One Place Studies OPS

What is a One Place Study (OPS)?

  • A OPS combines family and local history on a community, street, graveyard etc.
  • A OPS is about collecting diverse information and statistics about a place over time or at a specific time and drawing conclusions.

I like #OnePlaceStudies because it sets everyday life in the local and national context, and interprets local/national events and factors through the lives of real, ordinary people.

A OPS can be whatever you want it to be. Don’t be put off by thinking it has to be done a certain way as I was for a while

Here is the web page for OPS world wide but there are only 4 in Australia. Check out the studies in the navigation bar one-place-studies.org

Bittermuir / Pixabay

Have you done or are you planning to do a OPS? What place would you choose or have you chosen and why?

Here are some blogs about OPS mentioned in our chat tonight

Sue – Sorell municipality, Tasmania

Jennifer – Axedale, Victoria

Alex – Wing, Buckinghamshire, England

 


I have an interest in three OPSs although they tend to suffer from lack of time or competing demands. My first is focused on Broadford, Co Clare, Ireland and more broadly on East Clare emigrants to Australia

My second OPS is a study of the 62 emigrants from Dorfprozelten, Bavaria to Australia in the mid19thC. I learn more about their lives in Bavaria, emigration and life in Oz. I have good links with the local historian

My third OPS interest is in Murphy’s Creek, Qld which was key in the construction of the Ipswich-Toowoomba railway line but is now a sleepy satellite town below the range. I have done lots of research but yet to set up a blog

I have two OPS on the go. One is Kaimkillenbun on the Darling Downs and my study covers the late 1800’s-1930. This is where my g grandparents settled first when arriving from Northern Ireland. Other family were already there

My second OPS is of Seventeen Mile Rocks in Brisbane. I feel very connected because not only did my g grandparents farm there but I moved from Kenmore to Jindalee just nearby aged 14

I haven’t and probably won’t … I really like the idea but so many possible places in my Ancestry to choose from … wouldn’t be able to make up my mind what to pick

I started mine by using posts written by students when I taught history and Technology. The most recent posts relate to the suggested topics from One Place Studies

I started looking into people from the same Cornish town as my family, or Cornish families with the same occupation/living in same suburb, but uncovered uncomfortable stories through Trove about others. Made me question ethics of what I was doing.

I suppose the question is whether it’s about recent times and people. Ethical questions can be quite the #familyhistory and OPS challenge. Further back in time is less concerning.

And a great Scottish site which traces the residents who lived in the village of Cairndow at the head of Loch Fyne Scotland. On my to-do list is to send info to them. Sigh…so much to do! #OneplaceStudy ourhousestheirstories.com

If I do another OPS,  it will be Polstead in Suffolk

I started a #OnePlaceStudy this year looking at a local ‘big house’ (now demolished). There was a family connection in that my g-grandfather worked there as a gardener, but it was also part of the local history of the area I grew up in: kinedar.wordpress.com

of course ! It doesn’t have to be a town or a village does it? A house will do. Or a church. Or a street or cemetery -whatever takes your fancy and speaks to you.

Focusing on a big house has meant (a) it’s a manageable size for an OPS, and (b) I get to use a wide range of sources because I’m looking at the ‘high society’ above stairs plus all the staff, as individuals and within their roles.

I had contemplated doing a OPS for the village where my father was born

I am not doing a OPS as such but had started a blog on just one small place, Tarlee in SA but just posting Trove articles, weddings, burials there and sending the links to the nearby local historical society justattarlee.blogspot.com

Kind of working on this for Makaretu & Ashley Clinton, two areas in Central Hawkes Bay, NZ. Approximately half of both cemeteries contain ancestors (back to Great Great Grandparents arriving in 1873). Get info from my 82 year old dad & 72 year old mother.

I have been collaborating with an historical society doing a OPS. More heads make for better results

Sue, the time line is a great way to feature events at a place and linking to blog posts an added bonus. A time line is something I would add now I have seen your blog.

Limiting the time span makes a OPS more realistic Fran. Otherwise it could be more than a lifetime of work.

Daniel_Nebreda / Pixabay

In what ways might a OPS complement your family history research? ie context, FANS, others?

An OPS helps you understand and appreciate what your ancestors’ lives were like, what their “normal” was. It’s also a great way to see just how large their extended family was, and how interconnected with their neighbours they were.

Does anyone else feel they have no “right” to be researching a place where they don’t live or which is far away? It sometimes feels quite impertinent to me.

