Updated 29 Mar 2009
WIRKSWORTH Parish Records 1600-1900
Background to INCE's "Pedigrees"
Thomas Norris INCE was a solicitor in Wirksworth born 1799
and died 1860. During his working life he compiled a 484 page handwritten
PEDIGREES & sketches of pedigrees
and other places thereabouts
compiled from abstracts of Title, Wills, Deeds
and other documents, church & churchyard notes,
Bible entries, Court rolls and from information
of various people as to their descent.
Thomas Norris Ince of Wirksworth
begun in 1824 & continued at Wakefield
The book found its way into "The Devonshire Collection" belonging to
His Grace the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth House, who later presented
it to the Derby Free Library.
The book is a potential goldmine for local genealogy because of its
circumstances and date. It contains some 1,000 Pedigrees and mentions
about 20,000 people with sometimes a lot of personal detail.
Some Background to Ince
"Pedigrees" is written from the point of view of a lawyer.
A large percentage of the information comes from Wills, Deeds,
Purchases and other legal documents.
However, invaluable verbal information is included as well as dates and
relations from tombstones (that may not now exist) and Parish Registers
(that are now much older and more difficult to read).
In the book, the text is written within the diagram, and so is very cramped,
small and full of abbreviations (many legal).
None of the transcribers are lawyers, but familiarity has helped understand
Transcribers comments and observations are in italic font and between
square brackets [comments and observations are like this]
Ince's handwriting is generally easy to read and the condition of the pages
good. However Ince's page numbering system is somewhat chaotic due to
expansion over 40 years, and a new system has been introduced for this
transcription. The new system begins with page 001a and finishes at page 121d.
Anne Andrews writes:I decided to telephone the Derby LSL myself to see if they could provide any
answers to help me clarify my own thoughts before I responded to you. Derby
LSL has a book for public usage that is made up of photocopies from the Ince
Collection. This has been done because the original is in such poor
condition, and I assume is why the film was made. So requests for copies are
being taken from a photocopy, which is I assume the reason for the less than
perfect quality of reproduction. The Pedigrees are no longer in book form
anyway. The volume has been unbound, put into protective sleeves and these
are stored together in a box in their vaults.
"Pedigrees" has never been fully transcribed before. However, an
International group of Transcribers has now completed work, and all of
Ince's Pedigrees is on this website. The group are:
John Palmer of Dorset, England.
Kathryn Farrell of Danvers, Massachusetts USA
Sonia Addis-Smith of Bedford, England.
The group have worked at home from identical microfiches, are
connected by e-mail, checked each other's work via the Internet and
have published on this website. All their work is available free in the
public domain. I estimate 1,500 hours transcribing have been required.
Photocopies of parts of "Pedigrees" can be ordered from:
Local Studies Library
Derby also have Pedigrees on microfilm. The manuscript reference is
"Local No 8022" and photocopy reference H929.2. The text and diagrams in "Pedigrees" must be viewed
"up, down and sideways" which requires either a rotateable microfilm
reader or a fiche reader. Although the readability of "Pedigrees" is good,
the transcription has been arduous because of the quantity of information
and the presence of large numbers of Tree diagrams and abbreviations.
Decisions made early which proved correct in practice:
- To publish on website, because of the size and width of some diagrams,
and the quantity of text
- To adopt a new page numbering system, based on the microfilm order.
- To arrange for the transcription team to work from identical copies of
microfilm and and discuss common problems by e-mail.
- To remove all text within the diagrams, replacing with numbers referring
to the moved text below.
- To adopt a very simple way of drawing tree diagrams,
easily checked and changed
- To capitalise all surnames, enabling simple software to locate
and generate an index.
- To expand all abbreviated firstnames.
- To expand abbreviated words where the meaning is understood.
- To export the complete transcription to computer database, enabling
quick and complex searches of text.
- To directly compare the transcription on laptop with the original sheets
at DLSL, correcting many queries.
Should anyone have queries about the Transcribing process, please
contact me on
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