Report on the Josselin Society 2000 meet up in Braintree Essex June 2000.
Within my somewhat bulky ongoing Joscelyne’s genealogyfile I promised some of you I would report on the Josselin Society 2000 gathering that I attended in Essex last month. To those with whom I have graduated to a “chatty “ level I will personalise this standard distribution letter. If our contact has only been brief then this mail should open the door a little wider.
Where do I start this resume without creating boredom and drooping eyelids? First, I will establish that I am no genealogy expert, only an enthusiastic new starter that caught the disease from “web surfing” a couple of years ago and the reply to my “Are there any Joscelyne’s out there” in some genealogy web sites brought in amongst the numerous replies one Peter Joslin from Morecambe who told me who my GG Grandfather was ! It is indeed a wise man who knows who is his father but to have a complete stranger tell me who my great, great grandfather was called for a follow up!
When I finally made contact with Peter a few months ago, after he sent me a second E Mail ( his original E Mail was lost amongst my untidy PC filing system at that time) This was my first lesson : give all replies a file and group them together for a systemised recall. Sorry again Peter !.
It was Peter that led me into joining the Society and for this I am extremely grateful.
Peter clearly came over as a knowledgeable UK “Joslin Research” specialist within the Josselin Society and clearly a major contributor to the various phonetic spellings of, in my case Joscelyne, or in yours possibly one of the other dozen or so variants. It seems it all goes back to the registra of the day asking the proud parent how the surname was spelt, and hearing the reply of “I dunno vicar, I can’t write”!
So the end result was, “erwas written as er was said”, the vowels being pronounced either hard or soft depending where the vicar was educated. My lot had a rather posh vicar, hence Joscelyne !.
Found another spelling today on MY FAMILY.COM. Jocylin no less. (Sorry Mr Jocylin, but you have to admit, it’s different!)
Now where were we ? Ah yes arriving in Braintree Essex, the resting place of quite a cluster of the “posh Joscelyne’s”. Actually they were not that wealthy, so many of the graves were unmarked even though the burial records showed them as interred there in Black and White Notley; name of villages, no body colour inference !.Many were agricultural workers
The first evening all 40 odd of us out of a total membership of 128 sat down to dinner; amongst us were four from the States and four from Canada. Earlier at the Hotel I had met Peter for the first time and further introductions included Brenda Joscelyne, the Chairman of the Society who has been so helpful in my tree research, together with her husband Nick.
Having travelled down by train, Nick and Brendakindly chauffeured me to the superb village hostelry of the evening with its high gastronomic standard; introducing to me en route to the other passenger, Dr. Averil Snodgrass, who turned out to be part of my family tree no less, and lives up North here in Newcastle Upon Tyne, only 50 miles away.
So I now know that I am not the only Joscelyne to leave the South of England Essex family cluster !
Next, the evening format; drinking our Joslin 1999 Sauvignon Blanc produced by John and Jennifer Joslin from Le Grys Vineyard , Marlborough, New Zealand, no less: we toasted each other between speeches and entertaining stories which included a very humorous half an hour by a leading light from the Essex County Records Office Jennifer Butler . Jennifer has to be a good contact for any of you wanting Joscelyne type record information in Essex County.
We were regaled with Court Records way back relating to Joscelyne’s jailed for infringements of Civil Law including horse stealing but no serious crimes were highlighted. I still wonder however what the motivation was for the arrival in the Penal Colony of Australia in the 15th and 16th century of the Joscelyne’s who now are quite large in numbers over there ! To current Aussie Joscelyne’s in the outback I make no inference to you, but which category of immigrant really was your great great Grandfather ? !!!!!
Our most senior member, Donald A Joslin (b. 16 Nov 1923 Lebanon, MO)all the way over from the States made a most memorable contribution at the dinner, regaling us with his life history, and explaining how he and May came to writing up and publishing their book Nathaniel & Sarah Joslin and Their Descendants in America. 410 pages of superb records of Joslins has to make this a Holy Scripture that no Joslin should be without. Need I say more, now having a copy, taking pride of place, on my genealogy shelf in the bookcase.
Donald and May then presented all of us, yes ALL OF US, with tokens of the occasion, namely brass (white gold ?) studs for the men with Josselin Society 2000 inscribed and for the ladies, pendants in the same material and inscription. Donald is on his third professional career, being now, together with his son, a manufacturer of Joslins Jewellery.
Being phonetically alike as both christian and phonetically Donald Joscelyne’s, American Don and I, together with his wife May, very quickly developed a repartee. Thank you both for your enjoyable company.
Our second day was spent visiting churchyards !! Until you have squatted on your knees trying to make out the details on a 200 year old gravestone you just have not yet lived a full and rewarding life ! Our efforts were rewarded by the odd Joscelyne engraved stone and for a moment one was in a time warp, trying to visualise the scene and attire of our forefathers in the 16th century.
Other treasures are to be seen, such as parish records, Joscelyne’s on the occasional hanging framed record making their three pence or so donation to their church. One example of the power of the parish hierarchy in days gone by, was the recorded statement advising parents, “that unless their child attended a minimum of 360 days at school the parish gift of food support would be withdrawn !
“ How many days education do our children of today achieve, I wonder, certainly makes one ponder.
Can you imagine lifting a mat in the church aisle and finding a trio of inlaid brass Joscelyne’s of the 16th century ? I was so impressed by it all that I have promised myself a revisit.
I still savour day three, the morning was spent in a village community hall where members laid out their individual family history to enable one to compare links and admire the vast array of historic family pictures and papers. It was most humbling to compare, in some cases, the results of 25/30 years family research with my pitiful records of whichI was once so proud.
We were all then entertained with slides and an excellent presentation by Brian Joscelyne of the family business of Joscelyne of Braintree, which is still a high profile commercial enterprise in the town. To see the surname on commercial premises, when one has a feeling of isolation in family profile, is most rewarding.
The afternoon was spent at a garden party in the home of one of the Society members where the family links continued to be debated and the occasional box of genealogy brought out again to prove a point ! To Diane
and Derek Kirby, our hosts, we all express our gratitude. The sun shone, the garden setting was a credit to them both and the refreshments were overwhelming. Derek would have had his lunchbox supplies, for a month at least, with the food left over!
The following morning came the goodbyes, which to me was quite an emotional experience having, I felt, being welcomed into “The family”; we were all dispersing with promises to maintain contact. I know however as a member of the Josselin Society, unlike so many holiday friendships that are soon forgotten and contact lost, I have made many new friends with common interest in family history and our joint endeavours will be recorded for posterity.
To sum up, I feel that to write, what a lovely bunch the Joscelyne’s (and derivatives) really are is my understatement of the year.
As I shall be sending a copy of this E Mail to a few of the Society Members it would be remiss of me not to include amongst the friends I made Wayne Joslin of Canada, Chris of Kansas, Kenneth Roy, Ben, and so many others of equal importance even if not named.
I bid you farewell from the Scottish Border ; if Hadrian brought any Joscelyne’s up here to help build The Wall, their bones lie unrecorded, or as peasant stock they were never worthy of recording !