Transcription project progress report (Announce)

by grahamdavison @, Monday, February 18, 2008, 05:02 (4993 days ago)


The Forest of Dean transcription project has now been running for just over 2 years with a total of 400,000 records having been added to the database. The project currently covers 52 parishes in Gloucestershire, namely:-

Abenhall, Alvington, Awre, Beachley, Blaisdon, Blakeney, Bream, Bromsberrow, Bulley, Christchurch, Churcham, Cinderford St.Johns, Cinderford St.Stephens, Clearwell, Coleford, Corse, Drybrook, Dymock, English Bicknor, Flaxley, Hartpury, Hewelsfield, Huntley, Kempley, Lassington, Littledean, Longhope, Lydbrook, Lydney, Maisemore, Minsterworth, Mitcheldean, Newent, Newland, Newnham, Oxenhall, Parkend, Pauntley, Preston by Ledbury, Ruardean, Rudford, St. Briavels, Staunton, Staunton by Newent, Tainton, Tibberton, Tidenham, Tutshill, Upleadon, Viney Hill, Westbury & Woolaston.

together with 15 Herefordshire border parishes, namely:-

Aston Ingham, Bishopswood, Goodrich, Hope Mansell, Lea, Ledbury, Linton, Little Marcle, Much Marcle, Ross on Wye, Upton Bishop, Walford, Welsh Bicknor, Weston under Penyard & Whitchurch.

and a further 6 Monmouthshire border parishes, namely:-

Chapel Hill, Chepstow, Llandogo, Penalt, St. Arvans & Tintern.

In addition to these Church of England records, all of the Gloucestershire Forest of Dean non conformist records are being added to the database, together with the non conformist records from the Herefordshire and Monmouthshire border areas.

It is estimated that when the project is nearing completion in about 12 months time, the database will contain around 600,000 records.

For Gloucestershire the filming of parish and non conformist registers is now almost complete. There are still quite a number of registers which are either in progress or awaiting transcribers, and new volunteers are always welcome.

For Monmouthshire we have been working closely with Mike John and have copied most of the available transcripts of border parishes from his website. We have discussed the possibility of adding Monmouth to the database, and I have agreed with Mike that we will help him transcribe these records as soon as they are available as digital imagery.

Progress on the Herefordshire border parishes has been much slower. This is mainly because it is a 250 mile round trip for me to visit the Herefordshire Record Office, and so I would rather do this when the lighter days arrive. There are still 80 Church of England registers to photograph, and to date I haven't looked to see how many non-conformist registers there are. Hopefully we can complete the filming of these by late summer.

Although I want to complete all the above records before extending the project any further, I would still welcome any suggestions. I had thought about filming the BTs to fill in any gaps in the parish registers, and others have suggested that we might add the parishes on the opposite bank of the Severn (e.g. Arlingham, Frampton, Longney etc). Also since many Forest folk got married in Gloucester it has been suggested we might transcribe the Gloucester marriages, which could be quite a job.

It's good to hear that so many researchers are benefiting from the database, let's hope the transcribers will keep up the good work.

Graham Davison
Project Coordinator

Transcription project progress report

by 10noyrum @, Monday, February 18, 2008, 07:39 (4993 days ago) @ grahamdavison

I would recommend in-filling the FOD PRs with BTs before embarking further afield. I would be happy, for example, to help transcribe the BTs for Newland because that is where my ancestor Thomas MORGAN was likely born before 1645 but the PRs seemingly peter out before about 1660.

Chris Morgan

Transcription project progress report

by slowhands, proud of his ancient Dean Forest roots, Monday, February 18, 2008, 08:10 (4993 days ago) @ 10noyrum

For Newland I understand that records before 1560 ( approx) cease ; that may get you back a generation or two !

Ἀριστοτέλης A Gloster Boy in the Forest of Dean ><((((*>

Transcription project progress report

by davejc2008, Wednesday, February 20, 2008, 20:43 (4991 days ago) @ 10noyrum

You will find gaps in the parish registers in the mid 1600s because of the English Civil War taking place at the time. It was not uncommon for the registers around this time to be destroyed. This seems to have happened in Longhope as there do not appear to be any parish records before 1702 and there is a hole in the BTs from 1626-1668.

Over 400,000 transcribed Parish Records

by admin ⌂, Forest of Dean, Monday, February 18, 2008, 18:58 (4993 days ago) @ grahamdavison

Over 400,000 transcribed Parish Records



BTs, Parish records, gaps etc. 1583-1700

by slowhands, proud of his ancient Dean Forest roots, Thursday, February 21, 2008, 22:14 (4989 days ago) @ grahamdavison

Parish registers were started in England in 1538 when Thomas Cromwell, Vicar General to Henry VIII, ordered that clergy should keep written records of all baptisms, marriages, and burials. Up to that date some clergy had recorded events relating to nobility and the wealthy. Cromwell's order required that they keep records for all the people .The Clergy were not happy with this request since they were not paid to keep these records. As a result many either did not comply with Cromwell's order or only sporadically recorded such events.

In 1598 The Provisional Constitution of Canterbury required that all parish registers should be recorded on parchment. This meant that all earlier recorded events had to be copied into the new registers. (previous events had often been written on scraps of paper or in paper registers). Many of the earlier entries that had been recorded on paper were unreadable due to dampness, poor storage or general decay. In many parishes the earlier registers either have not survived in any form or were not transcribed at the time into the registers made of parchment. In some parishes the clergy decided to ignore the earlier records and start at the beginning of Elizabeth I reign. She was on the throne in 1598 and her reign had started in 1558.

As well as the parchment requirement from 1598 each parish was also required to send annual returns to the Bishop responsible for the parish. These returns had to be a complete copy of the previous year's parish register entries. These copies are normally referred to as the 'Bishop Transcripts'or BT's. A few parishes were already submitting copies to their Bishop. As with any 'copy' the accuracy of the transcript can be variable. It can be seen that this was an attempt to make sure the records were being kept and that a 'safe' copy was available if the originals were lost or destroyed. Sometimes Bishop Transcripts can fill in gaps where the parish register entries are missing .

In 1649 following the execution of Charles I an English republic was established. This period from 1649 to 1653 is normally referred to as the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth proper ended in 1653 when Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate was established. Normally there are large gaps in the parish records during this period and weeke was no exception to this. Oliver Cromwell intended to remedy the poor record keeping in parish registers by placing responsibility for the records in the hands of appointed officers called 'Parish Registers'. The records they collected were referred to as Civil Registers but many do not survive .

After Charles II was returned to the throne in 1660 the 'Parish Registers' were dismissed (some of them became parish clerks). Restored clergy in some areas confiscated the Civil Registers and destroyed them. Other clergy simply went round the parish writing down the events by asking the parishioners to remember what had happened in previous years.

Marriages during the period before restoration of Charles II were not allowed to be in church. A plan to marry could be announced at the Market Cross or the couple could go to a Justice of the Peace to be legally married. Many couples did not like this arrangement and secretly went to church to be married if the clergy managed to stay in office.

After the Restoration marriages recorded in front of a Justice of the Peace were just retrospectively legalised. Some clergy simply refused such blasphemy and either forced a second marriage in church or branded the children as illegitimate. This can often explain the rise in the number of aliases appearing in some registers. The clergy simply recorded both the father's and mother's name.

In 1667 and 1668 legislation was passed by Parliament that all burials should be in woollen shrouds. The purpose of this Act was to help the wool trade in England. An affidavit had to be made (usually in front of a Justice of the Peace) by someone of standing in the community that the burial had been made in wool. The Act was not finally repealed until 1814

In 1694 a tax was introduced on every birth, marriage and burial. This required, for example, that all births should be notified to the clergy within 5 days and the clergy were to receive a fee for recording the birth. This tax resulted in some entries not being recorded in the parish records either because the parents could not afford the tax or to avoid it. Occasionally entries would record the family were paupers and could not pay the tax. As can be expected this tax was short lived.

Ἀριστοτέλης A Gloster Boy in the Forest of Dean ><((((*>

BTs, Parish records, gaps etc. 1583-1700

by 10noyrum @, Thursday, February 21, 2008, 03:10 (4990 days ago) @ slowhands

You say these early registers might be unreadable. However, just because the ink has faded does not mean that the indentations on the page made by the quill pen have gone. By dusting finely divided graphite onto a page, and shaking the excess off the page often the graphite will stick in the depressions and reveal what was written.

Chris Morgan

BTs, Parish records, gaps etc. 1583-1700

by slowhands, proud of his ancient Dean Forest roots, Thursday, February 21, 2008, 03:24 (4990 days ago) @ 10noyrum

not sure how the Archivist will react to this forensic approach ;-)

Ἀριστοτέλης A Gloster Boy in the Forest of Dean ><((((*>

BTs, Parish records, gaps etc. 1583-1700

by 10noyrum @, Thursday, February 21, 2008, 03:38 (4990 days ago) @ slowhands

Yes, only a last resort. However, the approach is completely non-destructive, though rather messy as those who have ever changed a laser printer graphite cartridge will testify.

I rather like the fine irony here: those with FOD ancestors who relied on carbon (coal) for their prosperity now relying on carbon (graphite) to reveal their ancestry.

