Nov 172021
 

In Part 1 of this blog post I looked at the things the Society for One-Place Studies is already doing to support the next generation of genealogists with an interest in one-place studies. As with any endeavour however, there’s more that could be done. I’m going to list those suggestions made by Janet Few which I think we might consider, adding a few personal musings along the way. My hope is that this part of my blog will spark discussion – and involvement – which will help to inform the Society’s decisions.

  • Informal, online chat sessions. ‘Safe spaces’ to chat privately online would be welcomed by younger genealogists / one-placers. Do our #OnePlaceWednesday Live Zoom chats fit the bill, or is there something different and better that we could arrange?
  • Innovative competitions for which entries don’t have to be focused on writing, and platforms for young people to share the findings of their research in ways they prefer. This could mean inviting – and providing spaces for – blogs, vlogs, and podcasts.
  • Education events, ‘how to’ guides and a dedicated section of our website aimed at younger people. If the previous suggestion is taken up, perhaps some of the material generated could form the basis of such offerings?
  • Grants or bursaries to help young people further their genealogy education and attend genealogical events. As a small organisation we might not be able to offer much in the way of financial support, but even small grants could make a big difference if carefully targeted.
  • A youth advisor. A great suggestion from Janet is to “Appoint a young person as a youth advisor to the committee and listen to them.” Something for us to investigate, assuming there is a willing advisor out there?
  • Safeguarding. In most cases the adoption of the suggestions above would require us to make sure the wellbeing of the young people we come into contact with (particularly under-18s) is safeguarded according to legal requirements and best practice for voluntary organisations.
  • The three ‘A’s. Whatever we offer by way of support for young genealogists, we need to ensure it is Appropriate, Accessible, and Advertised.

A lot of food for thought there – a veritable smorgasbord in fact! Implementing any or all of the above suggestions, should we decide to do so, would depend in part on whether we have people (volunteers) within the Society who can develop and deliver them. It might also depend on how much interest there is within the #NextGenGenie community for one-place studies – I feel a survey or poll coming on! A step-by-step approach might be needed to assess (and maybe stimulate) the level of demand.

Now, it’s over to you! I’d like your input: ideas, suggestions, advice, and particularly offers of help – from all ages – would be very welcome. Feel free to drop comments below, or send feedback to me by email, or via Twitter or Facebook DMs, and I will collate everything for the Society’s Committee some time after our AGM.

And finally…

What else can you do support young genealogists? Here are a few ideas:

  • Be kind and generous towards young genealogists – I’ve been made aware of some shocking examples of young people being disparaged and made to feel unwelcome in the family history community simply because of their age. Encourage their endeavours and share your knowledge, while also recognising that young genealogists may have something to teach you.
  • Find out more about the issues faced by young genealogists. Watch this presentation by Daniel Loftus on YouTube, or read his blog post The (unnecessary) age divide. (More from Daniel shortly!)
  • Join the discussion on Twitter using the hashtag #NextGenGenie.
  • Take part in an online discussion to be led by Janet Few for the Family History Federation at 10.30 GMT on Saturday 27 November 2021. Email jfewhistory@gmail.com or president@familyhistoryfederation.com or use the contact form on Janet’s website to be sent the link.
  • Publicise or (if you are a young genie) apply to join the Young People’s Council being created by the Family History Federation. The email addresses for expressing your interest are those given in the previous bullet point. (Graphic below courtesy of The Hidden Branch.)

I will end with some of the words used by young genealogist and one-placer Daniel Loftus to close his latest blog post, You shall not pass:

For young genealogists […] the best thing you could *ever* do above all else is be willing to help us, give advice and work together. There should be no gatekeeper needed to defend this kingdom — just a solid support structure between genealogists of all ages to never let the flame fan out.

Steve Jackson
Social Media Coordinator, Society for One-Place Studies
One-placer for Fawsley and Waters Upton

Nov 162021
 

Last Friday evening (12 November) I watched an interesting and timely online presentation, “Genealogy: The Next Generation.” Delivered by Janet Few as part of the Family History Federation’s Really Useful Show, this tackled an issue of great importance to family historians (and, by extension, one-placers like ourselves): how can we encourage and support young genealogists?

A detailed handout accompanying the presentation is available from Janet’s website. Here, I will for the most part be looking at some of the key points which Janet raised, and reflecting on what the Society for One-Place Studies has done – and could do – to attract, nurture and benefit from the next generation of one-placers. Not to mention what you could do to play a part in all of this!

Family history societies and young genealogists alike have much to gain from any efforts made by the former to be more welcoming to the latter. As Janet so rightly said, “It is important that younger genealogists are encouraged and valued; they are the future.” We’re not just talking about the future of family history societies here – the longevity of our own personal research is also at stake. How many of us have wondered who will carry on our ancestral research (or our one-place studies) after we have gone?

