The National Institute for Genealogical Studies


The National Institute for Genealogical Studies - LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

Transcription Tuesday – The Long S

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies courses teach us to access and analyze historic documents as we research our family history. This can be challenging, if we cannot read the handwriting, or recognize the special letters used in the printed materials of that time period. 

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course takes you through the basic methodologies, while our advanced level Palaeography: Reading & Understanding Historical Documents course explores a variety of topics relating to understanding historical documents.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 of the challenges is dealing with the use of archaic letters, both in handwritten documents and printed books and newspapers. One such letter is the Long S. If you are unfamiliar with how it was used, the following websites will guide you through some examples.

Long s (Wikipedia)
Pieces of History: The Long S (US National Archives Blog)

A good example is the italicized ‘long s’ used in the word “Congress” in the United States Bill of Rights.

Another useful reference is an older BabelStone blog post entitled: Long S Ruleswhich provides explanations of the use of the long s in several languages.

It is important to understand these unique characters, and how they were used, to accurately read and transcribe the texts. Be sure to study about any unusual letters or phrases you may encounter, as misinterpreting these will lead to an inaccurate conclusion about the text. Become familiar with each letter and how it was written in the various scripts, or displayed in the printed materials of the day. Then Transcribe it! 

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: Resources 
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Palaeography: Reading & Understanding Historical Documents (Advanced)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. List of packages available here. 
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