Thursday, May 8, 2014

Dear Randy: Why Do You Number Your Transcribed Records?

Reader Alex Daw asked an excellent question on my blog post Amanuensis Monday - Post 217: 1881 Deed of Land in Louisa County, Iowa from Eliza Robinson to Mary and Louisa M. Carringer (posted 5 May 2014), asking:

"Great work. Randy - possibly an ignorant question here so bear with me - is it a convention to number the lines? I can see that it would be useful but I just wondered if it's something I should be doing in future or if it's just something you like to do personally."

Alex, some of the professional genealogy works say that a transcriber should number the lines, and transcribe the document with separate lines as written. Unfortunately, I don't see it explicitly listed in the Genealogical Standards book.

I tend to use line numbers for legal documents (e.g., deeds, wills, affidavits, etc.) and handwritten documents that may be difficult to read so that a reader can easily refer to a specific line, rather than "third paragraph, 29th line."

I find that it helps me keep track of what I type.  I add the line numbers while I'm proofreading it and comparing it to the document image, so that way I find anything that I missed. [My typing is so bad that I often skip a line...having to constantly look from one window to another is difficult - I don't touch type.]

I type this into a word processor first, than after I've proofread it I copy it to a Fact Note in RootsMagic 6, craft the source citation, and add the image to the Media for the person, and tag the Media item to the Fact.  For deeds, I add an abstract of the document to the Person Notes, and for wills and other probate records I add the whole transcription to the Person Notes, with the appropriate introductory words.  I then add the Fact Note to the Research Notes section of the "Detail Text" tab in the "Edit source" screen.

Thanks for asking!

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver

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