Janet set out lots of examples of how young genealogists work, the barriers they face, and what they would like from family history societies and other providers. It was heartening to see that in many cases, our Society is doing the right thing:

  • Free membership for students under the age of 21. Cost can be a serious issue for young genealogists, but we have addressed this. On our Join Us page, there’s a link to a form for free/discounted membership applications.
  • Busy social media channels. Young people are more likely to engage with societies which have “a strong social media presence.” I think that describes us well, particularly with regard to our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram offerings.
  • Online meetings. These enable young genealogists to attend meetings without standing out as ‘different’. Our monthly webinars are held online via Zoom, and our annual conference and AGM are also online.
  • An international community is what young genealogists feel they are part of. The Society for One-Place Studies was founded by family and local historians from three continents, we currently have members in 14 countries, and we welcome one-placers from anywhere in the world!
  • Membership benefits explained. Clearly setting out membership benefits, in a format accessible to young people, is more likely to attract younger members. Hopefully our Why Join page sets out our membership benefits clearly for everyone; we have also created the graphic below for use on social media.

Listing of Society membership benefits, amended to show that membership is free for students under 21

  • Young speakers. Young genealogists should be taken seriously and given opportunities to contribute as well as to learn. I think it is fair to say that our webinars have featured speakers from all age groups – including leading Gen Z Genealogist (and Society member) Daniel Loftus – and we are very happy to provide a platform for more young genealogists and one-placers.
  • Welcoming new ways of doing things. Young people don’t necessarily want to do things in the way that older generations do or have done – and that is fine with us! A mantra we have expressed on this website (see the opening paragraph of One Place Servants) and via other platforms is “your study, your rules”, and we mean it, whatever your age group!

What else can we do? For starters we can keep the ‘plus points’ listed above under continuous review, taking on board advice (especially from young people themselves), and adapting as new technologies emerge and habits change.

There are a number of other suggestions made by Janet which we could also investigate – I will look at those, and provide some ideas as to how you could provide support, in Part 2 of this post.

Steve Jackson
Social Media Coordinator, Society for One-Place Studies
One-placer for Fawsley and Waters Upton

Nov 012021
 

There was a general discussion regarding people in servant-type roles lived near to the big house, particular examples being gardeners, coachmen and laundresses/washer women. It is often unclear who was directly employed and who was self employed and this led to difficulties in numerical analyses. The consensus seemed to be to include those with 'servant' as relationship with the head of the household but as ever; your study, your rules!

Liz Craig did some number crunching and noticed a decline in both the number of servants and number of households with servants between 1841 and 1861. Julie G also did an analysis of servants in Long Buckley Wharf, often local people employed by the farms, the pubs or the 'Big House' and Sadie McMullon gave a reflection on the daily life of a servant in Fletton.

Allie Nickell was on a role with blogs about individual servants and their stories. She started with a chauffeur who was sued for breach of promise by his servant fiance before moving onto a children's nurse who wanted a situation, another chauffeur with a 'need for speed' and the wedding of James and Mary, gardener and (probable) domestic servant. She also contributed a page about yet another chauffer father and son John and Joseph Donnelley - no, not the chauffer of the breach of promise!

 Janet Barrie mused on whether the number of servants was a proxy for social status and whether there was an element of 'keeping up appearances' in servant employment. Certainly when the female owner of Springhill house married, the new husband arrived with so many servants that it was necessary to build an extension. She also noticed that one local clergyman had a total of seven servants - obviously a good living in Holy Orders. There was also a degree of social standing within the servant community, with the census being careful to distinguish between the 'professional nurse' and two other nurses in the same household. There were also strict criteria for application on occasion, with at least one advertisement being qualified with 'No Dissenters need apply'!

The Victorian Commons blog joined in the fun with a fascinating blog about the domestic and household servants (not civil servants) in the Palace of Westminster in the 19th century.

Perhaps the most unusual take on the topic however was from Liz G who looked at a chambermaid at Ockenden House - or rather, her ghost.

This was also the first blog prompt which resulted in a reading list:

Should be enough to be going on with there.

(Other booksellers are available...)

Oct 052021
 

This month's contributions fell into two broad categories. The first was the use of maps as research sources. Foremost of these was the tithe maps with Dig Up Your Relatives (Sally Prior) @digupyrrelative enthusing about their use in her Wattisfield study, plotting people and places. There was also a lot of love for the National Library of Scotland Maps resource which covers all the UK, not just Scotland - see https://maps.nls.uk. Liz Craig (@WillsmanOneName used the maps associated with the 1910 valuation to support her work on the Luttrell Arms , recorded in https://dunsterancestors.co.uk/2021/06/22/1910-valuation-act-luttrell-arms/.  For those of us whose Studies go back a long way, Alex Cole (@wychwoodnz) recommended a podcast studying medieval maps and monsters, available at https://historyandfolklorepodcast.libsyn.com/medieval-maps-and-monsters. Oh to study a place active in medieval times! Janet Barrie (@Springill_OPS) published two blog prompts with suggestions of maps for those of us who do not have tithe or enclosure maps available: see https://bit.ly/3uEPh29 and https://bit.ly/3gUIT1v.

