DEVON-L ArchivesArchiver > DEVON > 2007-11 > 1195210724
From: Brian Randell <>
Subject: Re: [DEV] Parish Register Transcription
Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2007 10:58:44 +0000
All your comments are very well taken, with the possible exception of
your optimistic one about web site disappearances lessening.
GENUKI/Devon has about 11000 external links in its nearly 5500 pages
(not counting administrative links, e.g. ones to a site which
provides me with statistics an the number of accesses being made to
my pages), though I don't have an estimate of how many separate
external sites are involved. The reports I get from the automated
link-checking that is performed monthly on the entirety of GENUKI
give me the impression that web site moves, reorganisations and
disappearances are as (unfortunately) common as ever.
With luck your optimism is merely a little premature!:-)
>A couple of comments:
>There seems to be some confusion here between parish church websites and
>parish websites - the 2 are not the same. Sometimes a parish church may
>have 1 or more pages within the parish website, though. It seems to me
>that transcriptions of the registers could be appropriate on either (or
>I think the difference is significant, though. Most churches are
>relying on laity to do more and more and finding people to do more
>important things than transcribing the registers can be difficult. Not
>to say there won't be places where someone is willing and able to do
>this, but I can't imagine it would be widespread. (I'm the webmaster of
>a church website myself and I can't imagine we could find someone with
>the time to transcribe our registers).
>I could ask more widely e.g. the local history society for a volunteer
>but for a parish website to do this would be even easier - the website
>may well cover their meetings and events and a link is already there.
>I am putting info. about where our archives (including PRs) are, and am
>currently working on a page about our rolls of honour. I also plan in
>time to put transcriptions / translations of our monuments on the site.
>The few gravestones we have are mostly or all eligible - I guess could
>manage the cremation stones. But the registers - no. I would have
>expected the reverse - those with the interest i.e. family history
>researchers transcribing the registers and then offering them to us to
>put on our website for others to see! That's certainly the response
>anyone suggesting we transcribe our registers would get from me. (So
>Nancy - how about offering to transcribe Instow registers for them?!)
>My priority has to be information about services, events, notices, news,
>Also consider that where the entries are in secretary hand family
>historians may learn this and have years of experience in reading old
>handwriting; if you find someone at a church with a computer, the
>time, etc. they may well struggle with much of the handwriting and not
>expect to have to learn older forms.
>Re sites disappearing - of course it still happens, but I think this is
>lessening. It seems to me early websites often used an individuals free
>webspace provided by their ISP; this is rare now and I think a site is
>much more likely to be handed on with the name remaining. But yes, have
>the transcriptions in more than one place for safety I agree is a good
>Brian Randell wrote:
>> Hi Nancy:
>>> Recently, I was visiting the site for the Parish Church in Instow,
>>> Devon. They had a little blurb asking for suggestions for adding
>>> information to their site. I eMailed them suggesting that they
>>> transcribe their Parish Registers and make them available online for
>>> family history researchers.
>>> I've had several eMails back and forth with the Curate today, who has
>>> said he would look into this possibility, and in the meantime if
>>> there was anything in particular I was looking for, let him know.
>>> I just thought I'd mention this as many of the Parishes in Devon have
>>> websites. Perhaps this suggestion to the parish you are interested
>>> in might result in their Parish Registers being transcribed and put
> >> online. They may also offer to do lookups for you.
>> This is a good idea, but I'd urge that it be suggested that any such
>> transcriptions also be made available to GENUKI/Devon (which already
>> holds a goodly number) - since GENUKI is an archived and searchable
>> virtual library, the continued availability and existence of which
>> does not depend on any single individual. From bitter experience I've
>> found that all too many parish web sites have a tendency to disappear,
>> presumably when the one enthusiast who has been maintaining them can
>> no longer do so.
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School of Computing Science, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne,
NE1 7RU, UK
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