Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tales from the past No 1- William McCormick

Tales from the Past No 1

My grandfather, William McCormick, was born in 1882 in the Birmingham slum of Bordesley. The family lived in a court house. These houses were in groups of ten or so, situated round a courtyard that had communal washing and toilet facilities. Often the houses were divided into front and back, doubling up the number of households. The McCormicks had arrived in Bordesley about 1845 from Ireland and they were mostly brickyard labourers. The poorest of the poor.

The family were Roman Catholic but in the 1880s they seemed to switch to the Church of England for marriages, although William’s father, Samuel McCormick, was married in an RC church. William died in 1956, aged 73. He had a Roman Catholic funeral but it was until I started researching my family’s history that I realised we had been Catholics!

In 1899 William joined the Army, enlisting in the Lancashire Fusiliers. Why he joined this regiment rather than the local one, the Royal Warwicks, I don’t know. 

His enlistment document describes him as age 18 yrs 3 months, fresh complexion, 5 feet 7 inches tall and 121 pounds in weight. In passing I might mention that when I joined the RAF in 56 years later I was 5 feet 6 inches and 126 lbs in weight. And I had a very fresh complexion and looked about 16.

William had joined in the run up to the Boer War and in January 1902 he arrived in Capetown. His battalion was incorporated into the 28th Mounted Infantry Brigade. He was 18 years old when he joined; a small man from the slums. I don’t suppose he had ridden a horse before and I doubt he had ever fired a gun. But at the age of 20 he was riding across the veldt hunting down Boer guerrillas – a very dangerous business. Mounted infantry rode to battle, dismounting and fighting as infantry when they got there.

By 1905 he was out of the Army, but still a reservist. He got married in Dec 1905 and the first of 4 children was born in 1906. My father was born in 1909.

At the start of World War I he was mobilised and sent to France with the British Expeditionary Force. He was badly wounded at a place called Ploegsteert Wood in November 1914 and sent back to England. Ploegsteert is in Flanders and the scene of heavy fighting in 1914.

He remained in the Lancashire Fusiliers and was a sergeant by November 1915. In August 1916 he transferred to the Royal Engineers and was sent back to France. He was finally demobilised in February 1919.

During the inter-war years he was a painter and decorator. During the 2nd World War he was in the Home Guard. At the end of the war he was a Sgt in the HG, aged 60.

I remember him as a squat old man with thinning hair. He had a strong Brummie accent and a twinkle in his eye. He was very fond of beer but didn’t get drunk. I last saw him at his Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1955 and he looked just like he always did. I spent quite a lot of time that evening trundling back and forth to the off licence for large jugs of beer!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blog dead in the water!

Hello folks

There have been no posts recently because I injured my right shoulder. Difficult to type and in any case, I get very short-tempered these days! However, it slowly improves (my shoulder not my temper) and I hope to write some more soon.

As the census project is now complete and I have retired from Free Census, I intend to change the content of the blog somewhat. It is my personal blog not strictly speaking part of the COCP or NWOCP.



Friday, June 20, 2008

Tithe maps

When I started out in this business, one of my first tasks was to copy the local Tithe maps. I spent many happy hours copying them in County Records; quite a complicated task, as my village sits at the junction of four parishes.

In 1836 it was decided that the owners and tenants of land could buy out the Church tithes. To do this, it was necessary to work out a fair price. Local surveyors were engaged to wander round the countryside, mapping the fields. Their sizes would be worked out and a price given. The maps are interesting, not least because it makes you realise how little the countryside has changed in Cornwall. I would say that most of the field boundaries round Mitchell look much like they did 168 years ago.

The maps are attached to an Apportionment Roll. This records who owned the land, and if rented, the names of the tenants. It is handy to compare this with the 1841 census returns because the 1841 is a bit short on address details. The Roll also records the size of each field and the rent assigned to it. More interestingly from a family history point of view, it gives the names of the fields. In Mitchell there were several fields named Kneebone, but there were no families of the name that I know of in and around the village. Other fields had names that gave clues to the past, Chapel Close suggested the site of a long lost chapel. Fair Park pointed out where the annual fair was held. Just what Puzzling Chain means I don’t know.