The second category was the use of maps as research tools. Alex Coles combined pencil and paper and the tithe maps to work out the boundaries of farms in her Wing study whilst Janet Barrie (@Springhill_OPS) plotted the complex rights of way in her Springhill study onto a printout, colour coded to the deeds which helpfully refer to 'the red route' and 'the yellow route'. Julie (@Julie_Gfamily) plotted past and present dwellings on a Google map (https://bit.ly/3m7N9vM). Meanwhile over in Destinations  Fred C Kerr used the plat of his railroad town as the basis for his study of Kerr, North Carolina. Janet Barrie also used the historic OS 1km square containing Springhill as the focus for a historical walk (https://bit.ly/3Ah1nAT)

one square walk map

Outline of 'one square' walk

Julie also managed to link her study of Richard Thompson (https://longbuckbywharf.wordpress.com/2021/07/17/who-was-richard-thompson/) into #OnePlaceMaps by plotting his possible places of abode. she managed to link this blog post, perhaps somewhat creatively, into seven of our monthly blog prompts so this isn't the first time we have referenced this work. It may not be the last...

Sep 082021
 

Well #OnePlacePubs was a subject which tickled the collective fancies and resulted in a large number of responses which illustrated many of the goings-on in these establishments.

Many One-Placers traced the history of the pubs over time using the census and other documents. Margaret Ford (@Margare49777045)'s blog on the pubs of her place included the RAF Childs Ercall crew on a trip to the Sutherland Arms Tibberton showing eight men in uniform enjoying themselves. Liz Craig (@WillsmanOneName) combined her research of the Luttrell Arms in Dunster with studies in the 1910 Valuation Act and Helen Shields' (@shields_h) survey of the Devonshire Inn and Taw River, Sticklepath, illustrated how she drew on a number of name-rich resources to put their story together. Chris Jolliffee (@ChrisJolliffee2) took this one stage further and admitted to having 'great fun' researching a pub crawl through Bermondsey, with landlords taken from the 1900 Post Office Directory. Sadly very few are still licensed premises so he probably returned home sober. Chris also recommended the pub wiki for research.

Pubs were sometimes the location of nefarious goings-on, with people obtaining beer 'under false pretences', according to Elizabeth Walne (@Elizabeth Walne) whilst Albert Corbett of the 'Crown and Anchor' in Long Buckley Warf visited the Petty Sessions, apparently not the only journey he made there. Thanks to Julie Groom, @Julie_Gfamily, for his story. Emmerson Brand (@ourpasts) traced the history of the landlords of the Yuin Club Hotel, the only pub in Yuin Reef. At one time the landlord was criticised for the lack of alcoholic beverages and subsequently went bankrupt. The Victorian Commons (@TheVictCommons) took a look at the role pubs played in C19 elections, covering a wide range of topics from 'treating' with food and drink to their roles as campaign HQs and the role played by the railways in reducing role they played in the conveyance of voters to the ballot. Another more legitimate use of pubs was as a location for inquests and auctions.  Dr Colin Runeckles (@ColinRuneckles) gave an example of the former from Ilford.

 Jane Harris (@janenharris) combined #OnePlacePubs and our February blog prompt of #OnePlaceWomen with her post on the Ship Inn, probably the only pub in North Hess to be run by a woman. Badingham's 'White Horse' also had female, probably formidable, landlady in 1881 in Ms Hannah Pepper by Elizabeth Walne (@Elizabeth Walne)

Perhaps the ultimate in combining blog prompts was from Julie Groom whose blog on Richard Thompson of Dunster combined #OnePlaceLandmarks, #OnePlaceTragedies, #OnePlaceWomen, #OnePlacePubs, #OnePlaceWorship and #OnePlaceMaps. She did acknowledge that some of the prompts were a little, shall we say, stretched.

Finally Alison @LongmuirMoffat posted a picture of the Band of Hope Pledge her grandfather used to recite, often together with a wee snifter:

'I promise here by Grace Divine

To take no spirits, ale or wine

Nor will I buy or sell or give

Strong drink to others while I live

For my own sake this pledge I take

And even for my neighbours' sake

And this my pledge shall ever be

No Drink, No Drink, No Drink for me!'

 

Your very good health everyone...bottoms up!