All subscribers - especially those who evidently neglected to read
the Welcome message that was automatically sent to them when they
first subscribed - are urged to study (and to retain in close
proximity to their computer a printed copy of :-) the attached DEVON
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions file), in order that they can make
more effective use of both the DEVON-L mailing list and the
GENUKI/Devon web-site with which it is associated.
Please note in particular the answer to Question 19 - "What topics
are appropriate for messages to DEVON-L?", some of whose points are:
- Refrain from postings which are not of relevance to Devon genealogy
- such as messages concerned with genealogical software packages or
about computer viruses.
- Do not use the DEVON-L list for messages (such as thank you
messages) that are aimed at a specific individual, and which do not
contain information which is unlikely to useful to (or perhaps even
understood by!) anyone else.
- If you wish to complain or comment about some other subscriber
please do so directly to the subscriber and/or to the list owner -
NOT to the entire list.
- It is acceptable for new subscribers to post a message simply
listing their Devon research interests. However, repeated posting of
such messages, e.g. in response to some sort of "Roll Call", is not
- Use an informative subject line on any message to DEVON-L -
messages headed "Help", "New Subscriber", etc., might well escape the
attention of the readers who might be able to help.
Any comments on this message should be sent to me directly, NOT via the list.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) relating to DEVON
* 1. Why are so few Devon parish registers available on microfilm?
* 2. Why is Devon's coverage in the IGI rather limited?
* 3. What Devon wills survive?
* 4. I can't find <?????> in GENUKI/Devon - can you help?
* 5. Is it worth joining the Devon Family History Society?
* 6. What is Devon Family History Society's email address?
* 7. I've just subscribed - is anyone researching the name <?????>?
* 8. Could some SKS look up the <?????> census for me?
* 9. What is the WCSL?
* 10. What is the Burnet Morris Index?
* 11. Where are the records for <?????> parish?
* 12. Where is Stoke Damerel?
* 13. Where is Devonport?
* 14. How can I find more about the citation <?????> in GENUKI/Devon?
* 15. How can I contribute to GENUKI/Devon?
* 16. I have some photographs of <?????> church - would you
like them for GENUKI/Devon?
* 17. Can I submit my GEDCOM file to GENUKI/Devon?
* 18. How can I search the GENUKI/Devon pages?
* 19. What topics are appropriate for messages to DEVON-L?
* 20. What rules regarding copyright, etc., apply to DEVON-L postings?
* 21. How can I search the archive of messages to DEVON-L?
* 22. How do I unsubscribe from DEVON-L?
Newcomers to DEVON-L (and people who've mislaid their bookmarks!)
frequently post queries that could be easily answered by reference to
the World Wide Web-based UK & Ireland Genealogical Information
Service (GENUKI), in particular to GENUKI/Devon.
The purpose of this "Devon FAQ file" is to give answers to the above
queries, in many cases simply by reference to the appropriate section
of GENUKI/Devon, i.e. of: http://www.cs.ncl.ac.uk/genuki/DEV/
copy of this FAQ file will be posted occasionally to DEVON-L, and
also held in GENUKI, reachable directly from the GENUKI/Devon page,
as the file is also intended to be of assistance to GENUKI/Devon
The set of answers provided in this page supplement the more general
ones provided in the FAQ file for GENUKI as a whole - see
- which covers:
* 1. How do Mailing Lists, Newsgroups and the Web differ?
* 2. What is GENUKI?
* 3. I'm new to genealogy. How do I begin?
* 4. Where is the place called <?????>
* 5. Is there a Family History Society for <?????> county?
* 6. Is there a Surnames List for <?????>?
* 7. Is there a Mailing List for <?????>?
* 8. How do I find the address of the Local Register Office for <?????>?
* 9. How can I obtain a copy of a birth/marriage/death certificate?
* 10. Where are the Parish Registers for <?????>?
* 11. Can you recommend a good genealogy book catalogue?
