Update: release of Welsh counties

On April 8 we stated that we hoped to have some data from Wales available by the end of May. This release has been put back due to the complexity of transcribing the original Welsh-language records, and we now hope to upload all of the Welsh data by the end of June.

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39 Responses to “Update: release of Welsh counties”

  1. paul Says:

    This is great news! The end of June will nto arrive quick enough for me though I am afraid. All the same though, thank you very much to all you peeps over at FMP for your hard work and determination with this project

  2. peter m Says:

    This appears to contradict a previous blog entry:

    “# iantester Says:
    March 23rd, 2009 at 3:29 pm
    Welsh counties are relatively fast to scan and transcribe because of the low population numbers in 1911 so they will come through much more quickly than English ones.”

    Will the welsh counties be released a couple at a time or are you saying they will all be released together?

  3. Stephen Partridge Says:

    This is very disappointing. First, on 8 April you actually said that “we anticipate that we will have some data from Wales available in the next 4 to 6 weeks”, ie the beginning to the middle of May – not the end. Secondly, the fact that some of the records were in Welsh can’t have come as a surprise to you so this should have been factored in to your resourcing and schedule from the start. Thirdly, I would guess that a significant proportion of the records are in English and so why can’t these be made available on your original schedule? I’m not Welsh, I just happen to have some ancestors who lived there for a few years around 1911, but if I was Welsh I would be livid at the second class service Wales has received on this project. Making some records available while you are working on others rather than waiting for the whole project to be completed was an excellent decision. What I can’t understand is why the all the counties of England and Wales were not processed in descending population size. I assume that several counties of Wales had significantly more people than many of the smaller English counties.

  4. Davey Says:

    On 8th April you said “we anticipate that we will have some data from Wales available in the next 4 to 6 weeks”. My dictionary defines that as expecting it to happen. And now you “hope” it will happen by the end of June. I hope to win the lottery but then pigs might fly.

    Could you please confirm that your plan is to make ALL Welsh Counties available in one go by the end of June rather than releasing them a few at a time.

    What exactly is the “complexity of transcribing the original Welsh-language records” Are they in Welsh and need translating, is it all the double L’s and D’s that are confusing you, or do the Welsh have particularly bad handwriting.

  5. Helen Says:

    That will take it to six months after the initial announcement that the “England and Wales” census is on line. I really do appreciate the effort that has gone into this but feel really let down that I’ve had to wait so long. I am almost completely Welsh and agree with Stephen above that some of the larger counties could have been looked at before now. Another month’s delay is a long time to wait when you’ve already waited five.

  6. Sheila Says:

    I can’t believe how rude some people are. Have you ever tried transcribing records? I too am waiting to find a relative in Wales but surely another couple of months doesn’t make that much difference.
    Thank you to all who are working on this project. The good work is appreicated by some.

  7. Stephen Partridge Says:

    In reply to Sheila, I don’t think that people are being particularly rude - if anything the only rudeness on this particular post is that having given an estimate that some of the work would be completed by now, the deadline is suddenly moved by the better part of two months with no word of apology. Everyone accepts that circumstances change, that estimating schedules is an imperfect art and that it is better to get it right but late than on time but wrong. However, I certainly would never tell my clients that a job would be ready by a certain date and then announce on that date that actually it would be another two months – and if I had to I would certainly start with an apology.

    Secondly, I don’t think anyone is directing their complaints at the people doing the transcriptions. The important thing to remember is that findmypast.com is not a charity but a business. It is a business that I have paid some money to in the expectation of a defined service and it is under-delivering on that service. Under those circumstances I think I am perfectly entitled to say that I am disappointed.

    That said, for the counties that have been completed the quality of the scans is superb and the indexing has been at least as good as on other sites. Also, the openness with which they allow this blog to be used to express and respond to customer opinion is exceptional – I wish that my bank and utilities companies would do the same!

    My point is simply that when you encounter problems on any project, if you want to maintain a certain level of quality then you have to choose whether it is the schedule that gets blown or the resources that have to be increased. It annoys me when companies take the option that inconveniences the customer rather than dents profits.

  8. anon Says:

    Yes it’s disappointing but don’t forget that it’s been released early, at least we are not all having to wait until 2/1/2012.

  9. SM Says:

    I think that this project has been a great success, think of the scale of it, the releases have been on time i.e from 2009 (or 2008 trial) onwards, this was always the target up to 2012 (when full data is available), at this rate the whole census will be online well before the end of 2009.

    How many projects of this scale usually finish on time ?? Not many …

    Well done FMP !

    PS: Don’t forget until a few years ago you weren’t expected to have the 1911 census until 2012… what is a few more weeks over 3 more years ….

  10. Angela Says:

    I agree that it’s a nuisance having to wait, but on the other hand the information will still be available at least 18 months before we might originally have expected to have access, ie 2011. I was lucky enough to have found all but one of the items from my English wish-list before the 1911 Census was even on general release, so I don’t really object to a wait of a month or so longer for the Welsh ones. What I really want to see is the North Wales information for 1921, and there will be no early release for that one!