There were three copies of each map. One was handed to the parish and is now probably in County Records. One went to the church, and that is also probably in CRO. The third was sent to London and is now at Kew.

As I said at the start, copying these maps was one of my first projects in my study of the village of Mitchell. This was in 1995 and illustrates how far we have come since then. Nowadays, the CRO photographs them and sells them on disc.

The maps are very large; one of them was 12 feet by 12 feet. To copy them by hand involved placing an A4 acetate sheet on the map with a piece of tracing paper on top. Only pencil could be used and the acetate stopped indentations on the map. Using this method resulted in a pile of tracing paper sheets, all carefully labelled.

Arriving home, I then reversed the process. The tracings were retraced onto acetate sheets with a felt tip pen. Each acetate sheet was taped on the monitor and using the mouse, I traced the field outlines using an Apple application called MacDraw - long gone! I then joined all the sheets together, having carefully gone in for some overlap. Luckily, the long ago surveyors seemed to have gone in for straight edges to the fields.

On the maps were all buildings; dwellings and other sorts. The Roll also gave the type of farming; arable, pasture, woods, furze etc. So I built up layers; you could easily see which farmer owned which land and where all the furze was! Quite important - furze. One of the complications in the project was that of the four parishes; one, the most important one at that, had a different scale to the other three.

I am afraid that these maps have vanished somewhere between computers. However, they haven’t quite vanished, because I printed them out and they hang on the stairway walls. I don’t know how many hours I spent on them, but perhaps as I return to studying Mitchell and its history, they will come back into use.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The English Parish Registers

While I slave away over a hot computer - Mrs McCormick quilts away!

The development of the English Parish Registers took place during times of turmoil in England. There was the Reformation, which established the Church of England. Then we had a civil war, which ended with the beheading of the King. We then tried out a Commonweath and after that we restored the Monarchy. As with the poor laws, there was a constant stream of acts of Parliament attempting to make everyone follow the rules.

In 1538 the government ordered that all parish priests should record all marriages, christenings and burials in their parishes. These records were to be kept under lock and key, with one key held by the priest and the other by the Church Wardens. There was a penalty of 3s 4d for failing to do so.

In 1598 it was ordered that the records, previously mainly on loose pieces of paper, were to be recorded on parchment in books. All records previous to 1538 were to be copied into the new books. Conditions being what they were, many of the register pages were missing, or damaged by damp, insects or rodents. Also, a later order emphasised that particular attention was to be paid to records after the coronation of Queen Elizabeth I. Some priests interpreted this to mean that only records after 1558 should be copied. In 1598 it was required that an annual return should be made to the relevant Bishop within a month of Easter.

In 1563 the Roman Catholic Church ordered the keeping of registers of baptisms and burials. In 1645 it was empathised that baptisms should record the date of birth and the names of parents. In the mid-17th century there were changes following the civil war. These were superseded by the restoration of the Monarchy. In 1755 it was ordered that Banns of Marriage should be recorded. In 1812 it was required that each parish purchase a parish chest to store the registers and many other types of documents in safe and secure conditions.

Before 1538, the Roman Catholic Church was developing a system of parish registers. As early as 1497 instructions were issued in Spain that all baptisms were to be recorded. I have no idea if any such records exist. Perhaps deep in the vaults in the Vatican there are treasures yet to be found.

This information is taken mainly from “The Parish Chest” by W.E. Tate.

Monday, June 02, 2008

COCP update

Afternoon walk near Mitchell (Medeschole)

The 1871 is finished and uploaded and there are only 5 pieces of the 1881 left to do. Won’t be long now.

As you know, my own intention is to concentrate on my own family history (dead-in-the-water for 8 years) and the history of the village I live in. As a vital part of the latter I intend to transcribe the parish registers and upload them to our sister project – C-PROP.

The deal with C-PROP is the same as the one with the census returns. In return for loaning us the filmed registers on disc, the LDS will get a transcript. We have standardised spreadsheets to transcribe the data to and there will be advice on this blog and by email. If possible, I will email you the images rather than posting a disc. This is a single-pass project – no checking involved.

