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Developing Parish Pages

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In the same way that county pages provide information on a particular county, parish pages give information on particular parishes, for example Blackburn and Fleetwood parish pages. Notice the way in which both pages contain links to other pages: Blackburn to an index of census records, and Fleetwood to the local studies holdings.

A nice touch in both cases is a short excerpt from an old gazetteer (this is also used on the relevant county pages). If you want to quote material on your pages then make sure that either the copyright has lapsed or that you have permission from the copyright holder. Ideally the quotation will be from the 18th or 19th century, so copyright should not be a problem. For further guidance on this subject, please see help and advice on copyright.

Parishes are an obvious area for splitting the task among many people and it is well worth bearing this in mind, whether you have a complete set of parish pages already up and running, just a few, or even none at all. Think about how others could help you with this.

Consider what information to include within a town or parish page by going through the list of standard subject headings adopted by GENUKI from the Family History Library. For each subject heading, look for links to information elsewhere, citations of relevant books or articles, etc. Of particular relevance to a parish or town will be:

  • Books about the town or parish
  • Local cemeteries
  • Published census records
  • History of the local church
  • Published parish registers
  • Local directories and gazetteers
  • Local history publications
  • Locally published newspapers

In addition to county and parish pages there are lots of topic pages within GENUKI. These are used when the information on a particular topic is quite lengthy and allow further information to be given about this without compromising the compact nature of a county or parish page (topic pages are also used at higher levels, e.g. national and above, to expand on subjects there). Topic pages should normally be held within the folder hierarchy at the level appropriate to their contents, e.g., an account of a particular parish in that parish's folder.

Examples of topic pages include:

  • Lists of published maps
  • Listings of old place names
  • Detailed list (with addresses) of archives in an area
  • Historical directories (information or even transcripts)
  • Detailed account of the history of a parish through the ages
  • List of surnames in a graveyard, or in a book, or other source
  • Transcript of a parish or county history (must be out of copyright)
  • Further guidance on an unusual source e.g. an unofficial register of deaths

The list here really could go on and on and this is another area, as with parishes, where more volunteers can step in to help, sharing specialist knowledge on particular topics of interest to genealogists. Such topic pages can be held on the other person's website (within a GENUKI compatible hierarchy) or could be incorporated within another website holding pages for the area.

Generally speaking, the bulk of the work in creating the parish pages is taken up in research, finding material to put on the pages. Producing the HTML probably takes a fraction of that time.

Good ways of coming up with ideas for the content of the pages are:

  1. Look at existing pages for other counties and see what other people have done and what sort of information they have decided to include.
  2. Read through the list of headings and see how many ideas this triggers!
  3. Search for the county and/or parishes in library catalogues. This can also be a good way of gathering full bibliographic references for books you want to mention on your pages.
  4. Search for county and/or parishes in Internet search engines, e.g. Google, Bing, or Hotbot

To get you thinking a bit more about the possible content of your pages, all of the following categories of information could appear on county or parish pages, or in more detail on a topic page:

  • Books about the area, its history, people etc. Modern guide books are particularly nice listed under "Description & Travel" since they are usually in print and are often well illustrated. Other books can be placed under the appropriate headings, for example "Bibliography", "History", "Social Life and Culture" etc.
  • Information about the location of records e.g. old parish registers, court records, census returns etc. (under headings such as "Church Records", "Census Returns" etc.)
  • Bibliographic details of any published transcripts or indexes e.g. census indexes, monumental inscriptions, indexes to testamentary records, sasine indexes etc.
  • Information about local family history societies and possibly details of their publications etc. Check the list of Family History Societies to see if your local society already has a home page. If it does then you can place a link to it under the heading "Societies" on your county page. Otherwise you may like to contact the society and invite it to become involved in GENUKI. Under no circumstances whatsoever should you advertise addresses for societies without first receiving permission to do so.
  • Links to any online resources about the county or parish e.g. complementary resources to GENUKI which fill other niches e.g.

The list could go on and on, but hopefully this will be enough to get the ideas rolling.

As a final tip, try not to make your pages too big (this applies to any pictures as well). A page should rarely be more than 30K long, otherwise it may be difficult for some people to download.