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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Decipher Yourself

If you'd like to test your transcribing skills, head over to the Decipher mailing list archives. Almost all of the messages are from KYGenWeb volunteers working on the Kentucky Vital Records Project, which has digitized and indexed more than 126,000 death certificates so far.

I've transcribed tens of thousands of handwritten names over the years, but I still get stumped. The trick is knowing when you should consider yourself stumped, and knowing how to find a "backdoor" solution. I'm glad to see that some respondents on the Decipher list are going beyond the digitized document to confirm their hunches with census and other records.

I'll admit, it's also fun to read the conflicting answers they sometimes give.

Looks like Ase

Joe or Ace

I think it looks like Gee, possibly short for George.

I think it's Lee with an "overly fancy" L.

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