Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September Progress Report

All in all a satisfactory month, with over 7,500 page views of the Newsletter (the best month yet) while the main web site had nearly 22,000 visitors. While there were only 20 new posts on the Newsletter several of the updates involved a lot of work. The level of background emails was lower than last month, and I have decided not to produce a summary this month.. 

The project to digitise unique documents I hold (and which I will be passing to suitable repositories) continues. Work on the William Brown ledger has resulted in an extensive review of information on the Tring Grove Estate. While going through the family papers I have posted pictures of First World War remounts relates to my grandfather's work as a vet.

In October I plan to produce more "Tales from an Estate Agent's Account Book."  I will also start going though my extensive notes, originally collected for a major book on Bernards Heath, to ferret out material relevant to Sandridge 900, to be held next year. (September's work on Hawkswick is related as the house is over the parish border with Sandridge and was covered by some of my old notes).

On the administration front I have rewritten the Ask Chris page, to simplify the handling of emails from people who expect free help (and probably have no intention of making a donation) and who can't be bothered to find out what service is on offer before posting their query.

One of the problems with this web site its that it has grown like topsy over the years. The original plan was to have one page for every town or village in the county. When I got too much information for one page I started to divide up the pages, with an individual menu, and for some of the large towns this work has been "in progress" for several years. I have decided that for places which still have a single page I will take a modified approach - as can be seen with Widford. The left hand menu remains the default "places" menu, and links are moved to the right hand side of the village page. This is far quicker and simpler for me as it doesn't mean changing any existing inter-page links, while if I create a dedicated left hand menu I sometimes have to change twenty or more links.

Finally a WARNING. When using the British Newspaper Archive, FindMyPast lists the start and end years for a newspaper - but doesn't warn when there are missing years in the sequence. During the month I discovered that the 1852 copies of the Bucks Herald (which is very good for the Tring area of Hertfordshire) are missing. This type of problem is not uncommon  - you do a search and get no results - and the package you are using doesn't warn you that the null result is because the relevant documents are not in the data base!

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This is the newsletter for the Genealogy in Hertfordshire Web site. Comments on this blog are moderated and may be transferred to the web site where appropriate. If you have a local or family history query you want answered you must use "Ask Chris" - See box in right hand column. Anonymous comments cannot be answered.