Aug 222014

A new Pharos online course can help you with your one-place study and family history. Led by expert genealogist Gill Blanchard, Fixed in Time and Place: Using Directories and Gazetteers in Genealogy will show you how to use historic trade and street directories, gazetteers and professional directories to reconstruct communities, and for family history. This is an in-depth look, with plenty of historical and social background as well as where to find these essential publications, online and offline.

The course starts on 15 September and runs for 3 weeks. There is a great 15% discount for all One Place Study members, meaning you pay only £28.89!

More information is available at and


Kirsty Gray

Aug 202014

Our monthly Hangout on Air this Friday at 8:00 p.m. BST will take us back to the school days of our ancestors. We will start the session with an overview of education in England, looking at the rise of public education, the many different types of schools that you may come across and what types of information may exist. This will be followed by a closer look at the public schools in one parish to see what might be learnt from the records that have survived there.

Following our introductory talk, we invite you to join in the discussion to talk about the schools of your place and what you have discovered about them. We hope to see participants from across the globe so that we can all get a better understanding of what might be found beyond the borders of England. We all have much to learn!

Industrial School

The Hangout is open to everyone – join our Google+ community, say Yes or Maybe on the Event page and add a comment there to let us know if you’d like to be in the room contributing to the discussion.

Kim Baldacchino

Aug 202014

It’s National Family History Month down under and Australian genealogy personality Jill Ball is outing herself as a Nervous Nellie when it comes to embarking on a one-place study. Looks like a perfect postcode to us, Jill!

Kirsty & Jill - looks like hard work, these genealogy cruises!

Kirsty & Jill – hard work, these genealogy cruises!

Thank you for giving me an opportunity to contribute to this blog during National Family History Month.

When I was on the Unlock the Past Genealogy cruise earlier this year I had no intention of joining the Society for One Place Studies but, as a result of Kirsty Gray’s presentation, I was hooked (the prospect of getting a badge to add to my geneabling collection was an added incentive). It wasn’t just Kirsty’s lively and convincing manner that attracted me, it was the style and structure of the Society for One Place Studies.

I liked that the Society was truly international with committee members from around the globe, I already knew and respected some of these people. That the Society has embraced technology for administration, communication and education impressed me, the Society is a trendsetter that has cemented itself in the 21st Century. I joined the Society because I wanted to put my support behind such a progressive organisation.

So here I am, an inactive member of six months standing. I have devoured information on the website, joined and watched Hangouts, subscribed to the blog, and followed the group on social media but am still not quite ready to set up a study.

Is it best to attempt a study on a locality within cooee of home where it’s convenient to visit, take pictures and check resources. Is it presumptuous of one little old Aussie lady to undertake a study in an area where she lives but has no roots? There is a local historical society and a local studies librarian at the library. Would I be treading on toes if I decided to study my suburb?

Modern-day commerce in Galston NSW

Modern-day commerce in Galston NSW

Figures from the 2011 census tell me that in 2011 the population of Galston, a semi-rural suburb in Sydney, was 2,998 and this only grew late last century when larger orchards in the area were subdivided into 5 acre lots with some small residential plots in the village. I could move the focus of my study one suburb away to Arcadia where Mr GeniAus’ family were early settlers, Arcadia only had a population of 1,305 in 2011.

With my passion for family history my inclination is to attempt a partial study concentrating on the people of Galston or Arcadia. I would mine the newspapers on Trove [Ed: Trove is awesome!], and use other online resources such as the NSW Birth, Death and Marriage Indexes, Ancestry, Familysearch and Findmypast databases as well as available print resources, the local historical society and library to build up a database of early families from the suburb. If I attack this a decade at a time it should be something I can manage.

My mother always told me that “If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” If I attempt a study I want to do it justice.

Do you think this Nervous Nellie should have a crack at Galston 2159 Australia?

Jill Ball

Aug 132014

In the second instalment of our tour of Australia and New Zealand’s Family History Month we stop by to visit Andrew in Carnamah.

Carnamah is a small town and farming community 300 kilometres north of Perth, the capital of Western Australia.

The Carnamah Historical Society was founded in 1983 to collect, record, preserve and promote local history. We established and operate the Carnamah Museum, restored and manage the State-Heritage listed Macpherson Homestead, and share and promote local history online.

