Friday, December 30, 2011

The story so far

[This post got a little long and cathartic. I hope that some of you will stay with me for this and follow-up posts.]

As tends to happen, this month I had a last-minute panic about what the January update to the website might be, and specifically how on earth I was going to get it ready in time once I decided what to do! I do think it's important to have an update each month but over time any kind of planning as to what that new content might be has completely gone out the window. This is not good for my stress levels, and not good for the one-place study either. So instead of an update this month I've decided to evaluate what I've achieved so far, along with what I hope to complete over the coming year.

The Wing One Place Study was "born" in late 2004. Initially it was just the 1841 census for Wing, fully transcribed the old-school way. That's typing it up while looking at the census film at the local LDS Family History Centre - yes, 2004, a time before each census was all over the internet, a time when you couldn't even purchase scans of the census on CD so work could be done in your own time at home. In short, a time when a young woman in a business suit showing up at the LDS FHC on her lunchbreak, laptop in hand, raised eyebrows. Back then, the only records otherwise available online for Wing were the 1881 census transcription and the extracts of the Wing parish registers for baptisms and marriages 1546 to 1881 (*cough* peppered with omissions) that could be found in the IGI.

In September 2005 I transferred the 1841 census and a few other bits and pieces to the study's own domain name, and kicked off things in earnest. Since then, three census years have been fully transcribed with up to 1800 people in each, 58 years of baptisms, 34 years of marriages, 127 years of burials, 23 directories, 43 wills, 56 gravestones, 13 other types of lists of landowners/residents from 1522 to 1873,  220 military men identified, 67 criminals, dozens of Wing non-conformist families, three-and-a-half key industries profiled, and various other pages of snippets of data have been collated.

The Wing OPS costs around NZ $220 a year in hosting/domain costs - that's currently around £110. However the real cost is obviously the time involved. And, honestly, the stress I create for myself from my expectation that every record should already be transcribed, every idea should already be fully realised, and every email should be able to be promptly answered without a thousand apologies for the information I might be able to provide if only I had been able to do things as completely as I should have. Being a Type A personality is not helpful sometimes.

As we head into 2012, digital scans of each census released to date along with more or more-commonly-less reliable census indices are easily accessible on each of the main commercial providers. It looks like 2012 will be the year of the parish registers race as these are also being scanned and indexed by those sites. Does this make an OPSer's efforts in fully transcribing each census and parish register somewhat redundant?

In follow-up posts I'll try and work out what the gameplan should be for the coming year - which information would add most value, what a realistic workload for the project might look like, and create a master list of all those things floating around in my head (or on my computer) that may or may not make the 2012 list. Please do leave some feedback in the comments, particularly if you have ancestors from Wing. After seven years I need an outside perspective!


template by : background by Tayler : dingbat font TackODing