Friday, June 29, 2007

C-PROP Phillimore Instructions

Hello folks

I had no intention of producing these – regarding the Phillimore lists as being just a matter of typing into a spreadsheet. As usual, it is rather more complicated than that. And, as with the census volunteers, you are all experts at finding new questions to ask! That is not a complaint.

So here are a few helpful (I hope) pointers.

1. Where the bride or groom has a title specified e.g. Mr/Mrs/Sir/Rev etc. then enter this in brackets after the forename so Rev. John Smith would be entered with the forename as "John (Rev)" and "Smith" as the surname. If no forename is entered, e.g. Mrs Smith, then enter (Mrs) Smith. This makes searching the database easier.

2. Comments such as "Gent" go in the "occupation" column as the "condition" column is for marital condition e.g. widower etc. Sojourner goes in the Abode column. Single letter notations are often used. W is for widow or widower and goes in the condition columns. Y is for Yeoman and H is for Husbandman. These go in the occupation columns.

3. Married by Licence - this information goes in the "Banns" column. If the entry mentions that the marriage was by Banns then "Banns" would go in this column.

4. Register comments. A comment on a separate line that says that there are no marriage entries for years 1630-1635. The records go into the database and are viewed separately so an empty record with this comment will not get seen. The counter example is "The following are from the Bodmin Transcripts. They do not appear to have been entered either at Morvah or Madron:". This is useful information but needs to be entered against each record to which it applies.

5. The main columns have a limitation on the number of characters which each cell can contain, in order to keep the search time within reasonable limits. However, the Register Notes and Transcriber Notes columns (which aren't searched) are almost limitless in the amount of space available. So all long statements should go into one of those.

6. Please don’t use unusual symbols such as square brackets and askerisks. Ordinary brackets are OK. You can use question marks. If you can read only part of a name, then try McCxxxxxxk.

When I get a spreadsheet, I give it a quick look over and then forward it to one of the two people with authority to upload. They will give it a much more detailed appraisal and correct anything that needs correction before uploading it. The less they have to do the better.

If you have any suggestions for advice that might help – please send them in.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cornish Family History Research Online

Not Cornwall! My favourite city.

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.

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.

The Cornwall Online Census Project 9COCP) started in the summer of 2000, transcribing the 1891 returns from fiche supplied by the LDS. By 1st June 2007 the 1841, 1861 and 1891 censuses were complete along with 99% of the 1851; 85% of the 1871; and 25% 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

The Online Parish Clerk scheme (OPC), originated in Cornwall about five 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, usually via the Cornish mailing lists. Many of the OPC have their own web sites but the central site is on Some of the individual web sites and the central web site contain data.

The OPC scheme has now launched its own searchable online “free-to-view” database – known as C-PROP – the Cornish Parish Register Online Project ( Starting about a year ago it already has over a half of a million records online. Initially it concentrated on Church of England registers, but its scope encompasses other types of data.

The C-PROP database contains “hatches, matches & dispatches” from the 19th century West Briton newspaper. The West Briton Project aims to transcribe all the interesting information from the newspaper and place it online at

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.

Cornish Parish Register Online Project

Grandson outgrows bucket!

The Cornish Parish Register Online Project (C-PROP) is a daughter project of the Cornish Online Parish Clerk (OPC) scheme. The project aims to transcribe all the Cornish parish register entries and place them online, free-to-view, in a searchable database. The project encompasses other sorts of data such as the West Briton lists of “hatches, matches and dispatches”.

The people involved are Myra Cordrey (OPC scheme co-ordinator), Diane Donohue & Julia Mosman (LDS liaison), Bill O’Reilly (COCP “fixer” & C-PROP uploader), and myself, recruiter for C-PROP. I am also the Free Census organiser for Cornwall and the other four are all OPC for various Cornish parishes.

A current project is to re-type the contents of the well-known Phillimore marriage lists. Done at the end of the 19th century, these are a valuable transcript of the parish registers. Often the work was carried out by vicars with the co-operation of the parish priest. These people were experienced with the records and of course, the records were younger than they are now.

Although this data is a typed transcript, we need it re-typed into our standard spreadsheet as a vital intermediate step to uploading into the database. We would like to capture all the information in the lists. You are invited to place the additional information in the two notes columns that are provided.

You will see that there are a lot of columns you won’t need. This is because the spreadsheet was designed to cover all types of registration document and the later registers carried a lot more information.

Each parish should have its own spreadsheet and on completion, each parish should be emailed to me. Do not wait till you have completed the volume. I will eye-ball it and then forward it to one of the two uploaders. They will check it more thoroughly for layout and other problems and upload it to C-PROP.

When you have graduated from the Phillimore project we hope that you are sufficiently enthused to volunteer to take on some actual parish registers. These are supplied on disc and involve transcription as well as data input.

C-PROP can be seen on Check out the coverage table to see your name in lights! Currently, we have well over half a million records online. With your help we should hit a million soon. Well – quite soon.