Dr. Janet Few 

 ►        Step 1 Choose

  • Your boundaries: a village, town, street, house, cemetery, school or any other place that appeals to you.

For more information about choosing a place see:


  • A starting point: a records source, a date span or a theme.

►        Step 2 Reconstruct

  • Your physical space at different points in time using maps, images and field walking
  • Seek out books, articles and websites that relate to your place
  • Look for existing research that has been done on your place

Existing Work


Society for One-Place Studies https://www.one-place-studies.org/studies

Register of One Place Studies http://www.oneplacestudy.org/


Canadian Research Knowledge Network https://www.crkn-rcdr.ca/en


The American Local History Network www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~usalhn/index.html

Preservation Directory www.preservationdirectory.com/HistoricalPreservation/Home.aspx

American Association for State and Local History https://aaslh.org/


Local History Online www.local-history.co.uk/index.html

The British Association for Local History www.balh.co.uk

The Community Archives and Heritage Group www.communityarchives.org.uk

Blatchford, Robert and Elizabeth Blatchford Family and Local History Handbook (Robert Blatchford Publishing Ltd. issued periodically), see www.genealogical.co.uk  They also produce an Irish version.

New Zealand

New Zealand Federation of Historical Societies Inc. www.nzhistoricalsocieties.org.nz

►        Step 3 Populate

  • Look at overall population statistics and profiles
  • List named individuals

Population Statistics

USA: www.census.gov

Canada: www.statcan.gc.ca

Australia: www.abs.gov.au

New Zealand: www.stats.govt.nz

UK: www.histpop.org

UK: www.visionofbritain.org.uk

UK Neighbourhood Statistics www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk

Ireland C20th : www.cso.ie/en/index.html

Scotland: www.nrscotland.gov.uk

►        Step 4 Collect

  • Data from specific sources
  • Biographical data
  • Data about dwellings, buildings and institutions
  • Data about events


Oral testimony, diaries, letters and memoirs
Vital Records of birth/baptism, marriage, death/burial
Directories and Gazetteers
Census records
Tax lists
Records of land ownership
Records of education and occupation
Records relating to the movement of people
Records of local government
Probate records

►        Step 5 Connect

  • People in family groups
  • People with places
  • People with events

►        Step 6 Analyse

  • Draw conclusions about your place from the data that you have collected

►        Step 7 Synthesise

  • Draw on all your data to focus on a time period or theme

Some themes that you may wish to explore

Services and Institutions
Your place in a particular time period

►        Step 8 Contextualise

  • Be aware of regional and national patterns and how your findings fit within this context
  • Compare your place with others

►        Step 9 Disseminate

  • Share your findings through websites, blogs, books, articles, displays or presentations
  • Make contact with others conducting one-place studies to share ideas, methodology and good practice

►        Step 10 Enthuse

  • Spread the word and encourage others to participate in the wonderful world of one-place studies

For more information you may be interested in one of the following:-


Organising a One-place Study

A seven week online course from The National Institute for Genealogical Studies http://www.genealogicalstudies.com —Tutor Kirsty Gray

One Place Studies: research from a new perspective

A three week online course from Pharos Teaching and Tutoring  http://www.pharostutors.com —Tutor Celia Heritage

Discovering Your British Family and Local Community in the Early Twentieth Century

A five week online course from Pharos Teaching and Tutoring  http://www.pharostutors.com – Tutor Janet Few


Few, Janet Putting Your Ancestors in their Place: a guide to one place studies (Family History Partnership 2014) www.thefamilyhistorypartnership.com (The sources referred to are UK based but the methodology described is applicable worldwide.)

The Society for One-Place Studies is a leading organisation dedicated to supporting One-Placers worldwide. 

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