International Institute of Genealogical Studies


International Institute of Genealogical Studies - LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

Transcription Tuesday – Colonial Records

One of The National Institute for Genealogical Studies courses that requires a good foundation of Transcription Skills, is our Research: US Colonial New England Ancestors course. The next course is scheduled to begin on Monday, January 3rd, 2022. To check for future start dates, look under the Register tab on the course web page, or check the Course Calendar here

Research: U.S. Colonial New England Ancestors
Course Description: This seven-module course will give the student a basic foundation to research using colonial records in New England. It focuses primarily on the most common records used for research. The student will learn about strategies for finding colonial New England records while incorporating colonial town records, colonial census records, colonial land records and maps, the colonial wars, religious records, and court documents. 

The student who undertakes this course should have familiarity with United States vital, religious, census, land and military records, as well as have a good knowledge of genealogical methodologies. 

Course Content
This course introduces you to Colonial New England research through websites and state resources. It will provide strategies for finding Colonial New England records during the time period leading up to the American Revolution. As you discover these valuable and genealogically-rich documents, you will be faced with the major challenge of deciphering Colonial Handwriting. It is recommended to transcribe these documents to glean all the information they contain and every clue they provide. Transcriptions of the original documents will make future references a lot easier. Making Abstracts will be useful for a summary of what each document contains.

To facilitate developing your Transcription Skills, we have two books to recommend:
Reading Early American Handwriting by Kip Sperry
Understanding Colonial Handwriting by Harriet Stryker-Rodda
Both of these books are available to order through our online Genealogy Store on our website.

Once you are ready to explore Colonial records, you should familiarize yourself with the area of your research. Build a timeline and record a brief history of the early settlement of the town. By building a location guide for each town, you will be able to gather information about which resources are available, including early genealogies that were created. 

Colonial Town Records are fascinating and include: Different Types of Colonial Town Records, Freemen and Inhabitancy, Town Officers, Town Business, Tax Records, Licenses, Ear Marks, Manumissions, School Records, and Poor Records; as well as Vital Records and Cemetery Records. There were Colonial Censuses taken. Some surviving records include:  Published Census, Reconstructed Census Lists, and Census Substitutes of the 17th and 18th centuries. 

This course will discuss Strategies for research, tracking Immigration, and look at Court Records. Land Records and Maps will be examined, through the Common Terminology used in this time period and will look at some Land Grants. Understanding your research location through Maps and Gazetteers will help you to determine where to look for records. It will conclude with Military Records, Religious Records, and Colonial Court Records. 

ALL of these records will require the ability to read and decipher Colonial Handwriting. By transcribing each document, you will become more familiar with how the letters are formed and the common language used in each type of record. 

Transcription Skills are developed with PRACTICE. The more original documents you can transcribe, the easier it will become. There are no shortcuts. It is a skill that is developed. Use the reference tools available to you. Study the scripts common to the time period and location of your research. Purpose to become an excellent Transcriber.
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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