Saturday, 12 January 2013


Yes, I finally took the plunge after more than ten years of researching and did it?

What have I done, you may ask....?

I have signed up to the FreeReg website to become one of their many transcribers*. I will be soon able to give something back to the world of researchers, as up to now I have solely taken information off these free websites.

The FreeReg website has been a vital tool for me in researching my family tree back beyond 1837**. It offers FREE access to parish records which have been transcribed by their team of volunteer transcribers. The only problem with the website is there are missing parish records which still need transcribing, so this is one of the reasons I have decided to become a transcriber, to help fill some of these gaps.

A baptism record from the Woolwich Parish records - the sort I will soon be transcribing

Recently, I have been researching my ancestors from Hull, East Yorkshire and have found it frustrating going back further than 1837** due to the lack of transcribed parish records for Hull on FamilySearch.

There are other websites available to search parish records online too, many of the big subscription websites such as AncestryFindMyPast and TheGenealogist to name a few and another big free website is the Church of the Latter Day Saints family history website FamilySearch. The subscription websites often offer a high quality digital image of the transcribed page as well, where as the free ones often don't BUT a huge number of parishes are still unavailable to search. FamilySearch is useful due to its range of records on offer but it often lacks all the transcribed details such as the father's occupation, any extra notes etc which can be vital when faced with two or more people with the same name, baptised in a similar period of time and in a similar geographical area. 

I am looking forward to starting the transcribing, although I have to go through a period of training first. They need to make sure I have the required skills to do the job properly and in detail. I will also have to learn to read old fashioned handwriting. I have already received my four test pages, which I will hopefully get around to transcribing soon!!

Once I have passed the training period I will be able to choose a parish of my choice to start transcribing. The parish I choose must be un-transcribed, the records need to be available to me and it must be within my chosen county. I will choose a county and parish of my choice related to my own family history research which means I will be able to transcribe alongside researching my own family roots!!!

*A transcriber is someone who types up (transcribes) what is written in old documents into a format upload-able for search engines so that family historians like myself, can search for their ancestors parish burials, baptisms and marriages by just typing in a name, date of birth and other vital information.

**1837 is a vital date for family historians, as this was when it became compulsory to register births, deaths and marriages with the General Registry Offices around the country. Before this parish records are the major resource for delving back to discover more about our ancestors lives.

Copyright © 2013 Ruth Hogan

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