Our Help Centre archive contains much local information, particularly for the Alde Valley — defined at http://avsfhg.org.uk/maps/, but broadly within about ten miles' radius of Snape. It includes several graveyard catalogues, censuses, directories, information on local war memorials, books, and historic maps. Our Index can be downloaded from our website at http://avsfhg.org.uk/downloads, or emailed to you on request from our Webmaster at firstname.lastname@example.org. Index updates, listing recent acquisitions in detail, are emailed to Members with our quarterly Newsletter (which also lists them in summary form).
THE INDEX 'COLUMNS'
|1st / A||2nd / B||3rd / C||4th / D||5th / E||6th / F||7th / G||8th / H||9th / I|
The first line of the Index contains the column headings shown above. The Line-number, Notes and Memo columns can all be ignored. As published, the Index is sorted (ordered) alphabetically by County, and within that by Parish, then by item Title (the third, fourth and fifth columns). Apart from certain magazine and photo collections, not only does it individually list (or summarise) all our resources (and for each relevant community), but for example also points to articles of particular local interest within Suffolk history magazines that we hold, often referencing named families (which would be marked "Fam. History" in the second, "Category", column). We currently have about 1,300 items in our archive, yet there are almost 2,000 index-lines.
THE 'ROWS' OR INDEX-LINES
Each index-line has its own Category (in the second column), which can be any of Biographies/personal-reminiscences, BMD (births, marriages and deaths), Census, Directory, Fam-History, Guide (“My Ancestor was ...” and "how to" books, etc), History, History WWI, History WW2, Index, Map, MI's (monumental inscriptions, etc), Photos, or "PRegisters" (meaning Parish Registers and Records).
So, for example, the entries “Fam-History | Suffolk | Snape | Family's amazing escape from flying bomb [Crisp family, Rookery Farm]” and “Biog/Remin | Suffolk | Snape | Mill-dweller wants to try and make an opera [Benjamin Britten]” are both within the magazine “History | Suffolk | Snape | Snape Express: Reporting the last 2000 Years” — and all have the same reference-ID, “SNAPE2000”, under which they are indexed, with Media “paper❋” (in the sixth column). By reference to the recently added webpage “Where to find things in the Help Centre” at http://avsfhg.org.uk/idx/where/, you can see that “paper❋” is filed alphabetically in lever-arch files that will be found in the cupboard with sliding doors. (A new bookcase has been made, so reorganisation will happen when we can.)
“MI's” refer here not only to "monumental inscriptions", but also to war memorials, military Rolls of Honour, churchyard surveys, church record transcriptions, graves, and burial plot indexes. You will realise that these all might hold similar types of information, but in widely different forms.
The County and Parish columns are rather broader in concept than their titles might suggest. There is a Suffolk "parish" called "Alde Valley", and another one "Suffolk Regiment". Similarly, "County" includes East Anglia, England, Wales, Eng&Wales, UK, Ireland, British Isles, Channel Is. and a few foreign countries (whose "parishes" include typical emigrant or transportation destinations such as Massachusetts and Tasmania).
SIMPLE USAGE (say for a particular community)
The simplest way to use the Index is to scan it by eye, just as if you were viewing a printed copy, or looking up a particular word in a dictionary. For an idea of the wide variety of what we can have in our archive, please view the several records for Saxmundham. As you might expect, they are about two-thirds of the way through the Index within the Suffolk entries. Enquiry this way may well be sufficient for all your needs, if you're interested in only a few places. If it isn't — perhaps your interest is in a particular subject, such as Poor Law establishments — more suggestions follow below.
INTEREST IN A PARTICULAR SUBJECT
The Index is published ordered geographically — by place-name ("Parish") within County — and that is suitable for the vast majority of index-lines. However, some resources aren't specific to a particular place, or even to a county, so (just now) around 100 items are listed at the end of the Index. Many of these are guides on a particular subject or First World War histories, but there may well be other similar resources listed within the main body of the Index that aren't of Category "Guide" or "History WWI", yet could still be of interest to you too. The whole object is to be able to find things, even if they're not in the most obvious place — indeed, there may be NO obvious place.
