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The Future is Still in the Past: An Introduction to Online Parish Clerks in the United Kingdom

Wayne Shepheard
May 1, 2020
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4m 18s
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Speaker's Introduction
1m 00s
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47m 03s
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Announcements / prizes
5m 54s
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Questions / answers
24m 10s

About this webinar

England is divided into 40 administrative counties which traditionally were each comprised of various numbers of ecclesiastical parishes. Each parish had its own church that administered to both the spiritual and the secular needs of the community. In 1538, Thomas Cromwell, chief minister of Henry VIII, issued The Second Henrician Injucntions that mandated every parish to maintain registers in which to record all baptisms, marriages and burials. These documents are central to ancestral research in England but it is not always practical for researchers to inspect or study the original registers or the many additional documents that originated in the parishes. Some of the people offering assistance in sourcing and reviewing the parish information are those involved in the Online Parish Clerk (OPC) program. OPCs are not officially associated with parish councils, ministers or congregations, however, these groups are often helpful in sourcing information about past residents and constructing histories of the various parishes. The tasks of OPCs are primarily to compile reference material for their adopted parish or parishes in the form of transcripts, extracts, abstracts, indexes and copies of original records.

About the speaker

About the speaker

Wayne Shepheard has pursued family history research for several decades, on his own behalf and for others, exploring families in North America, Europe and the United Kingdom. He is active in expanding his interest in and writing about natural phen
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  1. Legacy Family Tree
    4 years ago

    A lot of great information, thank you!

    A+! Wayne Shepheard was awesome! Loved every minute! Greatly admire his dedication his dedication to preserving such a wealth of info and making it available free of charge to the public! Fantastic work!

    Again, Wayne emphasizes the importance of being diligent in researching any source.

    Awesome Information

    Both the host and speaker spoke well, firmly, without hesitation or affectation. The information was very interesting, daunting, I am amazed at Mr. Shepheard’s ability to decipher the scripts. I missed the beginning on visual, fumbling on what to press. I made a few screenshots (thanks!) for addresses. As the host noted, for once I was able to hear the webinar in real time. Thanks!

    Brilliant webinar with a Great insight on the world of an OPC, now will have to discover which counties have been covered so far!

    Enlightening. Useful to know.



    Excellent explanation and examples of using Parish Records!

    Excellent presentation about something that I didn’t really know about. Will prove quite helpful as I tackle my English roots.

    excellent speaker

    Excellent webinar!


    Excellent… and admirable!

    Fabulous presentation on a group of people I had never heard of. What a hidden resource. Interesting engaging speaker and great story teller. More from him please

    Fabulous webinar today by Wayne Shepard. Thank you!

    Fantastic presentation – until now, I was unaware this very valuable research resource existed. Wayne, thank you for this eye-opener! 🙂

    Fantastic! Thank you so much for this!

    Fascinating insights in to Parish Records and their anomalies, etc. Many thanks. Dave


    Good information about a lesser known resource.

    Good overview of Online Parish Clerks

    Good presenter. New topic to me–will be useful.

    Good resource information

    Good speaker Opened new ideas to research

    Great webinar on online parish clerks in England.

    Great webinar. I had no idea this existed and I have been researching my English line for a long time. The county I am searching currently does not have a OPC but I’m hopeful I will find another way to gain the information the OPCs find

    I enjoyed the information provided and am encouraged to research my English ancestors. Does Wayne have any information or contacts for families who lived on the Isle of Wight? Thank you.

    I had no idea OPCs existed before this. So interesting, and wish West Yorkshire had them!

    I learn a lot from all the webinars I have watched, but learning about parish registers has been amazing! Being an American with English ancestors, starting with my mother, this gives me a whole new way to search in Kent and Sussex for records I can hardly imagine. Thank you so much!

    I learned a lot that I will now need to explore. Thank goodness I now have time to concentrate on it. Thanks so much for the webinar and also the work you do on this project.

    I learned much from this webinar and hope to begin applying my knowledge. Thanks.

    I now have a much clearer picture of what OPCs are and the difference between them and parishes. Many thanks to Wayne for his great presentation!

    I thought this was great! I have lots of ancestry from England and can’t wait to find out if there is an OPC in areas that will help me. Thanks so much!

    I was doubtful that I could use this information, but I am so glad I attended. Had no idea there were such helpful people as Wayne Shepheard and OPC’s. Thank you.

    Information was interesting, but his voice was too soothing for my insomnia-suffering self.

    Interesting information and I enjoyed listening. Unfortunately my family originated in Berkshire – no OPC! Rats.

