Blogging Prompts


Updates: (1) Link to a summary of the first batch of blog posts about Landmarks added. (2) Bonus prompt, #OnePlaceJoys, added. (3) Link to a summary of the second batch of blog posts about Landmarks added. (4) Link to part 1 of a round-up of blog posts about Tragedies and Joys added.

New for 2021, our blogging and social media prompts have been designed with our members in mind, but anyone can take part – even if they don't have a formal one-place study (see One-place study blogging prompts 2021 – everyone's invited!). The prompts are a series of monthly themes or topics for one-place study activities. Those activities can be any or all of the following:

  • Tweets on Twitter, or posts to Facebook or Instagram, using the hashtags provided
  • Blog posts (for Society members these can be for your own website/blog, or for the Society’s, or for both)
  • For Society members, articles for our journal Destinations

You will be free to use any or all of these prompts – you might look at the topics and see that you can do something for January, March, April and June but not for February or May, for example. We hope that this approach will be flexible enough to give everyone an opportunity to take part, whatever the nature of your Place, your favourite areas of research, or the amount of time you have available.

Articles on the topics written by members for Destinations can be sent to the editor at any time during 2021 for publication, 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.

To give you time to prepare we will be announcing the prompts in advance, in six-month blocks, starting right here and now with the topics for January through to June 2021:

Prompts for January, February and March: Landmarks, Tragedies, and Women


January: Landmarks

A prompt for you to look at a physical element of your OPS, a landmark, which could be a building (for example a mill, a prominent institution, a ‘stately home’, or a church – in the latter case be aware of possible overlap with the Worship prompt in May), some other feature created by people (such as a canal, a bridge, an ancient earthwork) or a natural feature (which could be a hill, a river, a cliff or a wood). What is its history and significance? Which people or events are connected to it, and how? You can of course choose more than one landmark, especially if you are joining in by posting to social media.

Social media hashtag: #OnePlaceLandmarks

For the first batch of blog posts about Landmarks, see #OnePlaceLandmarks - the stories so far.

For the second batch of blog posts about Landmarks, see More #OnePlaceLandmarks blog posts.

February: Tragedies

Tragic deaths in our Places, caused by accidents or illness: in each case there was a victim (possibly more than one), a story of how their sad demise came about, perhaps a guilty party, and impacts on surviving family members, friends and the wider community.

Social media hashtag: #OnePlaceTragedies

For part 1 of our round-up of blog posts about Tragedies - with some Joys mixed in - see #OnePlaceTragedies and #OnePlaceJoys.

March: Women

To tie in with Women's History Month, this is an opportunity to blog, write an article or post to social media about the women in our one-place studies. The focus can be on one or more individual female figures, ordinary or extraordinary, or on women's lives more generally.

Plus, for our members there’s another way to get involved: our March 2021 webinar, Women in our Places, will feature member contributions on this topic! A recording of the event will be made available for all to view on our YouTube channel afterwards.

Social media hashtag: #OnePlaceWomen

Prompts for April, May and June: Pubs, Worship, and Maps

April: Pubs and other drinking establishments

Public houses, inns, taverns and alehouses: establishments selling alcohol were popular places. Some were frequented by the working classes while others catered for landowners and professional people; some were largely respectable while others were associated with crime and disorderly conduct; and some were managed by the same landlord for years while others changed hands more frequently. All of them have stories to be shared.

Social media hashtag: #OnePlacePubs

May: Worship

The influence of religion on our Places and their people cannot be underestimated, and there are many avenues for investigating this. What places of worship existed in our Places over time? What was the impact of the clergy (or others who ministered to people’s spiritual needs) in the community – and did they practice what they preached? How did non-conformists or other religious minorities fare? These are just a few of the questions which could be addressed in tweets, blog posts or articles.

Social media hashtag: #OnePlaceWorship

June: Maps

There’s nothing quite like a good map to show the lie of the land, and maps over time can show changes both subtle and drastic. A prompt for you to talk about maps covering your Places – Ordnance Survey maps, geological maps, land use maps, estate maps, tithe maps etc – and what they can tell us about the features and overall character of the areas they cover.

Social media hashtag: #OnePlaceMaps 

Bonus: Joys

This bonus prompt has been introduced as an ‘antidote’ to the #OnePlaceTragedies prompt, but it can be used as an alternative to any of our existing themes – for example, those for which you have little or no material. It can also be used in addition to the other prompts if you wish, and can be interpreted broadly – joyful events in your OPS, or the joys you experience in carrying out your study!

