Transcription Tuesday 2020: Discovering policemen ancestors in the West Midlands

By Rosemary Collins, 28 January 2020 - 5:00pm

Help index valuable 19th and 20th century police records for the Ancestry World Archives project for Transcription Tuesday

Ancestry West Midlands police Transcription Tuesday

This is one of four projects that we are supporting as part of our fourth annual Transcription Tuesday event on Tuesday 4 February 2020. Click here to learn about the other three projects.

Project overview

The West Midlands Police Records list police personnel in Birmingham and the West Midlands, primarily from the 1860s to the 1940s. They have now been digitised by the World Archives Project, run by family history website Ancestry. Volunteers are needed to transcribe the records, which will be made available for free.

How to take part 

Step 1

Download Keying Tool 2.0, the free transcription software. To do so, go here, select the option for Windows or Mac, and follow the instructions.

Transcription Tuesday West Midlands Police

Step 2

Open Keying Tool on your computer. If you are already an Ancestry user, you can sign in using your account details. If not, you can register for a free account.

Transcription Tuesday West Midlands police registers

Step 3

Select the ‘Download Image Sets’ button at the top right. Select ‘West Midlands, England, Police Files and Ledgers, 1850-1950’ and click ‘Download’. When notified that the document is downloaded, click ‘OK’.

Transcription Tuesday West Midlands police

Step 4

Double-click on the form name to open it. There are three types of form: Register, Record and Page 2. Registers list multiple policemen and are identifiable by the warrant numbers accompanying each name. Records include just one policeman and list details throughout his career. Page 2 is the second part of the Record form. You can view more information and sample images here. To begin, click the type of form from the first three options on the left and click ‘Done’.

Transcription Tuesday West Midlands police

Step 5

Enter the information in each column as directed. For Registers, you will probably see multiple policemen and will have to enter each one on a separate line. In most cases the only detail provided is their warrant number, first and last names, age at joining, date of joining and possibly profession. For Records, you may have the opportunity to enter more information about one man, such as his military service or his wife’s name. When you have filled the table, click 'Begin Next Image' to start the next page. When you have covered all pages, click ‘Finish Image Set’ and click ‘Continue’ to submit it.

Transcription Tuesday West Midlands police records

Please share your experiences, photographs and any discoveries you have come across by email at, on Twitter using the hashtag #TranscriptionTuesday, or on our forum and Facebook group. We’d love to hear from you!



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