Reconstructing Historical Communities

Alan MacFarlane has studied the parishes of Earls Colne in Essex and Kirkby Lonsdale in Cumbria, as well as other parishes, and has undertaken anthropological fieldwork in a contemporary community in Nepal. In collaboration with Sarah Harrison and Charles Jardine he has devised a method of collecting, breaking down and then reintegrating historical records in a way which makes it possible to answer some of the sociological, demographic, anthropological, geographical and other questions which interest many people. For the amateur historian or genealogist who wants to know about a village or family, the method makes it possible to find out almost everything that survives in historical documents concerning each person who lived in a village, each plot of land and house.