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New Book – “How We Lived”

Mid Norfolk Family History Society has published this selection from Dr Susan Palmer’s collection of oral history transcripts and reminiscences of Dereham and surrounding Norfolk villages in the early twentieth century. Many local families kindly allowed us to copy original family photographs, many never published previously, to illustrate stories of everyday life in Norfolk.

Memories were contributed about Etling Green, remembering a local stock car racing pioneer and Norfolk Fire Museum supplied much background and photographs for our tales of the retained firemen. WWI and WWII are remembered by many contributors and the effect which both of these international conflicts had on the area is covered with personal stories and many photographs.

The contributors will be remembered with great affection by many readers and their stories will bring back memories for some of the older residents of the area. Sadly, their names are too many to list here, but rest assured, they are all acknowledged in the book. Subjects covered include the Dereham and District Disabled Club, Women’s Suffrage, The Workhouse, The Zeppelin Raid, School Days, Shops, Pubs and just about everything else which had anything to do with everyday life in the early C20th.

Copies of the book are available from Glynn Burrows, 20 Rougholme Close, Gressenhall, Dereham, NR20 4DY; email chairman -at- mnfhs.org – and are priced at £15.00 (Plus £4.50 p&p.) Cheques made out to MNFHS please.

Gressenhall Museum are looking for Family History Volunteers

The following comes from the Family History Federation‘s May 2020 newsletter, which we’re sharing here due to the local interest.

Gressenhall Museum are looking for Family History Volunteers

More Than Oliver Twist Family History Volunteers

Volunteers needed! We would love to hear from you if you would be interested in researching the lives of people who lived here in the workhouse at Gressenhall; this is part of the More Than Oliver Twist project! This role requires candidates to have access to family history research databases from home and the relevant skills to carry out this research. Please get in touch via: gressenhall.museum@norfolk.gov.uk  quoting MTOT Family History Volunteer.

Workhouse Archive Volunteers

Volunteers needed! We would like to hear from you if you are interested in history and learning more about the union workhouse system. Volunteers are required to help catalogue workhouse archives. This role requires online access, an ability to read curly old writing and to use image and word processing packages. To find out more please contact: gressenhall.museum@norfolk.gov.uk quoting Workhouse Archive Volunteer.

Gressenhall Museum are currently experiencing high levels of demand for these volunteering opportunities. In order to support all of our volunteers effectively and fairly, we may need to limit the total number of volunteers we can work with.

March 2020 meeting update – re. Corona virus (Covid-19)


The MNFHS meeting; “Victorian Newspapers” on Wed 18th March, is now CANCELLED.

In view of the worsening coronavirus situation (real or imaginary), in consultation with the speaker (who travels from Essex and is also of the “at risk” age) we have reluctantly concluded it will be prudent to cancel Wednesday’s MNFHS meeting.

In light of Government advice we are cancelling all following meetings until further notice (subject to ongoing review of the situation).

Please check our website at www.mnfhs.org for future updates.

Tom Garland

Visit www.mnfhs.org/news/
or simply search “Mid Norfolk FHS” for more information.


The Mid-Norfolk FHS National Burial Index Project has been available for Members to ask for free NBI searches.  Unfortunately, the program does not work on Windows 10, only on the older versions of Windows.  For a long time now it has been on my computer, which was 10 years old and ran on Windows Vista.  Unfortunately, my faithful old computer has finally given up and I now have a Windows 10 machine.

As a result of this the Society cannot, until further notice, provide Mid-Norfolk FHS National Burial Index searches.   Tom is working on a way to adapt the program to Windows 10, and we will let you know when this is successful.

Kate (Editor)

2017 Program

Here is the new MNFHS program for 2017;

(You can also see the program HERE)


Date Title Speaker
18th Jan The People of the Paupers Palace Stephen Pope
15th Feb Local History Can Help,
The Old Rectory Bradenham
Beanie Brown,
Margaret Bohn
15th Mar Family History can be fun! Steve Manning
19th Apr Kindertransport Boy – Joe Stirling;
90 years in Norwich
Phyllia Scrivens
talking with
Joe Stirling
17th May A Job for Life – Apprenticeships and Guilds Sarah Doig
21st Jun Home Fires – WW1 Neil Storey
19th Jul With whom did your Ancestors meet? Dr Colin
16th Aug The Wills of our Ancestors Simon Pawley
20th Sep TBC –
Followed by Annual General Meeting
18th Oct Up with the lark – Ag Labs Ian Waller
15th Nov A Christmas Carol Mike Wabe

Meetings are held on the third Wednesday of each month (except December) in the church hall behind Trinity Methodist Church, Theatre Street, Dereham NR19 2EP, at 7.30pm, usually with a speaker followed by tea/coffee and an update on family history news. New members and visitors are always welcome.

Work in Progress

Please note that this is currently a trial to create a new website for the Mid-Norfolk Family History Society. It is a work in progress. Please be patient while content is added and the design/format is changed and experimented with.

A form has been created for MNFHS members to send feedback/comments about this website, HERE, to help with its development.

The existing, Official MNFHS website is still available at; http://www.tsites.co.uk/sites/mnfhs/

Matt Walker has permission from the committee of Mid-Norfolk Family History Society to develop this website and is waiting for feedback from, and futher discussion with the committee, before this becomes the Society’s official website.