Family Tree Maker and the Ancestry App

iPad screen

The view of a family tree on the App on an iPad

It was two years ago in February 2016 that I wrote my first blog while trying to understand what was going on between Ancestry and the software Family Tree Maker that I had been using successfully on my desktop computer for some years. I am one of those who uses a program on a computer without any idea about what is going on behind the scenes to keep that software up-to-date and working properly. Added to this I had discovered the joys of carrying around with me, on an iPad, my family tree so that when visiting other members of the family I could easily show them how they fitted into my tree. To recap – to carry the app around on my iPad meant a subscription to Ancestry so that via FTM I uploaded my tree to Ancestry, kept it private, and then viewed it via the iPad app. I could then synch additions made on FTM via Ancestry to the iPad and vice versa. After a while, and disappointingly, the app on the iPad no longer carried the notes that I had made for many individuals in my tree via FTM. I consider, like many, that the ability to attach notes is vital when it comes to turning the genealogy associated with the creation of a family tree into actual family history as this is where anything at all can be written down in as many words as it takes and added via ‘notes’. To cut a long story short having my tree secure once again on my desktop was the important outcome when The Software MacKeiv Company took over FTM and after a bit of a ‘stop start’ it was linked to Ancestry once more and the iPad app and the synching process resumed.

Then came the need to renew my subscription to Ancestry. What should I do? It was going to cost me around £240 a year to continue with it when Findmypast beckoned with its various offers and, after all, I had decided that having a securely held and backed-up tree, under my control, on my desktop was the most important thing to me now. So I cancelled my subscription to Ancestry. I had no idea what would happen to the app and in my ignorance I thought it would just ‘disappear’ over night. Imagine my surprise when it seemed to still all be intact but if I wanted to actually view a hint or make a search it would give me the message to join Ancestry in order to go further. To say I was puzzled is an understatement and so I turned once again to Alan Brown, with his vast experience of all things computerised, who explained the position to me.

Alan states: You are right in that the Tree on your pad is coming from Ancestry’s web site. I checked with them to see what happens when you cancel a subscription and they came up with the following:

“Unless you delete them, any trees you’ve created in your account will remain on the site whether or not you have a subscription. As a registered guest, you’ll be able to do the following with your tree:

  • Add and remove people and photos
  • Add, delete, and edit names, dates, and other facts
  • Manage your tree settings
  • Invite friends and family to view your tree
  • See if you have new hints

We don’t delete family trees, but you can delete trees you’ve created at any time. Before deleting a tree from your account, you may want to save a copy of it by downloading the tree to your computer in the form of a GEDCOM file.

You will not be able to do the following:

View records attached to your tree (unless you uploaded them yourself or they’re from free databases). However, any records or media that you’ve downloaded to your computer will still be available to you after your subscription ends.

View hints, or attach hints to your tree”

Alan again: So basically you can continue to access and update your tree, but not add anything to it that comes from Ancestry itself.

From this I concluded that I actually now have the best of both worlds as anything new has to be added to Family Tree Maker and to the app separately and I can search for new information from any source of my choosing rather than being tied to Ancestry via an expensive annual subscription. I am assuming that Ancestry will continue to hold my tree as there is a chance, of course, that I will want to renew my subscription with them at some time in the future.

Barbara Elsmore February 2018

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Britain’s Post War Homes


Did you enjoy the recent BBC2 programme ‘A House Through Time’?

In the last episode Deborah Sugg Ryan showed the Book of Britain’s Post-War Homes and this sent me scurrying upstairs as I have a copy of this book tucked away. I found it in my grandfather’s house when it had to be cleared in 1974 and I think my father, who was associated with the building trade, probably gave it to my grandfather when he was involved with the building of Nether Compton’s first council houses in the late 1940s.

This book makes very interesting reading. The Ideal Home Exhibition, which was started in 1907, was not taking place during the Second World War and in the midst of the loss of many homes, due to the bombing, and with overcrowding rife throughout the country, it was decided to set about finding out what women would like to see built when the war was over and things started to return to normal. Although the results of the survey were published in 1944 clearly women were being consulted over the previous two years or so. There were a few sweeping statements that would not be credible these days such as ‘Men have always considered that the designing and building of the domestic dwelling was a man’s job’ and ‘Women have not taken any interest in the construction of a house nor have they taken the trouble to find out how or if the drains work until faced with the difficulty of coping with them when something went wrong’ and ‘having had little to do with the building of a house however, it is not to say she will have been unconscious of its failings as many a husband can testify’. Through various organisations such as the WI, the Townswomen’s Guild and others it was estimated that some 4,500,000 women were invited to take part in the survey. The results revealed that indeed women were interested in their homes, how they were built and how they would be lived in, and they answered the questions posed in sufficient numbers to prove statistically  to the town planners and to the building industry what exactly their basic needs for new housing would be,after the war was over.  The request was really quite simple on paper ‘good houses equipped on up to date lines and in pleasant surroundings – as a basis for a happy healthy family life’.

