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  • Writer's pictureJanet Few

A Few Forgotten Women Friday - come and collaborate

Updated: Jan 16, 2023

We are excited to announce our latest venture. Next Friday, 20 January, is the first A Few Forgotten Women Friday and we hope that this will be a regular event. If you are a family historian who is interested in our work, we hope that you will join in and test your research skills. The aim is to collectively trace a group of women from a single institution or data set. Some will be very difficult to trace and little if anything will be found, others we hope will become full stories for our website.

If you contact us to say that you would like to take part, we will allocate you one of the women or girls from our chosen institution or data set. You will then use your research skills to find out as much as possible about that woman during A Few Forgotten Women Friday. When you feel you have found all you can, you report back to us with the details. This can be in the form of a timeline, with notes of events in the woman’s life, or it can be a full narrative. We do appreciate that it might not be possible to find anything beyond the single snapshot of the woman in the record set we are using. You can look at the stories from our website for examples. We have today added a new story, Isabella Hutton, who is part of this data set, so you may wish to read about her.

We are committed to mentioning every woman from the chosen institution, either as the subject of one of our stories, or as part of a blog post or posts, with details of those for whom little was found.

Forgotten Women Friday will run for 18 hours, from 6am to midnight Greenwich Mean Time. Here is how it works. Contact us via our website to say you would like to accept the challenge. We will acknowledge your message and by 6am on Friday 20 January you will have received details of the woman that you have been allocated, together with instructions. You then discover as much as possible about that woman, within a twenty hour period. If you wish, you can keep in touch during the day, giving news of your progress on Twitter, Mastodon or Facebook, where we ask that you please use the dedicated thread, rather than starting a new comment. Do tag us using the hashtag #FewForgottenWomen. Participants will also be sent a Zoom link and can drop in and out for advice, support and general chat about your findings. If you like, you can stay all day and research alongside us. The Zoom room will be open from 6am until midnight GMT.

When you have found out all that you can, contact us with your findings. Please do this as soon as possible but no later than 31 January 2023. If you are unable to find any information, you can come back for another name, whilst there are some unallocated.

The chosen institution for our first A Few Forgotten Women Friday on 20 January is Leeds Industrial School, West Yorkshire. There were sixty-seven girls admitted between 1862 and 1871. The register is available on Ancestry and will give you a starting point. Ideally, you will need access to Ancestry to set you off but if you don't, we can let you have details another way. If you are unable to access Ancestry, please make this clear when you volunteer. It will also be an advantage to have access to the British Newspaper Archive, either directly or via FindmyPast but again this is not essential. Many of the register entries give family information and other details, so at a minimum, you will have that to report back. Be warned that the handwriting isn’t very legible in places. As many of the girls in the Industrial School were also listed in the Windsor Road Girls' Ragged School in the 1871 census, we will be researching an additional eleven girls, who appear in the census but had no entry in the Industrial School ledger.

There is plenty of background detail about Edgar Street Industrial School and Windsor Street Industrial School on Peter Higginbotham's excellent Children's Homes website.

It would be wonderful to allocate all seventy-eight names. We are very excited to see where this venture takes us.


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