The North Wiltshire Online Census Project (NWOCP) started about three months ago and now has about 40 volunteers. It is a subordinate project of the main Wiltshire project, which is run by Terry Waters-Marsh, who is also the England co-ordinator for Free Census.
I decided to do it because the Warwicks 1891 project is nearly finished and I have personal ties to North Wilts. I also wanted to demonstrate how a project could be run - there are a lot of whingers around, continually moaning that there are no transcribers or checkers to be found. So I chose a small compact area; to make it a worthwhile size, we are doing ALL the 19th century census returns at once. Or nearly at once.
Currently the project is working on the 1841, 61, 71 and 91 census returns using discs and fiche sets supplied by the LDS. Recently we have produced our first piece and this is now online with Free Census. Once the 61 & 71 are done, I intend to start up the 1851, then the 1881.
Part of my plan is to have a project web site. One of your number is busy constructing web pages that will host the project. There are a number of advantages in this, not least that completed returns would get online in a couple of days instead of a couple of months. But its main purpose is to foster a sense of identity amongst our volunteers and researchers. The returns will be displayed as texts and the transcriber/checker teams will have their names in lights.
Each of our census years has about 30 pieces. Some 17 have now been transcribed with most of the others being worked on. One piece has been completed and half a dozen are in the checking stage. Mainly, these are 1861 & 71 pieces, but the first 1841 parishes are now rolling in.
We have got off to a good start; all that is needed now is for you to keep plugging away, nibbling at the task we have volunteered to do!