Even in our age of photocopiers and digital cameras, situations will arise when good old-fashioned note-taking is required. Here are some tips to keep in mind if your local registry of deeds charges three bucks a copy, and confiscates your camera at the door.
1. Know your weaknesses. If your 9's often look like your 4's, take extra care in writing these two numberseven to the point of exaggerating their differences. If your cursive is atrocious, print.
2. Draw a picture. If you can't read a word or name, draw a picture of it. If the picture is exact, you might have an epiphany and be able to decipher it later.
3. Write it down as it is given. If an Old Style date is given, write the date in Old Style. If a name is misspelled, misspell it in your notes.
4. Learn to abstract. Determine which information is important to copy, and which can safely be ignored. If abstracting land records, take note of the standard forms of warranty and quit-claim deeds, and then don't waste time copying these forms over and over.
5. Cite the source. Write down the source of the record you're abstracting or transcribingwhether a volume and page number, or the exact location of a gravestone in a large cemetery. You might need to find it again.