Journal Jottings, July 2016

by Diane L. Richard, NCGS Journal Editor, journaleditor@ncgenealogy.org

No Lazy Days of Summer for your Journal Team

These might be considered the lazy days of summer, but your journal team is hard at work!  We have already started compiling the next issue of the NCGS Journal using content transcribed by you – the journal-transcribers cadre!

Why I Transcribe, by Kay Bissette

I asked Kay if she would share some thoughts about how she got started as a transcriber and why she does it. Here is her response…

In early February I was reading my Facebook news feed, thinking about ways I could volunteer in 2016. In the past five years, I have become interested in genealogy, especially in North Carolina. Imagine my surprise when I saw the following ad:

Hertford [County] Records, pre-1800, transcribers needed! Records include those who registered deeds, took out marriage licenses, had an ordinary, were involved in court cases, etc. Details are not provided and from such records one can learn that these events did occur! If you are interested, please message here or email journaleditor@ncgenealogy.org to express an interest. Each “batch” will be one or two documents (depending on size). The handwriting is pretty good! Thanks in advance for any volunteers.

I thought about this and wondered about the skills needed. I knew I could type and I have always loved reading anything from the 1700s and 1800s. I did not know if I could read the handwriting. I wanted to try and decided to write the editor. It wasn’t long before I had an assignment! Two documents and no deadline, so I wrote a note back to Diane (the editor now had a name). She gave me four weeks to turn in the finished transcriptions. There were two documents and four weeks.

In two days, I had transcribed the documents. I had fun determining the letters and the words. What a challenge! Why was their writing so beautiful and artistic? Who were the people? In the Merchant’s Ledger, what were they buying? They paid taxes and someone saved the receipts. Men were in court and the crimes were no different than today. I’m learning so much and enjoying it.

Each time I finish a document another one is waiting. To date, none of the documents are from my area of North Carolina. Wouldn’t it be fun to find a long-lost relative in these documents? I have found a new friend, Diane L. Richard, the editor. I was so impressed with what the North Carolina Genealogical Society is doing that I’ve joined!


If you are a current transcriber and would like to share your thoughts on how you got started and why you do it for a future issue of Journal Jottings, please e-mail me at journaleditor@ncgenealogy.org.

Finding Records in Unusual Places 

I was reading a blog post from NARA a couple months back about a collection of pictures of counterfeiters held in various collections. I contacted NARA and learned that there were images associated with three (out of 3,000 images) from North Carolina and they were provided to me. I plan to include them in a future issue of the Journal.

Have you heard of a neat records group? Might it contain North Carolina records? If so, please do let me know about it by sending an e-mail to journaleditor@ncgenealogy.org and I’ll dig in and see what I can learn. I have no qualms about asking about records and gaining access to them in support of the NCGS Journal!

Transcribing Webinar Coming … Really!

Well, we did record the transcriber training webinar, “Accurate Transcription for Historical Records,” last month as promised.

Unfortunately, the platform used, GoToMeeting, managed to not retain the recording.

We are in the process of scheduling a re-do, hopefully later this month.

In conjunction with the recording, I am in the process of overhauling the associated NCGS Journal Style Guide into more of a “how to” document to serve as a companion piece to the webinar. I will let you know when each is posted on the NCGS website.

Transcribers Needed

Though there is a cadre of dedicated transcribers who have been doing a wonderful job, more are always needed! There has been a pause in the acquisition of new projects, but there are still existing projects not yet completed! If you are interested, please e-mail me at journaleditor@ncgenealogy.org.

And, I have a long list of new records I’ll be looking at and possibly acquiring from the North Carolina State Archives, Duke, and UNC in the near future.


Do you regularly visit a particular archive whether in North Carolina or elsewhere? If so, and you’d be willing to copy/photograph/scan documents that have a North Carolina connection, please let me know. I’d happily cover the costs (copying, parking, etc.) to acquire such material.

Not sure if the archive you visit has anything of interest as journal content? Just let me know which archive, library, or repository you are visiting and I will check out its finding aids to determine if there are holdings that interest me for the Journal! This would be such a big help!

Drop an e-mail to journaleditor@ncgenealogy.org if you might be able to help me acquire new and neat material for the Journal!

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Thanks again to all who have helped and to those who will volunteer in the future. It does take a village to create a journal.

Go Journal Team!