The National Institute for Genealogical Studies


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Transcription Tuesday – Practice with Projects

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies recommends transcribing all of the documents you discover in your research! Practicing on historical documents will hone your transcription skills. However, reading those old hand-written records in an unfamiliar script will pose a huge challenge. We offer online courses on a wide variety of topics, including transcription skills, for professional genealogists, as well as family historians. Our course materials include assignments where documents are examined and analyzed. One of the foundational basic level courses for every student is Skills: Transcribing, Abstracting & Extracting 

Last week, we recommended participating in transcription projects. This week, we will look at a few more projects, where volunteers are working with military records. 

Transcribe hand-written text in the Canadiana / Héritage collections. Current projects include WW1 War Diaries. This is an opportunity to not only practice your transcription skills with original documents, but you will become more familiar with these military records. The more you transcribe, the more you will recognize the information they contain. It is a great way to develop your research skills. After reading the Transcription Guidelines, Start by Choosing a Fonds or Series from their collections.
Transcribing Canada’s Documentary Heritage – Canadian Research Knowledge Network
Transcription Guidelines – CRKN

Fonds currently available for transcription: 
Diamond Jenness: diaries: 1 reel(s)
Fonds Louis-Honoré Fréchette: 4 reel(s)
War Diaries of the First World War: 9 reel(s)

Wanted: Volunteers who like history … and can read cursive! Several transcription projects for US Civil War records are listed in a blog post by Kelly D Mezurek on 9 May 2018. A few have been completed, but take a look and see if there is one that interests you. These transcription projects will familiarize you with Civil War records and how they were kept. Great for building your knowledge of military records. Be sure to read the transcription tips and guidelines on each website.
Citizen Archivists’ and Civil War Documents – Emerging Civil War

There are several Australian transcription projects through archives and other repositories. Here is just one example.
Transcribing the Library’s Collections – State Library New South Wales 
“How To” Guides

They also had World War 1 Diaries to be transcribed, however, it appears that the collection has been completed. New collections to transcribe can be found here

Look for transcription projects in the location area of your research interests. Familiarizing yourself with these types of records will make it much easier when you need to use them in pursuit of your own research project. Take note of any unique aspects as you work through them. This could include unusual letter formations, or military abbreviations for rank or activities. Creating a cheat sheet for yourself would be a valuable tool for future research.

Practice. Practice. Practice! Projects give us the opportunity to put the concepts taught in our course material to work. 
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 
Skills: Transcribing, Abstracting & Extracting 
Palaeography: Reading & Understanding Historical Documents 
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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