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From Poland to Waltham Forest

Conducting Archival Research
15th November 2013
Introductions
Esther Freeman, Project Director
Jane Greenstock, Research Manager
Round the room- name, experience in archi...
Sessions we will cover
●

●

What is an archive? Materials we can find there
Planning research projects, searching and fin...
Icebreaker
An interesting fact about you or your family
What is an archive?

●

A collection of primary materials

●

A place where materials are stored

●

Multiple collections ...
What is an archive?
●

●

●

●

Different from a library but there are overlaps
“where storage meets dreams, and the rest ...
Types of materials in archives

●

What kind of materials do you think will be in
archives?
Types of materials
Examples of archival materials
Photograph of Lebus employees

A Lebus party invite

A Lebus catalogue
Types of archives
●

College and university archives

●

Government archives- central, local

●

Corporate archives

●

Hi...
Terminology
A useful guide to archival terminology has been
produced by the Society for American
Archivists: this can be f...
Planning your research
General advice:
●

Begin with formulating broad research question

●

Background reading

●

Think ...
Planning your research

●

You may not know what will be there until you
arrive

●

Detective work

●

Communication with ...
Archivists
●

Are potentially your best ally in your research

●

Know archives as a whole

●

May provide suggestions of ...
Searching and finding material
●

Role of the internet

●

Finding aids

●

Catalogue descriptions
Internet catalogues
●

Some archives will make their catalogues
searchable online e.g. National Archives

●

Archives Hub ...
Finding aids
●

Documents prepared by archivists that informs
researchers about a collection

●

Who, why and how they wer...
Catalogue records/archive
descriptions
●

Reference number

●

Collection title

●

Dates

●

Extent

●

Summary/Abstract/...
Example of a catalogue page

Lebus archive, V&A Museum of Childhood
Understanding/
interrogating sources
●

Critiquing a source- who produced it and why

●

Not always done with preservation...
Polish migration to London
●

●

●

Different waves of Polish people have come to
the UK and London specifically for diffe...
Polish migration to London
●

●

●

19th century Increase in migration- 1867 the
first Polish chapel and Polish centre wer...
Polish migration to London
●

●

●

●

Between WW1 and WW2 drop in numbers
arriving but Polish community in London grew
st...
Polish migration to London
●

●

●

End of Second World war- ex-Polish soldiers &
families + displaced labour camp prisone...
Polish migration to London
●

●

●

●

Fall of Communist system in 1989 – regained
freedom of travel
Recession in Poland m...
Polish migration to London
●

End of 2007 – migration on much bigger scale
than earlier waves

●

Significant numbers trav...
Planning a visit to the archive
●

●

●

●

Make contact/an appointment. Consider
opening hours.
Check travel and accommod...
Planning a visit to an archive
●

●

●

Check if you need a readers ticket or to register
Pencils will probably be needed ...
Planning a visit to the archive
●

Request forms may need to be filled out

●

Gloves?

●

Lights on electronic devices

●...
Planning a visit to an archive
●

Prepare for the unexpected, allow extra time/
repeat visits if necessary

●

Prioritise ...
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Archival research training

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As part of the From Poland to Waltham Forest project, this presentation was the basis of induction training on archival research

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Transcript of "Archival research training"

