I have become one of “those.” You may wonder what I mean by that. I decided to become a transcriber and help out with the upload of all of the files that we so merrily search through with a click. I have become one of “those” people that squint and twist and guess at the hand writing of others, and sometimes guess wrong, really wrong.
I wouldn’t have the research that I do now without the help of a lot of people that squinted at bad handwriting and did their best to guess how the names in my family are spelled. If it weren’t for the people in Belgium entering information into their archives, I wouldn’t have any of the detailed information that I now have on my Defruytier line. So I threw my hat in the ring and signed up at ancestry.com on their collaboration link, Ancestry World Archives Project. You only have to have a log in to help out and you can earn money off of a subscription either new or current by helping.
The variety of files is amazing, everything from what you would expect like Naturalization files from Pennsylvania, Maine and Connecticut to Italian marriage registries and historic postcards. They range in languages, with most currently posted in English and vary in difficulty from easy to advanced.
I download the bit of software that is used for the delivery of the different files. You can choose the ones you want to transcribe or let the program choose for you. I am now working on keying in U.S. Naturalization Indexes from Connecticut. This batch is really easy. I get 10 different entries that I key in one at a time, surname, given name, birth or age, birth location and date. It probably takes about 10 minutes a set and there must be a lot of them as I am only being sent ones starting with C. Luckily the Connecticut files so far have been typed out. Many of them have been signed by the applicant in an illegible scrawl and if that was the only thing to work from for transcribing I would be in trouble.
I did the final slave narrative in a set the other day. There were 3 narratives, all short, no more than 2 pages. The only information needed from the documents were names and places, so it meant reading the document and looking for the needed info.
It has taken a bit of getting use to for the transcribing process, but there are a lot of help files and samples to increase your comfort level. I am up to 283 files over the past several days, averaging about 60 files a day. I have quite a ways to go to match the current highest transcriber’s total of 141,154 files. I am not sure I have that much free time.