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Friday, 25 August 2017 08:23

Volunteering Opportunities

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Your Help is Needed

This project was established in about 2005 by Susan Pearson from an idea devised by a group of Cornwall family historians in 2001, the concept being that vital records such as Baptisms, Marriages, Burials and Census should be housed together on a parish by parish basis.  This idea has grown and has been developed further by individual projects such as the Wiltshire OPC Project.  

Our site works in similar ways as most other projects but we try to make it unique at the same time.  We do not deal with just family history but cater for the local historian too as we believe that both are very closely linked.   There is much to do within this project and that is where we need help.

Parish and Task Vacancies

How the Project Woks

The project is run entirely by volunteers.  Richard Cresswell hosts the website and maintains the site on a technical basis as webmaster.  Teresa Lewis is the Senior Administrator.  Ideally each parish would be covered by an Online Parish Clerk (OPC) we have many vacancies available.  There are many admin tasks that can be taken up by our members - for a complete list of OPC Vacancies and Admin Tasks please open the link.

Once a parish is adopted feel free to build your parish page as you wish within the category headings, an administrator is always on hand to help you.  Each page has a set layout using subject headings.  Within these headings are sub headings and documents are loaded accordingly by the administrator.  Templates are available to use for documents or can be created from a draft document if none exist for the item you wish to publish.  If you supply items and photographs these remain your copyright (shared with the project and can be removed from the site at any point upon written request).

Our Motto is:-

What may or may not be of interest to you will be of interest to someone

How to Volunteer

Firstly decide on the parish you would like to adopt or the role you would like to take on (transcribing, researcher etc.).  You may then complete the Application Form or for further information contact Teresa Lewis via e-mail.

How Much Time Will I Need to Commit

There is no time commitment as such - however if you decide to adopt a parish then you would need to check the page at least once a month to see if any comments have been added that might need attention (Admin normally see these comments too and will send you an e-mail advising there is something that needs looking at.  Occasionally you would need to check that links on the page are working.  You would also need to be prepared to answer queries from our users (guide them to answers not take up lengthy research projects for them).  

What if I Don't Wish to Continue my Role

No problem.  Just let the administrator know so that the parish/role can be re-allocated for adoption.  

Where Can I find information to Add to My Parish/Parishes

Information should be transcribed from the original sources such as parish registers and items held at repositories such as local archives.  Small parts of an document may be reproduced with acknowledgement and source, however a whole document cannot be copied (scanned) and published unless you are the owner or you have permission from the copyright holder.  It is not breach of copyright if names etc. are extracted from published material however the source of the list should be acknowledged.  Further info on this will be available from the administrator.  Original items can be found in libraries, record offices, from public donors and even online.  Don't worry the admin team are well versed in copyright issues so if you are not sure you can ask for advice before creating an item.  Of course you can always approach the copyright owner to request permission to use their material most are quite happy to oblige provided due acknowledgement is included.

Can I submit Items for Other Parishes

Anyone can submit items for any parish page whether it is their adopted parish, a vacant parish or covered by another OPC.  We work as a team  Members of the public often donate material too.

Is There Support and Advice Available to Me

As part of the team you will have access to the administrator via e-mail.  We also have a Twitter account and a Facebook Page (Most team members join this page and therefore have access to many of the team 24 hours a day).  Many of the team are quite happy to advise of different subjects so you are never left alone to get on with things.  

Do I Need to Live in a Parish to Adopt It

Since this is an online project then there is no need to live in the parish, county or even in the UK.  Many of our volunteers live in Australia, USA, Canada and even in India.  

Do I have to Adopt a Parish as an Individual

You may adopt a parish or parishes as an individual or as a group.  If you choose to work as a group then one person will need to be admin of that group as only one person can register an e-mail per parish and have editing rights.

What If I Decide to Transcribe

You can transcribe anything for the site that you think maybe of interest.  As a project we do not have access to Parish Registers, however we do have some resources available.  It is always best to check with the administrator before commencing a project as someone else may already be working on the same or similar item.

If I Transcribe Are There Time Limits

There is no pressure to get items completed.  Everyone works at their own pace.  All we ask is that you keep us informed as to the progress especially if its a large project just so we know it is still in progress.

What if I Start a Transcription and Can't Complete it

Not a problem - just send what you have completed to the administrator along with the material you were working from or a link to that material and someone else will complete it.  You will still be acknowledged as shared owner of the item. 

Can I Make Suggestions to Improve the Site

By all means - we are always looking to improve the site and if its technically feasible we will try and implement the suggestion.

Do I Get Paid Expenses

Sadly although we are now a funded project it is our policy to continue the essence of the OPC system and remain a volunteer organisation.  However if you go to a record office at the request of the administrator then you will be repaid any reasonable travel costs and the cost of using a camera.  However this should be agreed before the visit is made.  Should you decide to purchase items for your parish such as books, postcards or travel to repositories etc. then we are unable to refund these costs.  You are not however expected to be out of pocket so it is your decision if you wish to purchase anything that will assist you in building on the material of a page.  Much information can be gathered for free online or from local libraries.  The administrator also holds a vast collection of resources, for further information contact Teresa Lewis. 

Can I edit my Own Parish Pages

Yes within reason.  Pages have a set number of main headings which should not be changed or re-ordered.  Sub headings may be added.  All this will be explained in How to Guides etc.  

Can I Adopt More than One Parish

It is recommended that you start with one parish.  As you get more experienced within the project then you can adopt as many as you wish.

Is There Anything That Should Not Be Published

As with all information published about people we have to abide by the Data Protection Act which now includes the new laws included in the General Data Protection Regulations brought in in 2018.  This means that information about possible living persons can only be published with the subjects specific written permission.  Therefore most items are subject to the 75 or 100 year rule.  Exception to this is are burials and death registers.  However out of respect if photographs of graves in galleries are published then if it is that of a child under the age of 18 generally we do not include these.  Pornographic material is naturally forbidden, however we do not censor historic newspaper reports.  Graphic images of accidents, fires etc are also to be avoided if they include victims.  It is a matter of respect to others.


Parish and Task Vacancies

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