Were you at THE Gen show between July 1-3rd? So were we!

Of the 48 presentations from the main stage, five were from current or former committee members. All five took very different themes and presented in different styles, reflecting the broad nature of our hobby. As this is a genealogy show, there was an underlying family history focus but the topics covered went far beyond this.

First up was Jane Harris, our events co-ordinator who spoke on ‘Death by numbers’, taking residents from her study place of North Brims and Walls, Orkney, and placing their experience (for want of a better word!) of death in the context of the wider picture at that time. A similar approach was taken by Janet Barrie who looked at four servants from three different census returns for the Springhill area of Lancashire. She then compared them with the patterns of servant employment at the time, both servants and their employers. Both Jane and Janet looked at how ‘typical’ or otherwise their subject individuals were compared to the wider picture in their places and changing national trends.

The ’death’ theme was picked up by Helen Shields who presented a tour through Sticklepath cemetery under the guidance of the indomitable ‘Auntie Kate’. Auntie Kate is fast becoming a favourite on the family/One-Place Studies speaking circuit having taken ‘History For Ukraine’ by storm earlier in the year.

Our vice-chair, Anna Darelli Anderson, gave a wide-ranging presentation on the role of language in our studies. This spread from the different ways language is used in different forms of communication through to tips for identifying an unknown language in a document. Even in the UK records may be in English, French or Latin and Anna gave similar examples from Continental Europe. She also reminded us that the formal ‘state’ language may not be that in which more informal documents are recorded, whilst the one actually spoken by our residents or written in their diaries may be different again.

Our former Chair Janet Few gave a presentation on Thockrington, one of her study places, as a worked example of the process and some of the pitfalls in conducting a study. Janet needs no introduction to one-placers.

In addition there were a number of presentations by society members and again these were wide-ranging. George Hall, Sharn White, Gay Evans, Daniel Smith-Ramos, Wayne Shepherd and others led us through worked examples, helped us take our first steps in Spanish research, helped us understand how natural events impact our places and much more.

Our booth was open four times during the weekend. Some were pretty busy with good discussion about the presentations and general chat on the Society and getting started with studying a place. Other sessions were, shall we say, quieter.

If you were there and heard any of the talks or popped into the booth please leave a comment. We would love to hear what worked well and what could be worked on to improve.

Massive thanks to all who spoke, came in the booth, prepared resources, tested the tech and generally got stuck in to making this happen.

Janet Barrie

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