Carnamah 1In 2003 we embarked on a project to document the lives of the district’s entire past populations. The rationale was that this would tell the district’s history but from personal perspectives that encompassed all people. Information was, and continues to be, gathered from oral histories, newspapers, electoral rolls, postal directories, books, publications, community contributions and hundreds of other sources including the archives of the State Records Office, National Archives, State Library, councils and our own holdings.

When we heard about one-place studies a number of years ago there was the realisation of “oh wow, that’s us!” We feel strongly that it’s a great approach to local history as it endeavours to document the lives of all people – not just the long term or prominent.

Our project has grown into three fully referenced databases containing information on 30,000 people with connections to the local government areas of Coorow, Carnamah or Three Springs (collectively the original Carnamah Road Board district). The richness of emotive information led to Carnamah being featured in the National Museum of Australia’s permanent exhibition Landmarks: People and Places across Australia. In reference to our database, NMA curator George Main remarked “there’s nothing else like it in Australia.” Behind the scenes our databases are presently being redeveloped (watch this space!) but you can see our main database in its present form at

In 2011 and 2013 our databases were joined by a number of virtual exhibitions, which are now collectively known as Virtual Museum: to be known and distinguished as Carnamah (which is a play on words from the notice gazetting the Carnamah townsite in 1913). To our delight, our virtual museum took out the Level 1 Permanent Exhibition category at Australia’s 2014 Museums and Galleries National Awards (MAGNA). You can check it out at
Wherever in the world you might be, I invite you to visit us online and check out our one-place study in regional Western Australia.

Andrew Bowman-Bright
Carnamah Historical Society & Museum

Aug 062014

It’s National Family History Month down under and we’re bringing you a series of guest blogposts with a bit of an Antipodean flavour. First up, it’s genebrarian Seonaid Lewis from Auckland Libraries in NZ – we love libraries! What could your local library do for your one-place study?

The Central Auckland Research Centre on Level 2 of Central Library in Lorne Street has a large international family history collection – arguably the largest collection of its type in a New Zealand public library. The collection shares the Research Centre with New Zealand heritage newspapers, heritage serials and local (Auckland) history and New Zealand history resources.

The family history collection contains books, serials, microfilm, microfiche, CD-roms and online databases that covers information and resources for countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Pacific Islands, United Kingdom and Ireland, South Africa, continental Europe, USA and Canada.

The family history collection includes many resources that can assist One-Place Studies researchers as there are many local history books of counties, towns and villages as well as parish records, manorial records, heraldic visitations, street directories, maps and gazetteers, electoral registers (local body as well as central government), polls and tax books (including window and hearth tax), census records – and court records such as petty sessions and quarter sessions.

There are also a multitude of published family histories – some of which cover families worldwide for example Bidwell genealogies. Volume one, Bidwell families worldwide / by Frank Bidwell – and some which only include families in a particular town such as Hadleigh and the Alabaster family : the story of a Suffolk town during the Tudor and Stuart periods / by Sue Andrews and Tony Springall.

One of this month's events at the Tupu Youth Library, "Who Do You Think Dawson Rd Is?" blends local history and family history - sound familiar?

One of this month’s events at the Tupu Youth Library, “Who Do You Think Dawson Rd Is?” blends local history and family history – sound familiar?

In addition to resources and specialist librarian assistance, the Central Auckland Research Centre also runs a pretty action-packed events programme with a diverse set of subjects.

The philosophy at Auckland Libraries is that family history is more than just genealogy, it is also social, local and global history, it covers military, political and religious history. Most family historians become very good historians as a result of researching the individuals in their family tree.

We have events such as the family history lunchtime series which runs fortnightly between February and November and family history club which is quarterly. Family History Month is celebrated annually every August and this year includes a “Speakers Series” of 122 events of 25 different topics held at 35 different library venues, delivered by specialist library staff. Family History Month closes with a family history “Lock-In” where researchers can be locked in to our Research Library overnight to research with assistance by staff and volunteers from the New Zealand Society of Genealogists.

As well as the library website: you can also follow our blog Kintalk to see what else is new in the Central Auckland Research Centre.

Seonaid (Shona) Lewis