Family historians take part in first Transcription Tuesday event

By Jon Bauckham, 19 January 2017 - 5:43pm

More than 300 people took part in Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine's first-ever Transcription Tuesday event this week, helping to make thousands of historic records more accessible to all

A team of volunteers from the National Library of Wales spent time working on the Cynefin: Tithe Maps of Wales project

Hundreds of family historians participated in Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine’s very first Transcription Tuesday event on 17 January.

The occasion, designed to raise awareness of volunteer transcription projects, saw 329 readers sign up to help one of six ‘crowdsourcing’ initiatives chosen by the Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine editorial team.

Each staff member was responsible for leading a project on the day, with the aim of encouraging as many people to take part from home as possible.

One of the biggest success stories was the Cornish Parish Registers team, led by production editor Sarah Orme. In total, 146 people registered to help the FamilySearch initiative, which involves indexing historic Cornish marriage records from across the county.

Among the participants was Pam Makinson, who got in touch via email to say she had a “great day” transcribing the records with members of her local LDS Church.

She even encouraged youth members of the congregation to take part, with some choosing to annotate First World War unit war diaries for the Operation War Diary project.

“We completed at least a couple of batches each and one of the youth members also managed to do them,” Pam told Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine. “The other young people gathered at the offices of one the parents and they had great fun with the war diaries.

"These are all projects we will continue to support and look forward to joining you in the future.”

Other participants took to social media to share their progress, each using the campaign hashtag #TranscriptionTuesday. Angela Hudson was delighted to have found a report of a WW1 football match on Operation War Diary, while Peter Higgs said he found the website “strangely addictive”.

Those who also shared updates included the National Library of Wales volunteering department (pictured above), who contributed towards the Cynefin project. Set up by Archives Wales, the crowdsourcing scheme aims to transcribe hundreds of Welsh tithe maps.

As a result of Transcription Tuesday, the project website recorded its “best ever” day, with over 180 pages transcribed.

“In the end, 62 volunteers participated and we got a record-breaking 92.5 hours from them,” said Cynefin project manager Einion Gruffudd. “[It was a] very useful boost to our project.”

The initiative also hit a new milestone, with a total of 25,316 new ‘pins’ added to the site during the 24-hour event period.

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine editor Sarah Williams, who came up with the idea for Transcription Tuesday, said she was delighted with the results.

“Not only did we have fun as a team getting personally involved with these projects, but we loved all the positive feedback we got from participants,” she said. “I think we all enjoyed giving something back to family history.

"In fact, we enjoyed it so much we are already looking at how we can make our next event even bigger and better!"

A full round-up of Transcription Tuesday will appear in our March 2017 issue – on sale from Tuesday 14 February.

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