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Brand: Janet Few

Putting Your Ancestors In Their Place

by Janet Few

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Putting Your Ancestors In Their Place : A Guide to One Place Studies

A One Place Study involves dissecting a small, definable, geographical area, to examine the individuals, buildings and processes of the past, in as much detail as possible. Out ancestors did not live in isolation. To understand these ancestors, they need to be 'put in their place' by investigating the community of which they were a part. A One Place Study brings family and local history together, to the benefit of both fields.

Ranging from how to choose your place, through locating sources, collating and interpreting your data, to publishing your findings; this book is suitable for experienced researchers as well as those new to One Place Studies. Elements that a One Place Study might incorporate and sources that could be used, are explained. Although sources are described, it is not primarily about the sources themselves. The emphasis is on how these records might be used and over thirty mini-projects for the one place researcher are suggested. Although the sources described apply primarily to One Place Studies in England and Wales, many of the techniques and suggestions are relevant to those whose places are elsewhere.

One Place Studies are not just about indexing documents and collecting data. Ultimately, they are about using that data to answer questions about a community, its residents and their lives. They are about making connections, between individuals, between inhabitants and locations, and between people, places and events. In this way, it is possible to gain an insight into the lives of past residents and shed light on issues such as household composition, occupational structure, migration patterns and residential persistence. This book suggests some of the ways in which this might be done.

Staff Reviews

No one can accuse this book of being verbose. It is a slim volume packed with advice, repositories and websites. In fact, it does exactly what it says on the tin. The author has been involved with family and community research for some decades and this is proven by the comprehensiveness of this publication. The advice given is thorough and extensive; the various sections could relate to other in-depth research projects as well as part of a one-place study. Divided into three parts, which in turn are divided up into chapters, this book covers every type of available material over the past 1000 years to research each aspect within the chosen place. It directs the reader to repositories and online resources suitable for that part of the community. Each chapter also suggests suitable project(s) to undertake and concludes with a list of further reading pertinent to that chapter. By the end of the book there is ample information and ideas to complete a one-place study. The book concludes with a section on 'Pulling it all together', which it does very succinctly. There are final pages with one place websites, a bibliography, magazines, journals, societies, other websites and courses that would be suitable. Finally there is a short Index. This book is extremely readable, although I was distracted by a couple of minor typographical errors near the beginning. Apart from these, the clarity of information was excellent and I felt that anyone wanting to tackle a one-place study would have no trouble with this book by their side. Angie Blaydon The Friends of The National Archives Friends of The National Archives