From the office: It's time to give back to family history

By Editor, 17 January 2018 - 11:54am

Transcription Tuesday is back and this year it's bigger than ever. Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine editor Sarah Williams explains why it's time to give back to family history

Sarah Williams is editor at Who Do You Think You Are? MagazineThursday 18 January 2018
Sarah Williams, Editor
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Transcription Tuesday

The Who Do You Think You Are? Team cursed the poor handwriting of their forebears (Credit: Getty Images)

Transcription Tuesday is back and this year it’s bigger than ever. Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine editor Sarah Williams explains why it’s time to give back to family history

Read more about Transcription Tuesday 2018


On Tuesday 23 January 2018 we are asking family historians to sign up to Transcription Tuesday and become a volunteer transcriber for a day (or even just half an hour!).

If you have ever used any of the the millions of records on Familysearch or benefited from sites such as FreeBMD or one of the numerous Online Parish Clerks websites, you will already appreciate the work that volunteer transcribers do. These sites and numerous other online resources across the globe have helped me expand my tree and get more from the hobby I love. And all for free.

It’s easy to take these resources for granted, but they are only there because of volunteer transcribers. We spend countless hours doing our own family history research but on Tuesday 23 January we are asking family historians across the globe to give some time back to family history and contribute to resources that will help the community for years to come.

We are supporting five projects this year, so you have a choice of indexing parish registers for FamilySearch, transcribing Bedfordshire Poor Law records or helping with three First World War projects including New Zealand service records, Great War Tribunal appeal records from Cardiganshire or a selection of personal WW1 memorabilia that was submitted as part of the Europeana 1914-1918 project.

I’ve had a dabble with each of the projects and some are harder than others (you can see our ratings of each of the projects in the current issue of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine). You may find yourself cursing bad handwriting, or boxes that don’t contain what they should contain. You may find that you start off slowly, adding records at a snail’s pace as you get to grips with the software, the hand-writing and the process.

But don’t worry, you will get quicker and spending time poring over original documents will both increase your family history skills and give you a new-found respect for the transcriptions we currently rely on.

Take a look at the description of each project and, once you have decided which one to support on the day, please register with us. This will enable us to monitor participation for each project and also to contact participants on the day if necessary. We also recommend setting up an account with your chosen project ahead of the day

We are also asking people to take a photograph of themselves taking part and share it on social media with the tag #TranscriptionTuesday. We may use the images in the magazine and online and in return we will pick one participant at random and offer them a free year’s subscription to Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine*.

Please share your participation with other family historians and encourage as many people as possible to take part. There are millions of us out there and together we can really make a difference.

*The winner of a year's free subscription (13 issues) will be selected at random from all posts on Facebook and Twitter that include #TranscriptionTuesday and @wdytyamagazine plus a photograph of someone participating in the day on 23 January 2018. The winner will be contacted via social media. All photographs submitted may be used to publicise the event within the magazine, online or via social media.

Transcription Tuesday 2018
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Transcription Tuesday 2018
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From the office: How to make the most of RootsTech2018
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