When You Use Something to Help You Transcribe

The ease of accessing information online sometimes makes it easier to transcribe certain documents. We can search for what we think something might say and see if someone has transcribed a similar word or phrase. We can look at what an image of another record says the date of marriage is if we cannot quite read it on the marriage license we have.

That’s helpful and resourceful. But one has to be careful.

Just because others have transcribed a word or name as “Pine” does not mean that is what it actually is. It could really be “Jane.” Just because another record indicated the marriage date was 8 June 1842 does not mean the date was not actually written as 8 Jan. 1842 on the marriage license.

It’s sound procedure to get a little guidance in reading things that are difficult to interpret. But don’t let that guidance force an interpretation on you.


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