The Highs and Lows of Transcribing Records by Jeff Carrick
The Highs and Lows of Transcribing Records
Meeting of 12 March 2015
After the Parish Appraisal, Brian Carne started a history group and Jeff and his wife started looking into prison records for people from Bicknor. He got hooked when he found a card asking for information tucked into a memorial in St Marys. He recognised the name from his research so was able to send the lady information on her ancestors from his archives research into marriages and court records and Keith Denerley’s work on the Church records. The lady’s family ended up in Tasmania because a 21 year old Bicknor ancestor had stolen a lamb; in the 1833 assizes he was found guilty and sentenced to hang, that was commuted to transportation to Tasmania. From the records Jeff found that he was a blacksmith and also got a written description of him.
Our Parish Records begin in 1561 with marriages, baptisms, deaths and church work. It begins in Latin but shifts into English and back. Further complication is caused by there being at least four different Latin phrases for marriage and some interesting spelling:
- ‘Xpofer’ for ‘Christopher’
- ‘Elizabeth the dafter of…’
Also, the letters change wildly; Jeff showed us about 30 different ‘w’s including one that looks like a flower. Plus some families did block baptisms, so we have no idea of dates of birth.
Interestingly, during the Commonwealth, they stopped recording christenings but recorded births instead; marriages were done by a Justice of the Peace under an Act of Parliament – so God was being kept out of it.
The Bicknor marriage registers start in 1754. Jeff has transcribed them all from a combination of microfiches in the archives and checking the Church originals, and they are now on forestofdean.net together with those from many other parishes.
The records showed a sad story that one of our group related to: in 1964 a young man was killed when his apron got stuck in machinery, just 3 days after the banns (notice of marriage read out in Church over three successive Sundays) for his marriage were finished. This was Ann Butcher’s cousin and she vividly remembered the episode.
Jeff brought a folder of the trial records he had transcribed. Some from Horsley jail, some from Littledean but most from Gloucester. Bicknor parish seems to have a lot of fiddly traders selling underweight goods.
Many thanks to Jeff for all the work he has done for this parish, he now has the Bicknor records from 1560 to 2014 on his computer. CS