- Does living in Australia preclude me from becoming an online Parish Clerk?
- Not at all. In the stateless world of the internet distance is not an impediment. Distance is far outweighed by enthusiasm and a willingness to help! When I look at the locations of OPC's from the various counties the majority are from away. We have several OPC's from Australia and New Zealand, Canada and the United States. We are a community of researchers, often if an individual OPC cannot perform research in their adopted parish(es) another OPC in the area can assist.
- How does the system operate?
Each OPC chooses a parish (some do more than one) and at their own discretion and pace they collect and transcribe original records, indexes or transcriptions of such records, relating to his/her particular parish. This may include census returns, Church register transcripts, bishop's transcripts, churchwardens accounts, overseers accounts, land tax records, postal directory extracts, church & village histories, in fact anything they can find which other researchers may find interesting.
As a volunteer you will find the work rewarding, it may help identify further sources for research and will generally add to your knowledge of parish life through the centuries. If you work on a parish where you have ancestors, you may well add to your knowledge of your own family links as a result of your efforts.
It is hoped that OPC's will also be willing to donate some of their data to the FreeCens and FreeReg projects, who share the same objectives of free information to all.
- What is the difference between a Clerk to the Parish Council and an Online Parish Clerk?
- An OPC should not be confused with that of the official (i.e. Parish Council-appointed) Parish Clerks. All OPC's are unpaid volunteers who are willing to assist others in their genealogical research. OPC's may not live anywhere near the parish they are working on - we have volunteers from all over the globe
- How does the word get out?
- The further we can spread the word the more folks we can get involved.
- What is the format for Parish Register transcripts?
Basically the format we are using is that of FreeReg. Guidance for transcribing can be found on the OPC Transcription Guidelines and Templates pages.
- What is the format for Census Returns transcripts?
Producing census transcriptions in Excel or cvs format is encouraged as that is the format used by the FreeCEN project. Although it is not mandatory, I would ask that every contributor of census transcriptions give some thought to also contributing their transcript to the FreeCEN project. The following documents provide guidance for transcibing cenus returns: Read Me, Introduction, Field Descriptions, Census Demo Spreadsheet and Blank Census Spreadsheet.
- Do you supply fiche, microfilm or digital copies of parish records for transcription?
- At the moment each OPC is responsible for obtaining the material for transcriptions from the SRO or other sources.
- What is the format for other transcripts and material?
Simply submit your work as an attachment to an email or on CD by postal-directed mail as a text file, a MS Word file, a cvs file, or as an Excel spreadsheet or MS Access database file. CVS Templates are available for a number of record types stored in our database.
- Is it necessary to transcribe records to become an OPC?
One doesn't need an extensive database to get started and transcription of records is not a perquisite or requirement, but it helps.
A lot of emphasis in other OPC programs is placed on transcription of records and I feel that this may tend to discourage possible volunteers. Personally I believe there is much one can do without transcribing. In my own case I performed look-ups from the records I had at hand for several years
- I maintain my own website with transcriptions, do I need to send these to the OPC website?
- No, we are not insisting that the transcripts be included in our database, but there are many advantages to doing so. With that in mind it would be great to have your transcripts in our database so please end them down.
- How would I go about - am I allowed to go about - changing the parish gazetteer page?
- Changes to the database and parish gazeteer pages are performed by the webmaster. Simply submit your work as an attachment to an email or on CD by postal-directed mail as a text file, a MS Word file, a cvs file, or as an Excel spreadsheet or MS Access database file.
- Can I enlist the help of others to assist in my tasks as OPC for a parish?
- You may seek out and appoint one or more individuals to assist you in your tasks as an OPC it is your responsibility to co-ordinate all transcripts, ensure those are in the acceptable file formats for submission to the Essex OPC web site and administer all relevant copyright requirements