The fifth annual Transcription Tuesday volunteer event saw thousands of historic records successfully transcribed by Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine readers working online.


For the annual volunteer event, on Tuesday 2 February 2021, we asked our readers to transcribe records for four online projects.

359 volunteers took part in one of our partner projects, Addressing Health, and transcribed 20,543 19th and 20th century Post Office pensions records.

Project investigator Professor David Green of King’s College London said: “We were amazed at the enthusiasm of the hundreds of Transcription Tuesday volunteers.

“Not only did they record the information that we needed for our research project on the history of workplace health but they also took the time to add the personal stories that bring the records to life.

“We’re so grateful to be supported in this way by so many people. Thank you!”

We were amazed at the enthusiasm of the hundreds of Transcription Tuesday volunteers.

Our second partner project was Voices Through Time, transcribing the 17th century admissions registers from London's Foundling Hospital.

The Hospital was founded by philanthropist Captain Thomas Coram as a home for orphaned children.

Our volunteers successfully transcribed 822 record pages.

218 pages were 'retired', or transcribed three times to ensure a final transcription without errors, and Volume One of the General Registers was completely transcribed.

The Voices Through Time team leaders said: “We had a fantastic time transcribing with you this Transcription Tuesday.

“We were bowled over by the huge number of people who joined us to transcribe, getting through hundreds of pages from the Foundling Hospital records and helping us to get our project Voices Through Time: The Story of Care off to a wonderful start.

“We hope you'll stay with us on the journey.”

Transcribing the Foundling Hospital registers revealed a surprising connection between the past and the present, as the vaccination programme is being rolled out to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

Many of the children at the Foundling Hospital died at a young age.

However, Dr Richard Mead, one of the Hospital’s founders, was an advocate for inoculation, an early form of immunisation.

The registers show that as early as the 1750s, the children at the Hospital were inoculated against smallpox and measles, giving them a better chance of surviving to adulthood.

Transcription Tuesday volunteers also transcribed 44,159 English parish and nonconformist records for FamilySearch.

FamilySearch experience manager Keith Penfold said: "We are incredibly grateful to the readers of WDYTYA? who helped to index so many records in one day.

"With all the other challenges facing us all it is wonderful to see so many people willing to assist in such an important project."

Finally, the volunteers transcribed 40,213 concentration camp records for the Arolsen Archives' Every Name Counts project, which seeks to create a digital memorial to all the victims of the Holocaust.

Floriane Azoulay, director of the Archives, said: “For me this is overwhelming, and it makes me feel very confident that together we can ensure no name will be forgotten.”

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine editor Sarah Williams said: “Thank you to everyone who took part this year.

“It was truly inspiring to see so many records being transcribed and to hear your stories, whether you were a first-time transcriber or a Transcription Tuesday veteran.”


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