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Saturday, 11 February 2012 09:18

Welcome to the Wiltshire OPC Home Page

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Bradford-On-Avon, Wiltshire Bradford-On-Avon, Wiltshire

The Great War - We Will Remember Them

The Wiltshire countryside played a vital role in the Great War accommodating hundreds of thousands of men in huge military camps set up at Sutton Veny, Bulford, Tidworth, Larkhill, Fovant, etc.  By Christmas 1914, on Salisbury Plain alone, thirty thousand troops were living under canvass.

Every single community in Scotland and Northern Ireland lost someone in the Great War.  From more than 14,000 parishes in the whole of England and Wales, there were only around 50 ‘thankful parishes’ who saw all their soldiers return.  Stapleford is the only Wiltshire Parish to have all its men return.  The death toll in the Commonwealth was similarly catastrophic - over 1 million were killed. 

The Wiltshire OPC Project makes a humble salute to the brave men and women who gave their lives one hundred years ago.

The OPC Project

The OPC Project was conceived and first set up in Cornwall, followed by Devon and then Dorset, and now includes about a dozen more counties.  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).

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 work at their own pace and in their own time to add information to their pages.  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 to transcribe
  • taking photographs in Wiltshire - war memorials, buildings, village scenes, plaques, etc. 

If you would like to help with any of the above, contact the OPC of the parish you can help with or, if the parish is vacant, contact the Administrator.

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Proposed Demolition of the Chapel of Rest at RAF Lyneham

If you are a resident of the UK, please consider signing the e-petition to try to persuade the MOD to re-think their decision to demolish the Chapel of Rest at RAF Lyneham.  For the full story click here sign the petition

Petition to Open Historical Registers

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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Document Uploads & Statistics

During August 2014 OPC's and transcribers uploaded 890 items to parish pages (including updated documents).  New documents added as we go through September will be published here.  New images are added to our galleries on a regular basis these galleries have been viewed over 2 million times world wide.

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.


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