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: http://www.jacobboerema.nl/en/) 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).
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.