* 12. How can I prepare for a visit to the National Archives?
* 13. I don't have means of accessing the Web - how can I use GENUKI?
* 14. I can't find <?????> in GENUKI - can you help?
1. Why are so few Devon parish registers available on microfilm?
The great majority of extant Devon parish registers are now in the
custody of the Devon Record Office and have been microfilmed.
However, until recently, in line with a formal agreement that was
entered into some years ago by the Diocese of Exeter, Devon County
Council, and the County Record Office copies of these microfilms were
not, in general, available for purchase, even by otherlibraries or
the LDS. It is now possible to purchase microfiche copies for private
study and research - see the Information Note provided to GENUKI by
the Devon Record Office, at
states, inter alia: "Requests for copies for purposes other than
private study and research (publication, for example) will also be
referred to the parish for permission before copies are supplied. If
in doubt as to what constitutes publication or when permission is
required, please consult the Devon Record Office for advice.")
Incidentally, following this recent change in policy, a growing
number of parish registertranscriptions are becoming available in
GENUKI/Devon - see the particular parish pages.
2. Why is Devon's coverage in the IGI rather limited?
The LDS has only been able to get permission to copy, and extract
into the IGI, non-conformist registers, and transcriptions of Devon
parish registers, (in the main from transcripts in the possession of
the Devon & Cornwall Record Society) - again, for further details see
under Church Records on the GENUKI/Devon page.
3. What Devon wills survive?
Prior to 1858, wills were proved in Devon in five main ecclesiastical
courts: the Archdeaconry courts of Totnes, Barnstaple and Exeter; the
Episcopal Consistory Court of Exeter, and the Episcopal Principal
Registry of Exeter. All these probate records were destroyed by fire
during World War II. Few had been abstracted beforehand, though
indexes had been prepared for all except the Totnes wills. Luckily,
the Public Record Office's files of Death Duty Registers (IR26 and
27) provide summaries of many but by no means all of the Devon wills
that were proved during the period 1796 to 1903, including those
destroyed in 1942. For further information see under Probate Records
on the GENUKI/Devon page. However, a few Devon parishes came under
the Archdeaconry of Cornwall, and Uffculme came under the Bishop of
Salisbury; their wills, plus various other individual transcriptions
and abstracts, survive - see the particular parish pages.
4. I can't find <?????> in GENUKI/Devon - can you help?
If you have exhausted the possibilities provided the GENUKI/Devon
Search facility (at
and linked to from near the top of the GENUKI/Devon page) then this
is a fine question to send to the DEVON-L mailing list. However,
please do not send such questions just to me. My own area of interest
and expertise regarding Devon centres on Clovelly in North Devon -
otherwise, just about all I know of Devon genealogy is already in the
Devon pages, maintenance of which takes up a good proportion of my
5. Is it worth joining the Devon Family History Society?
Yes, if you have any continuing research interests related to Devon.
The Society publishes a quarterly journal, has indexed a lot of
original Devon records, and now has a useful web site, at
. The annual subscription is very modest,
and the Society has - for use by those members who live near or can
visit Exeter - a sizeable library.
6. What is Devon Family History Society's email address?
7. I've just subscribed - is anyone researching the name <?????>?
There is a listing of Devon-related research interests in Graham
Jaunay's On-line English Names Research Directory. This is at
For information about how to add entries to the Directory see its
main page, at:
Incidentally, it is always a good idea to include with any query to
DEVON-L a brief indication of what searches of online and
conventional sources you have already made. This is in order to avoid
your receiving, and other respondents wasting effort providing,
information that you are already familiar with.
8. Could some SKS look up the <?????> census for me?
For those census years for which indexed transcriptions are
available, such a request is reasonable, although those for 1851 and
1881 are available very cheaply on CD-ROM from the LDS. However, for
years for which the census records have not been indexed, lookup
requests are unlikely to be successful unless you can provide a
fairly exact address. ("SKS", by the way, is a fairly common
abbreviation for "Some Kind Soul.")