First of all it was decided on what they did not want:

women don't want

Freezing pipes

Then they were offered lots of ideas for the future, many of which they did want:

Triplex grates



My parents married during the war in 1943 and I was one of the early baby boomers born after the war. I came into a house of five adults as my parents lodged with my grandparents – a not unusual situation. My father searched for accommodation of our own (I know this from correspondence I still hold) but nothing could be found in the area of greater London in which we lived. When I was three, and by some sort of miracle, my father’s company came up with a house for us and I have the happiest memories of this house as I guess the feeling of luck and of relief probably permeated my earliest memories of living there.

Our house

Me outside our house in Hollybush Lane, Tatling End

Our home was very like the two-bedroomed house shown on a plan found in the Book of Britain’s Post-War Homes except, having been built between the wars, it did not have a fuel store or a drying cupboard inside as coal was kept outside and there was a copper built into an outhouse for the washing. As soon as we moved in my dad set about building a pram store for the arrival of my younger brother and my mother had a brand new electric cooker followed, after a while, by a washing machine. We were fortunate indeed.

Plan of houses


Remember the Pre-fab? Built in their thousands all over the country


Nether Compton Houses

Two of the first council houses to be built in Nether Compton in the late 1940s

If you would like to find out more about the history of your house, or one that is of interest to you, if you can join us in Sherborne on the afternoon of Saturday 28 April – we would be very pleased to see you.

Barbara Elsmore


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Broadway House Family History Centre – Peter Street

One of the removal vans unloading at Broadway House on 1 December 2017.

As we return to ‘business as usual’ in our brand new, to us, Broadway House Family History Centre in Yeovil, we would like to mark the occasion with a piece on some aspects of the history of the street on which Broadway House is situated. This has been brought to us by Bob Osborn, the instigator and sole contributor to the remarkable website An A-Z of Yeovil’s History. We would like to thank Bob for his timely contribution and for permission to include a selection of photographs.

The draper and mercer Peter Daniell of Penn Hill owned a mansion in Middle Street that had been built by his father. This mansion stood where the rear of the WH Smith building bordering Wine Street stands today. He also owned a tract of land between Middle Street and South Street and much of the land on the east side of Grope Lane, today’s Wine Street. Until the 1830s, Grope Lane was the only direct access wide enough to allow a cart to travel from High Street, the Borough and Middle Street to South Street.

In the late 1820s or early 1830s, Peter Daniell planned and built an extension to Grope Lane which became Union Street. The entrance to Union Street from Middle Street was originally very much narrower than today’s road width. The lower part of Grope Lane, called Wine Street from the 1840s, remained named as such until at least the late 1870s before becoming the southern half of Union Street.

Daniell built Bond Street to connect Middle Street with South Street, possibly as early as 1824 when, in its edition of 11 October, the Western Flying Post reported that a workman “was buried by a fall of masonry in New Street, Yeovil”.

Finally, Peter Daniell constructed Peter Street, named after himself, to join Bond Street with Grope Lane/Union Street. The initials ‘PL PD’ and the date 1836 were formerly on one of the original houses in the street and the Town Commissioners’ Minutes of 1835 refer to the “new street called Peter Street”. However, an indenture dated 7 November 1836, now in the Taunton Heritage Centre, refers to “Saint Peter’s Street, leading from Wine Street to Bond Street” although other documents of the time referred only to Peter Street, so this is probably a mistake.

The 1842 Tithe Map and the 1846 Tithe Apportionment show that the terrace of houses on the northern side of Peter Street had been built by this time. These houses were owned by the wealthy glove manufacturer Thomas Dampier (after whom Dampier Street is named) and the tenant was the equally-affluent glove manufacturer William Bide Jnr (later Mayor of Yeovil), who almost certainly sub-let the houses to his workers. The two three-storey buildings that survive on the northeast corner of Peter Street and Union Street were built around 1880 (they don’t appear on maps until after 1900, but are shown on a photograph of 1881).

