About One Place Studies
A one-place-study (OPS) considers your ancestors in their physical and social context.
By learning about your ancestors' neighbours, and studying the historical environment and events, big and small, that took place within a village, you can gain a greater understanding of your own genealogy. An OPS studies all the historical residents of a particular place by gathering all the historical records, memorabilia and stories that mention those residents, and analysing them to reconstruct its family trees and gain insights into the social and economic workings of that place.
One-place-studies (OPS) and the Online Parish Clerk schemes (OPC) are similar. An OPC is the online equivalent of a volunteer offline parish clerk - they generally have access to the key records of the parish (for example parish registers) and will do lookups on request. They may transcribe and make these available online, and may also aim to gather a complete range of records for their parish, just as an OPS does. An OPS is a larger undertaking than an OPC and would generally have as its ultimate aim the reconstruction of a definitive family tree for each of the families in their village, as well as analysis of issues like life expectancy and geographical mobility. An OPS can encompass a wider area than an ecclesiastical parish, or a smaller area like a hamlet.
An OPS is most commonly undertaken by either a single genealogist or a local history group. Those of us working alone will find we are not really alone, as once word gets out you will find fellow genealogists with connections to your place will be happy to share their information, photos and stories with you.
About This Website
This website is administered by Alex Coles. I've found my own one-place-study of Wing so rewarding (and addictive!) that I'm keen to spread the word. Here you can find an index of one-place-studies in the UK and further afield. Some have their own websites, others are entirely offline, but if there's an OPS for the village or town your ancestors lived in you'll find a treasure trove of information about your ancestors, their neighbours and their lives - as well as an attentive ear for your ancestors' stories and an eager eye for your old photos!
The ever-increasing range of digitized resources means that even if you live far from your parish of interest you can undertake a one-place-study - I'm 11,387 miles away from mine! If you've "adopted" a parish, or are thinking of doing so, this website also offers inspiration and information about how to go about this. You'll also find a village of fellow OPS-ers to talk to.
The One Place Study index was originally compiled and administered by John Palmer of the Wirksworth OPS.