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 or 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

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