(Incidentally, you may also find more general Census, Directory and History items at the end of the Suffolk entries, and within entries where the "County" is described as "East Anglia", "England", "Eng&Wales", "UK" or "British Isles".)
If you have a particular interest, say, in the First World War, you will also want to identify relevant items outside the Category "History WWI' that we've catalogued more appropriately as, say, "Biog/Remin" (Biographies and Reminiscences) or "MIs" (Memorial Inscriptions, etc.). You can use the Microsoft Excel "Edit" > "Find" function (or your software application's equivalent Search facility) to find records annotated with "[WWI" (double-U/double-U/eye) within their Titles. They might otherwise include any of several terms such as "First World War", "Great War", "World War 1", "World War I", "World War One", "Somme", "Spanish flu" or "trench" — or indeed contain none of these at all. Our "keywords", such as "[WWI", therefore act much like "#hashtags" that social-media users will be familiar with.
Unfortunately, we don't have access to the powerful so-called "fuzzy search" algorithms employed by Google and the like — but then we don't have their technical support budget either! So, successful Searches require a precise character-match, but aren't generally "case specific" — so, for example, lower-case "wwi" is the equivalent of upper-case "WWI" (unless you specifically block such matching). Also, a search for (say) "port" would find the word "transported" anywhere within an index-line (not just within the Title), so it's not searching only on whole words either. Likewise, as the string of characters "WWI" itself occurs within the Category "History WWI", that Search would also find all those entries too, but as our annotations are always surrounded (by convention as "Editor's comments") with square brackets, a Search for "[WWI" instead restricts your results to just entries from other Categories — as also "[census" ignores entries within Category "Census".
The same technique with "[map" or "[photo" identifies entries when the Category isn't "Map", "Maps" or "Photos" but we've noticed a useful selection of maps or photos within an otherwise more 'prosey' book. Such a book is "LN2053 | History WW2 | Suffolk | Parham | With Britain in Mortal Danger: Britain's Most Secret Army of WWII (British Resistance Org) [photos] | book C | HISRESIST | Huxley Estate", which contains many interesting images, including of named individuals.
(Incidentally, there is a similar, but quite unrelated, Search facility in the left margins of the homepage and the main Links webpage for searching for almost anything on this website — but not for events, which for now is a website-service restriction.)
Other likely keywords have been added to the Index too, such as "architecture", "army", "Boer" (as in "Boer War"), "corn" (as in "Corn Laws"), "farm", "Garrett" (and other specific family names), "military", "Peterloo", "poor" (as in "Poor Law"), "railway", "school", "tax", "wdytya" (which are usually digital scans of interesting WDYTYA? magazine articles) and "workhouse". To find both "family" and "families", you should search for the stem "famil" — the matching Category is deliberately "Fam-History". Similarly, search for "inventor" (to find "inventory" and "inventories"). This selection of keywords is added to from time to time — members are welcome to make further suggestions, and we will try to add them if it's deemed practical! Also, if you encounter a particular entry that you feel would benefit from the addition of any of these keywords that we missed during our indexing exercise, please email the Archivist to let us know too, and we'll make the necessary correction or addition.
You might realise by now that you could also use the Excel "Edit" > "Sort" function (or equivalent) to reorder the Index. For example, you might sort on the second and fifth columns (B = "Category" and E = "Title") of the Index, to bring (say) all the "Biog/Remin" items together, whilst reordering them alphabetically by Title.
(Depending on your platform and software, a downloaded copy of the Index may be "read-only" for you, preventing any changes to it, such as sorting — though any version circulated with the Newsletter shouldn't be limited in this way. If you wish to sort or otherwise edit the Index for your own use, you'll need a "read-write" version — just email the Webmaster at email@example.com, asking for a copy to be sent to you, if you find that you need one.)
