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Why I Started Transcripts - An Apology (?) by E.C.Apling

© Copyright E.C.Apling, March 1999

Hallo All,

A few days ago somebody (I have forgotten who - and most unusually I seem to have lost the incoming message) asked me what started me off in transcribing directory entries to Norfolk-L list [to join the mailing list type the one word "subscribe" as the text of your message] and to my web-site.

It was a provoking question - and I did not reply immediately as it needed some retrospective thought - and now, when feeling ready to reply I can't find the original message!!!

However - here's the story:

I have, over the years, amassed quite a collection of information on local history, and so when in 1990 my wife, then on the committee of the Hingham Womens Institute, told me of the county project of a Norfolk Village Book, I offered to write the entries for Hingham and Woodrising and I printed out copies to be available for visitors to the church. I then started digging deeper into the detailed history - first with Blomefield, then Directories available in the Local History section of the Norwich library, and references to Woodrising in such old books as John Stacy's General History of Norfolk (1829) and back issues of Norfolk Archeology. The rector heard of my interest and offered me sight of the parish registers and other items in the parish chest - and I transcribed everything onto my PC for future reference.

A few years later - as a result of people moving - we were asked if we would look after the church key and we began to meet visitors from USA, Australia etc seeking information about their forbears - and I found that often I had some information to impart. This provoked me to transcribe the pre-1836 registers from the Norfolk Record Office and to try to assemble family trees of some of the local families - to see how people moved around in the 18th/19th centuries.

I have all my life had a close association with Hingham - which has its own Historical Group but (presumably because I did not actually live there I was never invited to participate) and anyway my local interests had always been directed particularly to the "Norfolk wilderness" - the Breckland, which was my favourite haunt in my boyhood cycling days - and much of which since 1942 has been occupied by the military - and I began to consider researching the "emptied" villages....

About 15 months ago I bought a new computer and for the first time since I retired [12½ years ago] I had internet access, and last April found and began to intervene in its discussions. I then began to think I should try to ORGANISE the vast amount of information I had available for others to use - and so at the end of last year thought I would transcribe Directory information about Breckland villages. I began by e-mailing to the list the entries for villages contributors to the list had referred to - and it began to bring information to me..... and this year I took the plunge and started a web-site, which now has information about over 100 villages (not all in the Breckland - as I began to respond to requests for borderline areas - and others offered to help). I was then asked by Pat Newby of GENUKI-NFK to do transcriptions for their web-site - and so it grew.

At the same time - as a retired food scientist it has been clear to me that I should also be using my web-site and internet contributions generally to attempt to counter the anti-scientific and anti-agriculture/food industry hysteria of the media, and I have begun to place a few links to CONSIDERED information on food considerations on my web-site - hoping that a few of my correspondents would bite on this also!!! [Actually I have been spending TOO MUCH time on genealogy to do justice to my expertise in the food area - a professional life starting in 1941]. More material of this nature WILL gradually be added to my web-site. As I presume most of the genealogists who look at my web-site are interested in history - it will be the history - of the food industry - and of what we eat.... Just watch my "What's New" page.

By the way, despite my interest in family and local history starting well before I retired, I have never joined a Family History Society until this year - and I only found out that such societies EXISTED through the internet!!!! I am now a member of the Norfolk Family History Society [#5594].

I hope the original enquirer who provoked this epistle will accept my apologies for not making a personal reply.

Paddy Apling
10th March 1999

Note added 10th November, 2009.

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