Note that although the census in the UK is taken every 10 years, the
first being in 1801, national census records containing information
of interest to family historians are available only for 1841 to 1901.
The (unindexed) original records can be seen on either microfilm or
microfiche at the Family Records Centre in London, and at LDS Family
History Centres world-wide. Adding to GENUKI's extensive general
information about the census, at
, the situation for Devon
in particular is as follows:
* 1841 - NOT indexed, and difficult to read. A photographic copy is
available on CD-ROM from Stepping Stones - plans for a new CD-ROM
copy have been announced by Archive CD.
* 1851 - a fully-indexed transcription (together with that of Norfolk
and Warwickshire) is available on CD-ROM from the LDS.
* 1861 - the subject of a joint DFHS/FreeCen project to transcribe and index.
* 1871 - NOT indexed, but plans for a CD-ROM photographic copy have
been announced by Archive CD.
* 1881 - fully indexed transcription (for all of England, Scotland
and Wales) available on CD-ROM from the LDS, and online at
* 1891 - a FreeCen project to produce an online indexed transcription
is now nearing completion - see
* 1901 - available online at http://www.census.pro.gov.uk/index.html
(The index is free, everything else is pay per view.)
Pre-1841 census records exist for a few Devon parishes - details, and
some transcriptions, are given in the respective parish pages.
9. What is the WCSL?
The WCSL is the Westcountry Studies Library in Exeter. This is the
main section of the Devon Local Studies Reference Library, and has a
very large collection of books, pamphlets, etc., relevant to
Devonshire Local and Family history. It provides a very useful online
catalogue. For more details see under Archives and Libraries on the
10. What is the Burnet Morris Index?
This immensely useful general index, listing over a million
references to Devon places and people, is at the WCSL, but
microfilmed versions can be seen at any LDS Family History Centre.
(For the reference sources covered see the booklet "The Burnet Morris
Index 1940-1990", Devon Library Services, Exeter, 1990.)
11. Where are the records for <?????> parish?
In all probability in the Devon Record Office. You can check
availability of parish registers via the relevant GENUKI/Devon parish
page, and find some information regarding the Record Office's
holdings via http://www.cs.ncl.ac.uk/genuki/DEV/DevonCRO/
, though the
complete Record Office catalogue is not available online. (To obtain
actual information, you will need to visit one of the branches of the
Record Office yourself, or have someone undertake research there on
your behalf. Professional researchers and record agents advertise in
places such as the Genealogical Magazine, and Family Tree Magazine -
and the Devon Record Office itself provides a professional
genealogical research service.) Note, however, that from 1837 there
was a national civil registration system for births, marriages and
death, which in effect gradually supplanted the use of parish
registers - see
12. Where is Stoke Damerel?
Stoke Damerel is a large parish, adjoining Plymouth, which includes
Devonport. Answering a more general question, the button at the top
of the Devon page marked "Devon Towns & Parishes" will take you to a
page that provides links to all the individual Devon parishes (and
its most major towns), and that also lists the names of all the towns
and sizeable villages that were not parishes, and place names that
might be confused with parish names. However, there is also a much
larger (12,000 item) Online Devon Gazetteer which lists all the
chapels, churches, farms, hamlets, houses, inns, manors, schools,
streets, villages, banks, societies, institutions, etc., named in
White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Devonshire (1850). There
are links to this Gazetteer from near the top of, and under Genealogy
on, the GENUKI/Devon page. Its URL is:
13. Where is Devonport?
In Stoke Damerel. (Another modern placename that causes difficulty is
Newton Abbot - see Wolborough and Highweek parish pages.)
14. How can I find more about the citation <?????> in GENUKI/Devon?
The thousands of citations to books and articles given in
GENUKI/Devon come from a variety of sources - where possible library
catalogue numbers or ISBNs (International Standard Book Numbers) are
included. Such information is intended to help you locate a copy of
the item, in a good reference library, via an Inter-Library Loan
service operated by your library, or via one of the several on-line
union catalogues of second-hand booksellers, such as:
Another possibility is to seek help via the DEVON-L mailing list.
