British, English or England?


The number two most popular question we get asked is, “When are we keying more British records?” Of course, being an American, I keep thinking, “We have British records available for keying. Why do they keep asking that question?”

You see, I was taught that British meant anyone from the island of Great Britain, which is clearly made up of England, Scotland and Wales. And, we have ALWAYS had records from Scotland available for keying.

I was quickly corrected when I was told what you really want is English records. Of course, that could lead into an eerily similar discussion about how records WRITTEN in English (which is a language, not a location) come from several countries and we have PLENTY of English records available and always have. (But that might be me just being cheeky!)

“ENGLAND! We want records from ENGLAND!” Oh, I get it. :-)

Well, let’s see how much you really want it!

We published the Tax & Rent Records, Perth, Scotland for keying over 21 months ago. It’s still only 50% complete. Now, I know it isn’t the easiest project. These records cover over a hundred years so the form types change. They are handwritten (which makes them a little bit challenging). And some of them are VERY old (I think the image set I did this week was from 1753). These little beauties are also fairly name dense (there were about 130 names in the image set I did).  But, once you read through the Project Page and the Discussion Tab and look over the examples to find the one that most closely matches what you’ve pulled up in your keying tool, it’s not too difficult. In fact, it took me half the time to key the second image than it did the first even though it had double the names on it. So, clearly, it got easier as I went along.

I tell you that because we have a few projects queued up for keying. As we’ve been scheduling out the rest of the summer, we’ve been trying to figure out what order to publish these projects in; how many, how quickly, what weeks, and all that. One of those projects is a collection of records from England.

I want to know if you as a community really, REALLY want more records from England or if it’s just a few squeaky wheels posting comments on the blog and message boards. So, how about we make this into something of a competition?

The Project of the Day this week is actually going to be a Project of Two Days. This Saturday and Sunday (June 23rd and 24th) let’s all key the Tax & Rent Records, Perth, Scotland.

So far this month, as a community, you have keyed and reviewed an average of 2630 records a day from this collection. Do you think you can do a collective 5000 records a day this weekend? I’m not so sure. That’s a pretty big stretch. Prove me wrong and I will take this England collection we have ready and publish it for keying THIS COMING Wednesday!

And, as an act of good faith, we’ve got some British records you’ve already keyed that have been released to search. (Remember active keyers – at least 900 records every 90 days – have access to the images as well whether you have an Ancestry subscription or not.) Enjoy searching that database… after the weekend. :-)

Until next time – Happy Keying!

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Just a short note; Where would I look for people from Denmark.

Noticed name of Cowan My Aunt married a Cowan.