It is no doubt obvious to the group that the Covid-19 virus has now caused the UK to become effectively locked down. This has made me realise that as admin to the Website Project and the Facebook page, I should be responsible for a statement regarding the pandemic and how our group should prepare to remain safe.
Until our individual Governments say otherwise no member of the team or our members should undertake any field work on behalf of the OPC Project or indeed for themselves, especially if they were to visit, churches, cemeteries and graveyards to further their research. No doubt repositories such as Archives, Libraries, Research Centres and Local Study Groups will close. You all have your own Government advice but I feel duty to bound to advise people on my team that they must stay away from anywhere where there is a chance of picking up and spreading this deadly disease.
If anyone of you is suffering from any of the advertised symptoms or have loved ones suffering then the thoughts of the team are with you. Please keep safe and lets all get through this. Take note of the advice given and STAY AT HOME unless you desperately need to get shopping, medication or to exercise a pet. Remember the distancing rules and adhere to any restricted areas. If anyone is feeling isolated go to our Facebook page where there will always be someone to chat to and share virtual companionship.
Please note that the annual meet up in May will now be cancelled until something else can be arranged probably in 2021.
OPCs, Transcribers, Task holders and submitters can still work on items they have tucked away and I will get them in the queue to be loaded. Although I am working from home since I work for a homeless charity in administration.
So once again everyone stay safe and lets make sure that we all remain well and healthy. We all want to be around next time we can all meet up.
About The Project
The OPC Project concept was the original idea of family historians in Cornwall who launched the first OPC project; Devon and Dorset followed next, and there are several now more counties taking part. The idea is to assist those who are researching their family history in a specific parish who might otherwise have difficulty accessing information at record offices, etc. The Wiltshire OPC Project began tentatively in 2006 and has grown from strength to strength. Information is organised by the historic Church of England parishes within the county. Although there is a strong focus on genealogical information, we also include historical and social information. We now have a diary page which will be updated from time to time. You can also follow us on Twitter and on Facebook. Put a face to the name - meet your OPC Team. A New Group has been set up on Facebook for OPCs and Admin
Site Maintenance and Updates
From now until way into the new year and beyond there may be some disruption to the Website. This should not interrupt the access to the site or viewing pages. It may mean that OPC's are locked out of their pages for long periods of time. I am unable to announce specifically when a page may be locked out or for how long. Please be patient The Webmaster and Admin Team are trying to set the site up ready for a move to a new platform over the next 12 months. It will take some time as we are all volunteers and have other commitments too. Thank you for your understanding.
The new management team face new challenges and we will keep the site running for as long as we can. We intend to keep the site as a free to use facility but the time has come to follow other projects of a similar genre and give our users the opportunity of making a small donation to assist us to keep the site running for the longer good. With that in mind we have set up a Go Fund Me page the purpose of this is to raise enough money to help us cover the running costs for the foreseeable future. Please note that this is a voluntary donation and is not a requirement to use this site. The site will remain free to anyone who wishes to use the information we provide.
The people who run the site do so as volunteers and receive no financial rewards whatsoever so please be assured that your donation will be used to maintain the site and for no other purpose. We do hope you understand our move in this direction and thank you all in advance for any support you give.
2020 Annual Get Together - PLEASE NOTE THIS IS NOW CANCELLED UNTIL 2021
This event is planned to take place from the 15th May until 17th May 2020. This years event will be held in Swindon and the main event, the lunch, will be held at The Grill Room, Kings Arms Hotel, Wood Street, Swindon. Events for the weekend are also being arranged such as a visit to the Local Studies Facility and Swindon Library led by Nigel Chalk and a guided tour of Radnor Street Cemetery. Possibly a visit to "Steam" will be arranged. All are welcome and if you wish to join us please let Ruth Wood know by indicating so on the Facebook Events Page. Ruth will gladly answer any question you have too. Don't be shy come along and meet the faces behind the names.
We have decided to create some files via Facebook to accommodate those members who would like to register their surname interests. Our Facebook group currently has over 700 members.
