The Pageant’s Progress

It has been very pleasing to receive contact from others who have discovered that someone they may have further knowledge about, or who might have been a family member, took part in the Sherborne Pageant of 1905. Any discoveries, however small, are often met with wonder or surprise as a little chink of light is thrown onto someone from long ago and a photo is often the key. Many of the old photos can be seen in the Sherborne School Archive Flickr collection. There is absolutely nothing like a photo for bringing all sorts of thoughts and questions to mind, and with the help of others, we have now been able to augment our list of participants with new information, and upload more biographical profiles to the Sherborne Pageant page on our website.

We now know, thanks to Ian Swatridge (whose grandfather and great grandfather were both, at one time, serving policemen at Sherborne), a little more about the police presence. With 30,000 people attending the Pageant from all over, there was some fear and trepidation in the town that there might be unruly behaviour and around 70 members of the local constabulary were drafted in. In fact, as Ian pointed out, this number of men would probably have been the entire Dorset police force at the time.

Pageant police

Eight members of the local police force being drilled in the background during rehearsals

A water pipe in Uploders with the initials H. B. N. led Helen Doble to reveal much about Captain Hugh Blomfield Nicholson of Loders House.


Clare Reeves has also helped us learn a little more about two of the young female members of the maypole dancing team – sisters Hilda and May Handover.

Episode 11, Maypole Dancers, girls (by J Benjamin Stone) 007

12 of 16 female members of the Maypole Dancers. Photograph by J Benjamin Stone

Please keep these contributions coming and help carry this very worthwhile project forward. You can see, or download, a list of the known participants on our Pageant page, and also browse the list of profiles written so far, and download any that are of interest.

I should like to thank Bob Barber, the editor, for publishing a series of the profiles in the current editions of the Greenwood Tree. 

Barbara Elsmore 16 August 2017

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Copyright and family history

Many family historians regularly post online, or circulate on social media, images of themselves and their families and, on the whole, these will probably not fall foul of copyright or intellectual property laws, since they are likely to have been taken by family members who are the legal copyright holders, and who would, even if they should be unaware of the posting, not object to them being used. Copyright is, however, a very tricky subject and there are grey areas, where some guidance might be helpful: there is a lot of confusion about what copyright is, and how it should be interpreted.

One caveat, I am not a copyright lawyer and all this is only my own understanding of how copyright works so please do click on the links and check for yourself!

The legal position in the UK is well explained on this government website but basically copyright in a photograph or written piece of work lasts for the lifetime of the holder plus (since 1995) 70 years after their death. The copyright holder is usually the person who created the work, (eg: the photographer) or it could be the person who commissioned the work (for example, a bride’s father who paid for the wedding photographs, or a company for which the photographer worked).

One common misunderstanding is to assume that ownership of an image grants you the copyright. It does not. For example, a photograph of you as a baby taken by your father in 1960 is his copyright and, in theory, you would need his permission to use it, and so will your children and grandchildren, etc., until 70 years have elapsed since he died. So if your father died in 2000, the image remains ‘in copyright’ until 2070, and you should, theoretically, ask for the permission of his heir(s) to use it.

Updated 11.8.2017. Many people assume that ‘old’ photographs must be ‘out of copyright’, but this is a complex issue and whether or not an ‘old’ photograph is still in copyright depends on several factors. There is a good guide here.

You should always make every effort to trace the copyright owner of a photograph but this may not be possible and it would be as well then to add something to say that you have tried to find out who owns the copyright but without success, promising to credit the image correctly if the copyright owner is made known to you.

There is also no such thing as a ‘perpetual copyright’. When the copyright in a photograph or written work is owned by a company or other institution, copyright protection still ceases 70 years after the creator’s death, even if the institution is still ‘alive’. There is, in the UK, one exception: the writer J M Barrie bequeathed the copyright of Peter Pan to Great Ormond Street Hospital and over the years copyright fees benefited the hospital. Barrie died in 1937 so (since copyright then lasted 50 years after death, not the present 70) when this expired in 1987, legislation (part of the Copyright, Designs and Patent Act 1988) granted the hospital a perpetual exemption.

There is a common misconception that if an image is already available online it can be copied and reproduced with impunity but this is not true, so if you are copying an image to use on your own website, circulate via social media, or include in a presentation or publication, you should always check the conditions on the source website. Sometimes people will be happy for you to reproduce their images provided you credit them correctly but many photographers and commercial organisations will only allow you to use their images on payment of fees. If an image is labelled ‘creative commons’ or ‘in the public domain’ then you should be free to use it, but do check on any acknowledgements that are required.

