‘Historians Collaborate’ emerged when a number of people who thought in similar ways got together to try make it easier to work together. They were:
I am a medieval historian of state finance by training, but in this field I am an author, broadcaster and historian best known for my work on BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are. I am an honorary associate professor of public history at the University of Nottingham, the Director of Senate House Library (University of London), a teaching fellow at the University of Dundee and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. My latest publication, The Restless Kings, explores the reigns of Henry II, Richard I and John but I previously wrote The Forgotten Spy, an account of my great uncle Ernest Oldham, Stalin’s first ‘mole’ in Whitehall during the 1920s
and 1930s. I am currently the President of the Federation of Family History Societies and sit on the Executive Committee of the Community Archives and Heritage Group. I am developing an interdisciplinary network to explore how personal archives, family history and memory management techniques can help people living with dementia, and encourage preventative steps for wider sections of the public. I have previously worked at The National Archives, and was the Executive Director of FreeUKGen, the parent charity for FreeBMD. I have also been a Trustee of the Society of Genealogists and served on the executive committee of the Federation of Family History Societies, on the public history committee for the Historical Association and the education committee for the British Association for Local History.
The Archives and Records Association is the membership and professional body for archivists, archive conservators, records managers and anyone interested in archives and records management in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The ARA aims to support its membership through advocacy, training, professional development, professional help and advice, and by providing a community to which the membership can belong and from which they draw benefit through open discussion and debate, as well as through gathering of information and advice. The ARA is in favour of collaboration and promotes wide access to archives and records. Through its members the ARA is
committed to working for high standards in the provision of and care of archives and effective management of record systems including the retrieval of information from them. Contact John by email at
Founded in 1911 the Society of Genealogists (SoG) is the UK’s National Family History Centre and an Affiliate Family Search Library. Over the years it has amassed a truly magnificent genealogical library and archive, with more and more of its remarkable collections and resources being made available online for members. As well as local sources relating to where our ancestors lived and what they did in their lives, the Society collects genealogical research notes, pedigrees and family histories compiled by members and many eminent genealogists as well as members of the public who may
have no other place to deposit their research. Additionally, the Society’s extensive education and distance learning programmes support and encourage genealogists to improve their research skills and understanding of family history. The members’ area Learning Zone has an increasing number of recorded lectures and courses. The Search Records pages of the website feature the library catalogue, digitized data searches and quick surname look-ups in various manuscript collections. The Society offers full and associate memberships and makes the library available to non-members on payment of day search fees. Further information about searches, joining the Society of Genealogists and visiting the library can be found on the website www.sog.org.uk
After many years in Business Administration redundancy enabled a career change into Adult Education and teaching qualifications with the Worker’s Education Association (WEA). Initially running Local History classes, the demand for courses studying and developing Family History research skills has provided full-time employment mainly in North and West Yorkshire for the last twenty years. Working and sharing research experiences with upwards of a hundred active family historians each week over this period has enriched my knowledge of history, social interaction and the part everybody plays in life. A regular speaker at major Family History shows and events across the country, I’ve also taught in a wide range of locations for example Archives, Country Houses, Libraries, Museums and a cruise ship. Tutorial talks are given to Family and
given to Family and Local History Societies, U3A groups, Women’s Institutes and similar community organisations. For the last seven (?) years I’ve been Chairman of the Yorkshire Group of Family History Societies, an umbrella group to share experiences and ideas across the twenty plus individual societies in Yorkshire. www.yorksgroup.org.uk Often being invited on Local BBC Radio in this capacity. Additionally an active member of the Seminar organising committee for the Guild of One Name Studies www.one-name.org Having studied Family and Community History with the Open University, taught Family History for the University of Huddersfield and supported various University of Leeds projects I am keen to support this collaboration initiative. There are many benefits to be gained by blending focused academic research with the passion and skills of today’s family historians.
I'm an academic historian, based at the University of Portsmouth. My interest in improving collaboration and links across researchers from different backgrounds comes particularly from the 'Railway Work, Life & Death' project (www.railwayaccidents.port.ac.uk). This explores accidents to British & Irish railway workers from the late 19th century to the Second World War, and is collaborative with the National Railway Museum and the Modern Records Centre at the University of Warwick - but most significantly, with the volunteers who make the project possible through their work with the records. As part of this collaboration and co-production, we've been trying hard to build links with family historians, genealogists and others who might be
interested in and contribute to the project - and have been benefitting from this by finding out more about some of the people featured in our project database.
Associate Professor of Public History, Macquarie University, Sydney, and Director of the Centre for Applied History; I trained as a social and cultural historian of the family I have been interested in family history since 2009. I wrote about its radical potential in the History Workshop Journal in 2011. Since then I have continued to research and enjoy the benefits of collaborating with family historians. I want to use my work to continue to trouble people’s assumptions about family historians as sentimental, nostalgic and unanalytical and to show how their passionate and diligent labour is producing detailed knowledge of social history and driving a thirst for more. Global family history that is practiced self-consciously and critically (which is not always the case)
challenges the nation-focused/state-driven patriarchal history we discover so easily in our formal archives and libraries and brings the lives of the marginalized to the fore. I am always looking to collaborate more, especially with international partners.