I think if done with ethics in mind, e.g. always questioning own assumptions, making active efforts to engage with local #archives, local societies/orgs and local culture, it’s a brilliant & respectful way of expanding our own worldview…

…and where possible, involving local researchers & residents from modern day to ensure the community can also interact with it – definitely a force for good & potentially forging national/int’l goodwill connections too

I live about a thousand miles from where I was born- and about four thousand from where my grandfather was! If I didn’t research far off places, I wouldn’t be able to do any of my #genealogy

I’m sorry. I just don’t understand this query. We’re all from somewhere. And isn’t it the point to learn things, not only of the person, but of their place and their time. I don’t do this just to collect names but to expand my knowledge of everything

If I was doing an OPS I would want it to be supportive of my #familyhistory research. To lead to a better understanding of my ancestor’s lives.

Context is important but you can research around your ancestors – people associated with them (FANS), environment etc. – without necessarily taking on a full scale OPS

Just getting a more rounded feeling for the area & the close-knit connections. Eg – 3 local ‘boys’ went to WWII, and being a very small rural area, most residents had photos of all 3, in a frame on their walls. (And now I have them on my wall)

An OPS will give you lots of interesting background tidbits to add colour if you are writing up your family history too

I think the OPS helps me describe how my ancestors lived. Eg, Haughley in the 1920s was known for its lack of sewerage & the vicar’s crusade to get it for the village. Got to put that in the book !

My OPS started out as FAN research when I was writing about my g-grandfather for a local history project. It was only later that I realised it was ripe for development into a project in its own right.

Because mine is more about a district in Tasmania, I try to involve the community through their Facebook page. Lots of comments are from community members who have read the post.

Using a Facebook page to share info, or make connections with current residents can be very helpful can’t it?

I find I get very little interaction on my OPS FB page but I’ll keep plugging away. This is despite having many followers to the page

Also get ideas from the local Sorell Historical Society Facebook page where I will often mention what I am about to write about and get information from the locals

Researching your #familyhistory gives you an in-depth knowledge of your family and their lives, and we usually look at their place and activities within their community. This can add to the depth of a #OnePlaceStudy.

A OPS could help to give a bigger picture of the life your ancestors lived in a place. Collating info on all people in a place could lead to finding unknown people who are connected to your family

In both #familyhistory and an OPS it will be a goal to research as widely as possible, looking at a diverse range of data and information. We would look at consolidated data for the place a well as individual experiences and their typicality.

An OPS can give you a better understanding of where your family fits within the context of the place. The #OnePlaceStudy and #familyhistory offer complementarity and benefits to both.

A OPS can help you understand your ancestors lives in context by understanding a community or street they lived at the time they lived there or in over time. getting to know their friends and neighbours can lead to clues to follow


What kind of information would you want to research for a OPS and what outcome would you want for a OPS?

I like to study the entire census records for places and make a list of who lived where and did what compared to the next census and so on.

You can find out a lot about a place through newspaper advertisements from the time ie who lived there, sale notices, occupations, what happened in a place

And when using Trove, remember to add tags and create a relevant list so others can find it as well. Your work isn’t lost then.

Newspapers advertising of when the water, sewer and transport came to an place tells a lot about the progress and improvements

I love walking around my OPS It gives me ideas for research every time I’m lucky that my place is quite close to where I live

Just to chip in here about sources. Many researchers forget town/borough records. Your OPS may not have these, however it might be within the ‘sphere of influence’ of a larger town. E.g. the borough records of King’s Lynn mentions other towns/villages in area.

They can be hard to track down at times. Internet Archive is a good source, but some are browse only at FamilySearch and FindMyPast etc.

Don’t forget historical maps on each state land registry website. You can see places in the past. Also historical imagery on Google Earth.

At the moment my OPS focuses on stories and documents rather that statistics. That could change with more time

I worried to start with that mine didn’t have lots of statistics. But I think getting the community involved with their stories and memories is just as good

Some people will want to be very statistical in their approach, others will be focused more on the people and their stories. “Horses for courses”.

I was pondering this question over dinner, & was thinking that soon I’ll be able to do the 1911 vs 1921 comparison for Haughley.

Land records will be more important for Irish research as you work out who lived in your OPS over time. as always, maps are critical.

Doing an Irish (or Northern Irish) OPS is a challenge, but once you know your way round the local resources there is a lot of information out there (and quite a bit of it is free!)

