Welcome to the first of a series of interviews with Society members, conducted by means of a list of questions emailed to our interviewees. My hope is that these interview posts will help us get to know each other and our studies better, share a few tips and insights, and have little fun in the process.
And now, a warm welcome please for our first guest, Julie Groom, who conducts the Long Buckby Wharf one-place study in Northamptonshire, England.
Let’s start with the dreaded ice-breaker – tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself!
I once completely stripped down a Mini, taking it back to a bare shell, prior to it being welded and resprayed.
Cool! What got you interested in one-place studies – and what keeps you interested?
My interest in a one place study started with realising I was indirectly related to a large amount of the residents, and a couple of my direct ancestors were land/property owners there.
When did you start your OPS?
I properly started a year ago, at the beginning of 2020.
If you were starting your OPS now, with the benefit of hindsight what (if anything) would you do differently?
My first steps were to hoover up ALL the information. In hindsight, a terrible mistake! Now I’m trying to concentrate on finding the stories, one at a time, with researching particular buildings as a side project.
Of all the different types of records you use for your one-place study, which are your favourite(s) and why?
Favourite records are probably the parish records, luckily for me all digitised at Ancestry. Although the wills are amazing for discovering previously unknown links between people.
What has been your favourite OPS discovery or ‘wow!’ moment?
One of my favourite discoveries, which took ages to verify, was that indeed all the Thompsons are related which means I’m indirectly related to even more Wharf residents! And finding out which local landowner was responsible for there not being a railway station at the Wharf. (Richard Worster who was a partner in a canal carrying company – didn’t want the competition!)
The canal at Long Buckby Wharf by Julie’s late uncle
Gerald Groom, used with Julie’s kind permission
Name your go-to websites for one-place study research – or tell us about some brilliant online OPS resources which you think are overlooked
Ancestry first and foremost because of the parish records, FindMyPast for nearby parish records (my people can also be found in Warwickshire, Leicestershire, and down to Hertfordshire) and newspapers, FreeREG, Internet Archive, Hathi Trust, Google Books, Google Maps, NLS maps, British History Online, and Geograph for pictures.
If you could go back in time and meet someone from your one-place study, who would it be and what would you talk about?
My 2x great grandparents Edward Groom and Elizabeth Thompson, and Elizabeth’s father and grandfather, both named John. I’d like to know everything! How Elizabeth managed without modern conveniences and healthcare, how did either of the Johns end up owning property, what day to day life was like.
A random question: what music do you listen to while researching and writing your OPS?
Bizarrely I listen to Celtic music while researching and writing about my place in Northants!
And finally, which places – related to your OPS research or otherwise – are you most looking forward to visiting when Covid-related restrictions are over?
One day I’d love to be able to get up to Northants and actually visit the Wharf (I’m in Dorset, it’s a bit far for a day trip), and Long Buckby, and the Northamptonshire Archives.
Thank you Julie for being our first interviewee and getting the ball rolling!
Would you like to occupy the hotseat and take part in a future interview as a Society member? Let me know and I will send a set of questions winging its way to you by email.