Nov 142014

Blog 14 Nov 2014 - 1

It has been ‘Explore Archives’ week in the UK, with various record repositories running special events. As one-place researchers, we are heavily dependant on the contents of archives of all kinds. All the work that is done to preserve, catalogue, and digitise records depends on the buildings and staff that make up those archives. With the explosion of on-line resources we are less and less likely to visit archives in person. Unfortunately, as we happily access documents on-line in the comfort of our own homes, someone somewhere, with no knowledge of historical research, is making funding decisions based upon physical footfall in our archives. So the more that goes on-line, the emptier the archives become and the results are reduced opening hours, staff redundancies and record office closures.

Aside from the fact that there are so many one-place gems that are not on-line, most archives will admit that they have huge numbers of documents that remain uncatalogued. These are resources that we may need and which will not be available to us in actual or digital form without archives and archivists to bring that about.

Blog 14 Nov 2014 - 2

There are various ways in which we can support archives, even if it is not practical for us to visit in person very often. There are many ‘Friends of’ archives associations that can be joined. Some archives seek volunteer help and this does not always involve being physically present in the building. In the light of threats to archive opening hours and staffing there are campaigns and petitions that we can sign. Our own one-place research can raise awareness of the value of archives. Many of us have websites that are accessed by residents of our places. We could use these to acknowledge the role that local archives have played in our research.

As researchers we are more aware of the value of our archives than most. It is our responsibility to spread that awareness to the wider community. Can we take a little time away from our research in the next few days to show support for the archives upon which we depend?

Janet Few

Nov 052014

On behalf of our Society’s Committee, we want to thank everyone who participated in our first Conference and AGM to make it a very enjoyable and rewarding day. Joined by a quarter of our membership, we had a fun-packed time of getting acquainted, engaging with presenters and browsing displays in a setting where everyone was as passionate about one-place studies as we are.

Conf 1

We hope that all attendees enjoyed our guest speakers, Phil Tomaselli and Kate Tiller, as much as we did. Our special thanks to Simon Last as well, who joined us to describe his fascinating and extensive work on World War I.

Your feedback is appreciated and when asked about what aspects of the conference went particularly well, not surprisingly, many of you mentioned how much you enjoyed the company:

  • ‘Meeting and talking with others, getting ideas, sharing.’
  • ‘Collegiality. Meeting like-minded people. Ideas exchange.’
  • ‘Being able to talk to knowledgeable and helpful people.’

For those of you who were unable to attend, given that we are a worldwide Society(!), please accept our apologies for not being able to bring you the conference live on the day due to some technical issues with Google+. Sincerest thanks to Bob Cumberbatch who was able to record the day and spent many hours putting together the sound and video to be able to offer all the presentations on YouTube at:

  1. How WW1 Affected Britain by Phil Tomaselli:
  2. Family Community & Remembrance by Dr Kate Tiller:
  3. A Devon Community Answers The Call by Kim Baldacchino:
  4. Society for One-Place Studies AGM 2014:
  5. The Story Behind the Names by Simon Last:
  6. Buckland at War by Dr Janet Few:
  7. Thanks & Summing Up:

Please be on the lookout for Janet Barrie’s article on this event in our upcoming Destinations newsletter which members will receive next month.

It was so nice to meet everyone and we can’t wait for next year!

Kim Baldacchino

Oct 222014

Blog Image 22 Oct 2014

For those of us with our one-place study in the United States, October has been a really busy month. In honor of Family History Month, many of the subscription websites have provided free access at various times, several local and regional societies and associations have put on special programs with guest speakers, and online groups (including several Google+ Communities) have hosted webinars, hangouts, and recorded presentations. October will close out with the National Archives hosting a three-day virtual genealogy fair that you can attend from the comfort of your own home.

