Welcome, fellow genealogists! My blog will teach you about U.S. land records and United Kingdom research. My family has roots in Niagara County, New York; Norfolk, England; and northeast Germany.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wisdom Wednesday: Chapman County Codes Plus Two Notes

If you are researching in one of the UK counties with a long name, such as Gloucestershire or Northumberland, you owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Colin R. Chapman, the originator of the three letter Chapman County Codes. Even my research in six-letter Norfolk is helped by not having to type anything but NFK twenty times each day. You can read his rather modest description of his accomplishment at his web site, www.lochinpublishing.org.uk/chapman_cc.htm.  (That is chapman_cc.htm.)

With a doctorate and career in industrial chemistry and engineering, Chapman was also a genealogist. He set out to organize already existing, but conflicting sets of abbreviations. He thought genealogists as well as historians, demographers and geographers would benefit. These codes were not commissioned by the post office as I bet many of us thought. Originally, Chapman’s list covered the counties of the British Isles and the Channel Islands, the Isle of Mann and the Isle of Wight, but now these codes are used by international standards organizations for developing abbreviations in other countries.
The website above gives a complete list of the original British Isles codes. (Google “chapman codes” and you will find lists at genuki, Wikipedia and rootsweb, some very international in scope.)

At the Lochin Publishing site, there is a list of ten of the fourteen genealogy books Dr. Chapman has written and you can order.  Notice that one is titled, Tracing Ancestors In Northamptonshire. No wonder he developed a code, NTH.
Note 1: I write this blog ahead to cover holidays and busy periods, but there are no new posts waiting in the wings to cover two travel periods, one next week and one beginning May 8th. Yes, I will be at the National Genealogical Society meeting in Cincinnati from May 8th to the 13th. If I am not exhausted and soaking my feet in ice water, I will try to post impressions from my first national meeting. Dick Eastman usually gives his readers this kind of heads up but seldom actually misses a day. I hope it works out like that for me, too.

Note 2: I may have had a break through so to speak on my English family, until now I describe it as a group of Ag Labs from Norfolk. Recently I saw that around the time of their emigration, they were becoming non-conformists, borne out by their records in both England and their new country. I want to study non-conformity and dissenters (terms I hate) and try to learn how that history relates to my family. As part of the 1851 British Census, there was a religious ‘census.’ It lists the churches and chapels in a community and the number attending services on a selected Sunday. My family left Norfolk in the early 1850s so it should prove very helpful, and you can look forward to  a series of religious posts.
Susan Lewis Well, 2012

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