Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The moving target - farms

In 2011 I started work on the farms project. This is a series of pages with information about the farms and farmers of Wing, organised by property into regions/hamlets of Wing. I think this is going to be one of the more significant and globally useful projects within the one-place study.

So far I've completed the hamlets of Ascott and Burcott. Still to come are Crafton, Cottesloe, and "other". For these, I have roughly collated the basic information from census records and directories. The real work is in fleshing these out with additional information, attempting to work out the location of the farm, looking for any family connections between farms, and writing each farm up into a cohesive and interesting passage. I also have to complete a summary page about the agricultural industry in Wing as a whole and what working life would have been like for our farmer/ag lab ancestors.

I've learned that these farm pages actually take a lot longer than I would have expected. It will also get more problematic from here on in as fewer of the farms are actually named. However leaving this project half-finished will make me feel guilty every time I think about it, so I definitely want to get it done. Using my estimate of 4 hours a week being the time I can commmit to the one-place study, it'll probably take me a couple of months to finish each page. Allowing a month for the valuation books project, and another month for a stint of work on marriages from the parish registers, that means it'll likely be the end of August before it's done.

Long-term, I'll be able to expand these pages as more information comes to light. I also want to incorporate much better mapping of the farms - ideally identify the fields that encompassed each individual farm over time ("time" realistically being only 1798 onwards), and overlay these onto a modern map. Even if I've been able to achieve an accurate identification of a particular farm using various historical maps and records, I don't have the technical skill to realise my vision of the final map on the website. I suspect that's another huge learning curve - and huge learning curves take time!

[For background to The Moving Target series of posts, see the story so far]


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