  11. Myfanwy Says:

    Whilst I am really disappointed at the delay, (as I have a LOT of welsh records to look for, lol) anyone who has transcribed Welsh records in the past will fully appreciate the complexities of translation, particularly places and occupations. I for one would rather wait and have accurate records, so I do not waste my valuble credits on mis-transcribed items :-)

    As for processing Counties in descending population size, I would think that this would actually delay things - the books were archived in a particular order, scanned in that order and I presume uploaded and transcribed in that order too. To keep moving about all the counties would interupt the “natural order” and I would think could even waste time. The best way to transcribe any records is always to start at the begining, carry on through the middle and finish at the end….

    I would like to know if all counties will be going “live” at the same time though, or be split into one or two releases…any chance of an answer on this “iantester”??

  12. Jill Says:

    Am disappointed but we will have to wait. I am desperate to see my ancestors family who moved to Wales. I bought credits in anticipation but find I am frittering them away on other more distant research.

    I agree with all these comments - FMP is a business - a large one at that, but it is a big project and a lot of people are working hard to get it completed. Also agree with view on Wales being treated a bit as second class - and I’m not Welsh.

    Like the first comment I just cant wait to see this data! And I suppose my love/hate relationship with the various ancestry sites will continue……

  13. Welshlady Says:

    Grateful that 1911 Census was released early but very disappointed that not one Welsh county has been added yet - I’m Welsh and live in Wales as do 99% of my ancestors!!

    I’m desperately waiting for Glamorgan, Carmarthen & Monmouth to come on line. I do agree with Myfanwy though that I’d rather have accurate records transcribed. I don’t want to waste valuable credits on wrong names, place of birth etc. either.

    However I would very much like to be given and answer as to whether they are waiting for the whole of Wales to be transcribed before it goes on line.

    It was my understanding they were getting ready to ‘go live’ with at least 3 of the counties in May.

    Fingers crossed it won’t be put back again!!

  14. Mark Chapman Says:

    I wish people would moderate their whining - we are getting this information at least two years ahead of schedule!

  15. Simon Evans Says:

    I understand that we are getting these records early but the frustration is the lack of communication/update from our friends at FMP. Remember they are a business not a charity.

    We were told at the begining of April, as ‘Welshlady’ says that 3 counties would be ready in 4 to 6 weeks but now it says the whole of Wales to be uploaded by end of June.

    Please, please, please, could someone from FMP clarify the situation and end this frustration for all of us with welsh ancestors.

  16. Ddraig Gymraeg Says:

    All I can say about this further delay to Welsh records is CACI TARW - Welsh people will have a laugh at that

  17. Caro O'Neill Says:

    This is very disappointing. I have been counting the days down from 8th April and was expecting to wait only one more week before some Welsh data was available. For those of us with almost entirely Welsh ancestors who have been patiently waiting it it a little bit of a kick in the teeth to be told that the complexity of transcribing the Welsh language records wasn’t anticipated, but I agree that it is better to wait longer and have accurate transcriptions. With so many common surnames in Wales it will be essential to have accurate transcriptions of place names.

    I have two questions (which if anyone can answer I’d be very grateful)

    1. Does “hope to upload all of the Welsh data by the end of June” mean that no Welsh data can be expected before the end of June at the earliest, or will some counties be uploaded as scanning/transcription of them is completed?

    2. I purchased £50.00 worth of credits before I realised that the Welsh data was not going to be available at launch. I’ve used some of them on distant English ancestors but am beginning to wonder if the credits I have left are going to expire before the Welsh data is available. If there are further delays will it be possible to get an extension on expiry time for credits already purchased?

  18. iantester Says:

    @Simon: what would you like us to clarify beyond the information in this post?

    @Caro: all credits are valid for a year except the £6.95 package, so no worries there. £6.95 credits have already been extended to meet the Welsh record release date.

    @Ddraig: Caci has similar roots in many languages, so it’s not hard to work out what you’re saying!

  19. Simon Evans Says:

    Ian Tester

    The need for clarification has arrisen because of the following two announcements;

    On April 8 you announced that ‘Scanning of Welsh records is well underway and we are working on the transcriptions of the first batch of Welsh counties, which will be the next data release. Although we do not have a precise release date for them yet, we anticipate that we will have some data from Wales available in the next 4 to 6 weeks.’

    On the 7th May you announce that ‘On April 8 we stated that we hoped to have some data from Wales available by the end of May. This release has been put back due to the complexity of transcribing the original Welsh-language records, and we now hope to upload all of the Welsh data by the end of June.’

    Please clarify whether we will have to wait until the end of June for all of the Welsh counties to be uploaded or are you going to upload counties in a series of releases as was done with England?

    I apologise if this was not made clear by my original entry but after reading the previous quotes I thought the source of peoples frustration was quite clear.

  20. iantester Says:

    @Simon and all - I have spoken to the team: it is most likely that all counties will be released as a single batch. Hope that helps to clarify things for the moment.

