Sunday, April 6, 2014

Transcription Mentioned on Television!

from Antiques Roadshow
I have written before about the importance of transcribing records so that they can be shared with more people.  Of course, one of the largest ongoing transcription projects in genealogy is FamilySearch's "indexing" work, with thousands and thousands of people around the world helping to create the searchable databases available on  Genealogists are fortunate to have this incredible free resource.  Commercial sites such as use paid transcribers to create their indices.

Families often have handwritten items that would benefit from being transcribed.  If you have your great-grandmother's diary, you're the only one who can read it.  If you transcribe her entries and put them in a word processor document, you can share the information with other family members.  The same goes for letters, bible entries, and other family items.

I've mentioned that I have written to Antiques Roadshow and suggested that their appraisers should bring up transcription to guests who bring items in.  Some of the letters and diaries that I have seen on the program have fantastic first-hand historical information, and I just know that almost all those people go home and lock up their heirlooms — and the information in them.  The items are preserved but no one can learn from them.  I received a response from AR saying my transcription suggestion was a good idea, but I hadn't seen anything come of it.

But on a recent episode of Antiques Roadshow, for the first time, I heard an appraiser tell a guest he should transcribe the letters he had!  Ken Gloss, of Brattle Book Shop in Boston, appraised a collection of Confederate Civil War letters that were found in an old house.  He asked the guest if he had ever considered transcribing the letters so he would know all the details in them.  Unfortunately, the guest's response was less than enthusiastic.  But I can hope that maybe after the episode aired and his lack of enthusiasm was broadcast nationwide he has had second thoughts.

Look at that sample up there at the top of this post.  That isn't hard to read.  I'll even start it for him:

Grenada Miss [probably Mississippi] June 14th 1862
... F. J. Sayle
Dear Sister
Yours of a late d [date, from complete image]
... to hand — While conveying the said
... –ie's critical situation, it gave grea [great, from complete image]

What family items have you transcribed and shared?


  1. I totally agree Janice. My next blog post is about transcription so I'll include a link to your post if that's OK.

  2. That's fine with me, Tony. Thanks for the heads-up, and I look forward to your post. - Janice


All comments on this blog will be previewed by the author to prevent spammers and unkind visitors to the site. The blog is open to everyone, particularly those interested in family history and genealogy.