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Archiver > LONDON > 2002-04 > 1018424457

From: "Ken Boyce" <>
Subject: Re: [Lon] FreeCEN Project
Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2002 00:40:57 -0700
References: <>

Hi Vivian thanks for the information.

I am not against full transcription but I do have some observations and

The concept of transcribing all records began when internet graphics, large
storage capacity, and data CDs and DVDs were a dream for most. Today
graphics, storage and media are cheap and common place.

A transcription is just that and is only someone's interpretation of the
primary record (I am a transcriber and know how difficult it is) Many errors
occur and the search engine inputs have to be kept simple for mass use (an
example is the unforgiving IGI engine).

Full transcription is a much longer process that simple indexing
(the error rate in the names/age will be the same assuming a similar
checking process)

Viewing a hardcopy of the primary record is still a vital part of the
process, transcription or not.

If graphical images of the primary records become available online or on low
priced removable media then the transcriptions could become largely

For many of us off-shore tithe cost of the S&N 1891 CDs was small in
comparison with viewing/getting the film/hardcopy. Even a cheap printer
gives good hardcopy of the folio pages.

Would it not be preferable to find a way to encourage low cost access to
published copies of primary documents (such as S&N, Archive etc.) and to
concentrate on indexing these.

I would welcome the views of others

Having made these observations I will still continue to transcribe.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Vivian J. Parkins" <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, April 09, 2002 9:51 PM
Subject: [Lon] FreeCEN Project

> Dear Listers,
> There has been a thread recently on the LONDON-L list about the
> FreeCEN Project.
> ALL of you who have contributed, have got the wrong idea about
> this.
> It is NOT an indexing project, which all of you have assumed.
> It is a full transcribing project whose ultimate end product
> is an on-line, free-to-view, searchable, database for all (19th
> C.) census returns. In exactly the same way that FreeBMD and
> FreeREG are/will be available on-line.
> All three projects come from the same stable, FreeUKGEN.
> FreeBMD is by far the best known of these because it has been
> running longer (1996). It had (22 February 2002) over 28 million
> entries and is expanding fast. An update was expected in early
> April, but seems to be delayed (10 April).
> Accessing
> <>; will give
> you information about FreeUKGEN and its connection to GENUKI,
> about which most of you, who are at all serious about
> genealogical research, will be aware. (If not, go to
> <>; and take a look.)
> FreeCEN is much younger (July 1999), and has some on-line data
> available for Devon, Cornwall and Warwickshire plus a number of
> transcription projects active (?) in about 40 Counties.
> Michael McCormick (FreeCEN General Co-ordinator) said in a
> recent reply
> > The Free Census project is transcribing ALL the UK 19th century census
> > returns to create an online 'free-to-view' database. There are three
> > projects in London for the 1891 returns; they are Hammersmith,
> > Whitechapel and St Pancras.
> Studying the software specifications and organizational
> details of FreeCEN, I would like to suggest that the phrase "ALL
> the UK 19th Century census returns" be brought up to date to read
> "ALL UK Census Returns from 1841, through 1891 to 1901, 1911 and
> 1921, as and when they become available". The machinery
> (organization and software, etc.) is already in place. It just
> needs volunteers (world-wide) to get it running like its
> stalemate, the highly successful, run away, FreeBMD Project.
> Most Projects are dealing with the 1891 Census, for the
> moment, but I have seen mention of 1841 and 1871 Projects.
> There is talk on the Essex list for a 1901 Census Project,
> unfortunately not yet within the FreeCEN umbrella, but reason
> might prevail when they really get to know about it.
> Why re-invent the wheel, when the organization with necessary
> software is already in place waiting to be used. It just needs
> a co-ordinator, and transcribers, and (later) checkers to be
> viable.
> Many counties (or sub-counties / districts) have a
> co-ordinator for a specific census year. This is because of the
> sheer magnitude of the data involved (which has to go through
> four stages:- Allocation, Transcription, Checking, Loading to
> Database) precludes tackling more than one year at a time. This
> county co-ordinator is the linchpin to the success, or otherwise,
> of the project in their area.
> I am not personally involved with FreeCEN, but feel that it is
> a very much more worthwhile project than the various indexing
> projects that seem to be in vogue. Results from indexing are
> not much use to me, because being disabled, I cannot travel to
> view the data. LDS films are things that I would dearly like to
> peruse, but one is only allowed to look at them at an LDS centre,
> to which I am now unable to travel. Hence my total support for
> the FreeCEN Project because I will be able to access the data
> from my own computer without having to travel.
> If anyone would like to co-ordinate the Islington 1851 Census,
> I could *really* do with the results, if I last that long!
> Southwark 1851 Census wouldn't come amiss either.
> You're interested? !!
> I'm sure that Michael McCormick
> <> will be delighted to hear from
> you.
> Regards .. .. Vivian J. Parkins (Mr)
> Rayleigh, Essex, UK
> ESFH #5266 (ESS)
> SFHS #6777 (SFK)
> ESFHS #7665 (SRY)
> EoLFHS #9158 (ESS & MDX)
> GOONS #3655 (Guild of One Name Studies)
> I use ARCHIVE CD BOOKS for my research, and sponsor them to aid
> their efforts for Genealogists in reproducing old books on CD.
> Check them out at <>; NOW.
> ______________________________

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