  21. paul Says:

    @Ddraig Gymraeg

    Bull Shit

  22. Robert Jones Says:

    I originaly signed up for the trial of 1911 census and got to use the service last year before it came on line. So why was none of the Welsh counties included in the trial? I could then have provided the requested feedback for the welsh counties. I also agree with most of the coments posted here about the availability of the welsh counties, why are they not available as they are transcribed? or available for people to view in the original Welsh language they were writen in. I appreciate there are a lot of non welsh speakers who need them translated, however there are also people who can read and write welsh who could have used the service while it was being transcribed.

  23. iantester Says:

    @Robert: at the point of the trial the Welsh records had not been scanned so they were not available in any form for testing. Unfortunately, we can’t release images before transcriptions, as the transcription forms the basis of the search index i.e no transcription = no way to search the images!

    @All: the reason for releasing the records in one batch is that it is quicker to do it that way - the extra data processing we have to apply to all the records is easier to do in one go and it also prevents the need for multiple data uploads, each of which is extremely time consuming. Apologies again for the delay, but we do have quality standards to maintain and we are sure that you’d rather get the records a few weeks later than in a substandard, hard-to-search format.

  24. toe-knee Says:

    On May 13 (iantester said) “£6.95 credits have already been extended to meet the Welsh record release date.”
    As one of those £6.95 subscribers waiting for Welsh records, I’m likely to forfeit my “subscription” because my extended expiry date (10 July) with a 2-week holiday in early July is likely come before I could probably search the records. Are there any plans to re-extend credits for £6.95 customers - with similar circumstances - to ensure we haven’t paid for nothing?

  25. powellwestwall Says:

    patience is a virtue, so i was told having read everyone’s messages
    i think we need a little. it’s tough searching for ancestors as it is, without
    getting stressed . hang in there and the info we all need will be available to us

  26. iantester Says:

    @toe-knee: you should have ample opportunity to search those records and use your credits before your holiday comes around!

  27. Anne in Wales Says:

    Why are you NOT releasing the welsh county indexes as they become available, just as you did for the english ones?

    Why are you NOT giving Wales the same treatment as England?

    It seems to me that you are treating the whole of Wales as one county. This is NOT fair!

  28. iantester Says:

    @Anne - the reason for this release is explained above. In actual fact we are doing something very similar to England releases - i.e we are releasing records when we have several million available in one go. If we release Wales in batches, it would extend the release process by weeks if not months as we would have to apply the same processing to records multiple times.

  29. Ianto Gwent Says:

    Having read allm of the foregoing, the bulk of the complainants apear to be English. I suggest all records are released in Welsh and let the “Sais” do their own translations. Twllch Du Bob Sais!

  30. Pauline Says:

    @iantester.

    I noticed that your original post said “released by the end of June” any update on this, is it likely to be before the end of June! thank you.

  31. Rebekah Markham Says:

    I dont buy into the Welsh translation problems, it didnt seem to affect previous census reports. The majority of Welsh residents filled out their forms in English! We’ve been so patient, but people have lost credits because of the expected release date being prolonged for so long. Please, please can we at least have whats available? I arranged to visit my ancestors old homes in Glamorgan just after the census was due out, as I needed the census info…..but the census obviously wasn’t released and as I’d already paid for my break in advance I still went - minus the info I was hoping to have. I cant afford to go again until next year. This census release seems to be very mis-managed. You’re happy to grab money for expensive credits but the service isn’t really upto scratch. I wish Ancestry had the census, we could hopefully use the same search facility as on the other census reports too, instead of FMP’s search facility which isnt as effective.

  32. mavis reid Says:

    more often than not the results are O found, even when I know that they should be. i have tested this by putting in information of an address (i.e. high street, poole, dorset and west street) and also a record that my neice found in the 1911 census on ancestry.com which is alice thompson residing at the dorset girls industrial school, west street, poole, dorset. i have also entered the name of my grandmother who i know was well and alive then and living in poole but the result was the same O found!

  33. iantester Says:

    @mavis: there are a couple of posts on this blog which should help you get to grips with the address search - there’s also some tips on the main site. Hope that helps! By the way - very unlikely that you daughter found a 1911 census record on ancestry, as they only exist on this website!

  34. iantester Says:

    @Rebekah: the reason there were no issues with Welsh language returns in previous censuses was that there were no household schedules, and the Enumerators worked in English! We have extended the validity of any credits bought in the first few months, so nobody should have lost any - if they have, our Customer Support team will happily extend them. The good news is that we are now very close to releasing the welsh records, so your wait will soon be at an end.

  35. Lisa Says:

    Woohoo!!

  36. Anna Says:

    There seems to be some access today as I have found family on both sides in Gelli and Ystalyfera. There has been nothing official, however.

  37. Syl Says:

    Even though I have read that the Welsh 1911 census were available online today I and my daughter have failed to access the web page,
    all we get are the English countes,Would be very grateful of any help

  38. iantester Says:

    @Syl - please contact the Customer Support team and they will be happy to help you.

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