A Surfeit of YouTube

The last week or so seems to have been a mad round of presentations and with seven more in the next fortnight, it isn’t getting any less hectic. Those I have just done have been of the digital variety, those to come are in person and many of them are for Mistress Agnes, rather than myself. First, I helped The Society for One-Place Studies to launch their migration project for 2015 via a Google+ Hangout on Air. Next, our own local history group held a workshop day, in freezing temperatures, researching the men on our first world war roll of honour. In connection with this, we put my introductory chat on YouTube, for the benefit of far flung members. A new venture that we hope will continue. It was very odd sitting talking to myself in order to create the video and yes, I forgot to turn the telephone off but at the second attempt, it wasn’t too bad.

On the subject of First World War research, I have come across a couple of useful websites recently. Firstly, the National Archives have made records of appeals tribunals, where individuals applied for exemption from military service, available. The bad news is that these only cover London and Middlesex but interesting nonetheless. Then there is this website and blog, Walter Carter WW1 Soldier’s Tale, which recreates the story of a fictional soldier on a day by day basis, using social media. It deserves much wider publicity.

Still more YouTube, as I was interviewed in order to create a trailer for the Ontario Genealogical Society conference, at which I am speaking remotely in May. This finished project makes me sound weirdly jerky, as indeed I do on some of the other videos but I assure any potential audience members that I don’t really sound like that – I am blaming bandwidth. Thanks to friends, I am also lining up some live presentations in Canada for later in the year. Keep an eye on my forthcoming talks page for details.

My headphones seem to have been permanently in situ. My grandchildren, who I Skype regularly, must think these strange protrusions are part of my anatomy. I spent a very interesting hour or so being interviewed, via Skype, by FindMyPast, as part of their user panel. As I have been doing family history significantly longer than any of my three interviewers had been alive, I had to try not to appear a total dinosaur but it was good fun and hopefully useful. It does sound as if there are some moves in the pipeline to make searching more user friendly.

What else is on the agenda? Well, preparations for Unlock the Past’s 8th cruise are progressing. My partner in crime now appears on the speakers’ list alongside myself. I will soon know exactly what sessions I shall be presenting during the cruise and I am getting very excited about it. A booklet that I have written for the Unlock The Past stable is also due for publication any day now ’Til Death Us Do Part: causes of death 1300-1948. It will also be available as an ebook – watch this space! You may find me (or indeed Mistress Agnes) on the Unlock the Past stall at Who Do you Think You Are Live?. I shall be helping on other stalls too, as well as giving talks, being an expert to ask and meeting up with other one-place studiers but I am there all three days, so look forward to catching up with old friends and meeting new.

Finally, for all those involved in local history groups, this website is worth a look. Plenty of ideas about conducting research, engaging the public and securing funding.

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