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Newsletter from Free UK Genealogy, an umbrella charity for FreeBMD, FreeREG and FreeCEN.

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Equinoctal Greetings! 

 
Volunteer for Free UK Gen


Did you know that we don't just have volunteer transcribers working with us at Free UK Genealogy? There are lots of other opportunities, from coordinators to developers to marketing roles. We have recently welcomed 3 new volunteer developers to our projects: Chika, Israel and Chase. Israel and Chika have updated webpages for FreeBMD, Chase is currently working with us on our plans for enabling our transcribers to work online, and Israel is now also starting to work on FreeREG and FreeCEN.

Sandra Adams-West, volunteer Communications Coordinator (CC) at FreeREG, describes the work that she does, with the valuable help of Ilush Bricknell, assistant CC:

 
"We handle any queries or questions that researchers have about the website, volunteering, genealogical questions, The biggest part of this aspect of the job is dealing with errors in records, things like names not spelled correctly, or dates that are wrong and so forth.
 
We also deal with feedback from members and coordinators, which usually involve more technical aspects of the FreeREG website. This involves us checking to see if a similar issue has already been raised, or we may raise the issue for the techies to have a look at.
 
We deal with people from all over the world. We can get anywhere from 2 to 20 new contacts in a day. A number of coordinators will deal with queries on their own for approximately 22 counties spread between England, Wales and Scotland."
 
For more information about volunteering, visit http://www.freeukgenealogy.org.uk/about/volunteer/ (Opens in a new window)
 

FreeBMD News

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FreeBMD is currently active in transcribing the index for years up to and including 1979.
 
We have transcribed over 370 million records of which over 73 million records are double keyed to improve the accuracy of our database.
 
Approximately 27,000 new records are currently added to the database each due the magnificent effort of over 500 active transcribers.
 
FreeBMD since its inception in late 1998 have attracted over 12,200 transcribers who have actively contributed to the 370 million records. Imagine how quickly we could further increase the database if we could recruit even more activate transcribers. Anyone interested please visit our joining pages at: http://www.freebmd.org.uk/Signup.html (opens in a new window).
 
FreeBMD is justifiably proud of continually improving the accuracy of its database and uses various tools to achieve this aim, double keying being just one such tool.
 
We actively encourage visitors who search our database to report any errors they find in our records. To help support this we introduced an automatic administration correction reporting system in June 2015 and since then we have completed almost 39000 correction requests at a completion rate of 83 per day.
 

FreeBMD Rejuvenation


We are in the process of creating a FreeBMD Roadmap, detailing the improvements to be made to the website and service. Some of the initial ideas include:
 
  • Access to post-1983 data
  • Inclusion of other data such as BMD for armed forces
  • Visual revamp of web pages
  • Alternative mailing list to RootsWeb
  • Make the FreeBMD site more mobile friendly along the lines of FreeREG
  • Look into implementing a menu-driven page, which when you hover over a particular section takes you to a list of sub sections
  • Explore the possibility of resource integration with other organisations.
Shaw Trust Testers


Making Free UK Genealogy 'accessible to all'


An important part of the rejuvenation of FreeREG is making the website accessible to all family history researchers, so Free UK Genealogy have asked The Shaw Trust to audit the FreeREG site. Last month Pat and I went along to the Shaw Trust in Neath, South Wales to see first-hand some of the challenges less able people face when using our website. We saw their pan-disability testers (pictured above) using a variety of assistive technologies like Dragon (speech-to-text), Keyboard Only (non-mouse), ZoomText10 (magnifier) and Screen Reader (for those without sight). The insight we gained was incredibly useful and with the feedback from the Shaw Trust audit report, our developers are now working on bringing the website in line with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0. These improvements will also address issues that some people without disabilities have reported with using FreeREG, such as colour contrast e.g. the grey text being too pale.

Linking with useful family history sites and services


We are in the process of updating the links we have on our website that take users to useful sites and services. We are also looking to encourage websites whose users may find our service useful, to link to us.

If you can suggest any websites that you think would fall into either category, please email info@freeukgen.org.uk.
Thank you for your ongoing support, from all of us at Free UK Genealogy!
 
Denise Colbert
Engagement Coordinator
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