Volunteer to help the VCH

Wills transcribed by the VCH Cornwall group

VCH historians work with local volunteers in several counties. Counties where volunteers are active are Cumbria, Derbyshire, Durham, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Kent, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, Middlesex (City of Westminster), and East Riding (Howdenshire). There are affiliated groups in Oxfordshire and in Newport and Clacton, Essex, and a new group is about to start in Towcester, Northamptonshire. You can find out more about work in those counties on www.victoriacountyhistory.ac.uk/counties, and about the volunteer activity on the downloadable PDF below.  

If you would like to be involved, we can put you in touch with an appropriate group. Please contact our Training Co-ordinator, Dr Adam Chapman adam.chapman@sas.ac.uk at VCH Central Office, and let us know where your live and what kinds of research (eg. documentary, archaeological, photography) or support activities (eg.fundraising, IT or administration) interest you. 

If none of the current activities is local to you, we will be setting up a national volunteer network in 2013 and, with your permission, will keep your contact details so that we can be in touch about how you can be involved in that. You can also find out more about volunteering for other research groups through the British Association for Local History or the Council for British Archaeology

Let us know if you would like to be included on our e-mailing list through which we distribute our VCH Newsletter and invitations to VCH and Institute of Historical Research events. You are most welcome to participate every fortnight in our Locality & Region seminar, which is held in the IHR.

How you can contribute

Activities include transcribing wills and analysing census data, investigating and photographing sites and buildings, searching newspapers and taking oral testimony, as well as fundraising, administration and website management. The aim in all cases is to create new parish histories.

Some volunteers are trained historians, others learn new skills by working with experienced professionals. In some counties, such as Kent, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire, established local history and buildings recording groups contribute to the VCH on particular places and projects. All sorts of skills and experience are needed.

Volunteers and the England's Past for Everyone project

The VCH has always relied on help from volunteers but our HLF-funded England's Past for Everyone project was designed to involve volunteers in research to be included in new publications. For more information about what volunteers did and how they were involved click here or on the gallery on this page. To see (and buy) the series of paperback books they helped produce go to this page.