Trinity House, on the south side of Peter Street, was also built by this time but was the only building on the south side of Peter Street, the remainder being gardens. Trinity House – a nice example of domestic Regency architecture – is one of the few remaining original buildings in Peter Street. It was built in the Regency style and displays ‘marginal lights’ in the first-floor windows – a typically Regency feature. During the 1860s Trinity House was Mrs Wilson’s Boarding and Day School.

In the 1840s there was a building on the southeast corner of Union Street and Peter Street although this would have fronted onto Union Street. This building was replaced by a much larger building during the 1850s. This new building, with a crenellated parapet, projected into Union Street, significantly reducing the width of the road. Its garden ran along Peter Street and, with outbuildings, stretched as far as Trinity House. It was the home of ironmonger and Mayor of Yeovil, Henry Stiby who, together with his mother, lived there for more than twenty years before moving to The Park. By 1927 the large building had been demolished and the site cleared. The site remained clear until after the Second World War when the present run of buildings from Union Street to Trinity House was built.

The Peter Street Millennium Plaque is set, somewhat ignominiously, very low down on a dwarf wall by the car park exit and commemorates Thomas Hardy who stayed in 7 Peter Street between March and May 1876 as he was preparing to write ‘The Return of the Native’. The northern terrace was demolished in the 1970s and the site is now a car park.

At the eastern end of Peter Street, on the south side and next to Trinity House, is the Church of the Holy Trinity erected by Benjamin Ferrey, the diocesan architect, in 1846. Congregations declined and in the 1980s plans were set in place to relocate the church to Lysander Road. The new church was completed in 1998. The original church, once declared redundant, was converted by Knightstone Housing Association to Yeovil Trinity Foyer in 1996 to provide accommodation and training to young people aged between 16 and 24 years old. This facility has recently closed.

Peter Street 1 - the great snow 1881

This photograph shows Peter Street seen from Union Street during the ‘Great Snow’ of 1881. At left are the two surviving houses on the north side of Peter Street. At right is the house of Henry Stiby with its crenellated parapet. Stiby, a keen amateur photographer, almost certainly took this photograph.

Peter Street 2 - from Bond Street 1968

Photographed in 1968, Peter Street runs off to the left and Bond Street to the right. The corner house is now the shop ‘Sports of Bond Street’

Peter Street 3 - 1968

The north side of Peter Street photographed in 1968. All these houses except that at extreme left were demolished and the area is now a car park

Peter Street 4 - 1970s

Peter Street photographed in the 1970s from the Union Street (western) end

Peter Street 5 - 2015

Peter Street is seen from Union Street in 2015. The main building of this photograph, built after the Second World War, was constructed on the site of the crenellated building in the first photograph above. Broadway House, the Society’s new home, is marked, on this photograph, by the estate agent’s letting board!

Bob Osborn

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A Family History Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree close up 1

Our late friend and fellow volunteer, at the former Family History Centre in Sherborne, Eileen Holloway had signed herself up to the task of decorating a tree on a theme of family history in this year’s Christmas Tree Festival, in the Cheap Street Church in Sherborne, but very sadly she died before she was able to put her ideas into practice so two of her fellow volunteers set out to complete the task in her memory. Our tree would be one of more than forty trees to be decorated and put on display, for just over a week, from Saturday 2 December. This is the thirteenth year of the festival and the themes for the decorations are chosen by each of the individual sponsors of their trees. Entrance is free to view and donations can be made to this year’s charities – Friends of the Yeatman and Somerset & Dorset Air Ambulance.

Eileen set out to collect lots of old family photographs and to hang them on the tree and so this is just what we did. We decided upon a vintage look with plenty of colour. We also made some little rolls of documents to indicate how we search for old documents and we made ourselves a little sign and so we arrived to decorate our tree. We had also rustled up some 1950s baubles, from a friend, still in their Winfield box that we recognised as the trade name of long ago Woolworths.

