Sponsored By GenealogyBank

11 September 2013

Are You Editing or Transcribing?

When "typing up" a handwritten record, your rendering of it should be as true to the original as possible, not a "cleaned up, I know how to spell everything correctly" version. Transcribing a document is not the same as editing or correcting it.

The reasons for not making changes are pretty simple. What the transcriber thinks is wrong may not be wrong. "Incorrect" spellings may be clues as to how names were actually pronounced. And there can always be other clues in what originally appear to be "errors."

Annotations to the transcription can be made. Comments regarding "errors" should be made inside brackets [ and ], so that it's clear where the comments begin and the comments end.


  1. what about older documents where an "s" is written as an "f"?

  2. transcribe as written - f

  3. It is not a small case "f". Trace the letter. The loop goes down curves left, goes up, crosses the down stroke. A small "f" goes down, curves to the right then back to the down stroke closing the loop. HOWEVER just recently, probably for me in 30 years, the first time, I saw them both written the same many times on the same page.