Mar 222015
Human Migration, from by Creative Commons Licence

Human Migration, from by Creative Commons Licence

We’re looking for unusual migrant stories, just a few paragraphs and maybe a picture of the migrant, or their home, or where their travels took them to. We’d like to hear from as many of you as possible, and we’d like to feature some of your stories on our Blogs. If you’ve got a longer story to tell, there will be a place for you in an upcoming Destinations newsletter. The only rule is that the migrant has to have something to do with your Place.

It might be:

  • the one who’s moved the most or logged the most miles
  • someone who went to an exotic or unexpected place
  • someone who distinguished themselves in their new place, or someone who came to your place and did something special
  • or just someone who captures your imagination

For those of you participating in our Shared Endeavour Migration Project, if you haven’t already done so, it’s now time to start identifying your migrants. We’ve added a new Inspirations List to the Migration webpage to help your planning, and there’s lots of new articles on the Resources List.

Mark your calendars for our April Google+ HangOut on Air which will be about the Migration Project and how we visualise Migration. If you’ve got some ideas for how to picture your migrants’ travels, we’d love to hear about them.

Kim Baldacchino

Mar 072015


Firstly, many apologies for having to postpone this Hangout-on-air. Unfortunately a storm in ‘my place’ took out many routers and we were in an internet black-hole for a few days. The video of our discussion is now available.

We would be very interested in hearing what you do in your places. Some of us are working in conjunction with local history groups, others are going it alone. Still others are working in places where there is an existing local history society that is only interested in focussing on architecture and events, rather than people. Ideally this co-existence needs to be amicable, if it can’t be mutually beneficial. Although working with a group is not always easy it does mean that more can be accomplished and that your study has built in succession planning.

It is much more difficult to interact with the people from your place if you live elsewhere but it can be done. You need to be patient, proactive and polite! Links take time to establish. Residents of your place need to know that you are there and you need to be aware of individuals or groups from your place that may be able to collaborate with you. They will not come to you, so you need to advertise your presence and make the first approach. You also need to be careful not to tread on the toes of local residents who may feel that you are encroaching on their territory.

Have you sought out others who may be interested in your place, perhaps because their ancestors originated there? This can sometimes be done through the local genealogical society, who may maintain a list of surname interests that can be searched by place. Alternatively, writing an article about your place for the relevant family history society magazine will probably bring you contacts.

Participation in the shared endeavour is a great example of collaboration and a forum for exchanging ideas. We agreed that there is much that we can learn from other society members, across the topic of one-place studies, in terms of methodology and approach. For example, do you put all your data on a website? Does this mean people are less likely to get in touch because they don’t need to ask questions, or does it free up your time to do further research? What software do you find most useful? How do you advertise the existence of your one-place study? Do you utilize social media to spread the word?

It is important to set your place in its regional and national context and this can be done by comparing your finding with those in other people’s places. This is why in-depth profiles are so useful, as they give a real feel for the place, making it easier to judge whether there would be grounds for comparison. It is often difficult to gauge this from the brief study page entry or even from a website, which may have a rather different focus.

Collaborate with your fellow members. Could you share details of something that works particularly well in your community?

Janet Few


Feb 202015

Our next Hangout-on-Air, at 8.00pm GMT on February 27th, is about collaboration and co-operation. This will take the form of a discussion and an exchange of ideas around the following issues:-

Working with others. What are the respective pros and cons of conducting a one-place study on your own, or as a group?

Collaborating with the residents of your place. Do you involve the residents of your place in your one-place study? What are the advantages of this and how might it be achieved?

How can you collaborate with other SOPS members? What are the advantages of taking part in the migration shared endeavour? How else can we collaborate, in order to provide a context for our one-place studies?

Collaborating and communicating with the wider world. The use of websites, newsletters, exhibitions, social media, in-depth reports and other means. HOA picture


Maybe you are already a collaborator, or perhaps you would like to consider how you might work with others as you conduct your one–place study. Come and join in the discussion and share your ideas and experiences.

Janet Few

Feb 132015
Ch 01 Choosing Your Place

picture credit Roberta Boreham From Putting your Ancestors in their Place by Janet Few

Finding a place that draws you in to the point that you can’t stop researching it is a clue that it may be one that you want to choose as your one place study.  Or perhaps you’re the type of person who has ties to their hometown and it becomes a walk down memory lane to put a study together of the community development over time.  Maybe you were researching someone from a place very different than where you grew up.  Perhaps the customs and religion were different.  Perhaps the geography and reasons for settlement were different.  Therefore, you chose it as both a study of the place and a learning ground for somewhere completely different that could change your worldview.

What if you choose a place and then decide it was not really the place you wished you chose?  Should you change it?  Would you?  I find myself in this very dilemma.  Having chosen one place that looked very promising, I realized that I had much more interest in a different place altogether.  It happens.  The important thing is to find a place that makes your heart sing.  If the hours go like seconds, this could be a clue that you have found the right place.

There are many reasons why people choose the place they do.  What is your reason?

For more information about choosing a place, take a look at the article by Alex Coles here.

Christine Sharbrough

Feb 072015

As a frequent participant in the Legacy Family Tree Webinars, I was very excited when the topic of “One-Place Studies” was presented by Kirsty Gray. I was familiar with the idea of a one-name study, but had never really thought of applying that type of focus to a place or community. Kirsty’s program demonstrated just how this type of study can be done, what the benefits could be, and ways it can enhance your genealogica research.

Many genealogists are familiar with Elizabeth Shown Mills’ “FAN principle”, the concept of researching the Friends, Associates and Neighbors of our ancestors. I see the one-place study as being a kind of FAN club on a larger scale. Or perhaps, instead of researching ancestors, you are interested in a particular place and want to trace the “genealogy” of that location, examining the evolution of a place by studying who moved in, who moved out, who conducted what business, who the leaders were, and so on.

Kirsty’s presentation was outstanding, giving the audience many links to helpful websites that aid this type of study. Additionally, various methods were demonstrated to show how she organizes her findings, the types of records she recommends including, and questions to ask yourself before you even begin. I was particularly intrigued when Kirsty described how this type of study can help break through research barriers and potentially answer questions about our ancestors because it considers the people and their families within their physical and social context in addition to their vital statistics. The one-place study includes research beyond family relationships and into diverse areas such as geography, history and migration patterns, plus, it can be applied to any location across the globe.

Kirsty discussed the Society for One-Place Studies during the webinar, a group that I had never heard of. In fact, a flood of webinar attendees visiting the site overloaded the society’s server for a few minutes during her presentation. Despite the traffic, I joined the society (before the webinar was even over!) for several reasons. First of all, this is a topic that I’m very interested in, and although I don’t currently have a particular place in mind, I now have many ideas for places I’d like to carry out a study like this. Second, I was excited to be able to interact with like-minded researchers who conduct similar studies; it is through collaboration and cooperation that learning and growth take place.

Finally, I personally would like to see this spread across the globe as more and more people conduct similar studies. I am a big proponent of “giving back” to the genealogical community through various acts of service. I live in the United States (currently Texas) but my ancestral research is conducted in other states, as well as other countries including England and Germany. Unless I win the lottery or an “undiscovered” rich uncle leaves me his fortune, I’m probably not going to be able to afford to travel for extensive research in those far-away locations. But I can conduct a one-place study near my home and hope that someone will in turn conduct a study in a place that will benefit my research. Take a minute to imagine what would be possible if we all did this.

A recording of Kirsty’s presentation is available for free until February 11, 2015 at Legacy Family Tree Webinars. After the 11th, it will only be viewable by subscribers to the website.

Cari Taplin
Texas, USA