Archive for the ‘Website’ Category

Site update

The outstanding marriage records have been put online this week to complete the records for the years 1750 – 1849. That means that the project to transcribe the parish registers is now at the halfway stage, and work is now underway on the third phase of this project, but I think that progress may be slow due to the age of the documents and the difficulty in reading the writing.

After I field trip to Rushton Spencer St Lawrence last Wednesday, luckily one of the sunniest days of the year so far,  the project to record the memorial inscriptions has again taken a small step forward with the addition of another 49 MIs to the sight.

As the memorial inscription project is dependant on fieldwork and so reliant on suitable weather conditions, it is something only gets worked on in the summer months so over the next 3 – 4 months I hope to move this project forward and hope to add 100 – 200 more inscriptions.

Search facility goes live

I took the search engine out of beta testing yesterday, and after some minor teething troubles, with some of the internal links on the results page, it has been rolled out across the site.

When searching the site there are two options, below the search box, for carrying out the search either to search for all words or to search for the exact phrase. As with Google, Yahoo, MSN Live etc the results only link to a page containing the search term, to speed up the location of the subject of your search it is advisable to use “ctrl + F” to find the results within that page. More information about the search engine behind the site can be found here.

Also yesterday I added the entries from the parish registers covering marriages for the period 1755 – 1769. For whatever reason there do not appear to be many marriages taking place at this period of time so in some cases there is only one or two marriages for a five year period.

100 years of baptisms & burials now online!

I have just put another five years of baptisms and burials online which means that there is complete coverage for the period 1750 – 1850, with work on the marriage records now underway.

The replacement search engine is also undergoing beta testing at the present time and I am hoping to have it go live sometime in May. It has the look and feel of a Google search but as it is under my control it can be updated each time a put new records online without having to wait for Google to crawl the site and update its links.

Search facility temporarily suspended

Unfortunately Google has made some modifications to its custom search engine, which seems to have resulted in it failing to find any search results, this has affected a number of users world wide myself included. As a result of this I have had to pull the search box from the site until I am able to come up with a replacement.

The theme of the last few post taking a dig at DEFRA continues this week with the news that Natural England is in the process of ditching the Discovering Lost Ways project, which devoured almost £5million from the DEFRA budget, and delivered nothing. Not a single lost way has found its way on to the definitive map. Despite this the department is about to “invest” £50million in a scheme to introduce a statutory right of access to the English coast – driven, apparently by the rationale that it will help combat obesity and depression. Strange thing is 70% of the coast is already accessible and the remainder is full of commercial ports, military establishments and mudflats. Why spend so much on something most people don’t need?

And while DEFRA is busy spending so much money on such a worthwhile project it is having to slash approximately £170million from the animal health and welfare budget, oh, and the supposedly ring-fenced research and development budgets are also coming under pressure. It is likely that rigorous and practical field research will be replaced by desk analysis, with all the corresponding implications for the management of disease such as blue tongue and avian flu

To finish with here are two of my favourite pull quotes from the last few weeks;

“We will never see BBC ‘Wildlife’ running straight reports on the fact that the Wildlife Trusts cull deer, or that the RSPB kills deer, foxes and crows on some of its nature reserves”

“So, they’re all at it – MPs, MEPs, the whole stinking, rotten lot of them. They’ve got their snouts in the trough and they don’t want us to see what they’re doing”

Website update

Fifteen years of baptisms and burials have been added recently, with another ten years likely to be added by this weekend, making a total of 90 years worth of baptisms and burials available online, requiring only two more visits to the SRO to complete 100 years. The outstanding marriage registers will be transcribed straight after the completion of the baptisms and burials.

I have also this month started to participate in LostCousins one place study project, the idea behind this is I suppose to make a greater wealth of information available to users of their site and so generate extra revenue for them, from my point of view it should bring extra traffic my way from people who have a genuine interest in the information that I have available online.

Finally now that I have a sufficient amount of information available I have commenced the one place genealogy project for the parish – apart from the Buxton family which will be for the whole of North Staffordshire. I am however faced with two major dilemmas;

1. How to organise the study in such a way as to make it easily manageable.

2. The amount of information to include and how to best present this information.

My ideal would be to obtain funding so that I can have an application developed similar to the one used by Genes Reunited, so that it would be possible to visually navigate through the families in the parish. However in the absence of such funding I have been looking at alternative methods, and the one that I am currently considering, having trialled the complete genealogy reporter, would be compiling reports on specific surnames in response to individual requests sent through the contacts page. The amount of information to make available comes into question with this method, obviously for data protection reasons no information would be provided on anyone born less than 100 years ago unless it is proved know that the person is no longer living. With a web app I would just include dates and places of birth/baptism, marriage and death/burial, however in a report it is so much easier to include additional information such as occupations, residence etc, and if I do include this extra information should I charge a nominal fee of say £2 to gain some sort of return form my time spent researching, especially as the information would be freely available onsite if anyone cared to carry out the research themselves.