In 2001, David Hawgood produced a small booklet listing local history researchers who had knowledge of particular places and giving very valuable advice for people considering undertaking (or already doing) one-place studies. With the growth of the internet and development of the online community, the list was put online and John Palmer of the Wirksworth OPS became the host of a one-place study index.In 2010, Pharos Teaching and Tutoring Limited ran the first online course on One-Place Genealogical Studies under the tutelage of Kirsty Gray, which had many dedicated course students, including Alex Coles. Kirsty, Alex and other interested OPSers discussed the possibility of setting up a society for family historians interested in specific places across the globe, but it was not felt at the time that there was enough interest in the field. However, a greater web presence was desirable and Alex liaised with John Palmer about developing his index. Early in 2011, Alex launched a new website where online and offline studies were listed in the UK and further afield.
Whilst networking with other family historians in 2013, Alex and Kirsty realised that there was an increasing interest in the study of particular streets, villages and other specific areas and that the time was right to further consider the notion of forming a society. Discussions swiftly developed from ideas into a concept and led to a team of enthusiastic, diligent individuals coming together to create the Society for One-Place Studies in June 2013.
Set up as a not-for-profit organisation, the Society was launched in September 2013 with a new website building on the experience and expertise of those involved in promoting one-place studies, thus laying the foundations for a society that will support and encourage those engaged in this particular form of research.