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.
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About the presenter
Wayne Shepheard graduated in Geology from the University of Calgary and spent over 40 years applying his knowledge and expertise in the exploration for oil and gas, primarily in Western Canada. Following retirement, he has spent his time mostly doing family history research, exploring ancestral relationships in North America, Europe and the United Kingdom. Wayne also is active in expanding his interest in and writing about natural phenomena and their impacts on people and communities.
His view is that humankind has always had to adapt to the ever-changing physical environments in which they lived. In is his genealogical work, Wayne has been particularly mindful of stories concerning families that were both negatively and positively impacted by changes to their habitat and to disasters which sometimes overwhelmed them.
He volunteers as an Online Parish Clerk, handling four parishes in Devon, England. He is an author of several articles published in a number of different family history publications and has made a number of presentations to local societies. Wayne writes a regular genealogical blog, Discover Genealogy, set up to tell stories, relate experiences and pass along tips discovered during his genealogical studies.
Wayne lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
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