One Place Studies have similarities to both Family History & Local History & focus on a single place. The definition of ‘Place’ can vary & a study may take in a Village, Street, Stately home, Business, Graveyard etc.
By researching the people, industry, environment, stories, images & any other information available we can learn so much more about the social history of that place through time.
I suppose it is no surprise to hear that many Genealogists & Local Historians progress onto carrying out one place studies. They carry out so much research in specific areas that most already have the beginnings of such a project.
The joy with this type of study is that ‘you decide’ what ‘you’ want to research. This may be somewhere that has fascinated you, that you want to learn more about & remember, it doesn’t need to be local to you!
I would advise that you double check that someone is not already carrying out this research, if there is then why not collaborate with them.
Think a One Place Study might be an option for you? Here are some questions to think about when taking up a one place study.
Town, Village or Street
Who lived there through time?
What Major Events affected them?
What industries are prominent in the area?
Who moved in/out of the area & why?
Who were the Prominent people/families in the area?
How has the place changed through time?
Plaque, Memorial, Graveyard
Who is commemorated?
When, where & how did they die?
What can research tell us about the lives they led?
When was the Graveyard opened & how has it changed through time?
Who paid for & unveiled the Memorial or plaque?
What photographs are available?
Researching an Industry or Business
If an industry was prominent in the area, why?
Did the industry decline in the area, if so why?
How many people worked in this Industry or Business?
Who owned the business & for how long?
Where were they based?
Who worked there?
Was the Business successful, is it still trading?
Do any records relating to this Business exist in the archives?
What is listed in Business Directories?
How old is the Building?
Who built it?
How has it changed through time?
Do any images of the Building exist?
What can be learned by researching the people who lived there?
What information can property records reveal?
As you can see these types of studies can throw up a lot of questions, I am sure you can think of even more that you would like to find out the answer to. In taking up such a study you may centre your research on certain aspects but find that in doing so you move towards a type of research you did not originally consider.
No matter what kind of study you decide to take on it is inevitable that your research will throw you into the world of Libraries, Archives, Books, Websites & much more. So an initial check with each of these to see what information is already available is a must.
The list of records you could check are endless & may involve looking at: - Birth, Marriage, Death Entries & Census Returns, maps & plans, Property records, tax records, images, directories & so the list goes on…
It is worth having a think about what you intend to do with your Study in the end? Perhaps you will create a website, write a book about your findings, provide talks on the subject or even donate it to an Archive or Library.
Society of One Place Studies
Let me introduce to you the Society of One Place Studies! A non-profit organisation, launched in 2013 to support & encourage those carrying out this type of study.
Membership is £10 per year & members are entitled to their own webpage on their site for their study or studies, access to their members forum & members area, regular webinars & newsletters.
Best of all you get the chance to meet like-minded people, share tips & get advice.
You can visit their website here
My own One Place Journey
Being honest although I was aware of One Place Studies this was not something I had ever considered. It was not until I had a chat with one of my University Friends who was already carrying out such a study & loving it that I realised that 1. had already completed one & 2. had the makings of another.
I swiftly joined the Society of One Place Studies
Barmby Moor War Dead
I had already completed the project on the Men who lost their lives during WW1 & WW2 & who were buried at Barmby on the Moor in Yorkshire. This was a One Place Study in its own right, so I submitted it & set up the page on the Society of One Place Studies Website.
You can read more about the project here
New Monkland Parish (Airdrie) One Place Study
The chat I had with my Uni Friend made me realise that I was carrying out a One Place Study without realising it!
For my Uni Dissertation I had researched some of the more prominent families in the Airdrie Area, had carried out various other research projects since & in the Spring of 2020 had set up a Facebook group named New Monkland (Airdrie) – Back in Time. In this group I was regularly sharing information in relation to the area such as listings from business directories, information on place names, newspaper articles etc. So why oh why was I not collating this information somewhere?
Turning back to the Society of One Place Studies, this Study was also registered & a new Section was added to my own website for the project.
This Study is in its infancy & I started by purchasing old postcards & placed each of them into a slideshow on my website.
As I had already been sharing Business listings, I have gone back & am now collating as many business listings as I can find through time as well as detailing all the public buildings such as churches, post offices, schools etc.
I plan to go back over all the families I researched whilst at Uni to build family trees & hopefully expand on these & even have a couple of court cases to research.
So far this type of study has been a joy! If all you have is 20 minutes to work on the collating of information then it is easy to slot in, which is ideal for me as life can be really full on at times!
You can find more information on my New Monkland Parish study here, be sure to check back as it will be updated as things progress.
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