Archiver > FREEBMD-SYNDICATES > 2013-03 > 1364590976

From: "Allan Raymond" <>
Subject: FreeBMD Newsletter - March 2013
Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2013 21:02:56 -0000

You may possible receive two copies of this Newsletter, please delete the Newsletter which doesn't show correct formatting of the tables?


This monthly Newsletter is mainly for Coordinators but can be freely forwarded to their transcribers if thought appropriate.

The previous FreeBMD Newsletter - February 2013 can be found at: .

Please feel free to send me your comments and in particular if you would like me to include other items in future Newsletters?


2.1 Mocavo

FreeBMD have agreed a partnership with Mocavo which enables the latter's search engine capability to include FreeBMD records in its search results. To see the results of any FreeBMD records found using the Mocavo search engine researchers will be pointed to the FreeBMD search result page similar to if you searched FreeBMD direct.

Use of Mocavo will be free and it should be understood that they are providing a search engine capability to our records. FreeBMD retain full control of records transcribed by our volunteers.

If you require further information about Mocavo, please visit their Home Page at: .

For further details about the FreeBMD partnership with Mocavo please visit their Bog at: and type FreeBMD in the search box.

Just my own personal opinion at the moment I find using the FreeBMD search facility somewhat easier than using Mocavo to locate the same records on FreeBMD, however Mocavo comes into its own when searching for information over a wide field of genealogy databases.

2.2 WinBMD

WinBMD is available for download at: .

The latest version of WinBMD is at least 7.4.0.

2.3 MacBMD

I'm sorry I can't give an update on the current position regarding a replacement for the current version of MacBMD.

We are still waiting further information from Peter to enable the new version to be made available via the FreeBMD site.


I received the following feedback from one of our Coordinator colleagues to my February 2013 Newsletter and I thought it would be useful to share with other Coordinators to see if they are experiencing the same concerns?

"Whilst I do have the Recruiting Box ticked, and have had so for a while now, I have noticed particularly over the last year or so, the number of people enquiring has been dropping for some time. In the last two months, I am sure I have had only the three messages from people looking to transcribe, and nothing came out of any of them.

Going back to the last year, I did have twenty one people sign up, and get at least one page transcribed, and uploaded. However, almost half of these have already stopped transcribing, and it will not surprise me if several more of them go before this year is out.

Onto existing transcribers, I still do have a few active transcribers, but the number I have is at an all time low (currently 56), and people seem to be leaving faster than what I have in new ones joining up. The previous time I would have seen the number of active transcribers this low will go back to the time I first became a co-ordinator. For a number of these who have been around for a while, I have noticed that the amount of transcribing done is gradually dropping.

Do not know what things are like with other syndicates, but the above are the things that I have noticed with my one over recent times"

Any thoughts from other Coordinators?


There are a number of checking processes in FreeBMD some of which are shown on our Transcribers' Page at:

4.1 Suspect Files

The latest "Suspect Files" report at dated 20/03/2013 included 17 suspect files (a small increase from the 16 listed in the February 2013 Newsletter).
However 10 of the files have been cleared since the report was run which leaves a balance of 7 files to be resolved.

Broken down into the following possible problems

Row Labels Count of Problem
Unexpected number of entries, 4
Possible alternative name (alias/or) at lines 3
Grand Total 7

spread amongst these Syndicates:

Row Labels Count of Syndicate(s)
The NWL Syndicate 2
Red Rose 1
Richard Oliver 1
Free Loaders 1
Chris M's Syndicate 1
ID4 1
Grand Total 7

And my famous last words, collectively we should be able to reduce this number to close to zero by the time of the April 2013 Newsletter (will be sent out around about 22 April).

If any Coordinator thinks any of their file(s) are listed in the Suspect Report in error and they believe the file(s) are a correct transcription and/or compliant with FreeBMD rules please email the ADDRESS given at the top of the Suspect Files Report.

4.2 UCF Usage Statistics

Another of our quality checking processes is "UCF Usage Statistics" report at:

This list those files which for a number of reasons have high UCF content (which was arbitrarily set at 10% some three years or so ago when we first introduced the report). The % figure relates to the number of UCF characters in the file when compared to the total number of characters.

