On February 1st, I announced the final step in our transition to FreeCEN2 transcription uploads to coordinators. The FreeCEN2 website launched in 2017, almost six years ago. The new website is much more accessible and has a much better user interface. FreeCEN1 (the old website) will be available until FreeCEN2 has all of the features on FreeCEN1. Data updates to FreeCEN1 have ceased as we can no longer support the old update method.
The new website has a different uploading mechanism, developed to replace obsolete software programs, improve data quality and, in future, to enable better search facilities. We have continued to support both systems for a period of parallel running. However, this is not an efficient use of resources, and is not intended to be a permanent solution.
We have engaged with our transcribers to support their transition to the new platform and address any concerns. Nearly all of our transcribers have now transitioned to the new platform. In the last 18 months or so, coordinators have incorporated over 4.5 million records into the new system with no significant issues. Whilst the new spreadsheets collect some additional information, the overall work involved is reduced because the need for repetitive entries has been eliminated.
The future development of FreeCEN is contained in a plan that we call the Roadmap, which transcribers can in your list of Actions on the FreeCEN2 login page. This Roadmap is available to everybody with a login and is currently being updated. We have now completed Phases 1 and 2 of the Roadmap and are close to completing all the currently possible parts of Phase 3. Phase 4 involves search engine enhancements for researchers.
After careful consideration by the trustees, and on the recommendation of the FreeCEN Committee, we have decided to bring the transition to an end and have set 31st March 2023 as the final date for uploading VLDs. The decision to cease these uploads was not taken lightly. It was taken for the greater benefit of FreeCEN and the researchers who search our records. It will allow us to commence the development of additional search options for researchers in Phase 4 of the Roadmap. Any work that you may have done on the traditional spreadsheets, and which has not been published, will not be lost. These spreadsheets will still be able to be managed by coordinators using the options available in FreeCEN2 for conversion and validation.
We know that this is a difficult transition. We accept that some transcribers and coordinators may decide not to transition to the new platform. If your coordinator is not transitioning please email me so that we can ensure you are supported. If you haven’t already created a login on FreeCEN2, you can do this by following the steps in this video:
When it comes to choosing a county, please select the one you are working on currently.
Free UK Genealogy is an organisation built on volunteers and we value your contributions enormously. We want to support people as much as we can to move to the new platform and we hope that as many as possible can make the transition and continue to produce something that our users value very highly.
I am very impressed by your new site - it's been a while since I used your site and this was the first time I've used the new version. I was pleasantly surprised by the user friendly and aesthetically pleasing nature
Denise Colbert, Chief Operating Officer of Free UK Genealogy