Transcription Formats


  • Dress appropriately. You want to blend in with other professionals around you.
  • Be organized. A briefcase works nicely. It is very distracting and time consuming to be shuffling through papers.
  • Have plenty of materials that you may need, just in case that pen does not work.
  • If you will want copies, take some cash along. Not all courthouses except checks. I recommend $1 bills. By using $1 bills, you will not have to wait for change and the clerks will not have to find it.
  • Always document the location of each copy or information you find. You may need to locate it again later.
  • Use the standard of writing genealogical information.
  • Attempt to ask as few questions as possible. Be polite and patient. At times, you will need to find it yourself.
  • Always keep in mind the court minutes. This will not provide you with all the information in the actual document, but it will help when the records are not available.
  • Do not overlook information that is not an exact match, you may find where it belongs later.
  • Remember that relationship terms can vary.
  • In advance, learn the history of the courthouse. If it was burned, when and to what extent.
  • Maintain a record of resources that have been checked.
  • Be persistent or at times, come back later.
  • Many forms are available to assist with transcriptions.
  • Note different spellings that you locate.
  • Attempt not to recopy the information once at home. The more you write the information, more errors can be made.
  • Copy all names and dates.
  • It is better to write extra information than not enough.

A transcription means that you have copied the information word for word.
There is another format to document information you locate called an extract. An extract is writing the important information word for word.
A third format is an abstract of the document. This is also called a summary.
Always make a note in your records what format you have used.
Always use the standard of writing formats.

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