You could also gather (say) all the photos together by sorting on the second and fourth columns — B = "Category" (because "Photos" is a Category), with D = "Parish" or E = "Title". To illustrate how useful this can be, we have in fact already done this for the OS 25" County or National Grid Plans series of maps, sorting them by different columns and saving the results in three additional pages (or "jobsheets") within the Index spreadsheet. So, the jobsheet OS25_CHEST lists them in the same order as they are filed in the map case in the Help Centre, the jobsheet OS25_MAPNO lists them in map-number order in west-to-east strips across Suffolk, and the jobsheet OS25_ALPHA lists them in alphabetical order of their community (so in the same order as in the main Index). As already suggested above, a few more maps may be found by searching specifically on "[map", which can identify the presence of useful pages of maps within books, if we've noticed them during our indexation — and the same applies to "[photo" Searches. Note that there are Categories of "Map" (single maps) and "Maps" (typically atlases).
The "Fam-History" Category is for resources featuring local named families, such as the Garretts and Lings. Such entries, incidentally, are generally duplicated for each of the communities that are mentioned, typically within a close cluster of villages.
Most of your sorting attempts are likely to involve the second (Category) column, but you can also sort the Index on the seventh column (G = Ref-ID), so that all resources containing (say) 1881 Census records are displayed together, as their reference-IDs are prefixed “CEN1881”, whatever the form of their Title.
MAGAZINES AND MAGAZINE ARTICLES
There are no Index entries for our own Newsletter or for articles within it, as Members of course receive it by email (or exceptionally printed copies are posted to them) — though a few spare copies are held in the Help Centre and can be offered to visitors.
All our copies of Suffolk Family History Society's quarterly "Suffolk Roots" are indexed, because it is the only County-wide magazine dedicated to family history — any interesting articles within them are indexed also. The "SKRO0T" (until 1999) or (from 2000) "SKROOT"-prefixed Ref-ID's match the issue date ("yyp" = year and period) in which the article appears. We hold almost all issues from 1979 to 2005, but a yet larger archive is available online to SFHS members, explained here.
The Reference-ID "periods" for "Suffolk Roots" are 1=January to 9=September, U=October/Autumn, V=November and W=December/Winter
The issues of the following four Suffolk general-history magazines aren't individually indexed, as many contain no articles of particular Alde Valley and/or family-history interest — yet we consider it our duty to preserve copies of these County publications when we come by them. However, we have identified and indexed several articles from within them that we do consider relevant. Each article's Ref-ID matches the magazine's issue it appears in, and its page number is shown in the indexed Title, so that you can find it easily. The Suffolk magazines we hold are —
— a very few copies of the annual "Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History" (with Ref-ID "PSIAHyyyy"). A huge archive (dating back to 1853!) is publicly available at http://www.suffolkinstitute.org.uk/proceedings-of-the-suffolk-institute-for-archaeology-history-online, for a voluntary donation.
— a very few, recent copies of Aldeburgh and District Local History Society's annual "The Chronicle" (Ref-ID of "CHRONIC" with two-digit issue number "ii"). They have also recently placed their searchable back-numbers online for ADLHS members.
— most of the half-yearly issues since 1993 of both the "Suffolk Local History Council Newsletter" and their "Suffolk Review", with Ref-ID's prefixed "SLHCNL" or "SKREVW", followed by the issue date ("yyp"). The "period" suffixes here are E=Spring/Easter and U=Autumn.
There are also a few scans (or, rarely, original pages) of interesting family-history, social-history or Alde Valley/Suffolk articles extracted from national family-history magazines, such as WDYTYA? magazine. The original printed issues are not usually retained, as we can make much better use of the storage space — and the content can be somewhat repetitive or date quite quickly too. These extracts' Reference-ID's relate to the subject matter, not to the particular magazine's name. The items' "Media" values identify whether they are held digitally, physically or as both. Digital files reside on our Help Centre computers, and their filenames are prefixed with their respective Ref-ID's. Physical items are held as card❋ or paper❋ items in the lever-arch files, sorted alphabetically, again by their ref-ID.
ACCESS TO OUR RESOURCES
In normal times, you could drop in at our fortnightly Help Centre sessions to view any items of interest to you.
You would find them by reference to our "Where to find things in the Help Centre" webpage.
However, for now, you are welcome to raise a Research Request — visit http://avsfhg.org.uk/research/.
Depending on any lockdown rules then current, we shall do what we can to help.