C-PROP is a daughter project of the OPC scheme. Although I was involved in the conception of both, I don’t run either. Allocation of discs gives priority to OPCs, most of whom want to transcribe their parish themselves. Therefore, I have access to a limited number of discs. This makes it difficult to satisfy people who have interests in one parish rather than Cornwall as a whole. In many ways it might be better for volunteers to contact Myra Cordrey the OPC co-ord directly; or write to the relevant OPC offering to help. If, however, you would prefer to work with and through me, then let me know.

The LDS wants all of each film transcribed; but C-PROP will only upload data up to 1908. Personally, I don’t mind a slight overlap but I have no interest in working for the LDS. I will not, therefore, be supplying 20th century discs. If you want to work on a particular parish, let me know and I will ask.

So – you have a number of choices. Wave goodbye! Write to Myra or the OPC of your choice. Transcribe from a disc supplied by me. Be a checker for Wiltshire (which I also run). Take a break and keep in touch.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Cornwall Online Census Project update

Hello folks

Here we - the final push! There are now 16 pieces of the 71 & 81 left to complete. They are as follows:

2240 being checked by Donna Hazledon
2296 being checked by Barbara Pullar
2331 being transcribed by Celia Wikert; to be checked by Maxine Cadzow

2274 being checked by Bernie Currie
2275 being checked by David Trounce
2304 being checked by Frances Kenshole
2308 being checked by Geoff Westlake
2329 being checked by Valeri Pain
2331 being checked by Di Thompson
2332 being checked by Marion Paul
2333 being checked by Malcolm Rule
2337 being checked by John Smith
2340 being checked by Jeff Beaton
2342 being checked by Peter Veryan
2343 being checked by Roda Jelbert
2352 being checked by Valerie Pettifer

If you have a problem with any of these allocations; please drop me a line.



Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Birthday

Today is St George's Day; Happy Birthday St George!!!!!

As I live in Cornwall and have a Cornish wife, it would seem a bit churlish of me to fly the flag of St George, today or any day. Nor do I have an English sticker on my car. Although, if we lived in England, I expect we would have a Cornish flag stuck to the back somewhere. Next to the Apple sticker I expect.

Although I am Anglo-Irish, I think of myself as English. I am rather proud of being English. We hear a lot these days about "Englishness"; mainly because our Scottish Prime Minister feels rather insecure. As he should of course. In my opinion, the main characteristics of the English are tolerance and adaptability. Traits that we have exported to the daughter nations of the English, including the United States of America. Whose constitution was written by a bunch of Englishmen!

My wife, my Cornish wife, has no problem in being Cornish, English and British. This is as it should be - they are all part of her heritage. I, on the other hand, just feel English. I know I am British as well, but increasingly, I don't feel very bothered about that part of my heritage. I think this is because if anyone can be British, then there is less point to it. In part this is because as the Scots, Welsh and so on become semi-independent, like many English, I don't feel resentful, just happy for them. Off you go, I think, been nice knowing you!

So - Happy Birthday to St George, from a typically confused Englishman.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Researching Cornish family history online

The three basic tools of Cornish family history research are the Registers of Births, Marriages & Deaths, the census returns, and the parish registers.

The indexes for Cornish BMD are to be found in the national indexing project, FreeBMD. From these you will learn which quarter an event was registered in. In many cases this information will be all you need but the web site leads you to the government agency that sells copies of the original documents. Perhaps you will only need a few vital certificates to help build your family tree, because they are quite expensive.

The census returns are available for free on FreeCEN and on the COCP web site. Nearly all the Cornish 19th century returns are now online, and all should be online by the end of this year. The COCP pages will contain all the people enumerated in Cornwall between 1841 and 1891. You can download all you want, turn the data into spreadsheets and manipulate it to your heart’s content - even read them in the bath!

The census returns start in 1841 and the BMD indexes in 1837. Further back than that you have to rely on the parish registers. In theory, these started in the early 16th century, but many of the early years have not survived. Some of these registers may appear on the national indexing project - FreeREG. However, in Cornwall we are lucky in having our own parish register project - C-PROP. This database is also free and also contains other data than just the parish registers.

