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Some transcribers need glasses

Just been searching the Censuses and came across a chap with the occupation given on the transcription as "A Horney at Son"

Intrigued as to what on earth that might be I had a look at the image of the original page and it actually reads "Attorney at Law"

Are these people blind or what?

I think you may be right, Dave. Having done some transcribing in the past I know you are told to put down what you see and not what you think you see - eg don't use commonsense and make an intelligent guess - but how do you turn one word like attorney into two.

An important factor is the lack of accurate recording of personal details for the census returns, even up to 1911, would be the level of education of the person taking down the details. Add to that, the lack of electric light in many areas, not to forget the state of the weather when they were done. Yes, there are no doubt many inaccuracies within the details of our ancestors, but when you read the listing of very many families which number 10+, did the family offer the poor transcriber a cup of tea? :biggrin:
It's been said many times within the small mining community where I was born and brought up, "The kettle was always on!". Even the Late Stanley Baker said that when he did a documentary on his upbringing.
I have read through reams of scans of census images and some of the handwriting is appalling, or the image is faded. Ditto for parish registers etc. Transcribers have to type how it looks. Although the transcription on Anc reads a parish in a county which I don't recognise, then when I look at the original, I can easily read what parish it is, especially if I know the parish due to the county being an ancestral county.
Yes, there are some awful transcriptions. :eek:

But, whoever does the transcribing may not have the will to spend a lot of time trying to unwind the writing. I assume it is unpaid work, so why are we surprised.
As it's our hobby, we can spend as much time as we like to unravel a name or occupation etc.

If anyone would like to try and read my scrawl, they are very welcome to try, as I often can't read my own writing at times.:eek::2fun:

I suppose the rub, is the fact that we are paying to look at these records, and that fact that it may have been transcribed very badly.

I would hazard a guess if the transcriber is from an English speaking country, the actual 'scrawl' they are looking at is pretty universal in an English speaking and writing country.

Then there is a question of which font it is being written in, which I do believe there was some sort of etiquette for which style was used, depending on what the document contains legally.

Looking at a Will of the 1800's, once you have a grasp of the font or handwriting, it becomes a lot easier to transcribe. Moving on to another Will, it will be in a different hand or font, so the process of transcribing starts again.
I very much doubt that the transcribers of 'our' documents will be calligraphy experts, but we do hope for better results in any case.

So it seems to come down to time and money.........if the transcribers have time, but not the money, what do we expect of them. If they have the money but not the time, we will get similar results.
I've no idea of what sort of incentives are given to these 'transcribers', but I guess they are essentially selfish or unpaid.

But on the whole, are they not generally quite good. I would think yes, when you consider the amount of documents and the variety of transcribers commitment.

I will still complain to the relevant web site, but generally my whinges will fall on deaf ears, to people who are there to earn a wage from our subs.

Reading this thread has made me remember something which happened during my working life. Whilst we all know that many recordings of details in the census returns have a lot to be desired, about 20 or so years ago, I was at a meeting with colleagues and having been asked where our office was, to which we said "CARDIFF", the person said and I quote, "Is that near Edinburgh?"
The mind boggles!
Transcription on "A" of 'chief inspector' = 'chief inxjiectur' :rolleyes:

And the word is not at all difficult to read. I didn't know the occupation until I looked at the record.

How much is done by OCR and NOT checked?
Tried to find a birth reg for Eli Ives. Qtr 1. 1887. Wycombe district. No luck.:rolleyes:

So I manually searched for it, and found it ok, but almost 3 columns are not available when searched for.

"To select a record, please open the Index"....this does not work past the name of Robert Isaac, to the name of Thomas Albert Jackson at the end of page.

More comments on Ancestrees FB page.>:D:2fun:

Yes Ben. And at the moment the ones that I need aren't on there yet.:rolleyes:

Not that I need many now, just a few twigs on the tree really.

Those records came on Anc. about 5 years too late.:eek::2fun:


Very few Bucks records are online, and I have rellies from there as well.
I am still very thankful that more and more records are coming online now. It is getting easier to turn your own PC into a record office itself.
I was researching the Census in Birmingham, Warwickshire, but some transcriber had put Birmingham United States, when clearly it showed Warwickshire.:2fun:

All the b.m.d's, show all records in Birmingham, Warks, not USA.:rolleyes:

Somerset abbreviated as "Som" has been mistaken as Somalia. And proper English names have been mistranscribed as exotic names.