Monday, 29 February 2016

Chartist Ancestors Databank: 10,000 names, one spreadsheet

Over the years, Chartist Ancestors has carried entries on thousands of Chartists. But the way the website works, it can be difficult to access the information in ways that allow you to use the data.

So I have pulled together many of the bigger datasets into a single spreadsheet listing more than 10,000 Chartists. All of them have a name, many have occupations, a town or village with which they were associated and often additional information besides that. Each is also attributed to a source.

The Chartist Ancestors Databank can be downloaded here.

The spreadsheet is set up so that you can easily use the filters at the top of the columns if you just want to look at, say, Manchester Chartists, or just want to look at those we know to have worked in a particular occupation.

I have also pulled out a few top-level findings to show the most common first names for both men and women and the most common jobs.

But there must be more that could be done with the data. Indeed, some of it has already been used in imaginative ways before making its way to Chartist Ancestors. See for example Dr Katrina Navickas’ Political Meetings Mapper and Protest and the Politics of Space and Place websites.

And that raises another point. Much of the data – indeed, most of it – was originally transcribed or pulled from its original 19th century documentation by other people when researching books, PhD theses and for other reasons. I am grateful to them for generously allowing me to republish it.

So while I hope you will find creative new ways to use the material in the Chartist Ancestors Databank, please do get in touch with me first if you intend to exploit it commercially or to create a significant new service for widespread public consumption.

It is not that I want to veto anything you have in mind, but I would wish to ensure that the people who did all the hard graft in the archives are happy with how their work is going to be used.

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