Details of any files which legitimately can be superseded by another file should be sent to Barrie at the email address shown in

The latest "UCF Usage Statistics" report at: dated 23/03/2013 included 770 files (an identical figure to the 770 on 23/02/2013 ) spread amongst these 19 Syndicates.

Row Labels Count of Syndicate
Beautiful BC (Canada) 255
ScribeScan 131
Free Loaders 108
John Slann 91
Judith Parker 62
The Recordsmiths 44
The Hundred Acre Group 30
Brian's Scan Syndicate 15
Gandalf UK 9
The NWL Syndicate 4
Ian Brooke 3
Chris M's Syndicate 2
Web Scan 2
David Lyons 1
Brunette Syndicate 1
The MacPack 1
The Daly Family 1
ID4 1
Grand Total 770

In a lot of instances the files have high UCF's due to the poor scans which were available at the time of transcription. In the vast majority of instances we now have alternative and better quality scans which should help to improve the quality of the files.

Please visit the appropriate scan pages at:


to check if alternative scans are now available.

I am aware that some of the available scans are not of sufficient quality to be able to improve the transcription of some of the files showing in the UCF report.

4.3 #COMMENT and #THEORY Suspect Error Report

On 16 March 2012 Barrie Archer mentioned on the Syndicates List the introduction of a new report which lists those files which possibly may have #COMMENT and #THEORY errors.

The report is at: and at present is updated on an almost daily basis.

Please also see Barrie's posting on the Syndicates List at:

If a file is listed in the report and it believed to be a correct transcription and/or compliant with FreeBMD rules please mail the address shown at the top of .

In particular, it is important that Coordinators take on board the suggestion by Barrie about reporting quarters which appear not have any aliases of the form "X or Y" but all the aliases have been "expanded" on two lines (as FreeBMD does).

Please see for details.

The report at: dated 26/03/2013 included 11383 files (this is a decrease of 1078 from the figure of 12461 on 23/02/2013 ) .

The 11383 files are broken down into following possible problems

Row Labels Count of Problem
Possible missing comment for alias 8051
Possible missing alias entry 1123
Suspect format for comment/theory 652
Wrong event for alias 489
Alias comment on only one entry 471
COMMENT or THEORY at start of page 369
Comment refers to another entry 168
Unexpected number of entries 27
Comment appears to have (N) incorrectly 19
Possible invalid alias 9
Possible alternative name (alias/or) 5
Grand Total 11383

spread amongst these Syndicates:

Row Labels Count of Syndicate(s)
Pat Savage 2390
Free Loaders 2215
The Recordsmiths 1343
The Aussie Scribe Tribe 787
Ted Southcombe 604
John Pingram 591
bmj2004 589
Barry Dinnage 337
Web Scan 325
Brian's Scan Syndicate 292
LGC 218
Gandalf UK 196
All Scan 166
The NWL Syndicate 149
The Fellwanderers 144
Jeff Coleman Syndicate 115
Yorkscan 97
Yorkshire Volunteers 92
Nova Scotia 92
The MacPack 89
Beautiful BC (Canada) 82
Orphan Syndicate 63
Ian Brooke 49
LifeScribes 47
John Slann 44
Judith Parker 43
Richard Oliver 43
ScribeScan 29
Brunette Syndicate 25
David Lyons 22
Peter Sheardown 16
Scan2 11
Rosemary Davis (Canada) 8
Chris M's Syndicate 7
Red Rose 6
ID4 6
Western Oz Synd 4
The Hundred Acre Group 3
Christine's Crew 2
John Pain 2
Julie Lehmann, Australia, downunder! 1
1837Births 1
Debz Syndicate, N.Z 1
MortalSyn 1
1900 Births 1
Grand Total 11383

I do appreciate it is a massive task for some of the Syndicate Coordinators to sort out the files as I know full well from personal experience since some of the syndicates shown in the list are under my control.


As part of each syndicates quality control they should be advising their volunteers of the correct way to deal with #COMMENT or #THEORY especially where the problem relates to entries in the index which have alternative names etc.


