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Cornwall Family History Society - Database Development
The Cornwall Family History Society aims to become a ‘centre of excellence’ encouraging research into Cornish family history, by co-ordinating transcription and indexing of original records by its members, by maintaining a research library in Truro for members and the general public, by offering a means of contact and information exchange between members. The Society was formed in 1976 and now has a great many active members, many live outside Cornwall, with members in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and other countries.
The Society is a UK registered non-profit charity with a Library and office in Truro staffed by volunteers. The Society is run by an eleven member Executive Committee, the Trustees of the charity.
Over the last twenty years various tools have been used to bring together details of family history from across Cornwall. Volunteers have mapped burial grounds, transcribed church marriage books and a hundred other such tasks. Much of the data has been collated using, at first Microsoft Excel and later Microsoft Access. Volunteers have pulled together the information for areas of historic interest, such as Census, Births, Marriages, Ships passengers and many more. These were then imported into Microsoft Access, until CFHS had over twenty separate databases each containing some dozens of data tables.
A volunteer and member of the CFHS executive had even built a database to administrate the membership subscriptions. All of this information was available to members to help them trace their family history, when they visited the CFHS library in Truro.
The executive recognised that the next phase for the society, was to pull this data together in a centralised manner and make tracing data and finding specific information easier. They also wanted to enable members from all over the world to get access to the collected history data.
After tendering to several local consultants, the executive of CFHS chose Camway Computing to work with their web design agency to create two centralised databases using Microsoft SQL server.
Camway worked with CFHS IT supplier to install a new server to host Microsoft SQL server and the WEB server software.
The first phase was to clean and re-engineer the Membership Database so that it worked more effectively in the Truro library and was also tightly integrated with the CFHS website, providing a specialist area for members of Cornwall Family History Society to communicate and share interests and pictures with each other.
Camway then worked with the volunteers at Truro to convert each of the required data sets to MS-SQL server, whilst also providing the staff with tools in MS Access to update and maintain the dozens of tables that the society had accumulated over the years.
Members now have direct access to the Cornwall census records from 1841 to 1901, Cornwall births, marriages, burials, monumental inscriptions, masters and mates lists, ships passenger lists, apprenticeships, historic postcards and much more.