C-PROP is the daughter project of the Cornish Online Parish Scheme. There are now about a dozen of these OPC schemes in England now, but the Cornish one was the first to start and the others are modeled on it. Many of the OPC have their own web sites and many of them contain transcripts of parish registers and other things. Good examples of what can be found are on the sites for St Austell and Gerrans.

The main newspaper in Cornwall today is the West Briton. The WB started early in the 19th century and there is an ongoing project to transcribe the interesting bits and place them online. In addition, the hatches, matches and dispatches are also being added to the C-PROP pile.

Finally, the whole Cornish scene is bound together by the Cornish pages of GENUKI. Anyone who is researching in the UK outside Cornwall will soon realise that the Cornish GENUKI pages are in a class of their own. There are links to the main GENUKI pages and to just about everything Cornish.

[No URL are given; all web sites can be found easily with Google]

Free Tibet!!!!!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

NWOCP 1861 & 1871 update


Hello folks

This is the current state of the NWOCP 1861 & 1871 projects.

Nth Wilts 1861

1272 Swindon being checked by Phil Pike
1274 Cricklade being transcribed by Sue Flower
1280 Castle Combe being transcribed by Marlene Bond
1285 Christian Malford being checked by Ray Muld
1286 Calne being checked by Paul Webb

Nth Wilts 1871

1881 Swindon being checked by Steve Brain
1883 Swindon being checked by Helen Ward
1884 Wootton Bassett being transcribed by Jane Brown
1891 Malmesbury West being transcribed by Nancy Frey
1895 Castle Combe being transcribed by Harry Tadd
1896 Corsham being checked by Heather Williams
1897 Corsham being checked by John Holden
1900 Christian Malford being checked by Valerie Henwood
1906 Marlborough being checked by Edmund Bristow

In addition, there are 7 pieces transcribed and ready for checking. 12 pieces of the 1861 are online as are 19 pieces of the 1871.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

NWOCP 1841 update

Free Tibet!!!!

When the NWOCP started just over two years ago, the intention was to do all six sets of the 19th century Wiltshire census returns for North Wiltshire. Nth Wilts was defined as a line Calne-Marlborough and all places north. Because the 1841 was going so well, its cover was extended to the whole county. However, I have run out of steam, and the NWOCP will finish the 1841 and the Nth Wilts 61 & 71 returns and then expire!

Free Census Wiltshire will continue under the leadership of Terry Waters-Marsh, and indeed, some NWOCP transcribers have already started work on South Wiltshire 1871 pieces.

The NWOCP 1841 project is nearly complete. The following parishes are still being worked on.

Monckton Deverill Ho4e1173 being transcribed by William Glynn
Christian Malford Ho4f1173 to be transcribed by Pat Mahoney
St Michael Kington Ho4g1173 to be transcribed by Pat Mahoney
Foxley Ho4j1181 to be transcribed by Pat Mahoney
Gardson Ho4k1181 to be transcribed by Pat Mahoney
Hankerton Ho4l1181 being transcribed by Pat Mahoney
Hullavington Ho4m1181 transcribed, being checked by John Pope
Sutton Benger Ho4y1181 transcribed to be checked by John Pope

Melksham Ho4b1182 being transcribed by Shauna Wall
Poulshot Ho4e1182 to be transcribed by Shauna Wall

Mere Ho4d1183 being checked by Keith Salisbury
Mere - Woodlands Ho4e1183 to be checked by Carol Patis
Mere - Zeals Ho4f1183 to be checked by Carol Patis
Stourton Ho4g1183 to be checked by Carol Patis
WestburyHo4a1188 being transcribed by Mike Wells
Marlborough St Mary the Virgin Ho4d1189 being checked by Carol Patis

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The future of the COCP

Mrs McCormick enjoying her Christmas break in Germany

Hello folks

Nothing to do with census returns!

I have just polished off another two pieces, so we now have:

Two 1871 pieces with transcribers and five with checkers. Plus 19 pieces of the 1881 with checkers. Could be less than 3 months work!

