Kent Online Parish Clerks
About the Kent OPC Project
We are a worldwide group of volunteers who work to provide FREE GENEALOGICAL AND HISTORICAL DATA AND INFORMATION about a parish and its people, to assist family historians. At no time, now, or in the past has the Kent OPC required payment of any nature or kind whatsoever in exchange for providing its data and collections to our readers.
Since 2006 the Kent Online Parish Clerks project has been pushing its' vision into a much broader aspect than the original OPC model designed during 2001 in Cornwall. We are continually building a reliable and organized gateway to free online Kent genealogy and history, by parish, that includes a blend of onsite resources with a complete and up-to-date directory of outside links to other web sites containing freely available Kent information. The Kent project is continually evolving its' own model and now incorporates historical and sociological information, as well as research teaching material, along side of its' core genealogical data. In essence, the Kent Online Parish Clerks project strives to identify and incorporate any data that may be useful to the understanding of genealogists and family historians of their Kent ancestry both at the parish level and county-wide.
The Kent OPC project had been launched by Adrian Furminger and it is to him that we all owe a great thanks in getting this OPC project off the ground. Adrian began the site during 2004 but found that by late 2006 the demands of maintaining and developing this site were great and conflicted with his already very demanding professional career. With resolve, he offered the administration and future development of the project and the web site to the general public via the Rootsweb Kent mailing list. After careful thought and stock-taking of my skills, abilities, and the fit of this project with my professional career, I wrote to Adrian and volunteered to take over the management and development of this project.
At the commencement of my involvement with the Kent OPC project during December, 2006, a new webpage design was implemented. With the advancement in web coding, and the additional utilities afforded by our switch of hosting company to a Montreal firm during December of 2008, a re-design of the site with a content management system ("CMS") was instituted. Unfortunately, constant successful hacking of that web site eventually lead to the move of the Kent Online Parish Clerks web site to yet another new web host based in British Columbia - on the other side of Canada. Unfortunately, the content management system did not transfer properly from the old host so I have reverted this site back to an HTML 4.01 transitional and CSS-based web design for the time being.
Ideally, there should be an OPC assigned to every parish in Kent. Some OPCs may choose to service one or more parishes. However, in practical terms, with over 400 parishes in the county, the Kent OPC project is far short of the number of volunteers needed to cover all of the parishes. This situation does not necessarily mean that there is no information for a parish that has no OPC. Quite often, we receive donations of transcribed records from casual contributors. So, it may well be that a parish in which you are interested does have some information available to you. At the very least, every posted parish page contains an historical description of the parish providing statistics of population, number of houses, churches in the parish and the names of any significant landholders and historical map links, if available. We are slowly working toward accomplishing the construction of at least the primary parish page for each of Kent's parishes. We currently have 228 primary parish pages online.
At no time now, or in the past, have we solicited donations of goods or funds from our readers. However, in many cases people have approached us with donations of goods and, sometimes, in lieu of goods, funds with which to purchase source material for transcription. These donations have included situations whereby an individual had no time to transcribe material for a particular parish, nor wished to take on the roll of an OPC or be a casual contributor but offered a donation to sponsor one particular parish so that we could purchase the records for transcription. What resulted from that joint endeavour was a very full coverage of historical records for that parish - a wonderful resource not only for our sponsor but also for future researchers of that parish.
Our volunteers can choose to adopt a parish for which they are involved in the collection and transcription of original or public-domain record sources whether directly or through one or more assistants. In this regard, we do not require, ask, advice, or advocate that any volunteer use their personal funds to purchase materials for transcription. We do not except transcriptions of commercially-available material, such as parish registers published or transcribed by family history societies. So,to place a financial requirement on a potential volunteer to purchase material as a criteria of their enrollment is, in any case self-defeating as most original primary resources are beyond the grasp of a private individual. Rather, the Kent OPC project acquires original primary source material for transcription by our volunteers through our network of records holders and owners.
A volunteer who has adopted a parish is known by the title of Online Parish Clerk but our volunteer should in no manner be confused with an official Parish Clerk appointed by a County Council. Some of our volunteers are unable to act in the capacity of an OPC and choose, instead, to simply provide transcriptions or other reference works from time-to-time. These volunteers are known as casual contributors.
All of the reference material made available under the umbrella of the Kent OPC project is free to use for personal and private purposes only. None of the material that is available under the Kent OPC project umbrella may be reproduced by any individual or entity for any commercial purposes without prior written agreement with the Kent OPC project.
Researchers are also reminded that all information provided by way of the Kent OPC project, regardless of the avenue of its delivery, is a transcript of an original or already existing "public domain" transcript. As such the transcriptions found on this site are, at best, a secondary source and should be treated and regarded as such - as a means to developing a potential line of ancestry or enquiry only. Original documents should always be checked before one incorporates information from a secondary source into their genealogical data. No warranty is implied or given concerning the accuracy of the data delivered via the Kent OPC project.
Material may be made available by a parish OPC by way of a lookup service only. This may be the case particularly if an OPC has a source that is in the form of a published work such as a book, newspaper report and/or magazine or journal article. If a lookup in a particular work is available, a notation of the sources available for lookup is included on the relevant parish page under the section titled "A View of the Parish" directly following the name and contact information of the parish OPC. If an OPC is providing a lookup service it has been left to the individual OPC to determine if an email-enquiry or postal-enquiry service works best for him or her. Again, information concerning the services available from an OPC and his or her preferred method of enquiry is posted on the relevant parish page. When contacting an OPC please allow up to three weeks for a reply. If you haven't received a reply after three weeks please send an email to me at email@example.com.
Links have also been made, in many cases, to independent transcriptions and/or data residing on web sites and the property of individuals who are in no manner connected with the Kent OPC. So, it may well be that you will visit a page on one particular day, return to that same page a few days later and not be able to access the independent material. When we are made aware of the loss of data through such eventualities we make every effort to contact the original data owner to request his/her permission to re-post the data on the Kent OPC web site. We have been successful in reviving many of the smaller independent sites through this means with specific licenses from the web site holders for the use and display of their material.
Collect - obtain and collect as many records for each of the 400-plus Kent parishes as is possible.
Preserve - genealogical information found in the many records by way of transcription and storage of that information either online or in other electronic or digital formats.
Share - our data freely with personal and private researchers either online or by way of written lookup requests.
Flexibility - provided to each OPC, who decides what data beyond the primary resources he or she will collect for a parish, how it will be organized and how their independently-obtained data or information will be distributed.
Respect - each OPC is required to investigate possible copyright, data protection and privacy issues in the transcription and dissemination of the gathered information in their care and control. Each OPC also must be alert to, and be prepared to take steps to stop, the misuse or commercial use of the information within their care and control. All transcriptions and indices, excepting those of primary parish registers or similar material provided by the Kent OPC project for transcription, are the copyright of the individual who produced them; they are made available freely to private family researchers at the courtesy of the transcriber and we ask our readers and patrons to also respect the copyrights of our contributors.
We hope you find your travels through this project beneficial to your research. If you feel you would also like to contribute to the efforts of this project, please send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also please visit our page for volunteers and donations for further information.