From our August General Meeting Topic:
by Julie Terstriep
Would you like to volunteer to transcribe old documents? Here are a few places looking for your expertise.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum – ChroniclingIllinois.org
Smithsonian Institute https://transcription.si.edu/
The National Archives https://www.archives.gov/citizen-archivist/registerandgetstarted
University of Minnesota – Civil War documents https://www.zooniverse.org/projects/zooniverse/decoding-the-civil-war (Phase 2 to begin soon)
University of Iowa http://diyhistory.lib.uiowa.edu/index.php (Over 87,000 pages transcribed!)
Learning to read the handwriting:
Reading German Suetterlin handwriting – http://www.suetterlinschrift.de/Englisch/Sutterlin.htm
How to read Palmer Method Spencerian Script – free book on National Archives site: https://archive.org/details/cu31924029485467
Help with abbreviations: http://amberskyline.com/treasuremaps/oldhand.html
Facebook groups :
Deciphering Genealogy Script
Genealogy Translations – Group who will translate documents from one language to another.
From Find My Past blog (https://blog.findmypast.com/tips-for-2063791571.html
- Analyze the record before you begin reading the handwriting
- Move slowly, very slowly
- Read for content first
- Conduct a letter by letter read and create a “key”
- Conduct a word by word read
- Read aloud
- Trace the handwriting
- Cross your t’s and dot your I’s
- The letter “s”
- “Th” and “y” and “y” and “t”
One common abbreviation in the past was to abbreviate “th” with a character that closely resembles the letter “y.” So, if you encounter a document that looks like “ye” that could mean “the.” You might also see the “e” written as a superscript because it wasn’t uncommon for the abbreviations to be written as the main letter with the rest superscripted with or without a line underneath.
You may also see “yt,” which is an abbreviation for that. “Y” is the abbreviation for “th” followed by a “t” would be “tht” or “that.”
- Take a rest.