12 March 2010

Transcribing helps in understanding documents

I am presently transcribing part of a neat document in order to clearly understand all that it says. It is a very long sparagraph that lists many individuals and some descendants for each. The individuals are not necessarily related to each other, but rather were a small community of people. Due to the length of the paragraph, it was difficult to sort out everyone without glancing back at the paper multiple times. I was entering the information into The Master Genealogist, but the double checking was slowing down the process.

It is further confusing as some women are only listed with the married name, such as Mrs. John Doe. For a few individuals the descendants are listed with a later place of residence. Some people are listed as grandchildren but often the phrasing was not clear as to the parentage of the grandchildren. That missing generation means additional research is needed. Then the paragraph comes back to show some family links between a few people listed in the document.

The solution is to transcribe every single word. I typed it as a paragraph ending the line just as it ended on the original document. Then I copied and pasted the info and separated the sentences by family grouping. I then printed out my finished product and highlighted (in light blue) each paragraph after the data entry into TMG was accomplished. At a glance I was able to see the individuals that required a bit more research before entering the data. I am also able to make notes right on my typed copy. I am questioning one stated relationship and have some probable given names for the women, so am noting those and continuing the research online. Though, I may be making a couple courthouse visits on a couple of these.

Yes, I did put the citation to the full document and its source on the retyped portion in case it is separated from the original copy. I also noted that it was a transcription of just one paragraph from the full document. Transcribe the balance of the document? Yep, need to do that. [I knew if I didn’t recommend that, someone would ask me why I wasn’t going to do that!]

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