Monday, 4 July 2016

ESM's QuickLessons A DearMYRTLE Genealogy Study Group Lesson 14



Hilary Gadsby

QuickLesson 14: Petitions—What Can We Do with a List of Names?    
Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 14: Petitions—What Can We Do with a List of Names?” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/content/quicklesson-14-petitions%E2%80%94what-can-we-do-list-names : accessed 3 July 2016).         
and
"Printed Primary Sources" & Naive Trust    
Elizabeth Shown Mills, “ 'Printed Primary Sources' and Naive Trust," Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage (https://www.evidenceexplained.com/quicktips/printed-primary-sources-naive-trust : accessed 3 July 2016).

Whilst there are many who do a great job in transcribing records for the rest of us to use, ESM in this QuickTip advises caution, in this post I discuss why we should do this.

In England where I have been doing my research we have many original records in our archives and to protect these there are ongoing transcription projects and many are being scanned to make digital copies. There are also many available on microfiche which is sometimes used to create scanned images.
Indexes for births, marriages and deaths were often written well after the original registration occurred if you find a typewritten index it is unlikely to have been created at the time and the handwritten indexes could be difficult to read. 




The transcription of the christening of Thomas William Thirtle.
"England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975," database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NX6M-ZP2 : 6 December 2014), Thomas William Thirtle, 16 Nov 1817; citing Norwich, Norfolk, England, reference item 26 p 43; FHL microfilm 1,517,748.

Only tells us part of the story and it is only by going to the register itself that we find out more.
 "England, Norfolk, Parish Registers (County Record Office), 1510-1997," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-267-11683-119984-39?cc=1416598 : 25 June 2014), Norwich St James with Pockthorpe > Baptisms > 1813-1827 > image 3 of 107; Record Office, Norwich.

Whether it is a transcription of an index or an original document the closer you can get to the original the greater the reliability.
If you are fortunate you may also find more information than you expected and frequently transcribers will only transcribe part of the information as they are expected to follow a standard format.

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