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Hearth Tax transcription project

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Hearth Tax transcription project

Postby Editor » Tue May 31, 2016 10:52 am

Hi everyone! The University of Roehampton is putting in a bid for a massive project to transcribe Hearth Tax records using volunteer transcribers (like the Operation War Diary project or the Cynefin project in Wales) and they were wanting some idea of whether people are interested in transcribing Hearth Tax records from home on a volunteer basis. Has anyone on the forum been involved in a volunteer transcription project where you transcribe from home? If so, can you tell me approximately how many hours you spent on the project?

As far as I understand it, academic transcribers will transcribe some areas (e.g. London, Edinburgh, York and Bristol) but the project will call on volunteers to help transcribe some of the less populated areas. We are talking about 10 million entries in what will become the nearest we've got to a 17th century census (which would be free to access). It would be really helpful if the people running the project can tell potential funders that the family history community would appreciate and use this resource and that there is an appetite for volunteer transcribers out there.

Sounds very exciting to me but I'd love to know what other people think.

Sarah
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Re: Hearth Tax transcription project

Postby Mick Loney » Tue May 31, 2016 6:59 pm

Sarah,

Family Search has a large volunteer base, who transcribe various data sets from home. Called Family Search Indexing, users log in, select a set of data they wish to transcribe, download it to their PC, transcribe it onto forms provided with the data, then return transcriptions back to Family Search. The returns from two or three transcribers are then analysed by an arbitrator, and the final result eventually appears on their website.

From past experience, each batch downloaded generally consists of a pair of pages from a parish register (baptism, marriage or burial), or a page from a census return, so on average take about 20 to 30 mins, suitable for those occasions when one has spare time on one's hands.

The user selects which batch to download from a list on the Family Search website, so can steer their help to areas that best matches with their own research.
The batches are ranked on degrees of dificulty, so user also chooses how dificult they want the batch to be. e.g. early uk registers were written in latin, and can be a lot harder to decipher than recent uk censuses.

The amount of time spent personally, varied from week to week, but the system was geared to the users/volunteers, who were free to do as much as they were able.

If you haven't decided on a model to use, I suggest you take a look for yourself, as it is a tried and tested method that appears to work.

Mike


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Re: Hearth Tax transcription project

Postby Sylcec » Wed Jun 01, 2016 6:32 am

I am familiar with the FamilySearch indexing process; from memory have done about 20,000 items, though confess to not having done any for a few months now. The process can be very addictive (like family history research generally).

How much time does one spend? Anything from 30mins to several hours a day. A lot depends on the legibility of the original records and one's level of frustration as to how long you spend at a sitting!
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Re: Hearth Tax transcription project

Postby Editor » Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:45 am

Thanks Sylvia, that's really helpful. I've looked at some pages and they are not too hard to read. Would people be put off by the fact that it's 17th century? I can't help feeling that it would be a great resource for family and local historians but they need to convince the funders that enough volunteers would want to transcribe the records!

Sarah
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Re: Hearth Tax transcription project

Postby coopernicola » Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:53 am

I agree with Sylvia in that it can be quite addictive. I took part in transcriptions for the WWI war diaries and set my self an hour to do so each time I was free. I often found myself still transcribing 2 hours later. I even ended up tracing one Lt who was often 'named' by initials only and then was recorded as having died. As he was recommended for a MM it was surprisingly easy to find him and locate a tree which had a photograph. I think I may have become over involved! I do think it's worthwhile volunteering to help with transcription and much more interesting when you get whole documents.
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Re: Hearth Tax transcription project

Postby Mick Loney » Wed Jun 01, 2016 4:32 pm

Sarah,
17th century records in themselves shouldn't pose a problem, providing they are in decent handwriting, and in english, rather than latin, as I generally find the qualiy of old handwriting is far supperior to today's modern scrawls in biro!




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Re: Hearth Tax transcription project

Postby Editor » Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:32 am

Thanks everyone. They are hoping to use Zooniverse which is a tried and tested way of crowdsourcing transcription projects. I hope you don't mind but I've quoted from some of your comments in my support for their funding application. It would be fantastic to have this 17th century resource available and searchable for the whole UK for free!

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