Social media hashtag: #OnePlaceJoys 

Prompts for July, August and September: Servants, Environment, and Wills

     Prompts for July, August and September: Servants, Environment, and Wills

July: Servants

This prompt focuses on one of the most varied and ubiquitous occupations found within our one-place studies: servants. They worked in rural and urban places and within a range of domestic and business premises, where they washed, cleaned or cooked; acted as butler, maid or housekeeper; took care of children, horses or gardens; worked as apprentices, assistants or labourers to farmers or tradespeople, or performed one or more other duties. Tell us about the servants of your place, what they did, and any changes you have observed in their numbers and duties over time.

Social media hashtag: #OnePlaceServants 

Bonus: Connectionsbonus - connections

Our second ‘bonus prompt’, this can be used at any time during the period from July to December 2021. It is deliberately broad in scope – you can write or post about connections of any kind between people in your one-place study, between your place’s people and interesting events, incidents or inventions, or connections between your one-place study and your one-name study or someone else’s OPS. You could also explore your own connections with your study place.

Social media hashtag: #OnePlaceConnections

August: Environment

governanceA topic which you can interpret very broadly is the environment of your one-place study. You could write or post about aspects of the natural or built environment and the changes to them, positive and negative, which have taken place over time; the working environment of those engaged in particular occupations; or the smells and sounds of your place in times past as part of the broader experience of your place by its people.

Social media hashtag: #OnePlaceEnvironment

September: Wills

Wills and related documents such as inventories and letters of administration can provide valuable information about the people of our places. Explore the wills of people from your one-place study and tell us about the secrets, the stories, the generosity (or otherwise), the treasured possessions, or the previously unknown friends or family members they have revealed.

Social media hashtag: #OnePlaceWills

October: Governance

governanceHow and by whom was your place and affairs within it governed, particularly at a local level? Manorial courts, parish vestries, parish / town / city / county councils, local boards, officials representing the crown or national government – these and more have played their part in creating or administering rules and regulations, and keeping records which can tell us about people at all levels of society. Find and share the facts and the stories for your place.

Social media hashtag: #OnePlaceGovernance

November: In Wartime

This prompt coincides with Armistice Day / Veterans Day and Remembrance Sunday, but your responses to it need not be limited to World War One or those who served in that conflict. This is an opportunity to write or post about the impact of any period of wartime on your place and its people: those who fought, those who served in other ways, those who refused to take part, and those who remained behind and ‘kept the home fires burning’.

Social media hashtag: #OnePlaceInWartime

December: Celebrations

celebrationsFor this topic I have deliberately chosen the month in which Christmas falls, but you can use this as a prompt to write about celebrations of any kind in your one-place study. A festival, a birth, a royal jubilee, a wedding, a coming-of-age – how, when and by whom were these or other happy events celebrated? You could even choose to celebrate one-place studies!

Social media hashtag: #OnePlaceInCelebrations

Bonus: Connections

Our second ‘bonus prompt’, this can be used at any time during the period from July to December 2021. It is deliberately broad in scope – you can write or post about connections of any kind between people in your one-place study, between your place’s people and interesting events, incidents or inventions, or connections between your one-place study and your one-name study or someone else’s OPS. You could also explore your own connections with your study place.

Social media hashtag: #OnePlaceConnections


January: Black Sheep

black sheepSurely there were some scurrilous goings-on in our places which make good stories or illustrate points about how communities rub along together. Did your Place’s black sheep turn out good in the end? Or did they serve time or get Transported to another country?

Social media hashtag: #OnePlaceBlackSheep

February: Romance

red roseLove is in the air in February and with it the chance to blog about romance in our places. Are there any patterns to marriage through the years? What are the average ages at marriage and does that change over time? Is there a degree of intermarriage? Are there any heartwarming, or sad, stories of individual romances?

Social media hashtag: #OnePlaceRomance

March: Healers

healersHow did the people of our places maintain their health? To whom did they look in order to do so? Were there any doctors, nurses, midwives, abortionists, wise women etc in our places? Is your Place famous for it’s healing properties - and if so, how?

Social media hashtag: #OnePlaceHealers

April: Sources

sourcesWhat is the most unusual source you have used in your studies? How have you combined sources in a different or creative way to uncover details of your places? Which sources should have been helpful but actually weren’t? Are there any common sources missing for your place and how have you tried to work around this?

Social media hashtag: #OnePlaceSources

May: Children

childrenAre there any patterns to fertility or infant mortality in our places? Did the first child tend to arrive ‘prematurely’? How were children educated in our places? What were the modes of entertainment for children? What were the patterns of child employment?

Social media hashtag: #OnePlaceChildren

June: Shows & Fairs

showsThese could be of any type. Were there hiring fairs in your Place? Was there a tradition of agricultural shows? Did any of your one-place residents win prizes at garden festivals? Was there a travelling fair which visited your Place regularly? Is your Place famous for a particular type of fair or show?

Social media hashtag: #OnePlaceShows

For more details of how to take part, whether you have a formal one-place study or not, see One-place study blogging prompts 2021 – everyone's invited!