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Transcription Notes

  1. Perfection is not required, and is sometimes impossible. Give it your best try and I will check behind you, comparing your text to the source image, and improve what I can. It is expected that you will catch things I would have missed and vice versa, but your having made an initial effort is always a huge help.

  2. Illegible words: If there is a word you cannot decipher, indicate this by 3 underscores, e.g., ___.

  3. Paragraphs When formatting this into html, I will replace indention of paragraphs with double-spacing between them, so you may do the same in your transcription.

  4. Handwriting: be alert for the "long s". It will appear very similar to a modern f. If there is a double-s, expect the 2nd to be a long s. We do not attempt to simulate the long s, but show it as a modern lower-case s.

  5. Abbreviations:
    • They were frequently used and were made by showing the first few characters of a word followed by (superscripted and sometimes underlined) the last letter or two of the word. E.g. Lieut (Lieutenant), Obt (Obedient), Augt (August), Genl (General), Zach (Zachariah), Inst (Instant), Ulto (Ultimo).
    • Some were less obvious: Jno (John), Colo (Colonel). Try to show the same letters as in the original and don't worry about the superscripting because I'll have to do that again in converting it into html, anyway.
    • &c: You will rarely (if ever) find the abbreviation etc. in documents from the late 1700s in either handwritten or printed form. Instead, they used the abbreviation &c to mean the same thing. It was often not followed by a period.

  6. Page numbers: Mostly from printed sources, page numbers will be found either left- or right-justified. Since this doesn't mean anything in html, I make a break in the text and show the page number centered in brackets, e.g.,

  7. Page breaks: I do not end a page with a hyphenated word. I show the whole word. In old documents, they would typically repeat the last word of the previous page as the first word on the new page, but I only show the word once.

  8. Line breaks: In most cases, I do not hypenate at the end of a line. Exceptions are usually in places like closings to a letter.

  9. Mystery letters: If there is a letter you can't make out, try looking for the same letter in other words.

  10. Submitting: You can send it in a word processor file (e.g., Word) if you care to, but it will likely be easier just to copy (control-c) and paste (control-v) the text into an email message. When I convert it into html, I'll be converting it back to a text file, anyway.

  11. Title pages: This applies to working from printed sources. Don't bother trying to transcribe such. I usually show those for the benefit of those who want to save or print copies of the original document. I typically modify the scanned image to be transparent and insert it as an image at the beginning of the text.

  12. Long dash: The long dash, e.g., � , is frequently encountered in these documents. Probably the easiest way to create this is to hold down the Alt key and then type 0151 using the numeric ("10-key") keypad. For it to appear properly in the text, is should be preceded by and followed by a space.