IWFHS Committee

Chairman : Geoff ALLAN

I have been researching my family history (Newcastle and Aberdeen mainly) for over 40 years. I joined the IWFHS about 30 years ago in order to help with the research into the history of my previous house, which belonged to the Lind Estate in Ryde. I have a long standing interest in War Memorials (see website at Memorials & Monuments on the Isle of Wight). I took over the IWFHS Website from Dina Broughton in 2008 and I have continued to enhance and develop it since. I was privileged to be elected as Chairman at the AGM in May 2013.

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Society Officers

Librarian, Bookstall Manager & Strays Co-ordinator: Hazel Pullen

I came to the Island 30 years ago with my husband's work. I started looking into family history 25 years ago and I now have four Island born grandchildren, so have started all over again. I joined the IW Family History Society some years ago and have sat on the committee for the last three years. I have the glorious title of Librarian, and Strays Coordinator. I am in the process of reviewing the books, pamphlets etc that we hold in the Resource Centre. As the Strays Coordinator I have collated the card index system that had been in the Resource Centre for many years, and with lots of help from Geoff ALLAN this is now available on our Website. I can hear the question what is a stray? Someone born on our Island, who for whatever reason moved from here, married, died, or just lived through some of the census years on the other side of the water, and is recorded somewhere other than the Island.

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Secretary: Gill Glasbey

I was born on the Island and have always lived either in Cowes or Newport. I have worked in the NHS for more than 20 years as a Research Study Coordinator and have now semi retired. I first became interested in family history when a colleague at work did an evening class at the IW College and I suddenly realised that I knew very little about my family. I joined the Society in 2005. My father was born on the Island but my mother was from London and I have been mainly researching the Bessant and Glasbey families on the Isle of Wight and the Penlington family on the mainland. Some of my family history has been relatively easy and some extremely difficult (unfortunately some family members have been a little economical with the truth) but I have discovered some really interesting things along the way and I know there is a lot more to find. I am just sorry that I didn't think to question more things when my parents were still alive; it could have been so much easier.

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Treasurer: Claire Willis

I was born and bred on the Island, having spent most of my life living in East Cowes, Newport and now Cowes. Until recently I was a manager at St Mary's Hospital, where I worked for nearly 30 years. I am a graduate member of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and latterly dealt with legal matters at the hospital. I have held a committee post before, as the secretary of Cowes Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society between 2009 and 2012. I am relatively new to family history having been introduced to it by my partner Keith about 5 years ago. My mum had been interested in family history and I inherited an old tree completed by a cousin on my paternal side and a photo album of old photographs, many helpfully with names attached. My dad's family (the LINTERNs), originated from Somerset where they were agricultural labourers before moving to the Island in 1894 and ran the New Inn at Shalfleet. My grandfather married into the BRIGHT family from Wootton, where the family lived before my dad and his siblings left to have their own families. My mum's family (the PAYNEs) were Islanders with the early relatives also working the land. My grandfather ran an antiques shop in Sandown before he retired. My maternal line also includes the TAYLOR family, who had a carrier business on the Island from 1859. Since starting my research I have not only made contact with family members that I had lost touch with but have found 4 new cousins, including a new one in Newport that I am looking forward to meeting when we are able. Keith and I volunteer at the Heritage Resource Centre. We are always out and about on the Island taking photos and making new family histories discoveries.

The Treasurer position was taken over by Claire Willis in June 2020 but during the coronavirus situation some financial matters are being handled by the Chairman and Vice-Chair.

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Committee Members

Membership Secretary: Mrs Gerry Newberry

Gerry was co-opted to the Committee in preparation for her taking over from Dean Bagwell as Membership Secretary later in 2022, as approved at the AGM in May 2022. Dean will assist Gerry during the transition period.

