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LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

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

Transcription Tuesday: Census Names

Whether you are just beginning your family history journey, you are a professional genealogist, or somewhere in between, learning the importance of Transcribing every document we discover in our research will greatly influence your success. Census records are one of those documents not to be skimmed through too quickly.  

One of the first things we look for in a census record is the names. We want to find that family group listing everyone in the household. Sometimes this is easy. We search in our favourite database and there they are – just where we expected them to be. But what if they aren’t? 

Maybe the census was taken before the birth of some of the children we expected to see. Some family members who were on the previous census are absent because they have died. Sadly, some children were born and died in the years between the last census and the next. Perhaps an older child has left the family home to seek employment opportunities, or they were married and have started their own family, either nearby in the same community or elsewhere. 

A common reason for those elusive missing entries is not knowing how to find them. The biggest tip is to search for the most unique name in the family. Pricilla is going to be easier to find than Mary or Ann. Once found, check to see if her family members match your list of her siblings and parents. However, with unique names comes some creative spelling variations, so watch for those and try searching for a phonetic spelling.

A more challenging reason is that they were indexed incorrectly, due to the indexer being unable to decipher the correct name. Sometimes the handwriting is difficult to read, or the digital image is blurred, or too dark or too light. That’s when Transcriptions are truly useful. Looking at the original Image helps us to correctly interpret what was written.

Here is a recent example on Ancestry where the indexer’s interpretation of the name was completely incorrect. This name was entered into the 1921 Census of Canada database as “Farah Lestage” for the Head of Household. This meant that his wife was listed as Lucinda Lestage. They were an older couple, so all of their children had already left home. This made them difficult to find. Luckily, they resided in a small community with only 12 pages. Because it was known to be the correct location, they were discovered by reviewing each household until found on page 4.

The first clue was that “Farah” was listed as male, but if the indexer was unfamiliar with male names common to a location, you can see how the interpretation looks reasonable. However, this is Jacob and not Farah. Searching for Jacob Seaboyer never found his entry. Once it was confirmed that this was indeed my “Jacob Seaboyer,” a correction was submitted to update the record. 

Click the “Add or update information” link. A pop-up will allow you to enter the alternate information and the reason for your request for changes. Once reviewed, the record will then display the alternate name below, so other researchers can also find it. Tip: the person who submitted the correction may also be researching your family, so always note who had submitted additional information. (Note: the user name for this example has been blocked for privacy.)

Citation: 1921 Census of Canada, Province: Nova Scotia; District: 61 – Lunenburg; Enumeration Sub-District: 41 – Blandford par Chester Municipality; Page: 4; Family:39; Line:13; Head of Household: Jacob Seaboyer; wife: Lucinda. Ancestry.com [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2013. [accessed : 19 Sep 2021] 

By looking at the original image of the document, the name was deciphered correctly and then, it could be transcribed accurately with the proper surname. Learning to recognize problem letters is a key element in building your Transcription Skills. We will explore this aspect in next week’s Transcription Tuesday.

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Remember: Transcribing takes practice and patience. Check back next week for more skill-building tips.

Previous Transcription Tuesday blog posts:
Transcription Definition
Transcription Tuesday Index
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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)

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Visit our website for a complete list of online courses offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Check our Course Calendar here
Follow us on Social Media: BlogFacebookTwitter, Pinterest
*Note: Please be aware our social media accounts are monitored regularly, but NOT 24/7. If you have any questions, please contact the office directly.

Contact information:
1 (800) 580-0165
Email: admin@GenealogicalStudies.com 
Website: www.GenealogicalStudies.com
Blog: blog.GenealogicalStudies.com

LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION since 1997

Transcription Tuesday: Transcription Definition

As part of the online skill-building education at The National Institute for Genealogical Studies, new students, as well as professional genealogists, learn the importance of Transcribing every document they discover in their family research. Although it may take extra effort to make a transcription, the benefits will soon be apparent. How often have you left a document written in an older script for a few days, and when you returned to your research, you found that you needed to decipher the handwriting again?

The first step is to make a copy of the original document and put it away. This is especially true for those of fragile materials. By using this copy to make a transcription, the text of a document can be worked on, while avoiding the wear and tear of the original document. Never write on an original; copies of documents can be marked with notes, highlighters, and notations for further examination and research, preserving the original document. First, let’s look at a definition.

What is a Transcription?
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.

By transcribing everything on a document, we don’t miss those important clues. We can have a tendency to skim over long blocks of text, or those oh-so-familiar boilerplate sections. By doing so, you could miss that slightly different instruction, or that note tucked in the middle of the text. 

Transcribing forces us to record every single word (and symbol!) and explore why it was included, or used in that fashion. Transcriptions take obscure handwriting and reveal the contents in “plain English,” making it much easier to read and to tease out the finer details needing to be clarified. It can be a challenge, don’t give up!

