Thank you for joining our Transcription Tuesday Weekly Challenge to help our readers keep busy and give back to family history during the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday 28 April, join us in transcribing prisoner records at Stobs Camp during the First World War.
You can find out more about the Stobs Camp Project here. Your involvement will help researchers paint a better picture of the Germans (both military and civilian) who were interned there during the First World War.
How to take part
It may seem tricky at first, but you will soon be storming through pages. Please keep a track of how long you spend reading and transcribing as it will help the Internment Research Centre evaluate the project.
These instructions have been written using Google Chrome as the browser. They are not a substitute for the full instructions that come with the project (see below).
Go to bit.ly/stobscamp and a Google Drive page will open up.
The first document should be the instructions. If not click on the arrow next to Name (top right) so that it points upwards. Alternatively, just scroll down until you see the instructions document. Double click on the instructions document and it will open. The document gives some background to the project and what you will be doing to help future researchers as well as detailed instructions.
You may find it useful to keep the instructions open and create a new tab in your browser where you can open the original Google Drive page again.
On the ‘home page’ there is a document called 3. Stobs Camp. Right click on 3. Stobs Camp and choose ‘Download’ to create a Microsoft Excel document which you can save to your desktop. If you don’t have Microsoft Excel, you can double click the file to open it and then select ‘Download’ from the ‘File’ menu and you have the option to create an .ods (Open Format) file.
Next, open one of the files called ‘Allemands Book’ by double-clicking on it. The first column is called ‘Image Link’. If a cell has been highlighted in blue, then it means that somebody is working on it or has completed it. Scroll down until you find a link that hasn’t been done. They don’t have to be done in order.
To show other users that you are working on this link, select the cell that contains the link and click on the ‘Fill colour’ icon (it looks like a paint pot that is tilting with a drop coming out of it!). Choose the light blue option and the cell will be highlighted. Now click on the link, if you haven’t done so already, and a new tab will pop up taking you to that page on the ICRC website (to open the link you need to click on the box that pops up slightly above when you click on the cell).
A black menu bar should appear at the top of the document with a magnifying glass icon. Click on the magnifying glass to zoom the page in.
Next, scroll through the entries and see if there’s any mention of Stbs. or Ss. H. (in the Place of Internment column). If there isn’t, it’s quite simple. All you have to do is go back to the ‘Allemands Book’ spreadsheet and type ‘No’ in the column ‘Stobs [Yes/No]’ next to your highlighted entry.
Add your initials or a username of your choice in the ‘Initials’ column and the country you are based in in the ‘Location’ column.
You can then highlight and open the next link.
Top Tip It’s important to only work on the page that is opened when you click on the link. Don’t scroll to other pages. You should also close the tab after you have checked it or you will end up with lots of ICRC tabs open and it could confuse things!
If you come across a page that does have Stbs. or Ss. H. (usually, but not always, in the ‘Place of Internment’ column), then you have found someone who was interned at Stobs. This is when you have to use the blank spreadsheet that you downloaded earlier. It may have saved itself as 3. Stobs Camp. Please click on the name and rename it Stobs Camp followed by your initials or username, whichever you entered into the Initials column on the spreadsheet.
Top Tip Although the online spreadsheets automatically save any changes, the spreadsheet with your transcriptions on your computer will need to be saved regularly by you. Save each time you complete an entry.
As you fill in the details of the internee you have discovered, you will need to look at the more detailed instructions mentioned at the start. This includes examples for the different style forms you may see and explains which numbers and details need to be included in each column. The instructions also explain how to produce an umlaut over letters and other useful tips.
Top Tip Forms were filled in by different officials who did not always follow the same procedure. For example, there are usually one or two addresses listed (H) for home and (B) for birth. If there is an extra address, please put it in the ‘Transcriber remarks’ column. Also, sometimes a number appears in the name columns e.g. A1735. This should be entered into the ‘Additional numbers’ column along with numbers stamped in red next to some entries. This also applies to numbers that are clearly not an age or date of birth in the ‘Age or Date of Birth column’.
Remember It is important to record the dates – for instance, write ‘Adm. 23/1/17 Accident whilst working. Dsd. 28/1/17’ rather than just ‘Accident whilst working’. The numbers after the camp abbreviations also need to go in the ‘Place of Internment’ column.
Once you have finished your work for the day, email the spreadsheet to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please tell them how long you spent on transcribing as they are monitoring how much volunteer time has been donated to the project. If you didn’t come across any Stobs entries, but still spent time checking ICRC pages, please still email the project to say how much time you spent on the project even if you don’t have a spreadsheet to send to them.