have requested help.

Our chairman has been busy and found herself some more distant cousins.

One of our researchers has been busy researching a family for a lady who knew little about her family.  She has been able to get quite a long way back on both sides of her family with a complication of first cousins marrying, also of a second marriage which was against canon law as it was to his dead wife’s sister. 

While we listened and watched the VE day CELEBRATIONS so many memories were being shared. Many never told before. Which reminded me of what we tell people new to family history. Start by asking your elderly relations for their memories.   Sadly most people do not start until they retire and those precious memories are lost.  It is those memories that put flesh on the facts. 

As a child I was close to my grandparents and loved to hear their stories about their lives. I remember those stories and add them to the fabric of my family research. 

My grandmother was the eldest of 10 children and had to help run the house, the kitchen was the hub of the house and was very large she told me it took 17 buckets of water to wash the floor.  Her father was a very strict chapel man. Her mother was constantly with child and took to the bottle. Their farm was well away from the village, she had an arrangement with the farm workers to bring her bottles of drink and hide them under the rhubarb leaves, where she left the empties so her husband would not find them.  Another time when he had stormed off in a temper she decided to hit back.  She sent the children out to look for him.  She then lit lamps in all the windows and set fire to the doormat so the house looked to be on fire.  Thomas her husband came rushing back he started to search for her without luck after some time he found the well lid off, knowing he could do nothing till morning, he decided to go and rest until daylight.  It was there he found her fast asleep in bed.  There are so many stories I am able to recall which makes my family history come to life.  We all look forward to hear your stories and what your research has brought during this shut down at our next meeting and/or research sessions.

So PLEASE don’t just wait for the next anniversary to get your elderly relatives to share their memories with you.  Their lives were often very different to the ones we live now. 

For information or queries about any of the above please call Bridget 01945 587723

Ag. Lab. Chronicles – Journal of the Fenland Family History Society

This is published 3 times a year and is distributed free of charge to members. Back issues are also available for purchase from the Bookstall

Issues include contact details for committee members, subscription information, time and location of meetings and our web site address.

Back copies of the Fenland Family History Journals are available on CD in pdf – Nos 1-10, 11-20, 21-30 – Available through Bookstall

A list of contents for published Journals is available HERE in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format

Assistance to Members

The Society keeps a Members Interest List which is made available to members, free of charge.

The Society produces a Journal, Ag. Lab. Chronicles. Members may send in details of any brick wall they need to breach in the hope that others may hold the clue. We also welcome stories of succesful researches!

Members also have an opportunity at the beginning of each meeting to discuss research queries and ask advice from others.


We have started an index of Fenland Strays and our Strays Coordinator welcomes information on any Fenland Strays you find.

Library Facilities

The Society has a small reference library for use by its members. Books can be used at meetings. Where books are owned by the Society, or have been loaned on terms that allow it, they may be borrowed by members. 

Books from the reference library are available for a small fee (50p) for the maximum loan time of 2 months and second hand Family History books/magazines now available for sale for a small donation.


The Society untertakes a wide variety of projects. Projects currently being undertaken by members of the Society are:

  • Recording BMD’s from Star of the East newspaper for our Journal
  • Members attending the Family History room at Wisbech library 1st Tuesday each month (except August) to offer help & advice, 10am-12pm.
  • Manning our Family History Stand at various local functions

Completed Projects

  • Recording MI’s at Tydd St. Mary Church & cemetery – COMPLETED
  • Recording MI’s at Guyhirn Cemetery – COMPLETED
  • Recording MI’s at Wisbech St Mary Church & Cemetery – COMPLETED
  • Digitizing- Walsoken BMD registers – COMPLETED
  • Digitizing -Sutton St. Edmunds registers – COMPLETED
  • Recording- MI’s Sutton St. Edmunds – COMPLETED
  • Recording – MI’s Walpole St. Peter – COMPLETED
  • Reproducing & Amending MI’s Tilney St. Lawrence – COMPLETED