The OPC Project was conceived and set up in Cornwall; Devon and Dorset followed next, and there are now about a dozen more counties taking part. The concept is to assist those who are researching their family history in a specific parish who might otherwise have difficulty accessing information at record offices, etc. The Wiltshire OPC Project began tentatively in 2006 and has grown from strength to strength. Information is organised by the historic Church of England parishes within the county. Although there is a strong focus on genealogical information, we also include some historical and social information. All parishes have been registered as one-place studies.
What is an OPC?
An OPC (on-line parish clerk) is a volunteer member of the public who "adopts" a parish in Wiltshire becoming its custodian. The OPC is then able to research the parish and transcribe historical and genealogical information for that may be of value to family history researchers and social historians. This information is gathered from many different sources, for example, parish registers, census records, churchwardens and overseers accounts, historical wills, business and trade directories, church and village histories, newspaper reports, war casualty lists, etc. An on-line parish clerk should not be confused with a parish clerk engaged by a parish council. The motto for the Wiltshire OPC Project is "What may or may not be of interest to one person is probably of use to another".
Adopt a Parish and become an OPC
You don't need to live in Wiltshire, or even in the UK, to become an OPC. We have OPC's in Australia, Canada, Holland, England, New Zealand, India, Scotland and one or two in Wiltshire itself! Some OPC's choose to adopt a particular parish because their ancestors hailed from that village or town or because they once lived there themselves; some just want to be part of a voluntary project to help family history researchers worldwide.
If you feel you don't have the time to adopt a parish, you can support the Wiltshire OPC project by:-
- donating information you may have at home - school photographs, directories, village history booklets - in fact, any historical information on a Wiltshire parish
- transcribing - we can email records to you to transcribe at home at your own pace
- taking photographs in Wiltshire - war memorials, buildings, village scenes, plaques, etc.
If you would like to help with any of the above please contact the OPC of the parish you can help with or if the parish is vacant, contact our Administrator. Please note that you will need to register and sign in to contact OPC's/Administrator (via the Contact Us tab at the top of this page).
Somerford Keynes - Parish of the Week
SOMERFORD-KEYNES, a parish in the hundred of Highworth, county Wilts, 5 miles N.W. of Cricklade, its post town, and 3 N. of the Minety railway station. The village, which is of small extent, is situated on the river Thames, and is wholly agricultural. The living is a vicarage* in the diocese of Gloucester and Bristol, value £261. The church, dedicated to All Saints, has a tower containing six bells. The parochial charities produce about £5 per annum. There is a school, which is partly free. The Rev. C. Faucett, M.A., is lord of the manor. [Description(s) from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) - Transcribed by Colin Hinson ©2003]
The parish is now part of the county of Gloucestershire but historically was situated within the Wiltshire County Boundary. At present the parish does not have an OPC to develop the resources on the page. Somerford Keynes has an entry on Wikipedia and on GenUKI.
At present the parish has items of interest published for the Church, Buildings, Directories, Emigration Employment and People. None of the vital records and census have been transcribed for this parish.
If anyone is interested in adopting this parish and building on the resources available for the parish then please contact Teresa Lewis (Administrator) via the Contact Us tab at the top of the page. Or if anyone has any photographs, postcards or items of interest that they are willing to share then again contact Teresa.
During February 2015 OPC's and transcribers uploaded 458 items to parish pages (including updated documents). New documents added as we go through March will be published here. New images are added to our galleries on a regular basis.
At the beginning of each month the site holdings list is updated to show what can be found on parish pages and elsewhere on the site. Items highlighted in green have been updated; the original upload date is in the left hand column, the date when the item was uploaded with changes is in the right hand column.
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We think it is important that our users understand the strengths and limitations of this website. The OPC Project aims to provide historical and genealogical information without charge that researchers might pay a fee for elsewhere. OPC's voluntarily provide this information, often at their own expense by purchasing documents to transcribe. In most cases their transcriptions are not checked by anyone other than themselves.
We don't guarantee to be perfect and cannot be responsible for errors or omissions in transcriptions or other data provided. All information should be taken as a guide only and the original source consulted wherever possible. In many cases this will be the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre.
Please note that OPC's are unable to undertake family history research for our users, but we are always willing, where possible, to advise where the information being sought might be found.
Researchers can leave compliments/comments/constructive criticism in the box at the foot of each parish page or in our guest book (currently undergoing reconstruction but back online asap). Thank you