What is a One-Place Study?


A one-place study (OPS) considers people and families in their physical and social context in any location across the globe.

oldgate street, morpeth 2-800By learning about your ancestors' neighbours and studying the historical environment and events that took place within a village, you can gain a greater understanding of your own genealogy. An OPS researches the residents of a particular place by gathering a full range of historical records, memorabilia and stories that mention those individuals, and analyse them to gain insights into the social and economic workings of that place.

One-place studies and the Online Parish Clerk (OPC) scheme are similar. An OPC generally has access to copies or transcripts of the key records of the parish (for example, parish registers) and will do lookups on request. They may also aim to gather a complete range of records for their parish, just as a one-place studier does. An OPS is normally a larger undertaking than the work of an OPC and would generally have as its aims to identify local families and analyse issues like occupational structure, life expectancy and geographical mobility. An OPS can encompass a wider area than an ecclesiastical parish, or a smaller area like a single road or a hamlet.

An OPS can be undertaken by anyone from a single researcher to a local history group. Those who work alone often find that they are not really alone as you will find that once word spreads, fellow historians with connections to your place will be happy to share their information, photos and stories with you.