Entering its first stage of research, the "More Than Oliver Twist" Arts Council England funded project is off to a start. With Regional Mentors equipped with knowledge and resources, sites are planning and hosting their own Skills Sessions over the months of August and September, training and tutoring Research Volunteers to tackle the task at hand. The feedback so far has been one of enthusiasm and excitement as volunteers get ‘hooked’ on family history research.
Hosted by partner organisation Nottingham Trent University, the Mentor Training Day saw social historians, family history records experts and museums professionals pass on their knowledge with several inspiring discussions. Megan Dennis (Curator at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse) started the day with a motivating introductory talk, followed by a succession of training sessions on methodology, national and local Poor Law records, record linkage and writing history, led by Andrew Gritt (Head of History, Languages and Global Cultures at Nottingham Trent University), Paul Carter (Principle Record Specialist for Collaborative Projects at The National Archives), Lewis Darwen (Research Associate, Roehampton University) and Audrey Collins (Family History Specialist at The National Archives).
Boasting a range of experience and backgrounds, it became clear early in the day that the project had recruited an incredibly knowledgeable Regional Mentor team – moving forward, we are excited to see how each team will approach the research, and the stories they will encounter.