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Transcribe documents by hand

Transcribe documents by hand

Posted: 13 Jan 2013 5:05PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 13 Jan 2013 5:09PM GMT
Not really sure where to put this message. Does anyone transcribe their information by hand? I know most of us use genealogy software and I do as well. But, I've been reading articles about transcribing or extracting/abstracting information from the documents as well. My main concern is on census records. If you transcribe the information, do you copy the entire page or just your family's information onto the blank form? To me, transcribing it in my own handwriting (while looking at it enlarged on my monitor) is much easier to read later for further research. Then I have the "sometimes unreadable" document and my legible document, as well as the information in my software. The transcribed legible would come in handy if my software were to crash. (Yes, I also print out an updated copy of all of my family group sheets from the software, every so often.) I know transcribing can be very time consuming but that's really how genealogy has been for a long time (before computers).

Thanks,
Kim

Re: Transcribe documents by hand

Posted: 13 Jan 2013 5:39PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 13 Jan 2013 5:39PM GMT
Interesting question. I would love to see everyone's answers.

I actually do several things.

1)I add the info to software and attache the original image.
For some I also print out the image - call me old but I still love having something in my hands.

2)For important family members to my research (grandparents, etc) or those I am currently researching I use one of the standard forms issued by the National Archives. I transcribe the entire family, any related families and any familiar names on each sheet (I have tons of photos with names but no idea who the people are). I also am looking for names that may not be related but seem to move with my family members form one place to another. These names have been invaluable to locating and identifying missing family members.
They all go on the same sheet. Then I make a copy of the sheet for each separate families files so no matter who I look up I can see all that lived near them.

3)The next thing I do is I have a great spread sheet someone gave me years ago that allows me to track a specific family from one census to the next. The sheet is not everything from the census record. It is a spread sheet in which the columns each represent a census year and next to each family member under that census year column info such as location and age are documented. This allows me to see who is missing and the movements of the family. Works great for tracking and deciding where they may be next or following them backward in time. I keep these in a binder with my census sheets.

Having my census binder for the family is easier to look at and put info together from than to simply jump back and forth online. Faster to for me since I can place a marker next to the person on the sheet in front of me as I search online for that person or read other docs about that person.

And yes, I have had software crash or even worse... low battery at a research location on the laptop and no place to plug in. Paper saves the day!

Re: Transcribe documents by hand

Posted: 13 Jan 2013 5:44PM GMT
Classification: Query
Through the years I have printed out most of my information. Some of it I have gone to the trouble of also transcribing. It is useful as a personal tool. It is unlikely that anyone else will accept the validity of it for any purpose but it may intrigue them to go and locate the original. Many of us have learned to have multiple types of backups. Even if you don't have absolutely everything, it is easy enough to relocate those other items when you know the locations. This is also a great reason for the sharing that everyone mentions. Share broadly and it is likely the information will turn up again. I have tried to do that in the past. Most of my family just sits on everything I have ever given them but some families will really become active. Frankly, the census records are a piece of cake to relocate, so are the books, etc. It is really only the wills, land records, etc. that are tough to relocate as they are not always online. I particularly make copies of all of that information and file it.

Re: Transcribe documents by hand

Posted: 13 Jan 2013 6:31PM GMT
Classification: Query
I have multiple digital copies of most documents/records I have researched - on an external hard-drive, backed up to DVDs/CDs and on an off-site back-up service.

I use spreadsheets to do partial transcriptions, especially when I am working on a difficult thread.

I have some hard copies, but those are also scanned in, using a naming convention that makes sense to me, because I find it easier to locate something searching on my external hard drive than in several hard copy file drawers.

Re: Transcribe documents by hand

Posted: 13 Jan 2013 7:39PM GMT
Classification: Query
Thanks for all of the great advice. That helps tremendously. With the fact that census records are pretty much all online anymore, I can extract what I need so I have something in hand to look at and don't necessarily have to keep every downloaded copy in a binder with the families. (Gets to be a lot of paper) I can cite the source and I can always pull it back up if needed.

Re: Transcribe documents by hand

Posted: 13 Jan 2013 10:10PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 13 Jan 2013 10:13PM GMT
True it is not as convenient to locate things in a hardcopy form. It takes take a little longer to relocate something from my filing cabinets than it does from some of nice organizational programs. I am a bit OCD about filing. I have an entire room dedicated to photos and they are all in order of date. Old school but I had a bad experience once so after that I just felt more comfortable maintaining more than one form of backup. I have also donated items so if I absolutely have to I can get a copy from places where I have donated. I always encourage people to donate scans and I have of my own items and support museums, historical societies, etc. They usually start a file there as well, once you have donated an item. They figure why repeat the work to relocate something so they keep a file.

Re: Transcribe documents by hand

Posted: 13 Jan 2013 10:50PM GMT
Classification: Query
I also keep original photos, filed by date. For pre-digital photos from my own collection, I also have negatives filed by date.

But, for me, it's much faster to find a scan of, for example, my parents' 1945 wedding portrait, than to locate a filed copy. And, a scan at high resolution can be modified, cropped, shared, etc., without the danger of damaging the precious original.

Re: Transcribe documents by hand

Posted: 13 Jan 2013 11:45PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 13 Jan 2013 11:59PM GMT
There are some people here that are so organized. I thought I was doing well but I am always impressed by some of you.
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