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 (1746-53, 1785-96, 1812-34) 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).
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