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There was a lively atmosphere in the church with happy, bustling activity everywhere. We could see lots of smiling faces and Christmas carols were playing in the background. The first thing we decided was that our allotted tree looked a little askew and so we attempted to straighten it up which resulted in sudden catastrophe when our tree toppled over taking the next two with it – one of which was completely decorated! We decided Eileen would be looking down on us with her hands on her hips saying ‘not a good start girls’ and laughing with us. On the way there we passed a small party of children and their helpers, from Sherborne Primary School, carrying a bag of carefully prepared decorations and at one time a whole column of little ones passed through the church and we were very pleased when some of them stopped to look at the ‘old photographs’ we were hanging on our tree. As we stood back to admire our finished efforts and photograph our tree we became greatly concerned that it might topple over again and the rescue came from Mark, who was working on a neighbouring tree, who suggested we tied it to the loudspeaker bracket on the wall above our tree and he provided some festive string for the purpose so our tree is well anchored now and it isn’t going anywhere. As Mark is also a SDFHS member he wondered if his helpful suggestion might lead to a reduction in his next three year subscription!

Christmas Tree reduced

We are sure you will be looking down on your tree Eileen, and we do hope you like it and that it is up to your usual high standard of presentation.

The trees are on display from 2 to 10 December – do come in and see them if you are passing.

Cath Adam and Barbara Elsmore December 2017

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Tales of Local Railways

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A young Roger Marsh waits, with his bike, at Sherborne level crossing – photo courtesy Sherborne Museum

We were in for a treat as we assembled for two railway themed talks in the Raleigh Hall in Sherborne last Saturday. This was the first time our talks were held in this hall and while we clearly regret leaving our Family History Centre in Sherborne, it was good that this, new to us, ground floor venue turned out to be so very convenient and pleasant. With the emphasis on local history, the talks attracted many other people as well as members and we would all discover that underpinning these local subjects was the vast amount of research into the people involved, as well as the events, that are the hallmark of family history research and story telling.

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Courtesy Roger Marsh

First up was Roger Marsh with the tale of a rail disaster that occurred on 8 August 1913 at Pen Mill Station in Yeovil when a slow moving  train ran into the back of a stationary train, at a low speed, smashing the last two wooden bodied carriages. Two people died at the scene and one more passenger died a week later. Roger told how he discovered a black edged card with details of the disaster that his mother had kept for many years and when he came to search for more information locally he could find very little. This set him to dig a little deeper and by examining local newspaper reports, the coroner’s reports and much besides he was able to build up a picture of the series of happenings on that fateful day and to present them to us in the order in which all the events had occurred. No detail was left out and the tension was mounting in the room as Roger revealed all the many factors that lead to the collision, who was working on that day and how the aftermath affected so many. Roger reminded us that there were no emergency services to swing into action and that it was left very much to those on the spot to deal with the situation as best they could. One of the only known photographs shows bystanders appearing to be watching proceedings.

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Photo courtesy Roger Marsh

On a less sombre note Graham Bendell talked us through the coming of the railway to Sherborne and how originally there was competition for the route and it might well have run along the top of the town but this northerly rail route was moved south when Earl Digby died in 1856. His successor, George Wingfield Digby, was in favour of the southerly route and that’s what we have today. With the aid of lots of photos we learnt much about what was built and when and who was involved together with the companies that came and went, leading us right up to the present day. Graham also took us back to a day in the 1960s when as a boy he travelled with his mother and brother by train from Templecombe to visit the dentist in Sherborne.

Tales of Railways Templecombe Station for SDFHS Blog

Courtesy Sherborne Museum

We saw lots of 1960s’ photos of the stations at both ends of the journey and Milborne Port Station (now closed) on the way. We then passed various buildings in the town and we could feel the young Graham dragging his feet as he headed towards his session in the dentist’s chair. Many of us listening remember only too well what an awful experience it was in those dim distant days and there is no place for wistful nostalgia when it comes to long ago visits to the dentist! We could all feel Graham’s relief when afterwards he was taken to his favourite shop – Hunts, in Long Street, and run by two brothers, who were primarily cycle dealers but  they also sold tools, Britain’s models, balsa wood, plastic kits, fireworks (at the appropriate time) and numerous other toys –‘Heaven on earth for young lads’  Graham remembers.

Tales of Railway Long St Hunts

Courtesy Sherborne Museum

He and his brother would choose a small model as a reward for going through with their ordeal, followed by a cream cake often eaten on a bench in Pageant Gardens on the way back to the station.

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What a relief! the dentist now a distant memory (Photo courtesy Graham Bendell)

Both Roger and Graham are volunteers at SDFHS and Graham also volunteers at Sherborne Museum with special responsibility for the museum’s photographic collection.