Another area where family historians need to be careful is in the use of images downloaded from sites such as Ancestry and FindMyPast. Their ‘fair usage’ guidelines allow you to use the images for research purposes but their ‘terms and conditions’ preclude wider, or commercial, use, without getting permission from the copyright holders. With many of the datasets that they offer to subscribers, these companies do not themselves own the copyright which belongs to whoever originally transcribed the data – often a local Family History Society – and it is the permission of the copyright holder which needs to be sought for anything other than personal use. If in doubt check out the ‘terms and conditions’ of the site concerned:


All of this may seem very daunting and lead you to believe you can never reproduce any images, anywhere. Fortunately for family historians, there is the matter of ‘fair usage’ which allows images to be used for non-profit research purposes, and there is an excellent chart which will guide you through the intricacies of this.

Basically if you always check the source of an image to find out if it is in copyright, apply your common sense when you can’t find this out, and don’t use images freely for commercial purposes, then you should not need to worry, but it is important to be aware that ‘copyright’ does exist and you should not assume that because an image is, apparently, freely available online, it can be copied and used without, at the very least, proper acknowledgement, and, sometimes, paying a fee.

Patricia Spencer – 9 August 2017


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Recent Update to Family Tree Maker 

Family Tree Maker

Well I have finally done it – I have downloaded Family Tree Maker 2017 and I am very happy about it. Why did this become such a big deal for FTM long term users like me? As I described in my previous post, it was because all our hard work over many years of painstaking research together with some of the easy to use features of FTM were being affected by changing technology. No longer could we buy ourselves a disk, for a fairly modest price, download it onto our computers and go about the business of making our own discoveries while feeling in control. I was enjoying building my tree and was pleased and proud of the result. But as we are discovering technology does not allow us to remain in the same place for long these days. One benefit of this for me was when the iPad, which I was growing increasingly fond of, produced a means of travelling around with an easily portable version of my family tree with quick access anywhere there was a wifi connection. This meant a subscription to Ancestry and they would do the rest. What fun and how useful. Down to the SDFHS Family History Centre, discover a new fact, tap it into the version of Family Tree Maker on my iPad and when I got home again I opened up my computer pressed the magic ‘sync’ button and, hey presto, the fact I had gleaned at the Family History Centre appeared on the desktop computer version. Then came the dawning realisation that Ancestry were no longer going to support the ‘syncing’ process and we had a year or so before this was going to happen. Along with this lack of support came the understanding that they were really jettisoning the whole program as without technological updates and support, these days, an old program cannot go on forever before it crashes and we lose years and years of painstaking work.

An example of what can happen if we do not keep up is the recent hacking of NHS computers through old computers still using Windows XP despite warnings that Microsoft would be withdrawing support.

So what were the long term effects going to be for FTM users when Ancestry would no longer be offering support? It was tempting to react like the ostrich and choose to bury our heads in the sand or just give up on our trees and all that work as it was deemed far too difficult, or too late to tackle, the goings-on and apparent complications of technology. Because I had a growing awareness of what all this new style portable technology could do for us I stuck at it. First of all I found an alternative program run by a British company with its own ‘syncing’ process I purchased a copy and I have it at the ready. I did not immediately take to it, no-one really likes this much change, but it is there should I need it and I will not ‘lose’ my tree should the final crunch come.

Luckily a  company called The Software MacKiev Company stepped in and appeared to be working tirelessly towards taking over all responsibility for FTM. I followed what was happening via their online newsletter and they kept me informed of the changes. In order to keep up we needed to get FTM 2014 installed on our computers. Then came a download to 2014.1. I was so nervous about doing this alone that I got help from a contact. All the while I continued working on my desktop version and my iPad version  syncing the two via Ancestry. Ancestry threatened to pull the plug in December last year but this deadline came and went and another deadline loomed for March. MacKiev were working away in the background and promised to meet Ancestry’s second deadline. Sadly they failed and all links between our desktop version and on-line version were lost when the syncing process was ‘turned off’ by Ancestry in late March. At the same time  we received notification from MacKiev that we would need another update and that we could have it at a special price. Not having any idea at all about what technical machinations might be taking place at MacKiev I  sat at my computer pondering over having more money to shell out but decided there was no option and paid up. Expecting an instant download and everything to be fine I was surprised when this did not happen. I continued adding to both in the hope that one day they would be re-attached. As I did not know of anyone else, other than me, syncing to my iPad app, I had no-one to talk this over with but with reassurances coming from other informed outside interests, that all would be well, I continued to update my tree via the desktop and iPad hoping one day that everything would come together.

