Transcription Tuesday Weekly Challenge: Warwickshire Quarter Sessions Depositions

Beat coronavirus lockdown boredom and help build an online index to over 12,000 witness statements held by Warwickshire County Record Office

warwickshire bytes

At Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, we’ve brought back our popular Transcription Tuesday volunteer event to help our readers keep busy and give back to family history during the coronavirus lockdown.

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For next week’s Transcription Tuesday Challenge, on Tuesday 19 May 2020, we’re returning to our successful partnership with Warwickshire County Record Office.

Project archivist Sharon Forman explains how the project will help family historians, and how you can get involved. Note that you will have to register before Monday 18 May.

Project overview

Heritage & Culture Warwickshire is aiming to construct a searchable online index to the 12,000 depositions (witness statements) held in the collections of Warwickshire County Record Office (WCRO).

The project was originally one of several crowdsourcing initiatives set up by the Warwickshire Bytes team, which is offering ‘virtual volunteering’ opportunities for people who want to help make historic records more widely available, but can’t visit WCRO in person. The Bytes project has now ended, but we are still beavering away at the depositions! If you enjoy your Transcription Tuesday experience, why not join the main project for the chance to transcribe of whole bundle of statements instead of just one!

How will it help? 

The depositions provide details of court cases held at the Warwickshire quarter sessions between 1829 and 1900, making them an excellent source for family, local and social history.

However, the collection is uncatalogued except for a single-line description in the WCRO finding aids, often omitting crucial details. By extracting and indexing information from the depositions such as name, date and type of crime, the team can create a searchable online database for researchers to access all over the world.
How to take part 

Step 1

To register to take part before 19 May, email the Deposition Indexing team on bytes@warwickshire.gov.uk with Transcription Tuesday in the subject line.

Step 2
The team will email you a unique Transcription Tuesday ID to keep your submission anonymous.

Once you reply to confirm that you are officially signing up, we will send you a 2nd email with links to all the documents you need:

1) The deposition you have been allocated. This is usually about four pages, but can be more or less. You will need to read through the whole document to get a feel for the story of the crime and then transfer the relevant information to the spreadsheet

2) The spreadsheet that goes with your deposition. This will include sections for information such as names, dates and details of the crime committed

3) A link to the guidelines we have produced for filling in the spreadsheet. Take time to read these as they can help a lot in knowing what to look for when you first start transcribing. There are also video versions of these guides available from the main Deposition Indexing Project which can also help.

Step 3
When you have worked your way through the deposition and there is nothing left to index, email the team to let them know you are finished. There is no need to transfer anything via email as all the documents are hosted on Google Drive and stay online. You are welcome to call it a day there, or do another deposition if you find you have a taste for it!

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Step 4
Feel free to share your experiences and any interesting discoveries you have come across using the Twitter hashtag #TranscriptionTuesday, or email us at wdytyaeditorial@immediate.co.uk. We’d love to hear from you!