Back to family and local history

22 August 2015

Often our working days are spent deep in paperwork on Heir Hunting cases in the offices of FWL. The volume of rainforest used in our line of work is really quite amazing. Generally, our approach builds on family history research techniques and the reconstruction of lineages to try to ascertain the rightful heirs to estates. Both of these disciplines are used in local history as well and last night, I was delighted to give a talk about how to trace the history of a community to the Bushton & Clyffe Pypard Women’s Institute (WI).

Over the course of the last few months, I have delivered lectures to many of the local Wiltshire WI groups. Some of the talks are ‘off the shelf’ and regaled on a couple of occasions before. However, the community history one is personalised for each community so they can find out more about their area – well, hopefully!

Yesterday’s audience were wonderful. They had lots of interesting questions relating to both family and local history and certainly seemed to be rather enthused by my presentation, which is always good! One lady had letters dated well over a century ago and needed to find a way of storing them to avoid them deteriorating. Several people had looked into their house histories and various others had begun researching their family – rather than local – histories.

I do enjoy passing on my enthusiasm for place/community studies to other people. Maybe you would like to find out who lived in your house before you, what a building was used for back in the nineteenth century or how the amenities have altered through the years? How would you go about finding the answers? There are so many places to look for evidence, no matter where in the world your place of interest is – some inside in the comfort of your home and some outside ‘on the ground’ in your place. But an initial must is to join the Society for One-Place Studies…. Take a look at their website to find out what they have to offer their members.

And so, onward to a weekend of family and local history for me. Love it!

Source image: © Kirsty Gray, 2014

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