Our International Institute for Genealogical Studies courses feature practical exercises and assignments for the principles being explored. Hands-on experience outweighs theory. The course concepts are more easily retained when we can apply what we have learned in actual practice. Transcriptions are important in this process.
Our Skills: Transcribing, Abstracting & Extracting course takes you through the basic methodologies, while our advanced level Palaeography: Reading & Understanding Historical Documents course explores a variety of topics relating to understanding historical documents.
One thing you will hear repeated often – Practice! Sound advice. In reality, we should transcribe every document we review to glean every little clue it contains. By doing this, we will become more familiar with the script and how similar letters are formed – with all of their variations. Learning the rules for that time period and region will avoid misinterpretations. Making notes as you go of any exceptions or unique uses will serve as reminders the next time you are researching in the same area.
One such resource to explore is the Study Guide for Colonial American Handwriting. Try your hand at the Handwriting Game and the Name Game, and so much more.
Watch for more examples as you encounter various documents. Uses of abbreviations, or how certain letters are formed, can vary from person to person, just as it does today. Spelling is always a challenge and can vary, even within the same document. Note each one you discover.
Where can we practice more? Enquire at your local genealogy or historical society, as well as public libraries. They are always looking for new volunteers, and they will instruct you on specific transcription projects. Build your transcription skills wherever possible.
Lastly, begin at home. How many documents have you tucked away for safekeeping within your own research? Have they all been transcribed? Begin with documents you are familiar with. They will be easy to read, and you can be confident in the spelling of names and places. Become familiar with the social events of that region and seek out more documents, transcribing all of them. You will be surprised at what is overlooked when documents are only skimmed for key information like names and dates alone, and writing out the entire text – word for word, exactly as it was originally recorded.
PLEASE NOTE: Transcription Tuesday will be taking a break. Watch for a new blog series beginning in April.
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.
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
The International Institute of Genealogical Studies offers quality online education with over 240 courses. Our wide range of courses covers specific countries, enhances methodology research, build skills to maximize your research time, and all count toward the certification you choose.
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