Get to know your place! Really study a map, the topography, the local walking routes, markets,geographic obstacles and adjacent townlands or parishes. Put your message out there, you’ll be surprised who might find your interest in the OPS.

speaking of #OnePlaceMaps check out this fabulous map done by a postman in Cardigan Wales in 1945 digitised here library.wales/discover/digit… by the National Library of Wales 🙂

I’ve been using censuses, maps, street directories and the usual BMD resources to construct the basic framework of the study, but it is newspapers that are largely filling in the details and giving it colour.

My goal is to bring back to life a place which disappeared 80 years ago. So I’m gathering little stories, which provide a snapshot view, alongside all the info I can find about the residents, to reconstruct what it looked like and what life was like there

I use the National Libraries ‘Papers Past’ a lot. Really helps to identify people from the area, what they were involved in, and their connection to the community. Especially enjoy seeing school results. Also use births, deaths, marriages a lot as well

Great tip! I forgot to add school admission registers, and anniversary celebration books, especially for schools that were opened for/by pioneers.

Both mine begin with pioneers Pauleen and land records, title deeds are wonderful. and maps!

The maps + land selections are what led me to discover the connection of neighbours at Murphys Creek as former neighbours of Dorfprozelten.

ALL the information (because I have difficulty restricting myself even though restriction by timeframe or topic is eminently sensible). Outcome: a comprehensive understanding of one or more aspects of life in that place that you can share with others.

A non-English speaking OPS will offer different challenges and may offer an opportunity or necessity for collaboration with a local historian. Where there is already a #localhistory expert we will like to collaborate without “treading on toes”

An Australia OPS will need to also source diverse records including electoral rolls, land selection, naturalisations, FANs etc etc. A pioneer place OPS will likely be quite different from an established UK village OPS.

I like to understand how a place was settled ( easier in Australia and NZ ) and who lived there overtime, what their occupations were and to get a feel for how a place changed over time.

The available records and sources will vary depending on where your OPS is situated. So in Ireland you will not (mostly) find census nominal data until 1901 but you can still look at statistical data for education, occupation, gender distribution etc.

For an OPS I’d look at maps, census, naturalisation, internal-external migration, occupation, parish chest and registers, cemeteries, newspapers, land records including land selection. All you would use for #familyhistory and more.

I’m thinking census records, parish records, maps, business directories, local histories, cemetery records, newspapers. This is a good place to start one-place-studies.org/articles/10-st…

I use Trove a lot in my posts but also documents from Tasmanian archives as well as info from locals.

Pexels / Pixabay

A OPS can be an excellent family history resource. Suggest informative websites, books, blogs etc about OPS. Where can we find the One Place Studies done by others?

On twitter follow @OnePlaceStudies and use tag #OnePlaceStudy when sharing posts

Also if you share your OPS post on Wednesday use tag #oneplacewednesday It’s a thing.

The Society for One-Place Studies, of course, at @OnePlaceStudies and one-place-studies.org. Lots of freely available material (incl YouTube videos), plus extra goodies behind the membership curtain, and truly awesome and enthusiastic members.

Here’s a good article on how to choose a place? one-place-studies.org/articles/choos… and here’s the Directory of OPS. oneplacestudy.org And here’s a blog I found using the hashtag for OPS blogging prompts this month springhillhistory.org.uk/index.html

How to books I have found useful for One Place Study include “Putting Your Ancestors in Their Place: A Guide to One Place Studies” Janet Few & “Ten Steps to a One Place Study” Janet Few

I saw this One Place Study data management and mapping software in the Expo Hall at Rootstech youtu.be/K3UyjLEAuSAsof…

Great blogs with lots of things to look for in your OPS https://www.cousindetective.com/2016/01/how-to-do-one-place-study.html   https://www.treehousegenealogy.co.uk/post/one-place-study

Your first port of call should be the society for One Place Studies. one-place-studies.org This shows the registered OPSs around the world BUT there may be others eg the work done by Merron Riddiford on Victoria’s Western District.

CuriousFox is a gazetteer and message system that connects family historians & local historians. I’ve had great success with it for places in the UK & Ireland, as explained on bit.ly/2WB9ir1.

Great post by Sophie about looking at negative gaps in our research – could relate to both family and OPS

Readers: If you were to start a One Place Study, where would it be and why?

Apps for family history

Thoroughly enjoyable chat tonight with #ANZAncestryTime – apps to make life easier when doing family history.

JESHOOTS-com / Pixabay

Share apps for photos, digital images, storage, scanning etc: favourites, alternatives, features, tips, value.

I only use the software on my computer for my work. I scan with Karapa on my ancient scanner, take photos with my Oppo phone or Panasonic camera, and organise with FastStone Image Viewer. Used to use Picasa

I used to so love Picasa and mourn its absence greatly. Reckon I lost a lot of photos in the transition.

