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Transcribe your Family Records to Discover Heritage Details

Searching old documents that contain information about your family heritage be fascinating. Finding yellowed hand-written notes, data from wills, probate records, deeds, etc. are going to be either scribbled or written in legible penmanship. Regardless of the condition, what you find needs to be read, transcribed, analyzed, abstracted, and summarized for the facts that are contained within them.

Read your Documents to Find Important Details

From reading a timeworn document, you can find details that will only be revealed after you thoroughly examine and comprehend all that is contained in the source. From a ship manifest, you can discover where exactly someone was born, who they were traveling with, where they were going, and more. From a last will and testament or probate record, you can discover: who was part of a family, how much money they had, what assets they owned, discover female or male children and who they married, and more.

Documents Can Help with your Family History

Transcribe Family Records to Find Hidden Genealogy

Many old documents will be hard to read, and you will need to refer to an old document from time to time to find other family heirlooms. You may not get the chance to reread a document for a long period of time. Taking the time to relearn the handwriting can be time consuming especially with old handwritten documents that have information that is faded, written smaller in the margins sideways, and may even be in a different language. Save yourself time by getting out those old documents and transcribe them today. You can easily overlook or miss something that is important if you only read the data. Sometimes the details will only become apparent after transcribing the data. This happens because as you transcribe your brain is analyzing the genealogical details.

Transcribe all the Family Documents that you Find

Analyze and Abstract Details to Get the Most from your Genealogy

Analyze old documents for what is and is not being conveyed. Does the information provide proof for what you know? Do you think the data contains errors on accident? Was the supplied information incorrect? Sometimes people did this so they would appear to be old enough to enlist in the military or get married. This should all be noted in your analysis by paying attention to the details. Point out problems, contradictions, identify gaps, and arrive at a sound conclusion. This will help you to decide what and where you should research next.

Summarize your Documents for Easy Recall

A summary contains all the important information that you found in the document. This includes: identifying the names, dates, places, relationships, and important data. From the summary you should be able to understand what your document contained.

Methodology to Transcribing your Family Records:

  1. Read the document several times to get familiar with the hand writing. This will help when you are ready to copy the information.
  2. Start with the source citation, which includes the repository (where it was found). Then add enough details so if you needed to find it again, you could. Don’t forget the author, the publisher, the date, the title, the page numbers, etc.
  3. Then copy the words verbatim, line by line word by word. Include all the misspellings and abbreviations.
  4. If you want to correct information, be sure to put the text in [square brackets] to signify that you have corrected something.
  5. If you cannot figure out what is being written put the letters in square brackets with question mark [?] to substitute for the unknown letters.
  6. After you are done, check your work, line by line and word by word. It is easy enough to make a mistake. You might even ask someone else to check your work.
  7. Analyze, abstract, and summarize all your documents to help with your genealogy research.
  8. Create a to-do list from your findings. Be specific on what you want to accomplish. This will lead to a more focused research approach and better chances of a positive outcome.
  9. Start your genealogy research is more important than your task list. Why is it so important? Because it can save you from doing the same detective work over and over again. At some point you will get stuck with a task that you can’t solve, so you move on to another one. At a certain point you will come back to that previous task again hoping to find the family records family records that will answer your question. If you keep track of what you have already delved into, it will keep you from doing the same search a second or third time.