Transcribing document images

In General Genealogy on January 26, 2014 at 10:47 PM

Recently a long-distance cousin of mine sent me a photographed copy of my second great grand-uncle’s will from the 1890s.  Okay, not the actual will, but the certified copy from the probate court. In any case, it was exciting in the way only us genealogists understand. ;-)

But it got me thinking. I realized I wanted to transcribe it as I read it through the first time, which would also force me to read it thoroughly and carefully at the same time. But having the images open in one window and transcribing the text into another window and then switching back and forth to move the image up or down or sideways, and then type and type…well, it’s not the funnest part of being a family researcher, is it?

So I did a google search for transcription software. And surprisingly there’s not a lot. But luckily there is Transcription (find it here: and after transcribing that 7 page Will relatively painlessly, I’m in love with this little shareware program!  You can easily download and use it, for personal use, for free. If you need a license, or if you just find it an awesome program worth supporting, it’s only 15 euros and easily purchased through Paypal, and an email sent to the developer for the license. But I get ahead of myself. You simply open the image file from within the program and it displays that at the top of the window. At the bottom of the window is a simple rtf (rich text) window for your transcription. (I should see if I can’t figure out how to give you a screen shot here). Image

You can, as I did, do several image files to one text file so I have all 7 separate images/pages of the Will all in one text file that I can save anywhere I like.  As a basic text file it’s also very easy to copy and paste into your various programs (Clooz, Rootsmagic, Family Tree Maker, etc,)  It also has handy features like super/subscript, so when the “th” of “17th” superscript, you can transcribe exactly that way.  As well the image actually moves up every time you press “enter” (to force a line break) which is a great time and effort saver. While it didn’t stop me from having to once in awhile mouse up to the image and move it up, I didn’t have to do it nearly as often as would have any other way.

Okay, I didn’t really mean for this post to sound like an advertisement for this program…lol…but I am just so pleased with it. And I know there are many of you out there doing transcriptions like these too (sources, sources, sources!).  I’d also be interested if anyone has found any other handy little programs–feel free to leave comments.

Surname float

In Uncategorized on October 4, 2013 at 6:38 AM

I am lucky enough to have one of those surnames in my family tree that is unique enough that it is likely everyone with it is fairly closely related to me and “english” enough that there are few variations on its spelling and most variations have to do with the last few letters.  McRandal.  McRandall.  McRandle. and variations with “s” on the end and such, but generally a search for Mcrand* brings up a page or two of entries for most searches.  There is some possibility that back in it’s native North of Ireland that it was sometimes written as McCandless for some reason, but the way my nana said her maiden name it definitely had an “r” in it, slightly rolled even…McCrandle sort of. In any case, she assured me she spelled it McRandal–my young self kept forgetting and had to ask her numerous times.   My research since shows it was a fairly fluid surname, as most were, until the 20th century.  Sometime in the 1800s various brothers and cousins of my McRandal ancestor seem to’ve taken a slightly different spelling of their surname (a great way to help sort out all the Hugh, Daniel, Bernard and Johns, btw).

Now before you all get jealous of my somewhat easy-to-find surname, let me assure you that I have a great grandfather Thompson (okay, yes, the “p” makes it slightly easier) and another great-grandfather Smith.  And a surname like Deacon may not be terribly common, but a google search for it brings up all sorts of church deacons (and my Deacons were non-conformists, so unlikely church deacons), much the same as Painter which of course brings up artists and house painters alike none of whom are related to my US-German-ancestry Painters, who were farmers by trade.

Then there is Hansom.  Yes, HansoM. No relation to the inventor of the Hansom cab, a horsedrawn carriage.  But often mis-heard as HansoN or Hansen and mis-transcribed as such.

Turnbough is another story. Turnbo, Turnbow, Turnbaugh…any one will do.  I haven’t quite gotten it back to it’s rumoured French (alsace-lorraine) roots.

Acheson and Akeson are also in my tree, the former from Ireland, the latter from Sweden.  Both are often found as Atkinson.

Which, all in all, just reminds me that surnames were not that important to our ancestors not that long ago.  And given  that even today I find it hard to remember my long-time girlfriends’ by their married surnames, I’d say they’re still not that important to us except in an official capacity.  But we have no trouble correcting officials now when they misspell our names–Hugh McRandal is NOT the same person as Hugh McRandle these days.


Still more 1921 Census of Canada, Vancouver South (District 23)

In General Genealogy on September 24, 2013 at 5:49 PM

UPDATE (30 October 2013): The images are now Indexed on  There are varying reports on the accuracy of the transcriptions.

Continuing in the same vein as before, here are some rough notes I’ve made as I’ve gone through some of the scans at

Subdistrict 1, Point Grey: covers 1400s King Edward, 1400s Laurier, 1400s Balfour, 4000s Cartier, 1300s Laurier, 3900/4000s Hudson, 3800s Cartier, 1300s Balfour, 3800s Hudson, 1300s Laurier, 4000s Selkirk, 1200s Balfour, 3800s Selkirk, 1200s Laurier, 3800s Hudson, 4000s Osler, 3900s Osler, 1000/1100s Laurier, 3800s Osler, 1000s Balfour, 1200s King Edward,  3500/3600s Osler, 1000s Wolfe, 1000s Balfour, 1000/1100s Matthews, 1100s Balfour, 3800s Osler, 3600/3700s Selkirk, 1200s Matthews, 3600/3700s Hudson, 3600/3700s Cartier,1300s Balfour, 1300s Matthews,  1200s Balfour, 1400s Balfour, 1400s Angus, 1400s McRae, 3200/3300s Granville, 1400s Matthews, 3400s Osler, 3500s Hudson, 1300s The Crescent, 1000-1200s Tecumseh, 1100s Wolfe, 1000s 16th Ave, 1000s Douglas, 3700s Granville, 1100s Montcalm, 3800s Cartier (15 pages)

Subdistrict 16– covers 400s 16th Avenue West, 10s-500s 17th Ave W, 3200s Cambie St,          (35 pages)


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