#photomyne @Photomyne has been my personal favourite. It does it all and is still an expanding app.

the best app I use is ora-extension.com/en/ora-setting…

I need something to organise my photos! For creating images, I’ve used Canva, for charts LucidChart, and SnagIt for annotating screenshots. Image editing I use GraphicConverter

Lots of Google, Adobe and Microsoft apps can be used for all sorts of #familyhistory tasks Google Keep and Microsoft Office Lens a couple of current favourites. Microsoft Office Lens Another scanner, documents, cards, photos to pdf etc.etc


Apps for kids recommended by common sense media commonsensemedia.org/lists/photogra…

For photo scanning, Google Photoscan I found to be quite useful. Storing… Google Photos hands down.

My FH source images and photos also automatically connect to Dropbox via my Reunion desktop software and the Reunion Touch app on the iPad. Means the images are viewable on the road via the app.

Unsplash for free images and Pic Collage for making collages of images

To store my photos I use Photos from Apple. They are synced through the cloud to other devices so available when out and about. For my sources images I store them in a file connected to my tree on my computer.

Pixabay images are searched when writing my blog summaries. includes the image credit automatically

I mainly use Canva, Pixabay, Pic Collage, Unsplash and Shutterstock for blog images

a freeware alternative to Photoshop that I discovered at a SLQ workshop years ago is GIMP. I use Google Photos and Dropbox mostly for image management and sharing.

I use Flickr on my ipad to collect all my photos and group in albums

photos: Flickr from archives and for some of my own. Shutterstock for paid images for presentations or blog; Pixabayfor free images. Canva for graphics; pic collage for collages.

For scanning I mostly use my iPhone with the Scannable app from Evernote. It straightens up the page to a rectangle even if you take the image on an odd angle. Only for iPhones and iPads available at the Apple app store

dapple-designers / Pixabay

Apps for place research, eg mapping, cemeteries, etc. AND/OR: recording or writing family history, note-taking, presentations, blogging etc.

Use my Firefox browser for working on websites, often up to 20 tabs open, and my MS Pro at the same time if I need to have information up while I’m working on @WikiTreers profiles.

Glad to read that I am not the only one with loads of tabs open. I can go to multiple windows with groups of tabs open in each one.

use LibreOffice for writing reports, preparing spreadsheets, etc. I have my many trees in Legacy. I manage my thousands of files with ZTreeWin. I backup with ToolKit. I email through Thunderbird.

between #Evernote @evernote my camera and map widgets, I am good to go! My PDF app stores my research notes. (Yellow highlights reminds me what I still need to locate, when I am on my fieldtrips.).

Hmm… place research – Google Maps and Google MyMaps. I tend to create presentations and everything on my PC. I don’t like doing those things on phones/tablets.

I agree Daniel. I don’t use a phone for much. I use my large keyboard and my large touchscreen to work. A phone is too small except reading FaceBook, emails, etc.

Am back using Scrivener for writing blog posts, assignments, research reports, etc. So useful being able to pull in resources, and split screen handy for transcribing documents. Have GenMap for mapping data, put Windows VM on my Mac especially to run it.

Scrivener’s great! I think I am finally over my footnote formatting disaster that occurred during my studies – took me a year to recover from that LO

oh yes footnotes can be the bane of your life if you haven’t got the right program or know how to use it properly.

I have used google MyMaps to create some family maps. Here is an example. Can attached a story and images accessible by clicking the numbers or side panel. Usually good but can go a bit wonky. google.com/maps/d/u/0/edi…

have used Soundcloud and voicememos for interviews and then added to my blog

I’ve used wavepad to record oral history interviews and it worked quite well.

Audacity is free and open source and easy to use (I use it to edit my podcast episodes for THB and my own…) Not sure about Soundcloud

The WordPress App really is great. When I was in Spain, I posted every day for 6 weeks and managed comments, all through the app.

I did an oral history via my Evernote app once and this recorded clearly with no extra mics. For note writing I use the notes app on the iPad. Blogging apps: WordPress Apps that links back to my blogs on the server. Lets you manage comments too.

I use WordPress App for my blog, Billion Graves and Find A Grave for cemeteries

mozlase__ / Pixabay

Apps for storing FH research, data, research and your tree. Preferences and why? Multiple choices? Which simplify (or assist) collaboration and sharing?

