Wednesday, 23 February 2011

1841 census - Ottery St Mary

Well, the CD has arrived (the CD of the 1841 census for Ottery St Mary).  I can hardly wait to begin to transcribe it for FreeCEN.  Wait - I can wait.  Or at least, I know I should wait.  Because once I dive into it, I will need hours and hours because I will become so fascinated with the process (and the census itself), and the evenings after a hard day's work just won't suffice.

So I will grit my teeth and think hard about something else, and leave the 1841 census until the weekend.

I listened to a Legacy webinar tonight.  Next week is the second part of a series of 'Blogging for Beginners' by DEARMyrtle (or is she DearMYRTLE?).  Legacy have kindly put the first part (which I missed) back into their viewable webinar archives, which has prompted me to come here.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Ottery St Mary

This week I have reapplied to be the OPC for Ottery St Mary (the last time I operated as such was 2006).  The OPC (Online Parish Clerk) - not to be confused with the Council-appointed Parish Clerk - gathers together everything they can genealogy-wise regarding their chosen town or village, such as from parish registers, census records, land tax assessments, tithe apportionments and so on.  Then genealogists with an interest in that particular town can email the OPC for lookups and with queries.  I have myself broken down many a brick wall by contacting the relevant OPC.

I have reactivated my OPC website and stand ready to receive queries.  At the moment, I have censuses (or access to transcriptions of them held on my PC), Nonconformist baptisms (1746-531785-961812-34) and burials (1748-1797), some Pigot's trade directories, and the 1873 land tax assessment.

One thing I did find, all those years ago, was that I wasn't so much getting Ottery-specific queries (although of course I got some), but also queries along the line of "how do I start my family history?".  This time I will be ready for these sorts of queries.  I am going to add a page to my website called "Beginner's Luck" and have all the basic starting points, links etc.

I have arranged to transcribe the 1841 census of Ottery St Mary, and now only await the CDs so I can start.  I have also begun the arrangements to transcribe a 1700 census of Ottery.  There are a few pre-1841 censuses of various Devon places, and these can be found on the relevant GENUKI page.  Often, these pre-1841s are only population listings, but they can perhaps be of use.  I have contacted the Devon Record Office and asked them to provide me with photocopies, as I cannot get to the DRO itself.

I am excited to do all this.  Other parts of my RL have calmed down somewhat, so I am really concentrating on the family history side of things.  I will document in this blog how I get on (with the transcribing and the OPC-ing).

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Tech Tuesday: Rootsmagic 4 v Legacy

I love them both. A family history program is only your favourite when it does something for you that no other program can do.  In this case, Legacy wins out ever-so-slightly over RM because of this one thing: it shows the blended families you meet in the censuses.

To give an example: John Haywood marries Johanna in 1869.  She produces three boys in quick succession, then dies in childbirth with the third.  With three small boys under 6, John remarries a lady called Eliza.  So in the 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911 censuses, John appears with his second wife (Eliza), the three small boys, and another two small girls.  In Legacy, in the Family View, you can see John as the husband, Eliza as his wife, the three small boys and the two small girls as a single family unit, with 1/2 in front of the stepchildren and the name of their mother in brackets after their name. In RootsMagic, it looks as though John's family ended when Johanna died.  Unless you change the view so that John was married to Eliza, but they only had two small girls.  Johanna and the three small boys don't exist (except as files buried in your database).

In a census (and at the time!) the family unit was comprised of John, Eliza, 3 boys and 2 girls.  Legacy shows this.  RootsMagic does not. 

Families don't live in neat little databases.  And that's why I prefer Legacy - to see the whole family.  There may well be some people who prefer RootsMagic's database approach.  Me, I prefer the family approach.


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