Transcribing old ledgers, account books, and estate inventories can sometimes be difficult. Businesses that are no longer in existence may be mentioned, names be abbreviated in unique ways, farm implements or occupational tools may be ones that are no longer used, etc. One way to potentially determine the names is to perform searches in digital newspapers for what can be transcribed. Wild card searches (*oat, sho*t, etc.) can be helpful when items can only partially be read.
Newspapers may contain more complete references to items that can only partially be read in the item being transcribed. Business names your relative partially abbreviated may be more completely spelled out. Advertisements for these businesses may provide more detail about what they sold for those times when your ancestor’s reference to them is somewhat vague.
Newspapers have quite a few genealogical uses–helping translate documents is one that researchers occasionally forget.