Our photo galleries can be found all over the website - mainly published on parish pages under the category headings. We are currently displaying these galleries via Google Photos. Tagging of each photograph means you can see what the image is etc. Sadly there is still no sort in file order facility with Google Photos. Admin is constantly requesting Google to add this sort option.
A Little Information About Using This Website
As mentioned previously information is laid out within parishes. There is also a page to cover the whole of the county and also a military page which relates to the county as a whole. There are also pages for research inquiries and other general information just explore the drop down menus at the top of the page. Most pages follow a set layout to assist you in finding information quickly under categories which have a set order. The Categories are Neighbouring Parishes (Contiguous); Websites; Parish Church; Parish History; Buildings & Land; Crime & Legal Matters; Directories; Education; Emigration & Migration; Employment & Business; Miscellaneous Items; Non Conformity & Other Places of Worship; People & Parish Notables; Poor Law, Charity & The Workhouse; Probate; War, Conflict and Military. Under Transcriptions at the bottom of the page can be found any Baptisms, Marriages, Burials & Census that have been completed. Categories will contain sub headings but these should be selective and contain a series of documents of the same kind such as parishioners wills. The documents themselves will normally follow a layout of oldest items first reading from left to right in columns of 3 or 4 items per row. The documents are linked to a pdf format and the title should be descriptive but concise so that you can see what you are likely to find within. Where there is a tithing or hamlet that has a fair amount of information these will have a tab (page) within that parish towards the end of the page. Photo Galleries can be found by following the links on parish pages or by accessing the main gallery section at the top of the page. The most recent parishes or items updated or expanded can be found by clicking on the images under the 3 headings towards the top of the home page.
Although most items are published on parish pages please also check the Wiltshire Additional Parish Page, Wiltshire County Wide Page, Wiltshire Military Page and the Nationwide Page. All of these may contain additional information not published on a parish page.
Due to the nature of the project some pages will hold more information than others. New items are being added to the site daily.
As you can see from the Memorial Days Section to the right of the page we are adding as many soldiers memorial days as we can. If anyone knows of soldiers whose deaths are not yet listed please let the admin team know. You may check which names are included by browsing through the calendar facility on this page.
We have a motto at the Wiltshire OPC :-
What May or May Not Be of Interest to You Will Be of Interest to Someone
What is an OPC?
An OPC (on-line parish clerk) is a volunteer member of the public who "adopts" a parish in Wiltshire becoming its custodian. The OPC is then able to research the parish and transcribe historical and genealogical information for that particular parish which may be of value to family history researchers and social historians. Our motto is "What may or may not be of interest to you, will be of interest to others". This information is gathered from many different sources, for example, parish registers, census records, churchwardens and overseers accounts, historical wills, business and trade directories, church and village histories, newspaper reports, war casualty lists, etc. An on-line parish clerk should not be confused with a parish clerk engaged by a parish council or parochial church council.
Adopt a Parish and Become an OPC
We Currently have 221 Parishes or Pages to be adopted
Firstly, you do not need to live in Wiltshire, or even in the UK, to become an OPC. We have OPC's in Australia, Canada, Holland, England, New Zealand, India, Scotland and several in Wiltshire itself! Some OPC's choose to adopt a particular parish because their ancestors hailed from that village or town or because they once lived there themselves; some just want to be part of a voluntary project to help family history researchers worldwide. Others choose their parish because of a subject interest such as Australian Soldiers of WWI buried in the county or perhaps a certain story about the village has triggered an interest. Once you adopt a parish then you become its custodian by researching and building on the resources on the parish page. Even if a parish is adopted then other contributors are still welcome to submit items for inclusion. More about Volunteering
You may feel you don't have the time to adopt a parish, but you can still support the Wiltshire OPC project by:-
- donating information you may have at home - school photographs, directories, village history booklets - in fact, any historical information on a Wiltshire parish
- transcribing - we can email records to you to transcribe at home at your own pace
- taking photographs in Wiltshire - war memorials, buildings, village scenes, plaques, etc.
- Assisting with the running of the website by taking on a specific task.