I’m a Winchester girl and still have family there.  I have been interested in searching for ancestral information for many years and helped my father from the years before the internet as he visited parish churches in order to gain information.  He amassed many dead ends too!  Sadly concrete information runs out at about 1850, though I was pleased to meet up with a distant relative in Australia when we visited there.  My lockdown project was to research the formation of the Freshwater Horticultural Society (I’m on the Committee) back in 1878.  Current publicity shows it starting in 1873, but I have newspaper articles which show 1878.  Alfred Tennyson was the first President and 49 Summer Shows were held at Farringford.  I even managed to trace one of the founding members back to the Norman invasion!  My only close link with the Island is that my parents honey-mooned at Farringford in 1952 – that was ‘going abroad’ in those days!  But strangely my husband Steve’s family and mine have crossed paths over the years – his mum and mine went to the same school in Kent at the same period of time.

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Journal Editor & Publicity: Peter Spencer

I was born in 1946 in North Kensington, London. In 1949 I moved with my parents to the Isle of Wight. My late mother was born on the Island. Her Island ancestors go back several generations. I like to think of myself as being half Caulkhead. In 1960 my parents and I moved back to the mainland.

I started researching my family history in 2005. In 2006 I joined the Isle of Wight Family History Society. In 2008 I set up the Facebook Group for the Society. In 2009 I took on the role of Publicity Manager. In 2010 I took on the role of Journal Editor.

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Systems Development: Mike Hoar

I am an Islander born in Rookley 70+ years ago and left when 18 to go to University and ended up living and working in Sweden until I retired to the Island (Fairlee) in 2012. I became interested in my family through one of my cousins, on my mother's side. He had traced the HOLBROOKE branch of our family back to the 1500's. However apart from names and dates there was very little other information and I became curious and started looking deeper. On my father's side we had the HOAR and DOVE families, but my grandmother had never talked about them, while my grandfather died young. Initial investigations revealed links to a line of coastguards from Devon. And so my research has continued. I joined the Family History Society a few years ago and when Geoff Allan asked for volunteers to help with the web site I put my hand up.

E-mail contact via the Chairman / Webmaster

FoNC Liaison Officer: John Pullen

John is the HRC Resource Centre manager and leads a team of volunteers working in Northwood Cemetery itself. He acts as point of contact between the Friends of Northwood Cemetery and the IOWFHS.

E-mail contact via Hazel Pullen

HRC Education Officer: Sharon Beddard

Sharon has been a Committee member for some time, occupying roles such as Membership Secretary and Conference Organiser. With her extensive knowledge of family history resources, and her position as Heritage Resource Centre deputy manager, she is ideally placed to be the HRC Education Officer. She is also a Volunteer for the Friends of Northwood Cemetery, so she can also offer her expertise with queries related to the Cemetery itself.

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Other non-committee roles

BMD Index Coordinator: Jon Matthews

I was first attracted to family history in the early 1980s when an aunt mentioned there was 'a Matthews Island' named after 'an uncle or cousin' (this was news to my father but family jottings I found subsequently gave credence to this tantalising piece of news to me); a trip to the Royal Geographic Society in Kensington identified a possible candidate in Matthew (sic) Island in the South Pacific. I discovered this was named after the owner of one of the transports of the First Fleet, the Charlotte, which first sighted 'Matthews's Rock' on 27th May 1788 en route home via Canton to pick up some tea. At the time I did not even know the forename of my great-grandfather, but set about the task of tracing my paternal line back beyond 1788 (which, thanks to the card index at the Record Office, was quite easily done). Alas, about ten years later I had to accept that this island was not 'mine' (pity 'cos it was about to celebrate its bi-centenary); now, thirty years on I'm still looking for it! Living then in Buckinghamshire I joined the Society in 1990 but came 'home' in 2005 - whereupon I was invited to join the Committee and took on the role of Membership Secretary. I was privileged to be elected as Chairman at the AGM in May 2010, a role I took for three years.

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Newspaper Reports Project Coordinator: Tony Bevis

I got involved with family history in about 1999 and knowing that my father's family came from the Ryde area I joined the IOWFHS shortly afterwards. Although I have found that the families of three of my IW great grandparents moved to the Island in the late 18th / early 19th century they had the sense to marry into well established Island families and I can trace my roots on the Island back to the early 17th century. Few of my ancestors appear to have been ag labs, they were publicans, cab drivers, pilots, coastguards, builders and shop keepers. Two of my ancestors, a GG Grandfather and a GGG Grandfather were both the subject of Inquests, being respectively knocked down by a bicycle and a train - hence my interest in Inquests!

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