My thoughts have been turning to what I might do next. And what you might do next as well.

Many of you have been with me for several years now, one or two since the beginning of the project nearly 8 years ago. I would quite like to keep our team in being.

It has been suggested that we should take on the Cornish 1901. One chap even suggested the 1911! But I have had enough of census returns. And in any case, it will take a year or two to get the ones we have done sorted out properly. If any of you fancy running a COCP 1901 project, let me know; I will be happy to offer advice. And I am happy to try and persuade you all to help out.

I have decided that I shall return to my starting point, researching the very small Cornish village I live in plus reviving my own family history. For the Mitchell project I want to transcribe the parish registers. I shall give them, when I have done them, to the COCP sister project - C-PROP.

I wonder if any of you would care to stick with me and switch to C-PROP? The parish registers are not checked or validated, just transcribed. It is the same deal - LDS discs are provided plus the required spreadsheets. You might be able to get a parish that you are particularly interested in. You might not. C-PROP also requires data-inputters; at the moment for the Phillimore indexes, but I am sure there will be more of that. The parish registers are, I think, more interesting than the census returns and those before 1700 are harder to transcribe.

If you don't fancy this; then I am still in need of census checkers for the Nth Wiltshire project. This project is about to finish the final few parishes of the Wiltshire 1841 and then there are just a few 1861 & 71 pieces to check. Then I am out of that as well.

Of course, you might have ideas of your own and you can, therefore, just wave me goodbye and get on with it. You might have suggestions to make.

Anyway, in spite of my optimism, we still have some work to do. Plenty of time to decide on what to do next. But I thought I would let you know how I was thinking.



Sunday, March 30, 2008

Free Census & Global Warning

Of course, there is no connection between Free Census and Global Warning. As far as I know. And assuming that the globe is getting warmer. This is a picture of Ella taken a few weeks ago in Ottawa, where they have had more snow this winter than they have had since 1970/1. Ella is wondering how she can visit her grandmother - my sister.

Here is the current state of the 1871 & 1881 Cornish projects. As you can see, we are within striking distance of finishing. Two pieces are with transcribers but all the rest are being checked. If every checker finished tomorrow, we could be home and free by the end of the week. Well - not quite, but you know what I mean I am sure.


2234 Callington St Ive being checked by Maxine Cadzow
2236 Liskeard Menheniot being checked by Jeff Beaton
2240 Liskeard St Neot being checked by Donna Hazledon
2254 Padstow Little Petherick being checked by Pam Pinkerton
2289 Kea Feock being transcribed by Caroline Buckland
2296 Falmouth St Gluvias being checked by Barbara Pullar
2316 Redruth being checked by Judy Waddell
2324 Camborne. Being checked by Althea Johnson
2331 Uny Lelant Ludgvan being transcribed by Celia Wikert


2274 Altarnun being checked by Bernie Currie
2275 Nth Petherwin being checked by George Bishop
2281 St Germans being checked by John Ball
2299 Fowey being checked by Jan Lewis
2304 Mevagissey being checked by Tony Harris
2308 St Agnes being checked by Geoff Westlake
2328 Gwennap being checked by Tony Bennett
2329 Gwennap being checked by Valeri Pain
2331 Redruth Being checked by Di Thompson
2332 Redruth being checked by Marion Paul
2333 Redruth being checked by Malcolm Rule
2335 Camborne being checked by Mike Beck
2337 Phillack being checked by John Smith
2340 Uny Lelant being checked by Margaret Moxon
2341 St Ives being checked by Julia Mays
2342 St Ives being checked by Peter Veryan
2343 St Ives being checked by Roda Jelbert
2351 St Buryan being checked by Valerie Pettifer
2352 Scillies to be checked by Valeri Pettifer

Monday, March 10, 2008

How I forgot to do any census returns

"I was recently diagnosed with AAADD - Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder. This is how it manifests itself:

I decide to water my plants in the front garden. As I go to turn on the hose I look over at my car and decide it needs washing. I go to get the car keys from the entrance and then notice the delivered mail on the entrance table. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car. I put my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the bin under the table, and notice that the bin is full. So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the rubbish first. But then I think, I can run down to the post-box when I take out the rubbish, I may as well pay the bills first. I take my cheque book off the table, and see that there is only 1 cheque left. My other cheque book is in the computer desk, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Coke I'd been drinking. I'm going to look for my other cheque book, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. The Coke is getting warm so I decide to put it in the fridge to keep it cold. As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the window ledge catches my eye--they need water. I put the Coke on the window ledge and discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning. I decide I’d better put them back on my computer desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers. I put the glasses back down on the window ledge, fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote. I must have left it on the kitchen table. I realize that tonight when I go to watch TV, I'll be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the living room where it belongs, but first I'll 
water the flowers. I pour some water in the flowers, but some spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back on the table, get a towel and wipe up the spill. Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do. At the end of the day: The flower tubs aren't watered; The car isn't washed; The bills aren't paid; There is a warm can of Coke sitting on the window ledge; The flowers in the vase don't have enough water; There is still only 1 cheque in my cheque book; I can't find the remote; I can't find my glasses; I have absolutely NO idea what I did with the car keys. Then, when I try to work out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all damn day, and I'm really tired. I realise this is a serious problem and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail. Do me a favour. Forward this message to everyone I know, because I don't remember who the hell I've sent it to."

Thursday, March 06, 2008


In the original plan, Validation was the third and final stage. However, it is in fact the penultimate stage and is followed by post-validation. This note covers both.

When a corrected zip arrives back, I load it into Valdrev, and run it against the images. Unlike checking, I do not have to view every line, but only those on which Valdrev stops.

This is the Valdrev screen. Any field that is changed by the checker turns red. Checkers do NOT, therefore, need to leave me a note or a flag, just to say they have changed something.

Valdrev stops for:

1. Alerts, either inserted by the checker, or inserted by the transcriber and not resolved by the checker.

2. Records that have notes left by the transcriber or the checker, but not those contained in the transcriber’s Mynotes file. I do not see those, although Valdrev does stop.

3. County or place of birth names that do not exist as far as the geographical database GENIE is concerned.

From this you can see that if the transcriber leaves lots of notes, I get lots of stops. During validation I edit the notes left by transcribers. Usually, I delete them, but sometimes I retain them, edit them or add to them or insert new ones – as the fancy takes me! If Chapman codes for the Irish or Scottish counties have not been used, I get stops on all those. In the original plan, it was thought that the validation process would be pretty quick, with stops every hundred or so records. Like many things, this didn’t work out and stops are only too frequent.

The main problem is that the geographical database GENIE is limited in size and it doesn’t hold many perfectly good place names. In general, I pass all place names that are “as is”. I do not avail myself of the validater’s option to put in the modern or corrected names. As I go along, I create a supplementary list of place names, ones that I am happy about that are not on the database. This reduces the number of stops I get

At the end of this process, I pack for uploading; in theory, this output file could be uploaded. But in practice, we know that there are a lot of errors still in the file, invisible during validation. The file is, therefore, loaded into FCTools. This is a diagnostic tool that identifies errors and gives warnings of possible problems.

FCTools produces a list of errors and a spreadsheet. As well as making the corrections indicated by FCTools, the opportunity its taken to “eyeball” the spreadsheet. It is surprising how many minor errors jump out and hit you in the eye! Once it as good as it can be, two files are produced. The validation file is uploaded to the Online DataBase (OLDB) and to the Mormon’s Great Granite Cave in Utah. The html file is sent to our web site.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Really - it's quite easy!

The task we have set ourselves is really quite simple. We just have to transcribe as accurately as we can the words of the Enumerator.

Of course, it is all made more complicated by the requirements of Free Census, and indeed, by those of the author of this blog.

Still, in the end, it is pretty simple. Transcribe the words of the Enumerator, warts and all, into the spreadsheet. If he misspells Scholar, then so do you. If he has a 19-year old Scholar, then you will have to input (Scholar), but his words are intact.