If you would like to help with any of the above please contact the OPC of the parish you can help with or if the parish is vacant, contact our Administrator. Please note that you will need to register and sign in to contact OPC's/Administrator (via the Contact Us tab at the top of this page)
During February 2020 OPC's and transcribers uploaded 35 items to parish pages (including updated documents). New and updated documents added as we go through February 2020 will be published here. New images are added to our galleries on a regular basis. We are always working on new items and information to add to the site and currently hold a large of amount of items to be loaded (however much more information is available elsewhere to be gathered in and processed). We are currently working on a census transcribing programme as a priority, this is coming along pretty well considering we have a small team working on this. We are also reviewing documents under copyright and GDP Regulations. This may mean that some items will no longer be available to the website until they have been re-transcribed.
At the beginning of each month the site holdings list is updated to show what can be found on parish pages and elsewhere on the site at present we have over 25300 items on parish pages. Items are annotated with either Submitted or Revised. Holdings for Parishes A-U and Parishes V-Z can be found by following the links, submitted items being the original items transcribed and revised being those that have additional information added. The date of when any item was updated can be found at the foot of the published document; the original upload date is in the left hand column, the date when the item was uploaded with changes is in the right hand date column.
We currently have 51 OPC's and 2 Consultants who cover between them 106 of the 326 parishes/pages available. We also have 26 transcribers registered (not all active at present). Also we have 9 specific task holders of which 7 are administrators.
The site currently has over 520 registered returning users (figures may be reduced after removal of expired accounts) and the web site has been visited over 502600 times.
Our Facebook Page has over 814 members of which 8 are Admin. Our Facebook page has members interests lists and other useful items within its files section. Discussion topics can vary and each day we list the names of the men and women of the county who served their country with honour and paid the ultimate sacrifice. We also feature the famous of Wiltshire on the dates of their birth and death. We also post historical dates that may have had a significant impact to the county that occurred Nationally or even Globally. Above all the Facebook page allows everyone to discuss things from brickwall dilemmas to old fashioned words that have their roots in the county. Did you know for example that the expression "different as chalk from cheese" originates from the geology of the county.
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Copyright & Disclaimer
We think it is important that our users understand the strengths and limitations of this website. The OPC Project aims to provide historical and genealogical information without charge that researchers might pay a fee for elsewhere. OPC's voluntarily provide this information, often at their own expense by purchasing documents to transcribe. In most cases their transcriptions are not checked by anyone other than themselves.
Our OPC’s and volunteers are aware that material submitted for this site must be within copyright law and accreditation must be given where necessary. Our Administrator checks items as they are submitted, however, occasionally an item may ‘slip through the net.’ If this occurs, we apologise most sincerely and will correct the issue immediately upon notification.
We don't guarantee to be perfect! All information should be taken as a guide only and the original source consulted wherever possible. In many cases this will be the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre. Please note that some items are published to parish pages and are incomplete, such items will be updated as and when new information is transcribed. These are mainly ongoing projects such as the national probate index, strays index, etc.
Please note that OPC's are unable to undertake family history research for our users, but we are always willing, where possible, to advise where the information being sought might be found.
If you find this site useful please tell others - if you have a problem with it then please tell us. Users of the site are invited to leave comments/constructive criticism &c. in the box at the foot of each parish page or in our guest book. You may also rate the page using the star option on each parish page. Thank you.
GDPR Notice. For our user policy and information on how we use your personal data then please go to our Privacy Information Page
Please Consider Helping Us Improve This Website - Up Until Now We Have Asked For No Financial Donations - Just a Little Time or Some Photographs or Documents that you are willing to share with us. Circumstances Now Mean We Need to Ask for the Occasional Financial Donation. If You Wish to Help by Transcribing or Donating Books, Photographs and Transcripts then contact the Administrator. If You Could Help with a Small Donation Then You May Do So Via Our Just Giving Appeal. Thank you to all who have made a donation since the launch of the appeal to each and everyone of you we are most grateful. The money we raise is used solely for the maintenance and advancement of the site. Thank you all for your support the team appreciate it very much.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO USE THIS WEBSITE OR CONTRIBUTE IN ANYWAY YOU CAN