Chris Morgan.

BTs, Parish records, gaps etc. part 2 1711-1813

by slowhands, proud of his ancient Dean Forest roots, Monday, October 06, 2008, 22:17 (4761 days ago) @ slowhands

In 1711 an Act was passed which stated that the register books should have lines on each page to record each entry and numbered pages. This had been found to be necessary because the clergy would cram entries in often in very small writing that was almost unreadable. Although this Act was adhered to in some parishes most ignored the requirement, probably on the basis they were not going to waste empty pages in their existing registers.

In 1732 a change was demanded that entries should no longer be in Latin with Latin versions of names etc. Generally this had been abandoned in most parishes any way.

1752 was a very important date for the people of England and the recording of dates in Parish Registers. Before 1752 the year began on March 25th (usually referred to as Lady Day) and this was described as the Julian Calendar. Any event in the Parish Registers recorded before 1752 would not change the year number for entries until March 25th. The change to a January 1st start for the year had been widely introduced in mainland Europe but England had clung onto the Julian calendar. Some clerks had for some years started to record dates in the first three months of the year using the two years eg 1751/2. An Act of Parliament in 1752, known as Lord Chesterfield's Act abandoned the Julian Calendar for the modern Gregorian calendar which starts a year on January 1st. When the Act was introduced it meant that 1752 was only 9 months long since 1753 started on January 1st rather than the following March 25th. In addition the 2nd September 1752 was followed by 14th September. This was to make an adjustment to the seasons due to a basic inaccuracy in the Julian calendar that had been in use from Roman times. There was general unhappiness amongst the people at the time who though they were having their lives stolen from them by this action. When considering dates in the registers normally they are recorded in a special way to avoid confusion. For example February 14th 1743 is recorded as 1743/4. The Transcription of the FoD Registers has remained true to the original Records. Most of the records follow the Julian calendar before 1752 and the Georgian after 1752. A few entries show the double year (eg 1725/6) which suggests that for some time before the change the idea was gaining support in use .

In 1754 Hardwicke's Marriage Act came into force on March 25th 1754. This stated that marriages could only be solemnised in a parish church or chapel after the publication of banns or by a licence issued by the Bishop of the diocese. Bann books and marriage registers were required to be separate from the books containing baptisms and burials. With the exception of Jews and Quakers, marriages were required to be performed by a clergy of the Church of England. Marriage partners under the age of 21 (minors) were required to obtain consent from their parents or guardians to marry. Catholics and other non conformists married in the Church of England and their own chapel/church just to be sure the marriage was recognized as legal.The clergy may have recorded any marriages on scraps of paper then failed to record them in the new register when it finally was available. All entries from 1756 were in the new format. Where the entries show the bride and groom were of parish (shown as Of This Parish or OTP) this does not always mean the party had resided in the Parish for any length of time. Three weeks was the legal requirement for the clergy to record the party as OTP. Many conscientious clergy recorded a temporary resident as a 'soujourner'. It was also accepted practice for a marriage to take place in the bride's parish. Hardwicke's Act had far reaching effects and the arrangement to record banns was a new procedure which required banns to have been called on 3 consecutive weeks in both the bride's and the groom's parishes. The new register had four printed boxes per page in which was recorded names and parish of residence of the bride and groom. It also had the date of the marriage, the groom's occupation, the marital status of both parties and whether it was by banns or licence. For the first time signatures were required from both parties and the clergy.

In 1783 a stamp Act was passed which required a duty to be paid for every entry made into the registers. This Act was repealed after 10 years.

In 1813 the George Rose Act (The Parochial Registers Act) required the use of specially printed registers, with separate books for baptisms, marriages and burials. Baptismal entries now required the names, address and occupation or status of the parents. The address in urban areas often recorded the actual street address. In country parishes the address might simply be the village, hamlet or a farm.

Ἀριστοτέλης A Gloster Boy in the Forest of Dean ><((((*>

BTs, Parish records, gaps etc. part 3 1837 ->

by slowhands, proud of his ancient Dean Forest roots, Wednesday, February 20, 2008, 22:01 (4990 days ago) @ slowhands

1837 was the start of civil registration of all events. The marriage register kept by the parish church was laid out to look much like the actual civil registration certificates which started that year. It was now possible to marry in a Register Office where all events were recorded.

Ἀριστοτέλης A Gloster Boy in the Forest of Dean ><((((*>

BT's , Parish records , gaps etc ! -part 3 1837 ->

by gwrmad @, Caister on Sea Norfolk, Thursday, February 21, 2008, 00:00 (4990 days ago) @ slowhands

BTs, Parish records, gaps etc. part 3 1837 ->

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