Photo by John Pope
It’s the Season To Be Jolly – so from all at the OPC Project we wish our members and visitors a very MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR. For those who do not celebrate Christmas HAPPY HOLIDAYS. We hope no matter how you celebrate we wish you everything you would wish for yourselves.
Download our 2023 Christmas Quiz Here for a chance to win a small surprise. All answers relate to someone with a connection to Wiltshire.
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/blog which will be updated from time to time. You can also follow us on Facebook. Put a face to the name – meet your OPC Team. A group is available on Facebook for OPCs and Admin
The 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 like many other projects of a similar genre we have set up a fund where users have 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 and maintenance for the foreseeable future. The funding page now offers monthly donation opportunities. Please note that donations are entirely voluntary and is not a requirement to use this site. The site will remain free to anyone who wishes to use the information we provide. A big thank you to those who have donated in the past. A huge thank you to those who have set up monthly donations.
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 or secure material for transcription 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.
It has occurred to us that the admin team are all getting to that age where we feel that younger team members should be getting involved, I and a few others are now of retirement age and although we will keep working on the website for as long as we can physically and mentally to do so, we feel that younger personnel should be trained up to take over – if not the website will fall into Archive status in the future and not be updated or added to. Someone needs to be available to pay the overheads from the funds collected!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is also a good idea to get others input and their ideas. So please if you can spare some time to help with admin and management please come forward – I choose to dedicate my time to the website as a full time concern, but that is my choice, if you help out you do not need to commit every minute of every day to the project, even a few minutes can make a huge huge difference. We are not asking you to research or adopt parishes yourself but if you have an office or admin background then those skills are transferable. We need some people to learn how to run the website (not maintain it technically our web-master and host does that) but we need someone to learn what the coordinator and admin team do on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. If you feel you fit the bill please contact the administrator who will be glad to have a conversation with you. As a perfect example I was ill from mid January until early May 2023 and was unable to function website speaking on a normal basis. This meant a lot of the tasks weren’t completed such as calendar updates and new documents being loaded only by one admin member.
The Annual Meet Up for 2023 and 2024
There is no formally arranged annual meet up for 2023.
Next year, if a meet should go ahead we will just arrange a lunch venue and let everyone do what they wish to do independently. Further details on a decision will be published here later this year.
Past Meet Ups
There have been four meet ups since we started this annual event.
So far we have visited Avebury in 2018, Salisbury in 2019, Swindon in 2021 and Devizes in 2023.
The first two gatherings were well attended and new lasting friendships were made. Sadly the 2020 meet was cancelled due to the Covid lock-down rules. The 2021 meet was more subdued with many people unable to travel due to local restrictions, however it was a success with a guest speaker attending for the first time. The Devizes meet up was not as well attended mainly due to unforeseen events occurring to those who were planning to come along. However those who did attend had a nice time meeting up with both new and old friends.
Just a gentle reminder – the virus is still with us and will not go away for many months even years to come, new variations are evolving regularly and the infection rate is still very high. Most restrictions have been lifted but testing and personal vigilance will keep us all as safe as we possibly can. Some places you might visit may still insist on safety measure being taken so be prepared. Enjoy the spring and the months ahead but STAY SAFE. Don’t forget if you are planning to do some family history research and travelling check out the essentials list found under genealogy tips on this website this has been updated to include a few other safety items.
Surname Interests, One Name Studies & Pedigrees
We have now created a single document on Facebook to record the surname interests of members, eventually we will make a list of all of these and publish it on this website too for those who do not use Facebook, however to do this we must first look at the GDPR implications. We also have a dedicated page on the website to record your One Name Study. We have been looking at a facility to allow users to build/store there family tree on site but unfortunately we have been unable to find a compatible programme to meet our needs. However, we do have a solution where an outline descendent tree can be submitted for upload. This should be sent to the co-ordinator (initially via the contact us menu) who will load it for you. If your tree storage programme has the facility you can send the outline descendent tree as a text document or if not you may send a gedcom file and we will convert for you.
Our photo galleries can be found all over the website – mainly published on parish pages under the category headings. We are now displaying these galleries through an internal programme built into the website. By labelling/naming each photograph means you can see what the image is etc. Photos can be found in an alphabetical order style although we are still in the process of slowly re-labelling photographs so they will display in a logical order in other words the new gallery layout should now show images within a particular gallery in the order we feel they should be looked at.
Information About Using This Website
As mentioned previously information is laid out within parishes in the main. 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; Each of these county and Military pages are laid out in categories to try and keep some kind of order to them. 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. 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 or where the items consists of names such as apprentices and obituaries etc. then these are displayed alphabetically. 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 section within that parish towards the end of the page again the hamlets etc. will be displayed in alphabetical order. Photo Galleries can be found by following the links on parish pages.
Although most items are published on parish pages please also check the Wiltshire County Wide Page, Wiltshire Military Page and the Nationwide Page. All of these may contain additional information not published on a parish page. This may include items that we know are Wiltshire related but cannot identify a parish or are just a general Wiltshire item. The Nationwide page consists of items from out of county that users have submitted as there is no OPC Project running for that particular county or in some cases the material is not something published by those counties.
Due to the nature of the project some pages will hold more information than others. New items are being added to the site often so please keep checking back.
As you can see from the We Will Remember Section in the drop down menus at the top 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. However this will only show a few days ahead and then changes one day at a time to. In conjunction with the We Will Remember Them you will find on the Military Page a link to maps around the word Split into continents and also the UK. These maps show cemeteries and memorials where the men and women of Wiltshire are laid to rent or commemorated. This is ongoing and each name has a few personal details attached. Eventually it is hoped that there will be a more detailed biography available for each casualty which will be published on the relevant parish pages or on the Military page itself. The casualties will include those who were serving in Wiltshire Regiments but may not have been born in or resident of the county.
For statistics about the website and lists of documents on the site please visit the statistics 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 Else
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 327 Parishes with 216 Vacant. Other Pages or Tasks are also available. You may find the full coverage list here
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)
For a complete list of vacant parishes and other positions you could help with please visit our Vacancy page. For items needing to be transcribed please visit our Resources Page
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. 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.
For our user policy and information on how we use your personal data then please go to our Privacy Information Page