The National Institute for Genealogical Studies provides valuable online education for sharpening and refining the research skills used by all levels of family historians and genealogists. Our Basic Level courses cover a wide variety of topics, delivering foundational genealogical education all researchers. The basics of research extend far beyond pedigree charts and family group sheets!
Experience only comes from Practice. In last week’s post (Transcription Tuesday – Practice!), we recommended several transcription websites to explore. We also suggested a few transcription projects to try your hand at transcribing actual historic documents. Did these help you? Did they identify areas where you need to practice more? The more you read old handwriting, the easier it will become. Practice, Practice, Practice!
As we continue to explore how to develop our Transcription Skills, we need to take a few minutes this week to look at the main definitions to learn. Understanding each description, and the process associated with it, will help us to cultivate the core expertise for the transcription tasks required for every document we discover.
A Transcription is a true word-for-word rendering of a document with the original punctuation and spelling (i.e., an exact copy of the original, line by line, sentence by sentence, word by word, and letter by letter). All notes and marks on any page are copied as faithfully as possible in the presented formatting. It includes all spellings, capitalizations and punctuations as it was written. No corrections are made to spelling or capitalization. It includes the whole record—front and back, with all its headings, insertions, endorsements, notations, etc.
An Abstraction is an abbreviation of the original content in a document. It removes all the legal jargon or “boilerplate” language, but ensures that all relevant details within the document are kept. Mary Campbell Bell in Professional Genealogy sums it up this way: “Abstracts are summaries that record all important detail from a whole document.”
An Extract is when you pull out only parts of the information in an original document. The extracting process is normally used for listings, such as censuses, inventories, tax or voters’ lists, etc., where there could be information about one person or family amongst many others.
These three topics are covered in-depth in our Skills: Transcribing, Abstracting & Extracting course, including exercises and assignments designed to utilize the principles being taught in each module. Each has its place in our genealogical projects; Each is a research skill to perfect. So, continue to Practice! whenever you can.
As researchers, we have found that there are many skills we need to employ in order to achieve success in our future research projects. Transcription Tuesday will share guidelines and practical suggestions to help our readers to develop the skills for making effective transcriptions, abstracts, and extractions.
Transcription Tuesday previous blog post
Transcription Tuesday Index
These three core courses demonstrate Transcription principles. They are offered monthly, beginning on the first Monday of every month: Register today!
Methodology-Part 2: Organizing and Skill-Building (Basic Level)
Skills: Transcribing, Abstracting & Extracting (Basic Level)
Palaeography: Reading & Understanding Historical Documents (Advanced)—————————————————-
Visit our website for a complete list of online courses offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Check our Course Calendar here.
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