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Toolkit


A toolkit is where you find the equipment to get the job done!

We are making a toolkit which will help other People who have Learning Difficulties to find ways to explore their own family and cultural history. Do you want to learn more about your family history? Or maybe you would like to find out about the place where you live? We have put together some information to help you get started….

WHAT

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You will need to decide what you want to find out. It can help to start with information you or your family already know. Starting with family stories, we found out about our ancestors who fought in wars, were born in different countries and who worked on trains, ships or farms. We also researched information about schools, hospitals and institutions where People with Learning Difficulties might have lived in the past. Some people wanted to know more about the road they grew up on, or maybe you want to find out the history of a particular building, such as a school. There is a lot of information you can explore and it will help if you know what, or who, really interests you before you start.  


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Hint: Jane says, ‘I knew that my at least three generations of my family had worked on the railways, and that was what I wanted to find out more about.’

WHO

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There are lots of people who can help you get started and support you as you dig a bit deeper into the past. You can talk to members of your family, who might have all sorts of interesting stories, and working with a friend or a support worker can be a great idea if you need some help with reading or with travelling.  Libraries and Local Records Offices have staff who can help you to look at books, pictures and documents. If you are at school or college, you could ask your teacher or tutor to help you make a start. You can also go to a local museum. We like the Museum of Liverpool, which has lots information and exhibitions about Liverpool’s past.


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Hint: Neil says, ‘I went and talked to my Uncle Ken about my grandfather and great-grandfather. They came from near Newcastle, and were both artists – I love drawing!’

WHERE

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You can find information in all sorts of places. We looked at a lot of websites, such as www.ancestry.co.uk, www.findmypast.co.uk and www.familysearch.org.uk. These sites contain UK census records showing how and where people lived, their family members and their work, as well as religious and civil records of where and when they were baptised, married or buried. If you use Facebook you can find online groups who post pictures and information about the history of their city or town. Websites like www.ukgdl.org.uk can give you lots of links to other interesting sites, but you might need to work with a friend or colleague as there is a lot of reading. You might prefer to go to a local records office or library. We used Liverpool Records Office and Lancashire County Records Office for our project, and met some very friendly and helpful people. They can show you how to use special machines for looking at filmed records, or computers, or look at old record books from schools, hospitals and other institutions. You can also find details of meetings of Family and Local History groups in your area that you can join.


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Hint: Nicky says, ‘I went to the library for the first time with my friends at Wicked Fish and I was a bit scared. I found out that there are nice people there who will look after you – and you can ask for help if you can’t read or write.’

WHEN

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If you want to work on a computer at home, then you can choose when you want to go online. You have to remember to take breaks though! You might need to decide on a time to meet that suits more than one person if you are working in a group or with a friend. If you are visiting a place like a museum or library, you will need to check opening times, and if there are any particularly interesting exhibitions on. 


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Hint: Sue says, ‘You might to book a time slot to use a computer in the library, or the reader machines at a records office.’

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