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the article and data that initiated the Ravenstonedale  project


our project page on the Family Tree DNA website

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Ravenstonedale DNA project

Ravenstonedale DNA project

An example of an OCR printed version of Rev Metcalfe's Ravenstonedale Registers

A couple of years ago, I was foolish enough to purchase online what seemed to be a potentially very useful copy of The Ravenstonedale Parish Registers ... the photo on the website of the cover of the publication looked convincing, but when it arrived I realised I had been conned!


It had clearly been produced using OCR (optical character recognition) and although some of the text was nonsense, most of the names were actually pretty reliably copied (there was indeed considerable variation in the spelling of names from today's spelling in the original).  And Rev Metcalfe had gone out of out of his way to ensure that spellings were faithfully copied EXACTLY as they appeared on the original entries, and that the printer used various typefaces to represent the sizes and styles of handwriting and precise layout of the original documents.


But, the problem was that ALL the formatting had been lost - with the result that the Dates had become separated from the Details.  Pretty disastrous for a book containing lists of baptisms, marriages and burials, where the dates really DO need to be connected to the details!!  


This is the OCR version:                                                          And here is the original version:

example of OCR PRs
original version of same page of PRs

Rev Metcalfe's notes, e.g. [T. Margaret] indicate where the Bishop's Transcripts recorded a slightly different version to the original Registers .. even that useful piece of information has somehow been lost in the OCR version on the left!

So - YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! Don't make the same mistake as me, and if you are shopping online for old books, ALWAYS ensure that you are buying a real (second hand) copy of books and especially parish registers ... read the small print very carefully!

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