Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine’s popular volunteer event Transcription Tuesday returns for its fourth year on 4 February 2020.


First introduced in 2017, the event encourages family historians to help others by transcribing sets of historic records from their home computers.

The records can then be published online benefitting family historians across the world.

This year, we’ve picked four projects for our readers to work on.

From nonconformist records to First World War prisoner-of-war records, these four collections are fascinating family history resources.

For the fourth year running, we’re partnering with FamilySearch, the largest family history website in the world, to transcribe English nonconformist records.

Brian McKechnie, Family History Center logistics specialist, said: “The FamilySearch Indexing team are again excited to be part of Transcription Tuesday 2020.

"More than 12,000 parish records were indexed and added to our searchable collections on Transcription Tuesday 2019, and we hope that with your help we can improve on this in 2020.

"These additional records will be a boon to the global family history research community.

"Our sincere thanks to WDYTYA? Magazine for organising such a great worldwide event.”

Our second partner is the Internment Research Centre in Hawick, Scotland.

The centre wants help transcribing the records for nearby Stobs Camp, an internment camp for civilian and military prisoners of war during the First World War.

Paul Brough, archives manager at the Heritage Hub, said that Transcription Tuesday volunteers will be able to “participate in opening up and celebrating the personal stories in archives that, all too often, lie hidden away in our records”.

German prisoners First World War
Volunteer transcribers will reveal the names of German prisoners at Stobs Camp during the First World War (Credit: Internment Research Centre)

We’re also partnering with family history site Ancestry, which wants volunteers to transcribe West Midlands police registers for the Ancestry World Archives Project.

All indexes produced will be free to use for others.

The final project is Royal Navy First World War Lives at Sea, a collaboration between The National Archives and the National Maritime Museum to transcribe records of Navy crew.

For the first time, we’ll also hold an in-person transcription event at The National Archives for this project.

Our editor Sarah Williams will be there in person!

You can register to attend here.

Note that registration is limited to 30 people, and you will need to bring your own laptop.

As ever, you can always transcribe from home, or with other family historians in your area - all you need to take part is a computer.

Whether you’re an experienced transcriber or a beginner, whether you can give the whole day or just a bit of time, there’s something suitable for you, and we’d love you to take part.

Our amazing readers always make a massive contribution to record transcription – in 2019 our volunteers even managed to transcribe an entire book of historic rail-worker accidents in one day, in partnership with the Rail Work, Life and Death project.

We’d love to hear how the transcribers around the world are getting on.

One of the most exciting parts of decoding the records is the glimpses that they offer into our ancestors’ lives, so we’re very interested in the stories you uncover.

Please share your experiences and photographs on Twitter using the hashtag #TranscriptionTuesday, on our Facebook group, and by emailing us.

You can find out more about all four projects here.

Follow our website and newsletter for all the latest news – and don’t forget to put 4 February in your diary!


Rosemary Collins is the staff writer of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine