This is one of three projects that we are supporting as part of our third annual Transcription Tuesday event on Tuesday 5 February 2019. Click here to learn about the other two projects.
Project overview


Researchers from the University of Portsmouth, the Modern Records Centre and the National Railway Museum are asking Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine readers to transcribe a trade union book of railway worker accidents spanning 1901–1905.

Originally created by the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, the book provides a fascinating insight into Britain's industrial heritage and the steps taken to improve worker safety at the turn of the 20th century.

Spanning 119 pages and containing approximately 2,150 entries, it is hoped that volunteers can transcribe the entire volume over the course of Transcription Tuesday.
How will it help?

Once complete, the entries will be added to a free searchable database on the Railway Work, Life and Death website, which already contains details of more than 4,500 British and Irish railway workers.

By expanding the database, it will become an ever-more crucial tool for family historians, academic researchers and railway enthusiasts alike.
How to take part

Participants won't be required to undertake any transcription work until Transcription Tuesday itself, but we do recommend reading the below instructions in advance:

Step 1
Visit the dedicated Transcription Tuesday page on the Railway Work, Life and Death website.


Step 2
Read through the page carefully, making sure that you download the transcribers' handbook (PDF). This contains more detailed information about the source material you will be working with and the types of entries you are likely to encounter.


Step 3
When you feel confident about how the transcription process works, you can have a go at completing the demonstration spreadsheet. This resembles the 'real' spreadsheet that you will be working on during Transcription Tuesday.


Step 4
Like an Excel document, the spreadsheet contains cells in which you can enter data from a sample book page. The page itself can viewed using the link in column A (highlighted blue).

Railway accidents

Step 5
Unlike the other two Transcription Tuesday projects we are supporting this year, you don't need to complete any registration forms in order to take part. All edits made to the spreadsheet are anonymous by default.

However, as numerous volunteers will be accessing the spreadsheet simultaneously, you can sign your work by entering a username in column 'AF'. This is optional, but will give the project leaders an idea of how many different people have participated.


Step 6
On the morning of Transcription Tuesday (5 February 2019), a link to the 'real' spreadsheet will be made available via the project page. We're aiming to complete the entire volume over the course of the day – all 119 pages!


Once you've finished transcribing, feel free to share your experiences and any interesting discoveries you have come across using the Twitter hashtag #TranscriptionTuesday, or email us at We'd love to hear from you!