5.1 Number of Records in Database

Please see for an explanation on the difference between total, distinct and unique records.

The number of records in the database on 23 March 2013 (the last database update) was:

Total No of Records = 287,271,583

No of Distinct Records = 227,309,107

No of Unique Records = 224,770,379

which represents the following increases in records since the previous reported update on 23 February 2013

Total Records = 1,348,528 (equates to 48,162 records per day which is an encouraging 10.8% increase from the 43,466 records per day achieved for the update run on 23 February 2013 )

Distinct Records = 1,028,926

Unique Records = 1,015,981

It may be of interest to note using the approach mentioned in that as at 23 March 2013 we had double keyed 62,501,204 records (= Total minus Unique) of which 2,538,728 records (= Distinct minus Unique) are mismatched. In due course we will have to start looking at these mismatches to further improve the quality of our database.

5.2 Transcriber Contributions

On 23 March 2013 (date of last database update) there were 11,858 volunteers registered on FreeBMD of these volunteers 68 have not uploaded one single record since they joined FreeBMD.

826 transcribers (which is down from the 1059 on 23 February 2013 ) uploaded 20 or more records to the database between 23 February 2013 and 23 March 2013 helping to increase the database by 1,348,528 records between these same two dates.

5.3 Syndicates and New Volunteers

Of the 65 Syndicates registered on FreeBMD 30 of these are still active whilst most of the non active Syndicates ceased activity many years ago.

The ceased Syndicates are nominally under my control and any outstanding allocations given to these Syndicates were completed using a team of transcribers from the ceased Syndicates or seconded from the active Syndicates.

The number of Syndicates accepting new volunteers fluctuates on a daily basis and there were 14 Syndicates on 28 March 2013 who had opened their doors to new volunteers.

Between the two updates on 23 February 2013 and 28 March 2013 , 19 new volunteers joined FreeBMD spread amongst 9 different Syndicates.

It may be of interest to note that during the last twelve months 29 March 2012 to 28 March 2013 , 248 new volunteers joined FreeBMD spread amongst 20 different Syndicates. However this does signify that about 8 Syndicates who I consider to be quite active in transcribing have not taken on any new volunteers during the last twelve months


At the present time all events and years have been allocated up to and including year 1969.

Some Syndicates are keen to transcribe handwritten scans and any new allocations for this type of work will mean double keying. However this option is quickly drying up as we running out of available quarters to allocate.


I closely monitor the Progress Charts at: and liaise with Coordinators where there appears to be no activity between database updates in completion of particular allocations.

At present I am liaising with nine different Coordinators regarding outstanding pages although some requests are as recent as yesterday/today.

The situation on my requests as of today is below.

Year/Quarter/Event Syndicate Request Sent No of days Request Outstanding

1952/March/Marriages ScribeScan 18/05/2012 315
1855/June/Marriages Brunette Syndicate 03/09/2012 207
1940/March/Births The MacPack 25/02/2013 32
1943/June/Births John Pingram 25/02/2013 32
1924/September/Marriages ID4 28/02/2013 29
1944/June/Marriages Brian's Scan Syndicate 04/03/2013 25
1959/June/Births Gandalf UK 21/03/2013 8
1844/December/Deaths Free Loaders 24/03/2013 5
1897/December/Marriages Web Scan 24/03/2013 5
1945/March/Births Free Loaders 25/03/2013 4
1853/December/Deaths John Pingram 28/03/2013 1

It may be worthwhile having a couple of dedicated fast but accurate transcribers within the Syndicate to complete these odd page requests from me, this will reduce the amount of time involved in me having to revisit several times the progress of my earlier requests.

One Coordinator has agreed I can arrange to complete outstanding transcription of index pages in allocations given to the Syndicate. These are allocations in which the Syndicate is no longer actively working on. The process is quite straightforward, I advise the Coordinator there are outstanding pages in a particular event/quarter and the Coordinator either gives or declines my offer to arrange transcription of the outstanding pages. I then arrange for a transcriber under my control to complete the outstanding pages and advise the Coordinator when they have been been completed.

Allan Raymond

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