  2. Legacy Family Tree
    4 years ago

    interesting topic that I wasn’t aware of

    It was an interesting look at what OPCs can do to help with family research

    I’ve been watching a lot of webinars and they are all so good so I don’t know how to compare because of the different subjects. Wayne Sheppeard spoke in a soft spoken manner.

    Knew nothing about OPC’s but there is a resource there that I may now be able to use if the parishes I am searching have one. Thanks for all the information it’s been very interesting and informative.

    Learned a lot about OPC’s and info they can provide someone searching their family line. Going to see if such is available Somerset county and Wales.

    Looking forward to the re-broadcast – it looks very, very valuable. Unfortunately, I only caught the last few minutes. Many thanks to Marian for responding to my question about the syllabus.

    Lots of good information about another source for records.

    Lots of good information, well illustrated. Speaker was a bit monotone but clear.

    Lots of great information about Parishes, etc in England. Thank you

    Loved hearing about his experience as a PC and how what they do helps our research.

    loved it, good speaker, such detail

    much info that’s new to me. Thank you

    Never knew that OPC’s existed. Their research is endless


    Outstanding! Very helpful ideas for our family research.

    Really enjoyed this one – clear and concise.

    Really enjoyed: informative, clearly presented with enthusiasm & clarity. Thank you

    so inspired 🙂 will be spending today going back to the OPC records of Cornwall, Sussex & Kent.

    So interesting and exciting that there is information out there we can use and someone to help.

    Super great webinar

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!

    Thank you for this informative webinar. I was totally unaware of the existence of OPCs before this webinar.


    This revealed a new source of information in the United Kingdom Online Parish Clerks!

    This topic was entirely new to me (after 35 years of research this is getting rarer and rarer), happy I was able to make it to this webinar.

    This was amazing! Thank you so much. I have ancestors who were in Devon and Somerset. Yay!!

  3. Legacy Family Tree
    4 years ago

    Topic I knew nothing about. Gives me another route to solve a family “brick wall”.

    Utterly fantastic. I’ve been working on my Cornish family for the last week, and he answered almost every question I’ve had, and gave me so many other resources to look at to come up with answers. Thank you so much.

    Very clear presentation. Years of experience tells.

    Very eye-opening!

    very good

    Very good and excellent handout too. Never heard of OPCs but might be useful someday. Thanks as always. Also looking forward to the May daily free webinars–I’m sure they’ll be some good stuff there. I’m too lazy to use my webinar membership regularly and this will inspire me to check out more in the library!

    Very good informative webinar

    Very good presentation. You can tell he is an expert in this field. I haven’t done a lot of parish records research, so it was a bit over my head, but he gave me a good start. I would like to see the logic behind constructing a search and going from point A to point B to find a particular record. I know that each OPC site is different but it would be nice to see how one might approach finding a particular record. Excellent addition to the webinar library.

    Very good webinar. I have never heard of OPC’s before. I’m happy to find a new source of information for my Northern Ireland ancestors.

    Very helpful information with concrete examples and explanations! Thank you!!

    Very helpful!

    Very informative

    Very informative and well-presented.

    Very informative II will be looking at these sources. Thanks Wayne

    Very informative!

    Very informative! Thank you.

    Very informative. The sound and video were great quality.

    Very informative. I have many relatives from the Stafordshire and Derbyshire area. Now maybe I can find information on them.

    Very interesting

    Very interesting & informative. Thank you. : )

    Very interesting and informative!! Thank you!

    Very interesting and informative. MANY thanks for the free April and May webinars. They make “home incarceration” bearable!! My non-genealogical friends are BORED TO TEARS, but my genealogical cousins and buddies are trying to take advantage of every minute. As a wise man says “Life is short — do genealogy first!!

    Very interesting and informative. Thank you.

    Very interesting but I would have followed it better if the pointer had been used more – I seemed to be looking at the wrong spot on the records frequently and felt rushed once I saw where I should be. I had no idea OPCs even existed! What a wonderful and generous donation to so many family historians. Thank you. I wish I had found ancestors in Cornwood!

    Very interesting I learned alot!

    Very interesting subject, but not directly related to my central and northern English ancestors.

    Very interesting. Clarifies how the records were kept and by whom.

    Very interetng

    Very well done with good examples of complications when just looking at some records and not seeing the whole picture.

    Very worthwhile program on something I knew nothing about. I will share with my genealogy group so that other can watch it, as well.

    Wonderful information. I greatly appreciate speakers that have concise, smooth flowing lectures. He is a real professional, very knowledgeable.

    WOW. Great.


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