Saturday, October 21, 2006

This week in Cornwall

Quite an exciting week in Cornwall!

On Thursday there was an earthquake roughly along the valley of the river Tamar. Cornwall is now an island! Associated with this on Thursday evening, a tidal wave swept in at Hayle – and West Penwith is also an island.

Temporary bridges will be placed over the Tamar chasm at the main former crossing points. There will a toll on traffic entering Cornwall with the money being used to reduce Council Taxes. Council Tax payers will be exempt from these charges. The King Harry ferry will serve West Penwith till we can afford a bridge.

A new swinging tax on holiday homes will be introduced next Wednesday. The money raised this way will be used to reduce Council Taxes.

The NHS institutions in Cornwall are to be controlled by a new governing body. Membership will be restricted to Council Tax payers and they will be elected by Council Tax payers.

Institutions of Higher Learning in Cornwall will be grouped together, although on dispersed sites, and will become the University of Cornwall. The Universities of Exeter & Plymouth will be told to mind their own business.

In future, anybody living full time in Cornwall and paying Council Tax will be entitled to claim they are Cornish. The rest will be known as “the English”.

Anybody suggesting that road signs etc should be bi-lingual will be asked to sign a legally binding form that commits them to paying for the changes.

The new French toxic waste plant will be moved to England. We shall use our rubbish to enlarge the Scillies.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

COCP Newsletter No 16

Hello folks

Sun is out in Cornwall; off up the garden for a cup of coffee and a cigar. Might even do some gardening.

If you imagine the COCP as an inverted triangle, we have transcribers at the top, forming the base, then checkers in the middle, then, right at the bottom, me. All pieces are validated by me. I like it this way, although it means a lot of work, because it gives me control of the project and allows the imposition of a certain style. If something is wrong, I can ensure that it's like that on all the returns - wrong that is!

There are two aspects to the errors I see. Firstly, there are some rather depressing repetitious ones. Irish county Chapman codes for instance. Secondly, there is the sheer ingenuity displayed by many volunteers, in inventing new problems. Congratulations!

I am just doing a Truro piece. There is a Mr James who is a Coal Merchant. Next door is another Mr James. This gentleman is a Cod Merchant. It certainly looks like Cod, but neither the transcriber or checker have flagged it up, so presumably they thought that in 19th century Truro it would be likely there was a Cod Merchant. Seems a bit specialised to me, so I changed it to Coal. In fact, the letter "d" often looks like "ol" or "al".

I might be wrong of course; if anyone knows of other Cod Merchants, let me know.

What other things have attracted my attention? If you want to put RN in the occupation field, please put a space between the R & the N, otherwise you'll upset the Fishheads by getting Rn.

Don't put in unnecessary notes. If you are unsure of a surname, a note on the head's record is good enough. I have to delete or edit all these notes.

Don't put in unnecessary flags. If there is no place of birth; then people are correctly entering UNK hyphen and then spoiling it by flagging it up.

Do use Google. I have just decoded a place name in Devon. The transcriber & checker quite rightly had it as Whitechurch Csquiggle. It is probably Whitechurch (or Whitchurch) Canonicorum. Google knew.

After validation it goes to Rick Parsons for post-validation. This is to remove all the errors that have survived the 3-stage process; a surprising number. He has asked me to point out to checkers that they are responsible for entering the Ecclesiastical Parish name. You must look at the top right hand entry on each page. Quite often, they change during a piece. If there isn't one, then enter a hyphen.

Finally (thank goodness you say!), please do drop me a line telling me how you are getting on. I hate it when I find out that someone has volunteered to do something but in fact, they have decided not to bother. I had someone the other day who thought I would have picked it up from the mailing list that he was off on his holidays and had therefore decided not to do any transcription!

Enough whinging. We are doing well; the end of the 1861 is in sight, followed by the 1851. Free Census has 8.5 million records online and 15% or more of those are ours. Congratulations to you all!

I apologise for the length of this!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Newsletter No 15

Hello folks

Free Census rebuilt their database on 11th October. We have:

Cornwall 1841 340901
Cornwall 1851 235008
Cornwall 1861 337103
Cornwall 1871 126063
Cornwall 1881 35116
Cornwall 1891 318637
Cornish total 1392828

This is 16.5% of the total FC upload of 8,454,662 returns.

As you will all know, we also have a search engine on the COCP web site. Here are the some of the stats for September.