Thursday, 21 September 2017

Meeting a FreeCEN volunteer in Crete!

It's a small world really! Last night at a Greek taverna in Crete, a couple seated next to me at the bar, Brian and Diane Collins from North Wales, got talking with me. Within seconds we were talking genealogy, because it soon transpired that Brian is in fact a volunteer for the FreeCEN project (

FreeCEN is a volunteer based project designed to provide free to access transcriptions of the censuses in Britain from 1841-1891. Volunteers at the Scottish end started with 1841, and are moving forward through the range, whilst English and Welsh volunteers started at 1891 and are moving backwards. It's a long standing work in progress, but has many key advantages over some of the commercial sites, in that underpinning the transcription effort is an equally impressive effort to oversee the quality of the transcriptions using local knowledge, thanks to people like Brian. Brian's role is to check what transcribers are producing, and to make any corrections needed where there has been an error in interpretation from the original source record.

FreeCEN is certainly a site worth bookmarking - I have actually found entries using the site that in the past ScotlandsPeople has not even indexed correctly. And don't forget to check out the future version of FreeCEN, currently available on a beta site at

(With thanks to Brian and Diane - have a great stay in Crete!)


My next 5 week Scottish Research Online course commences Sept 11th 2017 - details at For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

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