I find that the biggest aid I have is Google (or the search engine of your choice). If the Enumerator has written down a place name unknown to the Free Census software, or me, I usually type it into Google. Of course, knowing the correct version doesn’t mean that I don’t type in the Enumerator’s version. But just knowing that there is a “real” place spelt somewhat differently is an aid to reading the words on the page.

I also use Google for personal names and occupations. Google will search our online texts; in fact we often figure in the first ten hits it reports. So, if we have already transcribed a person, or an occupation, or a place, then it will come up. There are, of course, other aids. The IGI is online for free. You can confine your search to the parish you are working on. If you are working on a Cornish piece, you can use the COCP search engine. You can browse our online texts, the enumerators often used the same route for each census, and English and Cornish place names have remained the same for centuries.

It also helps if you read what you are writing. The numbers of times I find miss-transcriptions, when the transcriber or checker has got it correct only a page or so earlier.

Finally, you have one aid I don’t have. ME! I am quite happy for people to write to me and I will take a look at the image for you and give a second opinion. I can also download an image from Ancestry and email it to you. We also have an instant messaging system up and running. Instructions on how to access that can be given and are also on this blog. You might get an answer in minutes using either of these methods. I would rather correct things as you do them than have to do them in the final stages.

The picture at at the top was sent in by a volunteer living in Tasmania - it illustrates that she has other interests than my wretched census returns!!!!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

COCP 1871 update

hello folks

Things are going well on the 1871, with only 12 pieces left to do. Two pieces are with me, awaiting validation.

2234 being transcribed by Lesley Van Goeson & Lauren Patey
2236 Menheniot being checked by Jeff Beaton
2340 St Neot being checked by Donna Hazledon
2254 Little Petherwick being checked by Pam Pinkerton
2255 St Columb Major being checked by Judy Wadell
2289 Feock being transcribed by Shari Nicholls
2291 Mylor being checked by Roda Jelbert
2296 St Gluvias being checked by Barbara Pullar
2306 St Keverne being checked by Sharon Uren
2316 Redruth being transcribed by Janet Copping
2324 Camborne to be checked by Donna Hazledon
2331 Ludgvan being transcribed by Samantha Hussey

A slight pall is thrown over these excellent results by the fact that a few of you are out of contact with Kay and I. We will re-allocate pieces if we don't hear from you. If you have been working hard then it will all have been wasted.



Monday, February 25, 2008

COCP 1881 update

Hello folks

Much to my surprise, I find that we have only 25 pieces of the 1881 left to complete. They are as follows:

2270 Stratton probably unallocated.
2271 Week St Mary being checked by Mike Hancock
2274 Altarnun being checked by Geoff Moss
2275 Nth Petherwin not allocated
2276 Launceston St Stephen being checked by David Trounce
2281 St Germans being checked by John Ball
2299 Fowey being checked by Jan Lewis
2304 Mevagissey not allocated
2308 St Agnes being checked by Geoff Westlake
2328 Gwennap being checked by Tony Bennett
2329 Gwennap being checked by Valeri Pain
2331 Redruth Being checked by Di Thompson
2332 Redruth being checked by Marion Paul
2333 Redruth pencilled in for checking by Marion Paul
2335 Camborne being checked by Mike Beck
2337 Phillack being checked by John Smith
2338 Phillack being checked by Malcolm Rule
2339 Penzance being checked by Frances Kenshole
2340 Uny Lelant being checked by Margaret Moxon
2341 St Ives being checked by Julia Mays
2342 St Ives being checked by Peter Veryan
2343 St Ives pencilled in for checking by Peter Veryan
2351 St Buryan being checked by Valerie Pettifer
2352 Scillies pencilled in for checking by Valeri Pettifer

If you don't agree with this, please drop me a line. In fact, please drop me a line anyway!

