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The idea is that every area could do with a local archivist.
This would be someone to bring together everything there is to know about the history of ringing, ringers and bells in the area.

Actually, you don't have to actually squirrel away all the books, newspapers, photos and other notes you find. You can just copy the bits that are relevant and note your sources. Getting it all organised will need a bit of discipline and a good way of doing that is a database. If you are unfamiliar with databases, do a bit of Googling to learn about the concept and then invest in what seems to suit you. If you would like to start with a ready made template from North Bucks then let me know. I will be including a schema on these pages soon if you want to create something using different software. IT purists will tend towards the big, commercial database solutions but, as you will only ever need to cope with a very small number of users and will want to make changes as you go, cheap and cheerful will work fine.

 
Interviews
Recordings
Libaries
BellBoard
Local Archivists
 

Then a good trick is to persuade your local branch that a branch archivist would be a good idea. It is a really good idea if you want an excuse for not being Ringing Master.

What to do with it all.

If there is a story to tell, write the story. A substantial story might merit a book but smaller articles would be welcomed by The Ringing World, branch newsletter, church newsletter or social media.
You will end up with a lot of interesting, and not so interesting facts. Individually, many of these won't be very informative but the cumulative result of a hundred year's worth of local newspaper reports for more than 40 towers will tell you something about the activity in your branch over the years. So share it all. A web site based on the database of everything will be helpful. In particular, it will be a resource that branch members can refer to when it is least convenient for you.

Why?

  • For all those ringers who can't be bothered to do any research but want to add some history to their church events, web site or faculty application.
  • To improve our branch meetings by already knowing what we decided in the past.
  • Because it is interesting.
  • Because it will explain a lot of the odd things we do now.

Other advice - check out John Harrison's advice on researching biographies.

Also, social media and e-mail lists can get you in touch with many people with experience and memories.

Feel free to get in touch with Doug Hird. - Branch archivist, North Bucks Branch ODG.

 
 

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