The Society meets at 19:00 on the fourth Thursday of each month (except August and December) at Wisbech Library 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 year's meetings is available. Book Stall and Reference Library plus refreshment available at the meeting.

Our meetings start with tea/coffee & biscuits, exchange of news and information, plus on-line research for anyone wishing to further their family history please bring your notes with you, experienced researchers are on hand to assist if required.

Current Meeting Programme



January 2018
'A Good Send Off ’
Anne Barnes

February 2018
'The History of a House’
Judy Green

March 2018
'Life in WW2'
Bridget Holmes

April 2018
'Research Resources with a difference. While researching for my great great grandfather Donald SMITH'
Bridget Hunter

May 2018
'Burgess Square to Knightsbridge. The story of William Henry Worlding Society Wedding Photographer'
Janet O'Regan

Fen;and FHS on Facebook

Our meetings and sessions are all back for 2016, offering help to anyone researching their family history. We welcome new members no matter where your family comes from. Our Research Sessions are open to members and newcomers alike. We have an exciting programme of interesting speakers booked for the whole year ahead. We have already taken bookings to take our Interesting Information Displays to various events and venues to give an added interest to the events. We are also taking bookings to attend groups as guest speaker.

If you would like us to attend one of your events please get in touch.

COMPUTER RESEARCH SESSIONS. Our team of experienced researchers will be in Wisbech Library on the first Tuesday of each month. They offer help with family research to anyone attending. Using all the Library facilities including two subscription programmes for FREE. If you bring your laptop they will show you how to do your own research, or they will use their own laptops and do your research with you. We are there from 10 – 12 noon. A small team of researchers are in Wyevale Garden Centre Crowland on the second Tuesday of each month from 11 – 3 p.m. offering help with your family research. Both sessions are FREE. Everyone welcome.

FAMILY HISTORY MEETINGS our January meeting speaker was Susanah FARMER her subject was ‘Back to Basics’. We were able to refresh our memories and in some cases learn new ways of researching our family histories. Our next meeting on Thursday 25th February will be ‘Military Research’ led by Jonathan FARMER as our guest speaker. On Thursday 25th March the subject is ‘Illustrating Your Family History’ we look forward to learning new ways of displaying our Family History when our guest speaker Audrie READ will show various ways including Scrapbook records. She will bring a supply of material should anyone wish to purchase items. Everyone welcome to attend our meetings held on fourth Thursday of each month in St Peter Church Hall Wisbech from 7 – 9 p.m. Members free. Non-members a £2. For further information on any of the above please call 01945 587723

Summaries of Past Meetings

January 2018

'A good send-off’ - Anne Barnes

This was to be Anne’s final talk as she is putting away her notes and retiring from the speaking circuit. She assured us that the talk would not be morbid despite being about funerals. Anne then went on to talk about burial and funeral customs in this country from the middle ages onwards; at all stages of the talk she used examples to illustrate the points she was making and many of the examples were local.

This was a very detailed and interesting talk that explained some of the customs that we are still familiar with today. The talk also pointed out the contrast between death today which is often in hospital and away from the family and in the past where a “deathbed” was an occasion that all close family members would be present at. The aim was that a person should have a “good death” and once dead the body would not be left alone until buried. “Medicalisation” of death has only really come about since the twentieth century; in the nineteenth century the North Cambs Hospital in Wisbech would not admit patients who were “apprehended to be dying”.

Anne also outlined changing customs with regard to mourning clothes which indicated that someone was bereaved whereas now many people do not even where black to a funeral. Funerals themselves in the past were church affairs; initially there would have been a parish coffin which was only used until the corpse was buried in its shroud (individual coffins were the preserve of the wealthy from the seventeenth century onwards); families were responsible for organising a funeral and it was only from the seventeenth century that undertakers began to be employed to organise a funeral; in many areas even as late as the mid twentieth century women were not expected to attend. From the late Victorian era cremation became more common and there are now many more non- religious options for funerals.

The audience thoroughly enjoyed Anne’s talk and it sparked lots of questions and comments.

[Malcolm Bailey]

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