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Saturday, 30 June 2007

Online Parish Clerk for Street

An interesting email from Liz Newbery, who may be a great help to people researching their family history in Street:

I don't know whether you are aware of the "Online Parish Clerk" scheme (OPC) for family historians? I have just taken responsibility for the Parish of Street. This scheme started in Cornwall, spread to Deveon and Dorset and is now being promoted for Somerset.

What does this entail? This involves me in obtaining as much information about the residents of Street from the beginning of records up to date so that those people involved in family history have someone who can, hopefully, provide them with as much information as possible about their ancestors in the parish. It is a purely voluntary task.

Why have I taken responsibility for this parish?

Basically, many of my ancestors came from the town starting with the STRODE family who at one stage held the manor house...through to my 2xg grandmother Caroline BOYCE (formerly WHITE) nee TALBOT.

I notice you often receive questions from people researching their families and in future you could direct them to me as I will be obtaining every bit of information I can.

I hope this will be helpful to your web site and to the town of Street.


Background information on the OPC scheme comes from Family trees Online:

The Online Parish Clerk scheme was conceived back in 2000, in a pub in St Stephen in Brannel, Cornwall. A humble start, but it wasn't long before the three gentlemen in question, Michael McCormick, Paul Brewer & David Stick were announcing to the world, via rootsweb, that they wanted to transcribe the records for every Parish in Cornwall. They asked for volunteers, and they came, based in all corners of the globe, from Cornwall to Queensland.
Each Online Parish Clerk, or OPC as they became known, chooses a Parish or Parishes, and its completely up to them how they go about transcribing the information, and what informatin they would like to do, whether it be census returns, or marriage records, to school admissions registers and Bishops transcripts. The choice is theirs. The only stipulation for doing this, is to aid other researchers through their efforts, and not to charge a bean for them. Some have produced websites for their chosen Parish, others prefer to be emailed. Its all incredibly flexible.
The main reasons for wanting to do this are to collect, and transcribe records for their chosen Parish, from as many different sources as possible. The main emphasis is on family history, but it isn't solely dedicated to that alone - any historical information about your chosen Parish is valuable.
The next objective is to preserve information. Many of the documents are extremely old, some dating back to the 1500's, which are mostly photograped and put on CD. But, at the end of the day, how long will these documents last, despite all the care and attention taken to preserve them? The only way the information can be protected for generations to come is to transcribe them, so that the information can be protected and not lost forever. It is again entirely up to the OPC how they do this, whether they build a website to host it, or backup their files on CD, or email it to others, so that multiple copies are made.
The last point, and the one that sold me to the scheme is to share the research with others at no charge.
The reason for this are that the documents transcribed are just that - transcriptions. In other words, errors can occur due to human error, and they advise that original documents should always be checked. However, mistakes in my view, are few, especially when checked against other online resources.

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