Updated 6 Dec 2000

WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900

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Matlock Mercury article.

Transcription of Article, Matlock Mercury
Thu 27 Apr 2000

Photo project to paint picture of townsfolk.

If you've ever wondered about tracing your family tree, you may have thought the process involved dusty old records and ancient parish registers.
But now, thanks to a pioneering project taking place in a Dales town, people from all over the world will be able to see what their ancestors from the Wirksworth area actually looked like - using only their home computer!
Old photographs depicting people, places and events in the town before the 1920s are being collected by local history buffs and will be stored on compact disc and published on the Internet.
It's hoped that the scheme - which is being spearheaded by the Wirksworth Heritage centre in Crown yard - will allow people tracing their family tree to not only find out who their relatives were, but what they looked like!
"Its a fantastic opportunity," said Derek Walker, a director at the Heritage Centre. "You've always been able to trace your family tree, but never really had the chance to find out what your ancestors looked like."
"Hopefully, using the CD or the website you will be able to enter a name and find photographs of a relative."
The photos will be the latest addition to a unique Internet website charting the history of life in Wirksworth, which includes more than 300 years' worth of parish records from the town.
The site has been compiled by Dorset man John Palmer, whose ancestors are from Middleton-by-Wirksworth. He received a commendation from the town council for his efforts last year.
Organisers hope the photographs will cover a similar period and tie in with the existing records.
Mr Walker is appealing for anyone who has old photographs which they would like to see included in the current project to contact him.
"We're looking for photographs dating from before 1920, of people, scenes and interesting events," he said.


"It would be helpful if they can put names to faces, although if this isn't possible the CD or website may be a way of identifying people on the photos.
"We can't guarantee that all the photographs will go on the CD, but we will collect them and ensure they're carefully looked after."
The service will eventually be available at the Heritage Centre for use by visitors and locals, and the CD will also go on sale.
Mr Palmer's website - www.wirksworth.org.uk - includes all the town's parish records from 1600 to 1900 as well as other lists of 8,258 differently-spelled surnames, marriages, deaths, memorial inscriptions, occupations and a special section on the surname Doxey.
There's even a list of crimes committed in Wirksworth between 1770-1829... and the punishments handed out!
Nearly 40,000 people have visited the site - which took three years to set up - since it was launched 16 months ago.
Anyone wanting to submit photographs for the project can call Mr Walker on 01629-823410