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A Guide to Organizing Paper Genealogy Files
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© 1997
A Few Suggestions for Maintaining the Integrity of Originals
      When needing to create a more legible copy, or to preserve the information contained in old and fragile written documents; We think it is important not to destroy anything. This is important to any future reader / user of the material. Spelling and Capitalization give use a sight into the aspects of the original writer; such as education, intelligence, and possibly even their geographical background.
     The Original should be handled with extreme care. I am of the opinion that making a photocopy first; then proceeding by using the photocopy will help preserve the original. Old paper documents can be very fragile and brittle.
     To transcribe this into a usable format for your purposes makes a great addition to your
'Show & Tell' presentation. Transcribe the original exactly as it is written or include a photocopy of it. If you determine that a translation or an explanation is needed; then create this separately and label your creation that it is just that.
     I recently received a transcription that had several errors, because the necessary care was not taken to be sure of what was originally written. One example is of an item written in the 1880's. The occupation of the original author was transcribed as 'Truck Driver'. My first indication of an error; was that my personal knowledge of history told me that I did not remember that being an occupation at that time period. I had always before seen this type of profession listed as either 'Drayman' or 'Teamster'.
     Upon being able to examine the original, I found that my interpretation was that the occupation was 'Track Joiner'. This seemed much more appropriate for the time period and locality of the author. Upon further investigation it was revealed that some brothers of the original author were employed in railroad related occupations. This added to my theory. The original was hard to read, but I had a 'gut feeling' something was wrong with the transcription. I proceeded my examination using a bright light and a magnifying glass.

© 1997 - 2015     Wayne Hinton
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