Developing Parish Pages


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. In general each county now has a full set of parish pages, complete with a location map, information about local churches and cemeteries, and links to map and photograph collections. (This information is added into parish pages automatically.) So you will be able to concentrate on extending and improving each page's information content, and on correcting any reported arrors and broken links.

Most parish (and county) pages include a short introductory excerpt from an old gazetteer. If you are faced with parish pages that are lacking such a quotation and have located some suitable texts, or indeed have any other need to include quoted material on your pages, 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.

Parish pages are an obvious area for splitting the information gathering and page editing task among many people, so think about how others could help you with your task.

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

  • Books and (printed or online) articles about the town or parish
  • Information about the location of records e.g. old parish registers, court records, census returns etc.
  • Bibliographic details of any published transcripts or indexes e.g. census indexes, monumental inscriptions, indexes to testamentary records, etc.
  • For out of copyright books and journals, links to any full texts in Google Books, the Internet Archive or HathiTrust
  • Details of local cemeteries
  • History of the local church
  • Biographical material about local inhabitants
  • Genealogical accounts of families that originated in the parish
  • Local directories and gazetteers
  • Local history publications
  • Local and national newspaper websites and archives - particularly the British Newspaper Archive
  • Conservation Area Appraisals (detailed well-illustrated reports of the architecture and history of an area, often just a parish, or part of a parish, available on many local council websites)

In addition to county and parish pages there are lots of pages on particular topics in GENUKI. These are used when the information on a particular topic is quite lengthy and allow further information to be given about the topic 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). Examples of topic pages include:

  • Listings of old place names
  • Book indexes
  • A detailed list (with addresses) of archives in an area
  • Historical directories (information or even transcripts)
  • A 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)
  • Transcripts of Census Records and Parish Registers
  • Further guidance on an unusual source, e.g. an unofficial register of deaths
  • Specially written articles, e.g. on particular families or historical events

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. Generally speaking, the bulk of the work in creating informative parish pages is taken up in research, finding material to put on the pages. The content management system now used by GENUKI (Drupal) has greatly eased the task of creating and editing the actual web pages.

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

  • Look at existing pages for other counties and see what other people have done and what sort of information they have decided to include.
  • Read through the list of subject headings and see how many ideas this triggers!
  • 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.
  • Search for information about your county and/or its parishes in Internet search engines, e.g. Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, or Dogpile, and major genealogy website listings such as Cyndi's List (UK and Ireland section).

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.