Friday, February 22, 2008

NWOCP 1861 & 1871 update

Hello folks

Here is the situation as I see it:

Phil Pike Checking rg091272 Swindon
Sue Flower Transcribing rg091274 Cricklade
Marlene Bond Transcribing rg091280 Castle Conmbe
Paul Webb Checking rg091282 Corsham
Ray Muld Checking rg091283 Chippenham
Steve Brain Checking rg101881 Swindon
Jane Brown Transcribing rg091286 Calne and/or rg101884 Wootton Bassett
Lilian Fraser Transcribing rg101909
Nancy Frey Transcribing rg101891 Malmesbury West
Heather Williams Checking rg101896 Corsham
Valerie Henwood Checking rg101900 Christian Malford
John Holden Checking rg101897 Corsham
Edmund Bristow Checking rg101906 Marlborough
Viveanne Transcribing rg101903(1)
Helen Ward Checking rg101883 Swindon
Lillian Thurston Transcribing rg101908
Harry Tadd Transcribing rg101895 Castle Combe
Peter Eastman Transcribing rg101910

If you don't agree with this - drop me a line!

Monday, February 18, 2008

NWOCP 1841 Update


Peter Eastman
Ho4g1172 Langley Burrell

William Glynn
Ho4d1173 Martin
Ho4e1173 Moncton Deaverill
Ho4f1173 Christian Malford
Ho4g1173 St Michael Kington

Peter Eastman
Ho4d1174 East Knoyle

Marlenny Cunnigham
Ho4j1181 Foxley
Ho4k1181 Gardson
Ho4l1181 Hankerton
Ho4m1181 Hullavington
Ho4n1181 Kemble
Ho4o1181 Lea

Shauna Wall
Ho4b1182 Hilperton
Ho4c1182 Keevil
Ho4d1182 Melksham
Ho4e1182 Poulshot

Diann Barnett
Ho4d1186 Huish
Ho4e1186 Imber

Helen Cameron
Ho4c118 North Bradley

Mike Wells
Ho4a1188 Westbury
Ho4d1188 East Coulston
Ho4e1188 Edington
Ho4f1188 Keevil


Carol Patis Ho41189 (a-e)
Keith Salisbury Ho41183 (d-g)
John Pope - the rest!!!!!

All of the remaining parishes are transcribed and waiting to be checked. Or are being checked.

Friday, February 08, 2008

COCP update

Hello folks

I have rather neglected this for some time now. Since the 1st January, we have completed another 17 1871 & 1881 pieces. About half of them have been uploaded. The remaining 1871 pieces are so:

2217 Week St Mary Poundstock being checked by Kay
2228 Anthony Maker being checked by Roda Jelbert(SA)
2234 Callington St Ive being transcribed by Lesley Van Goeson (Aus)
2236 Liskeard Menheniot being checked by Jeff Beaton (Aus)
2240 Liskeard St Neot being checked by Donna Hazledon (Can). To do 2324 after this.
2254 Padstow Little Petherick being checked by Pam Pinkerton. (Aus)
2255 St Columb Major being checked by Judy Wadell(Aus)
2289 Kea Feock being transcribed by Shari Nicholls (USA).
2291 Mylor being checked by Chris Uphill (Aus).
2296 Falmouth St Gluvias being checked by Barbara Pullar (NZ)
2306 St Keverne being checked by Sharon Uren (Aus)
2316 Redruth being transcribed by Ceilia Wikert(USA)
2324 Camborne. To be checked by Donna Hazledon after she finishes 2240.
2331 Uny Lelant Ludgvan being transcribed by Samantha Hussey.
2339 Penzance Paul being checked by Maxine Cadzow(Aus)
2341 Penzance. Being checked by Mike Hancock.(UK)

A couple of weeks ago I asked everyone who has not been in touch in 2008 to drop me a line. Some of you have yet to do that. Please lighten my darkness!

The project will have been running for 8 years in June this year. I mention that because an Australian name John Nance is retiring from the project for reasons of health. John was the 202nd volunteer we recruited and he started work in December 2002. He has spent most of his spare time during the last five years checking returns for COCP. Kay and I get our names up on the web site as organisers but without people like John the whole thing would be dead in the water. John's work has been consistently good - I never checked what he was doing. He was also different in that he used the IGI as a checking aid.

For the first time in a very long time I have cleared the Cornish backlog!  However, a Wiltshire 1841 piece has arrived - still it's only 11,500 records.....

Rgds Michael