Leith Hutton's Genealogy Homepage Award of Excellence

Where We Meet

The Society meets at 19:30 on the fourth Thursday of each month (except August and December) at St Peter's Church Hall in Wisbech unless otherwise stated. There is a map of the centre of Wisbech to show the location of the hall.

We have a full programme, including speakers, members' evenings and outings. An archive of reports of previous years meetings is available.

Current Meeting Programme

23 January 2014
What Grandma Didnít Want Me To Know! Steve Manning
27 February 2014
Historical Account of Outwell William Smith
27 March 2014
Quacks & Quackery But No Ducks! Eric Somerville Retíd GP
24 April 2014
Me & My Family History Tree Brian Jones
22 May 2014
The Bastardy Rolls Ann Cole
26 June 2014
St Clements Church, Outwell - Visit Outing
24 July 2014
TBA Tom Doig
August 2014
No Meeting  
25 September 2014
14th AGM & Talk Rev Wim Zwalf
27 September 2014
Family History Day, St Peterís Church Hall 10am -4:30pm  
23 October 2014
The Great War Geoff Sewell
8 November 2014
Fenland FHS & Wisbech Library - Commemorative WW1 Display In The Wisbech Library  
27 November 2014
Social evening, Buffett & talk Life & Memories of a Fenland Girl  Jacqui Huggins
December 2014
No Meeting  

Summaries of meetings

2014 Description Author
January 2014
What Grandma Didnít Want Me To Know!

The Speaker at our January meeting was Steve Manning, Chairman of the Peterborough & District F.H.S. His talk was entitled "What Grandmother didn't want me to know, and other family stories."

He talk included lots of pictures to accompany his many interesting stories, two of which I have included below.

A Canadian cousin mentioned in one email that her mum had an older sister who didn’t live with the family. Already aware of the parents’ marriage date and the birth dates of the previously known children, Steve realised there was something ‘a little wrong’ with this new piece of information. He eventually tracked down the older sister - who was in reality a half-sister – alive and well in Queensland, Australia!

It was Steve’s Great Uncle Ernest who was to blame for the title of his talk. On one occasion, some 40+ years ago, his uncle told of a relative who killed a man for molesting his wife in a pub. But he either didn’t know – or wouldn’t reveal – anything about the person involved. All Ern did say was the victim was his brother-in-law! Steve was very excited by this little bit of scandal and couldn’t wait to tell his Grandmother all about it. But she was not amused and responded angrily, 'What did he want to tell you that for?' Suffice to say, Steve was now ‘hooked’ on Family History - although he didn’t discover the sad truth about the real story for many, many years!

Malcolm Bailey
February 2014
Historical Account of Outwell

The speaker at the February meeting was William Smith, and his talk was a 'Pictorial views of Outwell'.

This report is unfortunately brief; due to the fact the talk was pictorial.

William talk took us on a trip of the village of outwell. The first slide compared views from the top of the church tower, towards the mill, at two different dates I was surprised at how little it had changed. During the talk we visited the canal, pubs, shops and houses, often comparing now and then pictures. We also met people and some families, of the village - many who were related to people attending the meeting.

As our summer visit we will be visiting Outwell church on June 26th 2014.

The talk created lots of reminiscing during the drinks after.

Malcolm Bailey
March 2014
QUACKS & QUACKERY –but no ducks! Dr Eric Somerville

A good attendance listened to Eric’s illustrated & light hearted talk on the progress of healing the sick over the ages,

The dictionary says that a quack is a ‘scoundrel, a charlatan’, a person who dishonestly claims to have a special knowledge in some field, typically medicine. Eric said the origin of the word possibly came from ‘quacksalver’, meaning a person who sold potions or nostrums at Fairs and similar gatherings, claiming they would cure all illnesses!

Nothing was known about Anatomy /Physiology, disease or cures. People would send for the wise woman or midwife of the village for any help with illness. Surgery stemmed from the local barber & later from the military field. Any person could call themselves doctor & over the years many have offered ‘cures’ for various ailments.

From a long list of quacks Eric showed the ‘special ‘treatments – quackery – of each ‘Dr.’

These ranged from hot & cold - bathing, manipulation of the spine, phrenology, poultices. sitting in blue light & the administrations of various nostrums such as arsenic, mercury & herbs. It was known that druggists made radium water for people to drink. & some religious groups believe that lust & libido was the cause of illness & had to be suppressed ! Several old recipes are still available today especially in the USA. Herbal remedies were written down by monks who would care for the sick. Nothing was known of infection & many died from shock & blood loss.

It has to be said that most of the potions caused vomiting & purging. The ‘cure’ was often more deadly than the disease. The Greeks were known to use enemas to cure disease.

In the time of Leonardo da Vinci the Pope allowed dissection of the dead & the artistic skills of da Vinci displayed the most accurate details of the body, from which the understanding of Anatomy & Physiology comes. It is said that they match the accuracy of MRI scans today.

It was not until 1858 that any recognised medical training was available at Oxford & Cambridge Edinburgh. & Doctors were registered & took the Oath of Hippocrates.

In the 17c Culpepper’s treatments were herbal & astrological & Cocaine, Opium & Alcohol were used. Some quacks trained to be an Apothecary leading to the registered chemist & pharmacist of today.

Infection was being understood & medical practise moved to what it is today.

So we must be thankful for the modern Doctors & drugs. We can only wonder what the future will hold It is already understood that in the not too distant future a patients treatment & drugs will be ‘tailored ‘ specifically for him only. Questions followed a very interesting talk.

The April meeting is by Brian Jones, the last he will give as he is retiring. His talk will be Me & My Family Tree.

Barbara Holmes
April 2014    
May 2014    
June 2014    
July 2014    
Sep 2014    
Oct 2014    
Nov 2014    
Dec 2014    

Last Updated on: 31 March, 2014

Copyright © 2002- . Fenland Family History Society - www.fenlandfhs.org.uk. Website design - Selvi Ltd