Handwritten or Typed?

When analyzing a genealogical record, determining if the item being viewed is an original or derivative source is one key component of that analysis. Sources are generally considered “original” if they are in their first form (or an accurate digital reproduction thereof). Derivative sources are ones that are transcriptions of other sources (derivative or not) or are a compilation of information from a variety of sources.

Original sources can be wrong or right. The same goes for derivative sources.

I once read “typed sources are derivative.” That’s not necessarily true. Marriage records from the late 1700s that are typed are an obvious transcription. A will from 1930 that is typed could very well be the original. The same of a birth certificate from 1930.

Handwritten records can be derivative as well. Before digital reproduction techniques were readily available, many copies of records were made by hand.

Just don’t jump to a conclusion when determining what “type” of record an item is.

And lastly, “original” and “derivative” refer to the form in which a record was accessed. Determing the accuracy of the information it contained is broader than just whether something is original or derivative.

Take a look at what is on my genealogy bookshelf.

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