A member of The Federation of Family History Societies
St James' Church, Haslingden
St John's Church, Bacup
St Mary's, Church Rawtenstall


Rossendale Branch Newsletter June 1999

Did you miss....

Ken Inman's talk on "The Scheme to bring Poor Law Migrants to Lancashire, 1835-1837". Ken gave us the social and economic background to this scheme. He explained the factors which lead to poverty and starvation amongst the agricultural workers of East Anglia and how eventually they were persuaded to move north, to find jobs in the expanding cotton manufactories. Ken has researched the histories of more than 4000 of these migrants. He has charts showing their places of origin and the mills throughout Lancashire to which they were assigned. This was a fascinating talk on a subject that was new to most of us. In August Ken will tell us what happened to the migrants after they arrived here. In particular, he will discuss the families who came to the Rossendale area.


There were few representatives from the Rossendale Group at this year's conference and AGM. In all, there were about 78 members at the venue in Preston. We are still trying to find someone to take over from the Treasurer Jim Topping next year. Jim, who is now in his 70s feels that he has had enough. The Chairman, Terry Walsh, has new commitments. He would like to find someone to act as Vice Chairman, with a view to taking over next year. Terry feels that the Society needs new blood, someone with fresh ideas and enthusiasm. In a society with 2500 members, there must be someone who could undertake this role. We now have a new Membership Secretary, Vicky Barlow has taken over from Ted Palentine in this post.

The Chairman's Report

The Chairman stated in his report that our priorities during the coming year were to establish a Research Centre and HQ, to put all our completed projects onto microfiche, to produce more census indexes, to improve our internet services, to review the pedigree referral index, and to establish payment for services by credit card.

The Society's Administrative HQ and Library facilities.

Our bid to obtain a shop in Blackburn Cathedral Precincts seems to have fallen through. The arrangements with Blackburn Reference Library are going ahead. The books from our library at Mellor are being sent to Blackburn where they will be in storage until the alterations to the library premises are complete. We expect to be up and running within 3 months. At that time we will welcome any offers to help with the research facilities.

Computer Group

Ron Chapman of the Chorley Computer Group is researching ways and means of computerising and making more generally available information from the Referral Index which is presently held on cards by Winifred Rohmann.

Coming Events. Talks, Conferences, Exhibitions.

Saturday 26 June Yorkshire FH Fair, Knavesmere Stand, York Racecourse.

Volunteers needed to help on the book stall. We will have four tables this year.

Saturday 3 July Family History Fair. SW Group of Family History Societies 10.00 am to 4.00pm at the Winter Gardens, Royal Parade, Weston Super Mare.

Sunday 4 July East Anglian FH Fair at Needham Market.

Friday 15 October. The LFH&HS's annual dinner will this year be hosted by the Lancaster and Morecambe Group. A special evening of "Lancashire fare" will be held at the Clarendon Hotel, Marine Road West, Morecambe.

The after dinner speaker will be Ian Dewhurst. This event costs only £10. It is worth that amount alone just to hear Ian Dewhurst speak! I am told that on this particular evening "clogs, shawls, waistcoats and flat caps will certainly not be out of place."

Saturday 30 October 1999 NW Group Family History Fair (sometimes known as the Stockport Fair) will this year be held at the Guild Hall, Preston.

Rossendale Ancestry.

1. David McGraw in Freshwater Florida, is descended from James Thomas McGrath who emigrated to the USA in 1898. His gravestone gave his place of birth as Crawshawbooth. I have some information on this family but would like to know of any members of the family still in the area. James Thomas had an uncle Michael McGrath who was living in Crawshawbooth from 1869 onwards. Michael had several children, Thomas, James H., Jane H., Daniel, Rachel. Mary A., William and Marshall. A member of my family remembers a Mr McGrath using the chemist's shop in the village in the early 1940s.

2. Mrs Barbara Oldroyd of New Milton Hants is seeing information on Margaret Brown born Ayreshire in 1866. She is believed to have resided at Stacksteads. She was buried at Bacup on 6th May 1939. Her mother Mary Brown may have joined her daughter in Stacksteads. There is a burial in the March quarter 1925 (Haslingden Reg, area) of Mary Brown aged 88. This is one for Michael, I think.

Rossendale Ancestry Directory

I am proposing to compile a directory of names being researched in Rossendale. I recently did some work for an enquirer on the name "Heap", only to find that Wilf Day had an interest in that name. Similarly, I had quite a lot of material on a name which Wilf had been asked to research. To avoid this sort of occurrence, I would like you to let me details of your name interests. The names should be restricted to persons who have lived in Rossendale at some time in their lives. You must be willing to let me store the information on computer and be willing to reply to any enquiries you might receive. More on this next month.

LDS Records

The Mormons have placed 400 million records on the internet. Access to this material is free on www.family search.org This is expected to be one of the most visited sites on the net. The 1881 census of England Wales and Scotland is now available on 25 CDs at the remarkable price of £29.75 including delivery from the LDS Church Distribution Centre, 399 Garretts Green Lane, Sheldon, Birmingham B33 OUH. I have been authorised to purchase one for each of our branches. In addition, I have ordered copies of the Vital Records Index which I reviewed in February.