I use multiple folders on my D drive with subfolders which I can access through ZTreeWin to store photos, certificates, notes. spreadsheets, etc. Backupped to two PHDs. I exchange information through email or Messenger. My work is on @WikiTreers

mentioned in A2 with my camera and PDF widgets/apps, as long as I remember to update/ upload my notes, is all I need

I use Reunion to store my tree offline, but have other apps to produce reports and charts. Excel for data, Scrivener for project work. Endless notebooks that I need to index/transcribe at some point <- need an app for that!

try out using voice to text for all these note books. I have given up typing tonight and are actually saying my posts.

I use the ReunionTouch app on my iPad lots including when I need to check out a birthday coming up as I can never remember them. For transcribing try testing out voice to text options. Double tap fn key the Mac to start, once on in sys pref.

Have also used animoto to create slideshows with and without background music

I have been a long time user of Family Tree Maker but am now trying to switch to Family Historian. I want to make more use of/give SVG Family Tree generator a good workout for creating family tree graphics on my blog. I love Coggle for mind-mapping.

Thanks for bringing up mind mapping Alex. It’s a great tool. I used to use it constantly but not so much lately. For no reason. Just…time!

I have used bubbl.us for mind mapping especially with DNA matches and creating thruline type chart

storing info: notes Evernote, Google docs and sheets, desktop Word, Excel and Powerpoint and online in MyHeritage, Ancestry and FamilySearch Google stuff set to offline too so can be all backed up to 2 external hard drives. family heritage albums in Flickr

Office programs extensively. Evernote is backup of FH emails. Google docs for photos; Dropbox for presentations etc and ready access; OneDrive similarly for access

I have the @Ancestry app. It connects to one of my trees so reflected changes made on the web or synced from Family Tree Maker. You can log into other trees I think.

Yes you can access multiple trees but it is a bit problematic if you want to frequently move between trees

I really like the Ancestry App. It’s great to always have my tree on my phone wherever I go.

Trees on iPad only with ReunionTouch. @FamilySearch App, @MyHeritage, @Ancestry on iPhone as well. I do frequently use a web browser on my iPad for consistency the interface with desktop use. Apps though are better on a phone being mobile responsive.

ds_30 / Pixabay

 

Apps for anything and everything: learning, time keeping, mind mapping, charts, etc. The ones you cannot do without and why.

Zotero for keeping track of useful resources and the Chrome extension Zotero Connector that grabs the details with one click.

Spreadsheets for pretty much everything – Research logs, Timelines, BDM certificates. Genome Mate Pro for DNA matches, DNA Painter

Librarything for books owned. Easy to scan in bar code. I use GoodReads for the books read. This applies to both FH and general reading though LT is more for my reference library.

Books owned are in a large spreadsheet arranged in the order they are on the shelves by bookcase and room. Couldn’t find them otherwise as I have moved several times – know where they were in the last house

Libib for tracking my genealogy/history books, so I don’t buy a book I already have.

If I could only pick one app then the one I would pick is more of an extension for Firefox. It’s called web developer and it’s the first thing I download whenever I get a new computer and set up Firefox.

I confess to still using pen and paper to keep myself organized and when I get frustrated at not getting through my To Do list, I use my own version of the Pomodoro technique, allocating 1/2 an hour to each task just to make some progress on them.

Ah, I have the FocusTime app to use that technique. I find it helps, mostly 😉

You work 25 minutes on a task, then have 5 min break. Can help if you have trouble focussing, or easily distracted. Can be annoying if you get stuck into something, and then “have” to stop. So sometimes I don’t 😉 Customisable, can change time settings

If using wordpress, here is how to embed some media help.edublogs.org/user-guide/med…

For language translation I’ve used Reverso app. Feedly to monitor blog posts by others, voice memos when travelling or otherwise as a reminder. Facebook to stay in touch with genimates and FH & DNA groups.

Spreadsheets. I could not survive without them. All my data goes into them. I have some with 50 years of data. Ask a question, I go to a spreadsheet. Maybe I should start writing about the information.

yes I love doing timelines for ancestors on Spreadsheets. Makes it much easier.

DNA matches from every site I’m on. The ones above 20cM mainly but I do put up others that I am looking at. BDMs too

I keep virtually everything on Google Drive – spreadsheets, slideshows, documents, photos etc Can then be accessed on any computer world wide or on ipad or laptop

Great comments:

Time seems to be the issue that challenges most family historians in many areas of their research. It’s my biggest challenge. But retirement is coming in a few weeks so things will change

Yes where is that time expansion app we’ve all been looking for?????

Blog posts:

Carmel always has great posts. Here is one for apps for family history tasks.

Readers: Do you have a favourite app you use when researching or travelling?