15. How can I contribute to GENUKI/Devon?
There are many possibilities. You could transcribe (having obtained
any necessary permissions and copyright clearances), original records
or published descriptive texts relating to parishes or topics of
interest to you. You could prepare your own descriptive texts about
places or topics on which you have gained expertise. (Such material
could either be hosted within GENUKI/Devon, or within your own space
and linked to from GENUKI/Devon.) You could act as, or assist, the
On-line Parish Clerk for a parish - see
There is a project to transcribe the 1891 Census for Devon that is
nearing completion - see
, plus a new project
to transcribe the 1861 Census - see
with a project to index published parish histories and the like - see
- for each of
which additional volunteers are always welcome. Finally, more general
information about how you could contribute to GENUKI is to be found
16. I have some photographs of <?????> church - would you like them
The space available in the GENUKI web server is not extensive enough
to make it feasible to accept digitised photographs, but links can be
made to such photographs held elsewhere.
17. Can I submit my GEDCOM file to GENUKI/Devon?
In the main, the information that is provided in GENUKI relates to
primary historical material, rather than material resulting from
genealogists' ongoing research, such as GEDCOM files. There are many
online archives that accept such files, in particular the LDS's
Ancestral File system, and GenServ (http://www.genserv.com/
However, if you have produced a narrative account of the life and
times of an ancestor or group of ancestors, from a particular Devon
parish, that could be of general interest, and so would be a very
welcome addition to GENUKI.
18. How can I search the GENUKI/Devon pages?
There is a facility for searching all the Devon pages which can be
reached via the "Contents" button at the top of each page. This in
fact leads to links to search facilities for both Devon and for
GENUKI as a whole (i.e covering all of the UK & Ireland, together
with FHS and other directly-relevant web-sites), as well as to
detailed hierarchically-organised contents listings of the Devon, and
all the other sets of, GENUKI pages.
19. What topics are appropriate for messages to DEVON-L?
Ideas for messages to the list can include: - The Devon surnames you
are researching - Queries regarding Devon individuals or families -
Questions or information regarding Devon localities - Questions or
information about Devon genealogical research - Requests for or
offers of help on Devon genealogical research - Tips & tricks
regarding Devon genealogical research that you'd like to share with
Please refrain from postings which are not of relevance to Devon
genealogy - such as messages concerned with genealogical software
packages. In particular, do not post messages about computer viruses
to the list. (Anyone ignoring this rule is liable to be automatically
unsubscribed.) If you have a query or information about a possible
computer virus, send it directly to the list owner, Vicki Lindsay
Thauvin <vicki(a)thauvin.net> who will if appropriate communicate its
contents to the list. The reason for this rule is simple - fear of
viruses is such that any message on the mailing list about a virus is
such that, even if the message is itself timely and factually correct
(something which is far from always the case), it will lead to a
whole host of follow up messages, often of dubious accuracy, which
themselves constitute a sort of virus, and annoy many subscribers.
Similarly, please do not use the DEVON-L list for messages (such as
thank you messages) that are aimed at a specific individual, and
which do not contain information which is likely to useful to (or
perhaps even understood by!) anyone else. Such messages should be
sent by direct email, so as to avoid clogging up many hundreds of
mailboxes world-wide. And, please, use an informative subject line on
any message to DEVON-L - messages headed "Help", "New Subscriber",
etc., might well escape the attention of the readers who might be
able to help.
If you wish to complain or comment about some other subscriber please
do so directly to the subscriber and/or to the list owner - NOT to
the entire list, which just exacerbates the problem. Vicki, as is
evident from her occasional messages to the list, is quite capable of
dealing politely but decisively with people who misuse the mailing
It is acceptable for new subscribers to post a message simply listing
their Devon research interests. However, repeated posting of such
messages, e.g. in response to some sort of "Roll Call", is not
acceptable, due to the impact they can have both on the level of
traffic on DEVON-L, and its "signal-to-noise" ratio, i.e. average
level of interest to subscribers. (Repeated flouting of this rule
will lead to the sender being unsubscribed.)
