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Family history

Concerned with individuals related to each other with a kinship connection & interested in the life stories of those individuals, via a narrative approach. Increasingly likely to seek to place these individuals in a wider context. Might not have formal training and will be doing this for personal interest (c.f. genealogists). Might be less rigorous with referencing than professional researchers - though may also have an excellent grasp of a wide variety of sources that might contain personal information they seek. Will have an expertise in thinking about the individual and personal. 


Society of Genealogists http://www.sog.org.uk/ 

Family History Federation https://www.familyhistoryfederation.com/ 

Guild of One Name Studies https://one-name.org/ 

Local history

Driven by a focus on the place, though integrating personal stories into this. Possibly also undertaking research for personal interest or as part of a civic group. Potentially a more analytical approach/ mindset, as there is a need to explain (or at least consider) why places grow and decay over time. Might adopt a long duree approach. Will have an expertise in finding out about place.


British Association for Local History https://www.balh.org.uk/ 

Institute of Historical Research, Centre for the History of People, Place and Community https://www.history.ac.uk/ 

Centre for English Local History https://le.ac.uk/english-local-history 

Social history

Notoriously difficult to define, being concerned with 'society', social history often overlaps with other historical fields.  The discipline focuses on the everyday lives of individuals in relation to larger social and economic influences.  Whilst it has been accused of being overly focused on using class systems as a form of analysis, social history has also been considered the 'history of the people'.  Social history is widely engaged with by academic, local and genealogical historians.


Oral History Society https://www.ohs.org.uk/ 

Social History Society https://www.socialhistory.org.uk/

Raphael Samuel History Centre https://raphaelsamuelhistorycentre.com/ 


Predominantly based in a university setting and paid to undertake teaching and research (and admin...), will go beyond the narrative to analyse and interpret the sources closely, often (though not exclusively) using particular theoretical and/or interpretive approaches to produce arguments about the chosen research topic. Typically under pressure to publish in academic journals which are often paywalled. Often seen as (or sees themselves as!) an expert in a particular field, quite tightly chronologically defined.


National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement https://www.publicengagement.ac.uk/ 

International Federation for Public History https://ifph.hypotheses.org/ 

University of Strathclyde, Centre for Lifelong Learning, Genealogy https://www.strath.ac.uk/studywithus/centreforlifelonglearning/genealogy/ 

Useful institutions and networks

British Library https://www.bl.uk/ 

The National Archives http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/ 

Community Archives and Heritage Group http://www.communityarchives.org.uk/ 

Archives and Records Association https://www.archives.org.uk/ 

The Historical Association https://www.history.org.uk/ 

University of the Third Age https://www.u3a.org.uk/ 

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