FreeBMD-Admins-L ArchivesArchiver > FreeBMD-Admins > 1998-12 > 0913825770
From: "Camilla von Massenbach" <>
Subject: Re: (Fwd) Mike Forster's Book
Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 16:29:30 -0000
> Sent to the FreeBMD-News mailing list which means that it bounces to
> me. It is more relevant here. Please note that this person is not
> subscribed to the mailing list.
> Regards Andrew
Andrew, I think Hugh may be subbed under a different email addy
> From: "Hugh Ainsley" <>
> In the light of what we are attempting to do, how many involved
> this work have read Mike Foster's "The Marriage Records of England
> and Wales 1837 - 1899" ?
My copy is on a boat somewhere, or maybe attached to a carrier
> It seems extremely relevant to this project, in that he discusses in
> exhaustive detail the problems and errors that there are in the
> indexes that we have available to work from. While he is primarily
> concerned with marriage records, it is equally applicable to B's and
> D's - and it is clear that the indexes are in fact massively
> erroneous - possibly as much as 30% of the data is incorrect in some
>From what I hear, this is what he found for the date ranges he
> In transcribing seriously faulty records, are we not simply
> compounding these errors? There is a valid arguement that one has to
> start somewhere, and at least with a trasncribed database we have
> something to go through and check - but I feel strongly that this
> very high error rate needs to be taken into account and that we
> should be making positive plans to deal with this problem.
Yes, it seems that Mike Foster is so dismayed by the error rate
that he thinks the indexes need to be recreated from scratch.
I can't comment yet, since I haven't read the book, although I have
had some correspondence with Mike.
Although in theory this is a good idea, at the moment this is not
possible for a variety of reasons, the major one which comes to
mind being that noone can get permission to do this. Maybe in a
few years time, when the campaign for better access to the
records (I forget the exact name, I'm sure someone can point to a
URL for the information) has succeeded, this might be an option.
Meanwhile, whether "they" do start again with the indexes or not,
the existing ones are as good as we can get. Once in a centralised
database, taking in corrections becomes much simpler. The
FreeBMD database will be better (legible, easily accessible) than
the available fiche for many people.
We ought to be ready to accept corrections/notes of errors. I know
there has been some development of this, but I don't know the
state of play.
p.s. Hugh, I owe you at least one email reply.. sorry to take so
p.p.s. Our new Rootsweb server is being worked on as number one
priority, but isn't live yet.
Camilla Gemmingen von Massenbach
FreeBMD Organiser http://test.rootsweb.com/FreeBMD/
IIGS member http://www.iigs.org/
Personal site: http://www.links.org/surnames.ht