Discussions on the history and historiography of Australia's New England

Friday, July 29, 2011

The personal in history

My last two posts on the New England Australia blog (Lismore, Dobell & Margaret Olley, EWA & the death of Alec Shand) have both been concerned with deaths.

Through one of those things that make blogging such a pleasure, the first post drew comments that allowed me to present Margaret Olley's connection with Newcastle.

Back in 2007, I started New England Dictionary of Biography, simply trying to list alphabetically material on particular people. My thought was that this might build to a resource that would allow people to track across New England history by following particular individuals.

Like so many of the things that I have attempted, this has proved difficult to maintain. Part of the reason for this lies in the blogger platform itself. It is quite time consuming to find and amend past posts.

Pretty obviously, the longer the time period you are interested in, the harder it is to incorporate a personal focus. Yet that, the personal, is also part of the pleasure of history to me.

Another post on my personal blog, Time Team & the joy of archaeology, expressed the pleasure I felt at this series. Again, part of my pleasure lies in the insights provided into lives past.

I know that I have written about all this before, but I am coming to the view that if history doesn't provide access to the past personal then it's not really history at all! I accept that that is a bit of an extreme view, but it does capture my own interests.

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