Have you heard about the Cymru1900 project? This was a crowd-sourcing project to transcribe the place names on the second edition Ordnance Survey map of Wales. When we launched the List we received a little over 100,000 names from Cymru1900, and we're very grateful to them for contributing their data so generously. The project was such a success that it was extended to the rest of Britain, becoming GB1900, and before it ended, the volunteers had transcribed over five million place names.
You can see part of Eilean Leòdhais (Lewes), in Na hEileanan Iar (Western Isles) in the picture above. As the work of cleansing our data has continued, we've noticed that some names appear on the 1900 map which are not included in the List. This problem is particularly acute in Ynys Môn (Anglesey) and Caernarfonshire. We decided therefore to go back to GB1900 and get some more up to date data. They make everything available through open access, so many thanks once again to the GB1900 team for their generosity and fantastic hard work! We've stripped out the data from Scotland and England, and are currently removing those names that we've already got from the dataset. Once that's done, we'll be uploading the new names as soon as possible.
Apologies for the deafening silence which has fallen on this blog lately, but there’s a good reason for it! You might remember that we received the rest of the Cynefin Project data from the National Library just before Christmas, and since then, James has been going through them and cleansing the data in order to upload them to the List. This meant going through over 900,000 records, and pulling out each one that wasn’t actually a name, like ‘field’ or ‘house and garden’. This having been done, we’ve got 517,463 names left. These include names in Welsh, English, and a mixture of the two, some of them particularly interesting, such as Cae Dungeon in Glascwm, Radnorshire. Why was there a dungeon in a rural parish? There’s also Maes y Droell in Llanarmon yn Iâl, Denbighsire, which according to local tradition got its name because a woman was killed there with a spinning wheel (troell).
Many people collecting information for the tithe wrote ‘ditto’ rather than repeating names in order to save time. As well as removing the non-name results, James has also been extracting the dittos, and keeping them to one side. There’s a little over twenty thousand of them, all told. Each datum comes with a link to the original tithe key, so replacing the dittos with the real names will be simple enough, and we intend to do this once the first half million names have been uploaded.
We hope to upload these names on Monday, and we’ll be announcing the news on this blog, and on our Twitter account @RC_EnwauLleoedd, so keep your eyes peeled!
From today onwards, two interns from the Department of History and Welsh History, Aberystwyth University, will be working on the List for 160 hours between the pair of them. M.A. students Jackie Jarocki and Karolina Slizewska, will be inputting place names from The Place Names of Pembrokeshire by B.G. Charles, and ensuring that the names from the county which we already have are correctly transcribed They will also be responsible for changing the colours of the points which mark the names, as is already happening in Carmarthenshire.
As well as this, we're still working through the Parochialia, and have received a number of names from the parish of Llangynfelyn in Ceredigion, which were collected from members of the public during the Celebrating Llangynfelyn Community Day which was held last Saturday.
We got a fantastic Christmas present from the National Library last week - the rest of the Cynefin data! Those of you who've heard James talking about the List will have heard that the data would be arriving 'in the near future', and it's a pleasure to be able to announce that we are now living in the future.
We received nearly 900,000 pieces of data from the Library team, and we're currently cleansing them in the hope of uploading them before Christmas. We've already got some 200,000 names form the Cynefin project in the List, which will recieve the same clean-up process as the new ones, in order to make sure that we get rid of all the dittos and the 'house and garden's once and for all. Once this is done, we estimate that there will be roughly a million names from all over Wales protected in the List. We'd like to thank the staff of the National Library, and everyone who volunteered on the Cynefin project for all their work, and for sharing the names with us so that they can be protected for ever, and used both officially and unofficially by authorities and by the public.
Nadolig llawen i chi gyd. Merry Christmas.
Several interesting things have happened over the last few months, so here's a quick update to let you know what's been going on. First of all, the second volume of the Parochialia has been fully uploaded, which means that we now have 3878 names from 1699 in the List, covering most of Denbighshire, Flintshire and Meirionydd, and various parishes in Caernarfonshire, Radnorshire and Breconshire. You can find them all either by searching by source, or searching for every name from the year 1699.
Secondly, James spoke about the List, how to use it, and the problems we've faced in compiling it at the Welsh Place Names Society's annual conference.
Thirdly, we've been sent another contribution by a member of the public, a list of field names from Llanilar in Ceredigion, which were collected in 1976. What's interesting about these names is that many of them are different to those recorded on the tithe maps, only 130-odd years later. Take a look!
And finally, the eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that western Carmarthenshire has slowly been changing colour! The points marking individual names were originally supposed to be colour-coded: blue for settlement, yellow for topographical feature, brown for civil parish, green for field, red for unclassified etc. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we were not able to do this for the sources that were in the List at launch, and so currently everything is red, apart from Cynefin, which is green (being fields). However, James has been spending a day a week correcting transcriptions, and changing colours, starting in Carmarthenshire, and has reached the point where the entire western half of the county has been checked and updated. So for an idea of how the List will look as a 'finished project' (it'll never be finished....) head down to western Carmarthenshire.