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15 July 2013

Your Commentary Should Be Set Off

Often when transcribing documents or records, the researcher thinks of "explaining" that needs to be done. That's fine--but just make it perfectly crystal clear where the actual document ends and the explanation or comments begin. One way to do this is to use brackets [] and enclose your comments in those.


"I hereby leave until my son Johanna, my back forty acres after his mother dies [note: the document clearly says Johanna, but the reference is probably to son Johann.]"

You don't want people thinking your commentary is an actual part of the document, but you should always transcribe a document exactly as it is written--don't edit it while you type. That could lead to even more confusion.

1 comment:

  1. Trees on the internet showed my ancestor with a second wife with the name of his niece who was not even born when the man died! This niece, who lived cross-country, was the keeper of the family history and her family information was included in the "Draper Papers." My theory on this error was that someone had written her name as a source, but did not indicate it as such. Someone else came along and added her as a 2nd wife. Keep those comments and notes labeled as such to avoid confusion later!