Friday, September 29, 2006

Public Relations No 2

Cornwall is an unusual English county, not least because many people will tell you that it is not English or a county! It is also unusual in that it is further advanced towards becoming fully online, as far as family history research is concerned. As the organiser of the Cornwall Online Census project I thought I would let other readers know what online resources are available to Cornish researchers.

At the centre of Cornish online research are the Cornish GENUKI pages ( These provide links to anything and everything to do with Cornish family history. The pages are organised on a hierarchical basis and lead to some 260 town and parish pages and some more general pages. Normally GENUKI aims to use the county and parishes as they were in 1850 but these Cornish pages also include new parishes created towards the end of the 19th century. The Cornish GENUKI pages are constantly being updated, so it is worth checking them frequently.

We started the Cornwall Online Census Project in the summer of 2000, transcribing the 1891 returns from fiche supplied by the LDS. Within 18 months the first returns were online having gone through the process of transcription, checking and validation. By 1st July this year the 1841 and 1891 censuses were complete along with 90 per cent of the 1851 & 1861; 40 per cent of the 1871; and ten per cent of the 1881). The aim of the project is to transcribe all the Cornish 19th census returns and place them online free-to-view at

We also have an online parish clerk scheme, which started in Cornwall about four years ago and has now spread to half a dozen other counties. Volunteers adopt a parish or parishes and seek to accumulate information and data about their parish. Their primary aim is to offer free “look ups” for researchers, using via the Cornish mailing lists. The OPC scheme has now launched its own searchable online “free-to-view” database ( Starting just over a month ago it already has over a quarter of a million records online. At present it is concentrating on Church of England registers, but its scope will expand to cover non-conformist registers and other types of data (burials for example).

There are two Cornish mailing lists. The main Cornish list, Cornish-L, is for all things Cornish, while Cornish-GEN is a list strictly for family history. The Cornish-L list is home to the famous (or infamous) virtual Christmas party! Details of how to subscribe can be found at Rootsweb.

[published in November 2006 edition of Family History Monthly]

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