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.