Archiver > CHESHIRE > 2003-04 > 1049290911

From: "Pam Birtles" <>
Subject: Re: [CHS] 1837 online
Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2003 14:41:51 +0100
References: <005801c2f873$1e3432a0$38290550@scales1>

Helen and everyone,

Here are my thoughts on this discussion:

>>As a cost-cutting exercise to send off for a certificate, then this one is
not for me. Perhaps it would benefit professional people who could recoup
expenses from clients<<

The GRO indexes have their faults, but are still the main resource for
people researching in areas/years not covered by the excellent CheshireBMD
or similar UKBMD projects. Until now, they have only been available in
microfiche form in libraries, record offices etc. and as a partial
transcription (FreeBMD). When FreeBMD is complete, it will obviously lessen
the value of 1837online, but it will be a long time before this is the case.
One advantage of 1837online is that it is complete, and because it comprises
scanned pages, rather than transcriptions, is a true representation of the
indexes (warts and all).

I don't agree that you have to be a "professional" to reap the benefits of
1837online. Thousands of unprofessional people currently spend many hours
looking through the fiche of the GRO indexes. My nearest library has 25
fiche readers, most of which are occupied every day by people looking
through GRO fiche. True, it costs nothing to use the library, but for those,
like me, who incur travelling costs, the 1837online site will be both
cheaper and more convenient. I understand you can view 50 pages for £5 -- it
would take me at least two trips to the library to check 50 fiche, which
would cost £10 in parking fees plus the petrol to get there (not to mention
being tempted to have rather expensive lunches at the Italian restaurant
next door....). 1837online offers 24-hour access too -- useful for those who
work during the day, who are house-bound or live overseas.

It will also be enormously useful for the many (again unprofessional) people
doing one-name studies who will be able to download the relevant pages and
transcribe them at leisure.

In the end it's "horses for courses": if you're looking for one particular
event and you know the year, then £5 is far too much to pay just to save
£2.50. I'm currently looking for three different marriages, each of which
could be in a ten-year period and anywhere in the country, so will happily
hand over my fiver.


Pam Birtles
Norfolk, UK

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