By Pam Marsden
THE sun was shining on us in more ways than one on Tuesday, September 21, when Stokes Bay WI members reverted to ‘live’ meetings at St Mary’s Parish Centre, Alverstoke, after 18 months.
As Stokes Bay WI President Angela MacCallum said: “You could just tell from the room full of smiling faces how pleased everyone was to be meeting up again and to see old friends.
“We had a great speaker and there was plenty of happy chatting afterwards as we made future plans.”
This was a repeat visit for our speaker, Dr Frances Hurd, who was invited back this time for her intriguing talk on ‘Secrets and Lies: adventures in other people’s family history’.
She had an audience of members who were riveted to the stories she told and the skeletons she produced from the cupboard!
Frances is an historical researcher bringing to those at the meeting some extraordinary and poignant stories uncovered while researching for her clients.
We heard about incest, murder, illegitimacy, suicide and how some folk in the past (and maybe to the present day) slightly rewrote history to make their family story more palatable.
Fake details to join-up early during the war, ‘accidentally’ missing off relevant details on marriage certificates to become more respectable with contradictory evidence from various Census records, it all helped to make our morning absolutely fascinating.
So, are any Stokes Bay WI members of noble birth or perhaps have links in their background to slavery? You can be assured more than a few will be taking a keen interest in their family history as a result of this fascinating talk.
BONING UP: Joyce Neville, of Stokes Bay WI, inspects old certificates to check for skeletons and interesting history