Transcriptions of actual documents may contain marks that appear to be errant strays left by a careless clerk. Occasionally that it exactly what they are.

Other times they are not. Clerks who made handwritten copies of records that served as an official copy may have noticed spelling errors, errors of fact, or other inconsistencies in the original document. It was not the clerk’s job to correct. Instead when a clerk noticed an inconsistency in an original record and was making a handwritten copy, they would often make an annotation as is done in the 1862 marriage record from Missouri used in the illustration.

The clerk noticed that Kempster was spelled two different ways in the record and the Kempter was used once. When it was spelled “Kempter” on the document, the clerk underlined the “pt” to indicate that the missing “s” was not his fault.



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