We each create, receive, send, file, stash and throw away lots of documents and other materials over the course of a lifetime. And governments are just like individuals. Documents and materials are created on a daily basis by the United States Federal government, however only about three percent are considered important for legal and/or historical reasons. The National Archives (NARA) is affectionately known as the Nation’s record keeper and these VIP documents are kept forever in the Nation’s attic. Actually NARA has quite a few attics. The most impressive, the National Archives Building, is located a few short blocks from the White House in Washington, D.C. Additional Archives and Records Centers are located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, College Park, Dayton, Denver, Fort Worth, Kansas City, New York City, Philadelphia, Riverside, San Francisco, Seattle, and St. Louis. Many of these permanent records are of special interest to genealogists and family historians, including census schedules, pension files, the Freedmen’s Bureau materials, ship passenger lists, military personnel service and medical records, land records (public lands transferred to private ownership), veterans records, and presidential library collections, as well as agency and intergovernmental records.

Whether you have a one-place study in the United States or would simply like to learn a bit more about our record keeping, why not check out NARA’s Research Our Records at their website. And be sure to tune in for the Virtual Genealogy Fair October 28, 29 and 30. The schedule and handouts can be found at Genealogy Fair where you will find 17 great topics presented by NARA’s record keepers (our friends the Archivists). The sessions will be presented live and recorded on the NARA’s Tube channel!

Let’s close out Family History Month will a good new-fashioned fair!

Tessa Keough

Oct 152014

Blog 15 Oct 2014

Back in May we had a wonderful chat with Suzie Grogan about some of the emotional impacts of WW1 on servicemen and their families (which you can watch on YouTube - Suzie’s slides are also available). There were many fascinating things that came up during the talk and we only scratched the surface.

Now everyone has the opportunity to learn about this in more detail. Shell Shocked Britain, Suzie’s book on the topic, was released by Pen & Sword Books this month in hardback (and will be coming soon in e-book and later in paperback format). You can purchase a copy direct from the publishers or via your usual online or offline retailer.

Alex Coles

Oct 132014

Blog Image 13 Oct 2014

This just in – it’s time for another Family History Month post. Let’s focus on two things I especially enjoy – our Society’s current Shared Endeavour – World War I (a shout-out to Alex Coles who has been moderating this project all year – with forum topics, hangouts, and articles in Destinations sharing how she is approaching this project in conjunction with her place) AND online learning opportunities.

FutureLearn is a website that brings together students who want to learn with courses offered by universities around the world. The deliver method used is a MOOC (massive open online course). What this means is that the course content is online – usually videos, lectures, links to online resources, student interaction in forums, and sometimes quizzes or essays. Courses are oftentimes available with a certificate of completion. I am finishing up a six-week course on Irish history taught by three professors at Trinity College in Dublin. My fellow students are located all over the world and are of varying ages. The comments and additional resources shared by the students are one of the highlights of the course. I have learned as much from them as I have from the professors.

If you have been following along all year with our Shared Endeavour, you have had an opportunity to study your place from a particular standpoint – the effect World War I had on your place. Whether this was the effect on the individuals who went to war, the families they left behind, the deprivation suffered by the people in your place, how your place changed (becoming less rural or more industrial), the changes from the late 19th century society to the early 20th century society, how politics, migration, health, jobs, technology, and culture changed your place (and the world). Of course World War I went on for more than one year (we started our Shared Endeavour to coincide with the start of the war). And for many of our places (certainly the United States and Canada), we might not have had any serious involvement until later in the war.

Alex Coles has provided a number of excellent resources to date (be sure to check out the Society Forum for resources and ideas). In honor of Family History Month, I’m going to share a learning opportunity with you. Why not learn more about World War I by taking a course through FutureLearn? The following courses are starting soon and will be sure to add to your understanding of World War I and your place.

World War 1: Paris 1919 – A New World Order?
A three week course starting on 13 October and taught by Christian J. Tams through the University of Glasgow (and produced in association with the BBC)

World War 1: Aviation Comes of Age
A three week course starting on 20 October and taught by Peter Gray through the University of Birmingham (and produced in association with the BBC)

World War 1: Changing Faces of Heroism
A three week course starting on 27 October and taught by Allison Fell through the University of Leeds (and produced in association with the BBC)

World War 1: Trauma and Memory
A three week course starting on 3 November and taught by Annika Mombauer through the Open University (and produced in association with the BBC)

Perhaps we will meet up on the student forum over at FutureLearn if you sign up (did I mention these courses were FREE? – yes FREE!) for one or more of these courses. Together we can learn more about World War I from these various perspectives.

Happy Family History Month!

Tessa Keough