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Saturday, 11 February 2012 09:18

Welcome to the Wiltshire OPC Home Page

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The Old Town Hall, Royal Wootton Bassett The Old Town Hall, Royal Wootton Bassett

The Wiltshire OPC Project

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 since 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 in the Wiltshire OPC Project 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 and then researches and transcribes historical and genealogical information for that parish that might 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.  (Please note that an on-line parish clerk has no connection to a parish clerk engaged by a parish council and should not be confused as such).   The Wiltshire OPC Project has a motto - What May or May Not be of Interest to You Will No Doubt Be of Interest to Others.


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 and social history researchers worldwide. 

OPC's are all volunteers and work at their own pace and in their own time to add information to their pages.  They are custodians of the parish they adopt and endeavour to include as much information as possible.  We always need and welcome new volunteers, but 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 records - if you have a little spare time, we can email records to you for transcription there is no time limit to return finished material - accuracy is more important
  • 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 the Administrator.  OPC's and Admin can be contacted via the Contact Us tab at the top of this page.   

We would like to remind researchers that, for safety reasons, it is necessary to register and sign in to make contact with OPC's via the Contact Us tab.

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Family History Events

Our calendar (above left) lists events that may be of interest to family history researchers.  A more comprehensive list of fairs and lectures can be found at GENEVA page on GenUKI

Historical Registers

At present, the general public are not able to search historical birth, marriage and death registers at County Record Offices or the National Archives.  To try to persuade the Government to change this situation, click here sign the petition

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Unknown Image Gallery - can you identify a place or put a name to a face?
Research Support - can you help researchers with information?

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I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew)
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who
Rudyard Kipling

For pure Genealogists
Who, When and Where?’ suffice
But Family Historians
Add ‘Why, What, How?’ for spice
Geoff Riggs, Gwent FHS webmaster 1997-2012

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Site Statistics

During January 2015 OPC's and transcribers uploaded 527 items to parish pages (including updated documents).  New documents added as we go through February will be published here.  New images are added to our galleries on a regular basis. This website has been visited over 181,000 times since its relaunch in February 2012.  After the annual clear up of registered users we have in the region of 1770 registered returning users.  

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


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