I have noticed recently that there seems to be more Parish Records coming online for those of us researching our English Family Tree. Welcome news indeed for family historians that find it difficult to travel to the areas where their ancestors came from.
Websites such as Freereg.org.uk are aiming at putting more than a million transcripts on the web thanks to a programme of digitisation by the Parish Register Transcription Society (PRTSoc). Until recently this society has only ever made its transcripts available on CD, so this is good news.
In partnership with a technology firm called Frontis Archive Publishing, the first batch of transcripts have been uploaded from more than 300 parishes across 17 English counties.
To search the indexes cost you nothing. To view an entry is one credit and 10 credits can be bought for Â£2 with a sliding scale if you want to purchase more. The proceeds are going towards funding further transcription and should they end up with a surplus, then this will be given to the mental health charity Rethink.
While I am glad to see better access to transcript from the parish records there are some questions in my mind. We all know that transcriptions are no substitute for the original. Good family historians are taught to always go and look at the source material to make sure that no errors have crept into the transcribed record.
Other things to be wary of is who made the transcription that the index is based upon? Is the record a complete one without any significant gaps? Has the information been checked against Bishop’s transcripts and Licence records?
But, in spite of this, the fact that more Parish Records are finding their way online is wonderful news for those of us researching our English Family Tree.