  1. 1. From Poland to Waltham Forest Conducting Archival Research 15th November 2013
  2. 2. Introductions Esther Freeman, Project Director Jane Greenstock, Research Manager Round the room- name, experience in archives
  3. 3. Sessions we will cover ● ● What is an archive? Materials we can find there Planning research projects, searching and finding in an archive, understanding, analysing and critiquing sources ● Quick history of Polish immigration to London/UK ● Preparing to visit an archive ● Buddying system and signing up ● Blogging about archive visits
  4. 4. Icebreaker An interesting fact about you or your family
  5. 5. What is an archive? ● A collection of primary materials ● A place where materials are stored ● Multiple collections within one repository
  6. 6. What is an archive? ● ● ● ● Different from a library but there are overlaps “where storage meets dreams, and the rest is history.” (Robert Connors 1992) Designed to preserve historical materials and make them available for use Special status of materials is why they have particular procedures in place to protect them
  7. 7. Types of materials in archives ● What kind of materials do you think will be in archives?
  8. 8. Types of materials
  9. 9. Examples of archival materials Photograph of Lebus employees A Lebus party invite A Lebus catalogue
  10. 10. Types of archives ● College and university archives ● Government archives- central, local ● Corporate archives ● Historical societies ● Museums ● Special collections ● Religious archives
  11. 11. Terminology A useful guide to archival terminology has been produced by the Society for American Archivists: this can be found at ● http://www2.archivists.org/glossary/terms/a or ● http://files.archivists.org/pubs/free/SAAGlossary-2005.pdf
  12. 12. Planning your research General advice: ● Begin with formulating broad research question ● Background reading ● Think about archival material you might be interested in
  13. 13. Planning your research ● You may not know what will be there until you arrive ● Detective work ● Communication with archivists
  14. 14. Archivists ● Are potentially your best ally in your research ● Know archives as a whole ● May provide suggestions of where to go next
  15. 15. Searching and finding material ● Role of the internet ● Finding aids ● Catalogue descriptions
  16. 16. Internet catalogues ● Some archives will make their catalogues searchable online e.g. National Archives ● Archives Hub archiveshub.ac.uk ● World Cat worldcat.org ● Aim25 aim25.ac.uk/ ● Can point you towards archive you hadn't heard of/ considered.
  17. 17. Finding aids ● Documents prepared by archivists that informs researchers about a collection ● Who, why and how they were created ● Discusses collection as a whole ● Sometimes available on the internet, otherwise you will need to contact archives to get hold of it.
  18. 18. Catalogue records/archive descriptions ● Reference number ● Collection title ● Dates ● Extent ● Summary/Abstract/Description ● Administrative/biographical detail
  19. 19. Example of a catalogue page Lebus archive, V&A Museum of Childhood
  20. 20. Understanding/ interrogating sources ● Critiquing a source- who produced it and why ● Not always done with preservation in mind ● ● Official documents (e.g. ship's logs) have certain implicit trustworthiness Where does it fit in context with rest of collection?
  21. 21. Polish migration to London ● ● ● Different waves of Polish people have come to the UK and London specifically for different reasons th 16th-17 century: Polish Protestants seeking refuge during Counter Reformation End of 18th century political disintegration of Polish state.
  22. 22. Polish migration to London ● ● ● 19th century Increase in migration- 1867 the first Polish chapel and Polish centre were established in London Began to see more 'ordinary people' arriving following expulsion of ethnic Poles from Prussia Polish Roman Catholic Mission founded in London in 1894.
  23. 23. Polish migration to London ● ● ● ● Between WW1 and WW2 drop in numbers arriving but Polish community in London grew stronger as many could not return Prisoner of war camps in Alexandra Palace and Feltham Second world war – new chapter in Polish migration history Britain agreed to host Polish government-inexile and Polish troops played key part in defending Britain
  24. 24. Polish migration to London ● ● ● End of Second World war- ex-Polish soldiers & families + displaced labour camp prisoners from Europe permitted to settle in UK Rapid growth of historically-established Polish community 1950s-1989- numbers were small , mainly families of those already settled.
  25. 25. Polish migration to London ● ● ● ● Fall of Communist system in 1989 – regained freedom of travel Recession in Poland mid 1990s Becoming established 'business persons' due to 1991 EU rules 2004- UK opens its labour market to nationals of A8 countries
  26. 26. Polish migration to London ● End of 2007 – migration on much bigger scale than earlier waves ● Significant numbers travel to UK ● Decelerating since end of 2007 ● ● ● New community has own boundaries and practices. See these short films for more
  27. 27. Planning a visit to the archive ● ● ● ● Make contact/an appointment. Consider opening hours. Check travel and accommodation options if travelling far Review guidelines for reviewing material (dirty hands limits on time) Check internet access
  28. 28. Planning a visit to an archive ● ● ● Check if you need a readers ticket or to register Pencils will probably be needed or see if laptops or tables are permitted and have access to sockets Removal of coats and bags (lockers) and no food drink or gum
  29. 29. Planning a visit to the archive ● Request forms may need to be filled out ● Gloves? ● Lights on electronic devices ● Careful handling and maintaining order ● Copyright, restriction and legal issues ● Bring appropriate supplies
  30. 30. Planning a visit to an archive ● Prepare for the unexpected, allow extra time/ repeat visits if necessary ● Prioritise your requests ● Adapt your workflow to policies of archive ● Take thorough citations ● Point out corrections ● Connect with other researchers.
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