Sometimes, handwriting really does need letter-by-letter deciphering. Many letters can look the same; some letters may even be illegible. Some letters just need time. If they have you stuck, walk away and come back with fresh eyes – an hour later, or the next day. It is amazing how you can see it so clearly the next time. When having difficulty with a particular word, count how many letters there are. Use blanks (like in hangman) and try to figure out the word that could fit in the context of that sentence. Sometimes, it is like solving a coded message.

Don’t change any spelling, even when it varies on the same page. There was no “A” for correct spelling – they often wrote phonetically. Try speaking it out loud (and with a strong accent!). Don’t expand abbreviations, especially for names. Edd could be Edward or Edmund. Keep the original capitalizations (or lack of), and keep the punctuation exactly the same. Often personal letters are written as one long sentence!

These are just a few tips to start. You can develop your Transcription Skills – it just takes practice and patience. See the list of our core Transcription courses below.
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Check back next week for more skill-building tips.
Previous Transcription Tuesday blog post:
Transcription Tuesday
Transcription Tuesday Index
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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.
Follow us on Social Media: BlogFacebookTwitter, Pinterest.
*Note: Please be aware our social media accounts are monitored regularly, but NOT 24/7. If you have any questions, please contact the office directly.

Contact information:
1 (800) 580-0165
Email: admin@GenealogicalStudies.com
Website: www.GenealogicalStudies.com
Blog: blog.GenealogicalStudies.com

LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION since 1997

Transcription Tuesday INDEX

As researchers, there are many skills we need to employ in order to achieve success in our research projects. One of the foundational research skills to develop at The National Institute for Genealogical Studies is Transcribing. All family history researchers, no matter what their level of expertise, should strive to acquire this core skill.

Our Transcription Tuesday Series shares guidelines and practical suggestions to help our readers to develop the necessary skills for making effective transcriptions.

The following is an INDEX of the blog posts: (BOOKMARK this page):
Transcription Tuesday – 7 September 2021
Transcription Definition – 14 September 2021
Census Names – 21 September 2021

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These three core courses demonstrate Transcription principles. They are offered monthly, beginning on the first Monday of every month:
Methodology-Part 2: Organizing and Skill-Building (Basic Level)
Skills: Transcribing, Abstracting & Extracting (Basic Level)
Palaeography: Reading & Understanding Historical Documents (Advanced)
Additional Courses which are useful for Transcriptions (Check Course Calendar):
Eastern European: Languages & Alphabets
German: Reading the Records 
Italian: Language and Location
Research: Danish Ancestors
Research: U.S. Colonial New England Ancestors

Scottish: Special Aspects of Scottish Research
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Visit our website for a complete list of online courses offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Check our Course Calendar here.
Follow us on Social Media: BlogFacebookTwitter, Pinterest.
*Note: Please be aware our social media accounts are monitored regularly, but NOT 24/7. If you have any questions, please contact the office directly.

Contact information:
1 (800) 580-0165
Email: admin@GenealogicalStudies.com
Website: www.GenealogicalStudies.com
Blog: blog.GenealogicalStudies.com

LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION since 1997

Transcription Tuesday

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies offers 230+ online courses on a wide variety of topics, providing genealogical education for those interested in beginning to research their family history, as well as professional genealogists.

One of the foundational research skills to develop is Transcribing. For this reason, we have created a compulsory Basic Level course to equip all of our certificate students with this vital ability. However, all family history researchers, no matter what their level of expertise, should strive to acquire this core skill.

Skills: Transcribing, Abstracting & Extracting
This course teaches students the transcribing, abstracting and extracting skills to enhance their genealogy research. Practicing these skills form a large part of the course work, with examples and exercises to assist the development of these skills.

We have also created an Advanced Level course to cover the broader topic of Palaeography, where the primary goal involves transcribing the unfamiliar writing in old documents into easily readable transcriptions to use in our research.

Palaeography: Reading & Understanding Historical Documents
Topics to explore include: Writing Materials, Handwriting Scripts, Roman Numerals, Currency, The Calendar, The Religious Calendar, The Church, The Manor & Social Life, Weights and Measures, Origin of Family Names, and an Introduction to Latin Terminology.

The course material includes a detailed workbook, designed to reinforce the material covered, with exercises to practise new transcription skills and gain experience with reading and interpreting a variety of types of documents.
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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.
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The courses Skills: Transcribing, Abstracting & Extracting and Palaeography: Reading & Understanding Historical Documents are offered monthly, beginning on the first Monday of every month. Register today!
—————————————————-
Visit our website for a complete list of online courses offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Check our Course Calendar here.
Follow us on Social Media: BlogFacebookTwitter, Pinterest.
*Note: Please be aware our social media accounts are monitored regularly, but NOT 24/7. If you have any questions, please contact the office directly.

Contact information:
1 (800) 580-0165
Email: admin@GenealogicalStudies.com
Website: www.GenealogicalStudies.com
Blog: blog.GenealogicalStudies.com

LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION since 1997

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