Last weekend the download came through and I sat at my computer, took a deep breath and tackled it. It seemed fairly straight forward. It was during this process that I discovered how MacKiev will make money in the future and that is by offering us additional packages – like the ability to write story books and create picture books. Now I for one am quite happy about this as with a secure family tree it could well be that in the future I will want to dip a toe into something more, but the difference will be it will be my choice and under my control. The thing I have learned over this is that we should not allow ourselves to become beholden to big money-making organisations like Ancestry for the safekeeping of our family trees – if we want to keep our trees in a computer program we should endeavour to have complete autonomy over the process and not allow the vagaries of the market place to throw it into jeopardy – which is, I know, far easier said than done!

I am sorry this blog is so long – I have much to share with anyone interested in this as in the process I found some exciting and useful ways in which I could supplement my family tree on my desktop in my office, with what I could discover downstairs on my sofa via my iPad, and I will share some of these with you as time goes by. I can now also, if I wish, say ‘farewell’ to Ancestry as I have found other ways to enjoy the benefits of portable technology.

Barbara Elsmore 27 July 2017


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Intriguing Photographs (1) – Some Answers

Branksea Castle

Building with stoneware (2)

My thanks to Gareth for coming up with an answer to my query so promptly and pointing out that the castle in question is on Brownsea Island, in Poole Harbour, and known as Branksome Castle. The two photographs above are taken from the same angle. Brownsea Island is now owned by the National Trust and Branksome Castle is leased to the John Lewis partnership and is used as ‘a corporate hotel by their employees’. Brownsea Island has a very interesting history and more can be found on the National Trust website.

men with stoneware (2)The house in the background to the men standing by the Italian wellhead is The Villa built originally as The Rectory, and also on Brownsea Island. The  Italian sculpture was probably collected by the Hon. George Cavendish-Bentinck MP, owner of the island from the 1870s until his death in 1891. During his tenure he  concentrated on improving agriculture introducing Pedigree Guernsey and Jersey cows and arable crops. His memorial, outside the church, is an Italian wellhead very similar to the one the men are seen with in the photo.


I believe our photographs were taken after the death of Cavendish-Bentinck as I have found a later photo dated 1891, via the Francis Frith Collection, which I cannot reproduce here due to copyright but can be seen here.

The island was sold to Maj Kenneth Balfour, another MP, but during his time there was a disastrous fire, followed by rebuilding, eventually leading to the sale. According to the National Trust website ‘In 1901 the well-connected van Raalte family bought Brownsea as their country retreat. The island entered a period of unparalleled prosperity and grandeur’. I think that these photographs may have been taken during the van Raalte family’s tenure. The Francis Frith photo of the villa held the key for me as in 1891 the hedge that has grown up along the front of the house in my photo is not there and a narrow terrace, with a wall along the front of the house, is visible. There are also some rustic looking fencing posts along the pathway which appear to be long gone by the time of my photo. The dress of the men is hard to date but another photo, grouped with the two photos in the original album, may have had a connection and may possibly even have been taken on the same day. They show a young woman with a boy and their style of dress looks to be appropriate to around 1910.

Mother and son c1910

The NT website explains  Those who were brought up on Brownsea in the early years of the 20th-century remember it as an idyllic time’.  Like many country estates WW1 ended this Edwardian idyll when many went away and six men of the island were killed. These men were originally commemorated on a now lost memorial near the statue of St Christopher on the Quay. A new memorial, in the Remembrance Garden at St Nicholas, Studland, was dedicated on Remembrance Sunday, 13 November 2016, and includes the six men of Brownsea Island.

Memorial to WW1

The estate was sold in 1927 when the new owner, in effect,  pulled up the drawbridge and the people left, abandoning the estate to wildlife which has since flourished.

Barbara Elsmore 4 July, 2017

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Intriguing Photographs (- first in series)


We cannot help but be intrigued by mystery photographs. They may be of people staring out at us from long ago or they could be of buildings or locations now completely unknown to us. I would like to challenge you with two photographs found in one of those lovely old Victorian albums which, if we are very lucky, are found to exist somewhere in our family. The album belonged to my great, grand aunt Ada Collings born in Nether Compton in 1869 and I have reason to believe it was a gift, possibly from her parents, on her 21st birthday as her mother had also collected a set of photos and housed them in a very similar album. Each of these albums are now held with two of my cousins and will be treasured and passed on down through the generations. I have been in the privileged position of being able to borrow both albums and attempt a very rudimentary analysis of each photograph and by comparing other photos of the same people and by checking who the photographer was and where and when he was operating it becomes possible to make some positive identifications and some possible ones for future research.

Now here are the two photos that are intriguing me and that you may be able to help with. They sit closely together in the album and were very likely taken on the same day. The first shows a group of men standing around what I think may be an Italian wellhead – the sort of thing that might have been brought back by someone from the grand tour.

men with stoneware (2)

Have the seven men been getting this enormously heavy object into position or are they just gathered here for a photo of the estate workers? The man on the right has something in his hand. Is this something to do with his trade? It looks rather like a whetstone for sharpening or maybe a dibber for marking or planting out. There are planks of timber and tools lying around.

