The Bamburgh Research Project in the UK does a fantastic job of community outreach in their fieldwork activities. Here is an example of how those volunteer opportunities extend to archive research and the very positive results achieved.
Originally posted on Bamburgh Research Project's Blog:
We are lucky to have some tales of Bamburgh in the post-medieval period made available to us from the research undertaken by Carol Griffiths (with grateful thanks to Woodhorn Archive). Here is the first of them in Carol’s words that I hope won’t be too scandalous for those of a sensitive disposition (GY):
I work and volunteer at Bamburgh Castle, and have become absolutely hooked on researching its history. Some 2 years ago, I was lucky enough to become accepted as a volunteer at Woodhorn County Archive, on the Working Lives Project; a Lottery funded work examining some of the grand Northumbrian Estates-including the Lord Crewe Estates of Bamburgh in the Eighteenth Century. This work for me has been an absolute privilege and joy-and thereby hangs many a tale, as I have discovered the lives of many colourful larger-than-life characters from Bamburgh (or Balmbrough as it then was) of the mid 1700s…
Occasionally today, if the Castle receives queries from people researching their family history, and are unable to help from Castle records, I will be asked if I have any knowledge of such-and-such a name from my research. So it was some 15 months ago, I was forwarded an email from someone in Australia, claiming that their ancestor called George Hall, had been a Constable at the Castle. I had already undertaken extensive research into the Constables of the Castle during the medieval and Tudor times; knew all the names and was certain it did not include George Hall. So I was about to write a brief negative response, but the following day was undertaking more research at Woodhorn. Because of my passion for all things Bamburgh Castle, I was indulged by being asked to transcribe some of the early Court Books (recording the proceedings of Manorial Courts from 1695 until the 1920s-I only managed the first 100 years!), and also to summarize the bundles of letters written to Dr John Sharp, the most famous of the Lord Crewe Trustees, who succeeded his father as Trustee and more than anyone else, directed the restoration of the Castle and the establishment of many good charitable deeds under the Will of Lord Crewe.