Jun 212015

Glass bottle seal dating from the late C17th or early C18thAt this month’s Hangout-on-Air we will be chatting about how you can bring a third dimension to your one-place studies. Over the centuries, many objects will have been associated with your place. These can be anything from a cannon ball dug up in a field, a medal awarded to a former resident, a sampler or a programme for a local event, to packaging from a shop within your place. We will also be covering other ephemera that are normally found in private hands, such as diaries, letters and photographs (yes, we do know that some of these are two-dimensional!).

01 Tea Tin

What sort of items qualify for three-dimensional one-place history? How might you access these? How can they be preserved, recorded or stored?

We will be online at 8.00pm BST on Friday 26th June for those who would like to join in and then available for viewing on our You-Tube channel.


May 212015

Last Saturday, the Society was represented at the South West Area Group Family History Fair in Weston-Super-Mare, North Somerset. Our allocated table was in an excellent position, right by the door of the main hall. We had information about studies in the south-west of England on display and I was soon engaged in one-place conversations. Many attendees were new to the concept and there was a great deal of interest. I passed on details of registered studies to several people whose ancestors hailed from one of our members’ places. Hopefully some of you will be getting some enquiries and information as a result. A number of people expressed a genuine desire to start a study of their own and we have already swelled our membership as a result – welcome!

DSCF2476The day also provided an opportunity to catch up with other organisations and individuals and keep up-to-date with the latest developments. Member Joss Mullinger was there with his This Way Books stand, as was The Community Archives and Heritage Group, to which some of our members belong. The ‘owners’ of several south-western one-place studies came up to say hello. As I was behind the stand, I did not have the chance to listen to any of the talks but I heard good reports of what was on offer. If you have never been to any events such as this, do think about attending one near you; they are a great way to spend a day with like-minded people.

Janet Few

May 122015

GrassrootsBack in late 2014, we proudly announced that we were successful in securing funding from Skipton Building Society, in their Grassroots Grant scheme, to progress our proposed one-place mapping project. Since then, in the background, some initial discussions have taken place and several members of the Society have put forward their ideas in terms of what they would like to be able to achieve from the mapping software which will be designed by Chris Emberson of Innovation Mapping. Chris is kindly providing his time and expertise freely to the society but in order to build a bespoke package which fits the needs of our members, he needs your ideas.

Bear in mind when you are considering this project, that we currently have £500 from Skipton Building Society to begin developing the framework from ground level. This will be new and innovative and we are certainly not looking for an ‘off the shelf’ solution for our mapping needs. That said, the skyscraper can’t be built as yet, nor can we have a swimming pool and Jacuzzi.... so please consider the framework at this stage which can be built on over time and with more funding.

On Friday 15th May at 8pm BST, Chris will be presenting an introduction to his work and what can be achieved using mapping techniques. Without your ideas, we cannot make the mapping project fly.... so, we hope that many of you will find the time to join us in the room for the Hangout or share your ideas/questions beforehand to make this Hangout the springboard for our mapping ventures.

Kirsty Gray


May 082015

survivor-atoz%202015%20-%20sm_zpsmfnq4uovCombining the efforts of five people enabled us to post daily on the Society’s blog during April, as part of the A to Z blogging challenge. Our posts focussed on different letters of the alphabet each day, with Sundays off for good behaviour. Even with several writers, it was hard work creating daily posts but we planned ahead and many contributions were uploaded in advance and scheduled for the appropriate day. We had to come up with something different from our 2014 A to Z contributions, when we highlighted different one-places for each letter of the alphabet. Then we had to think of topics for those tricky letters, such as Q, X and Z. We divided the letters amicably between us and some posts were multi-authored, to try to give an international perspective.

A-to-Z Reflection [2015] - LgFrom Archives to Zero, via Evidence, Kinship, Newspapers and many other one-place topics, we tried to provide something of interest to those interested in one-place studies. If you didn’t read these posts at the time, do take a look. It was gratifying to get feedback, either via blog responses, Facebook or other means. We would like to take up the challenge again next year. Experience has taught us that we need to think of a one-place related theme well in advance and to spread the workload between several volunteers. Ideas for 2016 and volunteer blog-posters would be very welcome.

Janet Few


May 072015

Our recent Hangout-on-Air, relating to the Migration Shared Endeavour, can be viewed on YouTube. In it, we discuss our progress and revisit our initial key questions to see if they needed amending or expanding. Kim kindly let us use her migration study for Bratton Clovelly, Devon as an example of how a project might unfold. Kim has achieved a great deal, so please do not be disheartened if your progress is more modest. We aren’t all making great inroads into our migration projects and we acknowledged some of the problems that we have encountered along the way.

Bratton Clovelyy out-migrants 1841-1851

Map created using Archer Software's Surname Atlas

Several of us are trying to trace the new locations for all those who leave our place in the nineteenth century. We tried to come up with a rough percentage that would indicate a good success rate. It seems that, in these days of nationally searchable census indexes, we might expect to find 75-85% of our out-migrants, although those with very common surnames cause more problems.We spent part of the time showing and commenting on, various charts, graphs and maps, which members have used to illustrate population changes or migration patterns in their places. Creating pictorial representations is one thing but we decided that we need to use these as a basis for explaining what is happening in our places.

We agreed that it was important to try to understand the reasons for the migration patterns that we are finding. It is also valuable to compare our own findings with the situation in places elsewhere. A great opportunity for doing this will be at our conference, which this year will be focusing on the theme of migration. This is being held on 21 November at Ipswich University. Several members have already volunteered to give presentations about an aspect of migration in their place and we have an excellent programme developing. There is still space for one or two more speakers, if you would like to share your own findings. If you are a reluctant speaker, or if you are unable to attend, there is still a chance to share via a poster or a series of Powerpoint slides.

Janet Few