Building with stoneware (2)

In the second photo, which could be the main house, there is another wellhead and a column and further piece of decorative stoneware.

21st Birthday card from Alfred to Ada Bicknell

Ada Collings married Alfred Bicknell when she was 24 and they spent their married life together in Limington in Somerset. The card above, which takes pride of place in the album, was a gift to Ada from Alfred on her 21st birthday. The album contains lots of photos from both sides of the family who lived and worked all over Somerset and Dorset, mostly employed as builders, carpenters and stonemasons.

Can you help? Do you have any intriguing photos to share?

Barbara Elsmore    June 2017

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The Greenwood Tree – June 2017

The June issue of The Greenwood Tree will be appearing shortly and is due to be posted to all 2017 Members this week. It can also be viewed and/or downloaded as a PDF file in the Members’ Area of our website.

As we did in the March issue, we have preserved the colour content in the digital version, so it’s well worth having a look on-line.


An example of one of the full-colour pages of the June issue.



In addition to the usual wide range of articles, this issue contains details (yellow page i, and p.61) of the Society’s annual Open Day, including the Annual General Meeting, which this year is being organised by our Taunton Group, and will be held in Cheddon Fitzpaine Village Hall on Saturday 23 September (9.30am-4.00pm).

Cheddon Fitzpaine Village Hall.


Full details of the programme for the Day, with a booking-form for lunch, are being circulated with the June issue of The Greenwood Tree. They can also be found on our website. The Agenda for the AGM and summary Accounts for 2016 will be circulated to SDFHS Members with the September issue of The Greenwood Tree.

Bob Barber – 30 May 2017

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Creating and printing your own personalised family tree

Family Tree 300dpi

I fell into using a desktop publishing package quite by chance. In the village in which I was living a skilled resident had taken the local parish council newsletter, sent three times a year to all residents, and the parish church news, distributed six times a year, to church parishioners, and turned them into very satisfactory publications from the cutting and pasting of paper and photocopying that had been done before. He liaised with a helpful local printing company and the results were much appreciated by all. Then he came to leave the village. Who could take over? Who had the skills? I certainly didn’t but I was interested and stuck my head above the parapet and so with very little ceremony both jobs were passed to me. I purchased a copy of Microsoft Publisher, the parish council sent me on a morning’s training course, and with a couple of hours one-to-one training from the instigator of the two publications I was then on my own. A very steep learning curve followed. I took the whole thing fairly slowly, one step at a time. The parish newsletter was the easier of the two publications being four sheets of A4 printed onto two sides of A3 and folded down the middle. I had to get used to typing everything into text boxes which could then be moved anywhere on the page. I would turn these pages into a PDF put them onto a disk and deliver the disk to the printer. Back would come over a thousand professional looking copies and I was thrilled to bits.

The church magazine was more complicated as this was a 36 page A5 booklet with a card cover. I also received content in all sorts of formats which I had to juggle with. This was the publication that had me tearing my hair out at times but I just had to get on with it and so I became pretty reasonable, in the end, at getting Publisher to do what I wanted it to do. It is funny when you start out often as not the software package is in charge of the operator but gradually the tables turn and eventually I got the upper hand and I became very much in control of Publisher and now I just love what it can do for me.

Being interested in family history story telling I soon realised that the four page newsletter could become an eight page story about my family and so I created my first simple publication, which actually ran to 12 pages in the end, and I had half a dozen folded and stapled copies produced by the helpful printer, using black and white photographs. What an achievement – I was very pleased. Given the advances made since then both by me and by the easy availability of printing generally this all looks rather primitive now but I had made a start.

Now we fast forward several years and I have now moved and left behind the two publications that got me started and now I use Publisher for many things and I turned my attention to creating a family tree that I could distribute to members of the family. I wanted something a bit meaningful to those who may not have any preconceived ideas of what a family tree should look like and at the same time I wanted to show younger members how their family name travels back in time, show them a few photographs on the way to aid their understanding and perhaps interest them in family history. At the top of this article you will see the result. This was produced, I have to admit, over a period of some considerable time as an A3 publication. I then sent it to a well known printing company in the Midlands and they turned it from A3 into A2 and I had five copies made to distribute. At the same time I had one special copy produced as a fine art print, using archival paper and ink, by Jayson Hutchins of Old Barn Framing Gallery in Sherborne, which I have had framed and is hanging on my wall. I am very pleased with these results.

If you would like to give it a go and create your own very personal family tree, you will find a PDF giving details of how I went about this on our website.

If anyone has found other methods of creating and printing their own family trees we would love to hear about it from you – please make contact via

Barbara Elsmore

May 2017

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