Instead, subscribers are urged to make use of the Devon Surnames List
which is set up expressly for the purpose of enabling people to
"advertise" their research interests. This is kept up to date,
remains generally available, and is very easily searched - in
contrast to the difficulty, often impracticality, of searching past
postings on DEVON-L for references to individuals and families of
interest. The Surnames List is at:
Submission details are at:
20. What rules regarding copyright, etc., apply to DEVON-L postings?
Please do not post extensive transcriptions from documents or
publications unless you can demonstrate that you have good reason to
believe that you are not offending against either the wishes or the
legal rights of the owner, or against copyright.
Note that if an individual, or an archive, owns a document, then they
have every right to constrain someone who they allow to look at or
borrow that document, e.g. not to copy this document. (It is on this
basis that some Devon parishes are refusing to allow their parish
registers to be published online.) The owners may well have
buttressed their rights by requiring you to sign a form acknowledging
the constraint beforehand - but merely telling you is sufficient,
since the notion of a contract does not depend on any actual
paperwork or signatures. But if you are the legal owner of a
document, or you have not entered into any contract that binds you in
some way, and the content of the document is not copyright, then
there is no legal impediment to your providing transcriptions - but
Copyright typically exists in any published document until 70 years
after the death of the author, whereas Crown Copyright typically
exists for 50 years after publication or, in the case unpublished
documents, for 125 years after the date of creation. To copy or
publish substantial parts of a work in copyright you have to obtain
For up-to-date, detailed advice about copyright and crown copyright
matters see the various documents listed in:
Luckily, since 1999, Crown Copyright has been waived in the contents
of most unpublished public records held in the Public Record Office
and other official archives, such as county record offices, so such
documents (which include census records) can be transcribed and made
available electronically, e.g. via DEVON-L or in GENUKI/Devon,
without permission or acknowledgement.
However, the bottom line is that we must do everything we can to
build a climate of trust and cooperation with the relevant archive
and church authorities, as well as cement our existing cooperation
with organisations such as Devon Record Office and the Devon Family
History Society. Thus the letter of the law is less important than
the spirit of the law - only by being careful not to offend the
people who possess information, in the various libraries, archives,
churches, etc., can we retain their continued cooperation. So when
there is any doubt you should request permission beforehand, rather
than rely on a narrow and perhaps arguable interpretation of the
letter of the law to justify your posting. (This applies particularly
to Devon parish register transcriptions, given the sensitivities
21. How can I search the archive of messages to DEVON-L?
The mailing list search page
) at Rootsweb,
which hosts the DEVON-L mailing list, can be used to obtain a DEVON-L
search form. Just specify "DEVON-L" in the space labelled "Name of
List" and click on "Submit" - this will bring up a specific search
form which you can then use for your queries.
22. How do I unsubscribe from DEVON-L?
To unsubscribe from DEVON-L, send an e-mail message to:
In the subject and body of your message type:
and nothing else. (Be sure not to use a signature file with this command.)
School of Computing Science, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne,
NE1 7RU, UK
EMAIL = Brian.Randell(a)ncl.ac.uk PHONE = +44 191 222 7923
FAX = +44 191 222 8232 URL = http://www.cs.ncl.ac.uk/~brian.randell/
==== DEVON Mailing List ====
The DEVON-L mailing list is co-sponsored by GENUKI/Devon
the Devon FHS ( http://www.devonfhs.org.uk/
School of Computing Science, University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne,
NE1 7RU, UK
EMAIL = Brian.Randell(a)ncl.ac.uk PHONE = +44 191 222 7923
FAX = +44 191 222 8232 URL = http://www.cs.ncl.ac.uk/~brian.randell/