In the September 2020 issue of our members’ journal Destinations we gave details of our new blogging and social media prompts for the first six months of 2021 – the article has been reproduced in the Resources section of this website under the heading Blogging Prompts. Now, we’d like to extend the invitation to join in with these activities to everyone who shares our interest in uniting family history and local history. For some background, and details of how you can get involved – even if you don’t have a one-place study – read on!
What prompted the prompts?
Blogging and social media prompts aren’t new – Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks for example is an established and popular series used by many genealogists and family historians. The annual Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is something we have participated in ourselves, inviting members to contribute posts for our blog. (For links to this year’s posts, on the theme of Employment, see 2020 A-Z Challenge.)
Although prompts like these can be (and have been) adapted for one-place studies, there’s nothing out there specifically for one-placers – so we decided to change that! The prompts will replace the annual Shared Endeavour projects which we have been running since our launch. Our aim is to provide a different way for our members – and others – to get involved in researching their Places and sharing their findings on specific themes as part of a group effort. Our first six prompts for 2021 are:
- January – Landmarks
- February – Tragedies
- March – Women
- April – Pubs and other drinking establishments
- May – Worship
- June – Maps
See Blogging Prompts for further details.
What if you don’t have a one-place study?
Although we designed the above prompts with one-placers in mind, we’d like to open them up so that the wider family history community can participate too. Think of it as an opportunity to dip your toes into one-place study waters. Maybe you have already considered starting a one-place study but have put it off because of other commitments. Maybe conducting a one-place study has never crossed your mind before. Either way, here’s a great opportunity to focus on a Place and combine family history and local history, without necessarily engaging in a full-on OPS. Here’s how we see it working.
Choose a Place, one that interests you. It could be a parish, a village, a town, a neighbourhood, a street, a war memorial, a cemetery or graveyard, an individual house or institution – it could even be a ship! A place with boundaries you define (in space and, if you wish, in time), and a community of people (or, in the case of memorials and cemeteries, a group of people linked by being buried or commemorated in the same place).
Your Place could be one inhabited by your ancestors, the Place where you live (or grew up in), a Place where a family member or relative is commemorated, a favourite holiday destination. Ideally it will be a Place with readily accessible records and information, which will enable you to work on some of the themes in our prompts. Above all it should be somewhere with people, features and events you will enjoy researching and writing / posting about. If you are particularly enthusiastic about this project, you could choose two places – a number of existing one-placers have more than one OPS.
The only Places we would urge you not to choose are those which are already the subject of an existing one-place study, whether it be the OPS of one of our members (see Studies on this website) or otherwise (see the One Place Study Directory for a comprehensive list of studies with OPS characteristics which have an online presence).
Next steps (for everyone)
Let us know what Place you have chosen, along with the web address(es) of the website / blog / social media account(s) you will be posting to, so that we can include the details on a list which we will share here. You can do this in a comment below or by by email. This is entirely optional, but a centralised list would help others find your responses to the prompts, and should help avoid unwanted duplication with the same Place being chosen by more than one person. (Of course, if two or more people wish to collaborate on a Place, that is also OK!)
Start planning your blog and social media posts! Have a look at our prompts, and scope out your Place to see what facts, stories or scenes you may be able to share in words or pictures, via your blog or social media accounts (or, in the case of Society members, via this blog, or in Destinations). Consider what research you will need to carry out, what records or other sources will be needed, and how, when and where you can access them.
Articles on the topics written by members for Destinations can be sent to the editor at any time from now onward for publication next year, but where possible please post related blog and social media posts during the relevant months.
Hopefully you will find at least one topic which will spark your interest and prompt you to participate. If not, we’ll have another set of prompts for the second half of 2021 – and you can of course put forward suggestions for any that you would like to see included.
We’re really looking forward to seeing how you respond to these prompts, and to seeing all the blogs, articles and social media posts that build up for each Place over time as the one-place study prompts are rolled out. If you are already a one-placer, we hope you will enjoy this new way of looking at your Place and sharing its history. If you're not a one-placer yet, who knows, over the coming months you may find that you are on your way to becoming one!
Social Media Coordinator