Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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November 2007 – A Cause for Celebration

Celebration Fireworks
Celebration Fireworks

I am really pleased to announce that on 10 November 2007 we passed the milestone of uploading the 4000th individual record to Ryde Social Heritage Group’s website.

This has been made possible by all the volunteers who give their time and effort to the project.

David Earle and his team members, Lydia Jackson and Stephen Day, produce the maps. They start with copies of the hand drawn maps supplied by Bereavement Services. Some of these maps date back to the 1840s and they are not always easy to read or understand. The mapping group carries out surveys in the cemetery, on a weekly basis, checking the names, details and location of graves. David then produces the lovely clear digital maps that can be downloaded for free from the website map page.

Paper copies of the maps are handed to the Transcribing Group.

The Transcribing Group led by myself is made up of Rosemary Smith (who we all call Bubbles), Maisie Kitching, Rosemarie Robinson, Diana Riach, Kate McDonnell, Liz Graves and Rachael Mead. The Group meets every Saturday morning (weather permitting) for a couple of hours. Some members turn up every week without fail, Bubbles even turned up one day when it was pouring with rain – that’s dedication for you! Other members come along when they are able.

As well as transcribing the memorials we make notes of any errors on the maps and these are passed back to David who makes the necessary alterations and corrections.

We also take photographs of the graves. Normally two photographs are taken: one showing the grave in it’s surrounding location, i.e. with the adjacent graves or any significant landmarks (this would help anyone trying to find a grave using RSHG information) and the second a photograph of the memorial/headstone itself. If a grave is very ornate or complicated then we take more than two photographs, and very occasionally, if there is not much to see, only one photograph is taken.

Within a couple of days of the information being transcribed Maisie will have uploaded the records on to the website and as soon as possible after that I add the photographs. There are still some old records on the website waiting for photographs to be added but eventually every record will have at least one photograph attached.

Once the records have been uploaded the information is passed to our Research Group, led by Ann Barrett and consisting of members Marilyn Newnsham, Lydia Jackson and Diana Riach. The Researchers check the names and dates against other records. The headstones and memorials are not always easy to read and although we (The Transcribers) never guess what might be on the stone we do sometimes misread them. Errors can also occur when the information is typed up for the website, so the Research Group checks the information that is passed to them and makes any necessary corrections.

After that the Research Group trawls through all the available information: such as census records; local directories; birth, marriage and death records as well as copies of old local newspapers for any other information relating to the people buried in Ryde Cemetery.

When additional information is found it is added to the records on the website and a list of additions is posted every month at the bottom of the Features and Stories page.

The whole process is a concerted Team Effort by a small group of dedicated people all working together for the same end result – making this website as accurate and as full of information about the people of Ryde as we can make it.

But it doesn’t stop there, our Publications Group, led by Carol Strong and consisting of Rachael Mead, Liz Graves and myself, takes all that information from the website and produces newsletters, display sheets and exhibition materials and is in the process of turning it into a book to be published early next year.

Congratulations and thanks are due to all of Ryde Social Heritage Group’s volunteers who are so dedicated and contribute so much of their own time.

Well done and thanks to you all, keep up the excellent work!

Janette Gregson
Ryde Social Heritage Group
11 November 2007