Although our Family History Centre is moving to Yeovil it is very much hoped that we will continue to have talks in Sherborne in the future and that we can broaden our appeal by running more local history talks for family historians and also for those not yet hooked into this all engrossing interest.

29 November 2017

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The Greenwood Tree – December 2017

The December issue of The Greenwood Tree, my last as editor, will be reaching you in early December and the PDF (in full colour) can now be downloaded from the Members’ Area of our website.

In the September issue you were introduced to our new editor, Paul Radford (for contact details, see below), and I have been working with Paul on the production of this December edition. We have visited our printers, Aurora Print and Design in Wincanton, and Paul is now pretty familiar with how I have done things as editor.


There are, I think, a particularly interesting set of member’ articles this time, including one by Paul on the recent fire at Parnham House, and describing other major fires that have affected towns in Dorset.

One of our French members, Arnaud Aurejac-Davis, describes his researches into his family’s connections to that of Oscar Wilde.

Our Vice-President, David Hawkings, reports on important progress at The National Archives in making available the information in Letters of Administration for Somerset. They help to cover the gap left by the loss of probate records during bombing in WW2.


There are a couple of articles highlighting unusual names that should amuse you. This one was from Audrey German:

The baptism of Sweet Hart’s daughter, Love.

The recent release by the GRO of improved indexes of births and deaths has been featured recently in The Greenwood Tree, but Ann-Marie Wilkinson’s Computer Corner highlights one or two pitfalls that users should be aware of.

The Society’s projects on photographs and historic pageants have again provided some excellent pictures, but also pose some questions. Can you identify any of the people in these two photographs?

Maypole dancers from the Sherborne Pageant of 1905. Photograph courtesy of Sherborne School.

A group of workers at Doulting Stone Company c.1850. Photograph courtesy of Christine Atkins.

News of recent meetings of the regional groups and the AGM, hosted by the Taunton Group, together with our usual regular features will, I hope, make for some interesting reading to divert you during the frenzy of planning for Christmas. If any of your relatives are interested in family history, and you’re struggling to think of a present, what about the CD (or memory stick) of 40 years of The Greenwood Tree? I was pleased to see that we have now sold more than 300, a useful addition to the Society’s funds.

After five years and 20 editions I am passing the baton to a new editor. I would like to thank everyone who has helped me over the past five years, from our very reliable regular contributors, to the production staff at Aurora as well as those who help with proof-reading. But The Greenwood Tree belongs to you, the members. Without your articles and other contributions there would be no Society Journal. So please keep them coming, and support your new editor.

Bob Barber

Contacting the new Editor

The email address for Paul Radford is:

Communication by post should be sent to: Stumps Cottage, Oxbridge, Bridport, Dorset DT6 3UB.

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Farewell to Eileen Holloway (1930-2017)

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Eileen has been a regular volunteer at our Family History Centre for some considerable time. An experienced family historian she had fascinating stories to tell about her ancestor at the Crimea and another on the Oregon Trail. She did things ‘by the old school’ methods and laughed at the mention of the word ‘computer’. It would have amused her greatly, had she known, that she would be the subject of a ‘blog’. It is hard to talk of Eileen in the past tense as she was so much a part of the camaraderie that we all enjoyed on a Friday morning. We would have talks together about family related topics most weeks in which Eileen would participate with gusto as she always had some experience or another to recall to add to the relevance of our discussions. She brought in ‘mystery items’ to challenge us, old postcards and maps she had come across and was always there with an appropriate addition whatever the topic. She had many other interests and talents, of which we were dimly aware, but it was her amazing capacity to keep on being interested and interesting which is the lasting impression she has left with those of us who worked so closely with her of late.

She was indomitable in what she took on and was planning to decorate one of the trees in the forthcoming Christmas display in the Cheap Street Church in Sherborne – on a theme of ‘Family History’ and which we now aim to complete in her memory.

One of her fellow volunteers said when she heard the sad news: ‘Eileen was a lovely, kind lady and her family will miss her dreadfully.  Every other Friday won’t be the same without her… her funny anecdotes, her deep knowledge of her family and her farming area, her cakes and biscuits but most of all her presence and cheery personality.’

Farewell Eileen – we will miss you.



Eileen takes part in a West Dorset Group Project


…..and makes her point!

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Some of the mystery items that Eileen brought in to challenge us

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Eileen tool 1Eileen tool 4

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An old postcard and its reverse

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A treasured newspaper cutting

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Another old postcard and its reverse

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A plate of Friday morning specials

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