The History Interpreter – Janet Braund Few

‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to fulfil it’ George Santayana

Researcher – Speaker – Writer – Presenter

The Jesuits say ‘give me a child until they are seven and I will show you the man’, or woman of course. When I was seven I spent my time making up impossibly large families in ‘my famerley book’ (spelling was not a strong point). I also wrote long stories or played complicated, extended games of schools. Although I enjoyed ‘dressing up’, I hadn’t yet started donning period costume but most other aspects of my current life were there in embryonic form.

Although I have, I hope, a reputation as an academic historian, I believe good history is for everyone. As The History Interpreter, I aim to bring history alive in a variety of ways. I spend time as my alter ego, Mistress Agnes, living in the seventeenth century at Torrington 1646 and elsewhere, imparting information about life in the time of the English Civil War. My book Coffers, Clysters, Comfrey and Coifs: the lives of our seventeenth century ancestors, emerged out of this experience. On occasions, I swap centuries and appear as a Victorian. I am passionate about encouraging young people to become interested in history, especially through living history or family history. My main focus is on social history and the day to day lives of ordinary people, particularly women.

I enjoy dissecting small, rural communities and trying to understand how they functioned in the past. In this respect, I maintain my own one place studies for the North Devon villages of Buckland Brewer, Bucks Mills and Bulkworthy. No, I am not working my way through the alphabet! I am the vice chair of the Society for One-Place Studies and have written a guide to one place studies Putting Your Ancestors in their Place.

I work closely with historical organisations in my home county of Devon and I am leader of the North Devon group of Devon Family History Society. The Isle of Wight Family History Society have done me the honour of appointing me their President. As historian for The Braund Family History Society I have immersed myself in the origins, genealogy and biography of this west country family and have written several books about them. I also research my own family history, with an emphasis on putting the lives of my ancestors into a wider context. I am responsible for the latest edition of the classic family history handbook Family Historian’s Enquire Within

You can read about my chaotic historical life on the blog at Latest News from the History Interpreter do click ‘follow’ if you want to keep up to date.

Contact Me

e.mail historyinterpreter@hotmail.co.uk I always reply to e.mails but am aware that some do get lost in the ether. If you do not receive a response within 48 hours please try again.

Follow me on Twitter @janetfew

The material, both written and photographic, on these pages is the copyright of Janet Few unless stated. Text and illustrations on this site may be used for personal reference only. If you wish to use any of the material on this site for other means, please seek the written permission of Janet Few © 2012-2014.

‘The past is history not destiny’ US President Clinton speaking of the situation in Ireland – December 2000

7 comments on “The History Interpreter – Janet Braund Few

  1. I’m intrigued! I love period clothing, but my acting skills are non-existent. I look forward to reading more.

  2. rebelhand says:

    I’m looking forward to reading more, Janet – I enjoy your tweets already. Welcome to the wonderful world of genealogy blogging!

  3. Jim Sanders says:

    Welcome to Geneabloggers.

    It’s Memorial Day here in the USA. Memorial Day is a day to remember those who fought and died in the service of the United States. My ancestor, John D. Laurie fought with the 10th Connecticut Infantry. He died during the war of wounds he received.

    Regards, Jim
    Military Genealogy at Hidden Genealogy Nuggets

    • Una Atkins says:

      Jim, which Sanders family are you from? My Great Great Grandfather was William Sanders. My GG/Grandmother, Thirza Sanders (Western Braund). I am from Christchurch NZ. My Great Grandfather, John Sanders bought his whole fmaily minus one to NZ in the late 1800’s. Altho I have been doing “history” over the years, have never been able to find the ship they came out on
      Love to hear from you Regards Una

      • peter says:

        A cricketing friend of mine in Chch descends from a James SANDERS who played rugby league for NZ. James appears to have had siblings Frank and May, all three born born to John SANDERS (=Mary WEIR?) who died 1904 age 33, the son of William SANDERS (=Mary) who probably died 1911 age 82 at Christchurch. John & William are buried in the same plot at Addington cemetery, Christchurch. A lot of graves at Addington were damaged by the earthquakes.

        I’m thinking that William might be William SAUNDERS age 30 who arrived at Lyttelton the port of Christchurch in early 1860 on the ship ROBERT SMALL with his wife Mary age 30 and children Thomas age 5 and Sidney age 2 weeks (might have been age 2 wks at the start of the voyage). William SAUNDERS was a miner from Gloucestershire. A William & Mary SANDERS had issue Hester Ellen 1862, Emily 1865 and John 1870 whom I think was the father of james the league player. William’s wife Mary died 1892 at Pigeon Lane (now Clarence Street), Christchurch age 63. A Sydney SANDERS married Alma WILLISCROFT and had a son William Sydney SANDERS who married Violet TRUSTRUM.

  4. Have been a follower for twelve years now. Can vouch first hand for your untiring devotion to family history. Thank you for all the help extended our way for the completion of our family tree. Fourteen years ago I did not know anymore than my great-grand father’s name. Then I received an unsolicited e-mail from The History Interpreter, Now, I can go back six and seven generations. Wish I could be with you this week for the reunion. Love ya!
    Your first online cousin
    GHC

  5. Nancy Frey says:

    Wow! Janet, I had no idea of all the things you were into. This site has been bookmarked and I will visit often. I was really interested to see your connection to the Isle of Wight as I have been doing some research there recently. I’ll be in touch with you about that.

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