I’m a historian of everyday life, families and emotional relationships in twentieth-century Britain. At the moment, this means I’m investigating how families deal with the deaths of relatives and choose to remember their loved ones when they’re gone - over months, years and decades, across generations. This, for me, includes thinking about family history research as a practice - after all, for those investigating their own families, it’s about the relationship between the living and the dead, and for many, it’s about recovering ancestors whose lives might not be well recorded for the historical record and posterity. This means that for me there’s a real emphasis on thinking about families whose histories aren’t well represented in archives and libraries. As part of this Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funded project I have put
together a group of family historians, with whom we (Jess Hammett, the postdoc on the project, and I) worked for about 15 months. For them, this was useful because it offered the chance to benefit from different (and perhaps expensive) resources, academic knowledge, and training; because it helped them to learn more about the context in which their ancestors lived; because it helped them reflect more on the very meanings of history and what ‘counts’ as history; and because it offered a social space to share their research and support each other. The benefits for us were lots of research data (interviews, access to private family archives and the research of our family historians, and written accounts from them) and the ability to learn from the expertise of the participants as genealogical researchers, and as members of the family they were researching. This helped us answer the research questions we’d set out, but also changed the way we thought about and framed those very questions. (More here). My interest in this network is to explore further the ways in which family historians, genealogists and academic/social historians might work together in a truly collaborative and mutually respectful way - building on the workshop we held in Leeds in the summer. It’d be great to think about what models for collaboration work well, and what don’t, and what each group might get out of collaborating and sharing information more. For me, family history is the work individuals do to better understand their own family’s past - through interviewing, genealogical research, and other methods. My interest in this is what emerges from that research, as I’m interested in the history of families and so I can learn a lot from the research family historians do. But I’m also thinking about what people's interest in family history represents - so I’m researching how families have recorded their own histories and how this has changed over time, and what meaning this has for families in terms of their sense of their own identities and ideas about heritage and belonging.
Julia Laite is a reader in modern British history at Birkbeck, University of London and Birkbeck Director of the Raphael Samuel History Centre, which is dedicated to fostering the widest possibly participation in historical research and debate. She researches and writes about migration, women’s and labour history using micro-historical and family history methodologies, and is planning a series of workshops on collaborative family history. She is the coordinator of the MA in Public Histories at Birkbeck.
I have spent all my working life carrying out historical and genealogical research for clients, in archives and libraries throughout the UK, and consider myself to be a professional historian, albeit without academic connections. I now specialise in Chancery records and those relating to property, particularly those in the 16th and 17th centuries. Over the years I have visited a large number of archives in the country, although most of my work now is at the National Archives.
I am a trustee of the British Association for Local History, and bring my experience as a hands-on researcher and my connections with the world of family history. I formerly represented Medieval and Early Modern readers on the User Advisory Group at the National
Archives, and am chairman of the Community of Specialist Researchers at TNA. At a local level I am secretary of the Wincanton & District Museum and History Society. In addition to writing articles for The Local Historian and many family history journals, I have written Tracing your Ancestors through the Equity Courts, published by Pen & Sword 2017 and Family Feuds - An Introduction to Chancery Proceedings, published by the Federation of Family History Societies, 2003. In order to encourage research in Chancery records, I am the tutor for an annual 5 week online course on deeds and Chancery records, as the final module for the Advanced Family History Skills & Strategies Distance Learning Course run by Pharos and the Society of Genealogists. I have written a course on Chancery records for the National Institute of Genealogical Studies in Toronto, and have given workshops on Chancery records for the Society of Genealogists and for the tutor led part of the Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies diploma, as well as giving numerous talks to family and local history societies. Providing work experience days for 6th form students to introduce them to the National Archives as a place of wonder, has been a real joy, as they discover the wide variety of records and the thrill of opening a new box of documents. This has led to paid internships on Chancery records and the mentoring of students considering a career in archival research. These have all been informal ad hoc arrangements, and I would be delighted to develop a more formal relationship with an academic institution.
Natalie has enjoyed a career in project management, specialising in PMO Analysis and Project Planning. In early 2016, whilst expecting her 2nd child, Natalie decided to take a career break. Whilst on leave, Natalie continued to enjoy genealogy and start an unofficial one name study. A further child was born in summer 2018, and whilst Natalie has taken pleasure in spending time with her children she also wanted to keep her mind active and pursue her passion for history. Around a year ago, Natalie set up Genealogy Stories, aiming to create an engaging blog and meet other genealogists. In addition, Natalie offers family history research services. Her website can be viewed at www.genealogystories.co.uk
As Curator of Oral History and Deputy Director of the oral history fieldwork charity National Life Stories, I work across a diverse range of projects at the British Library and liaise with external partners depositing their interviews into the Library collections. I am also a Trustee of the Oral History Society, a member of both the Oral History Society Archives Sub-committee and the British Library/Oral History Society Training Liaison Group. My research interests include family histories and narratives and their use as a tool for academic research and oral history and its reception by family members of interviewees. I have also been exploring the 'biography' of the oral history archive: contextualising collections, capturing information about the research process and exploring ethical debates about the re-use of archived oral history material.