Monday, August 25, 2014

Virginia's History in Handwriting - Help Transcribe It!

Do you like reading about history or do you enjoy working on word puzzles like crossword, Scrabble, or Words with Friends? If so, then Virginia has a project for you! The Library of Virginia has launched
Making History: Transcribe. This is part of the Virginia Memory collection. Basically they are inviting the public to look at handwritten historical Virginia documents online, and to type those documents to make them easier for others to read and search. Instructions for how to set up an account and join in can be found here:  If you can't make out every word that's OK, you can type the ones you're sure of and either guess or skip on the ones you aren't sure about.

Here at RCPL we have a similar project but on a smaller scale. Staff and volunteers have worked the past few years on transcribing the diary of Thomas T. Dickenson, a 19th century Castlewood farmer. He began his diary just as the Civil War was beginning. Being a farmer, he began most entrys with the weather of the day, and the work he did. However, he also notes historic facts and community news. If you would be interested in helping with this project, contact us at the library. Below are some examples from May, 1861.

Transcription of each above:
May 12:  Cloudy and warm—Josie and I went to baptism meeting; then to her Pa’s for dinner.  May had a calf.
May 13:  Clear AM Rain PM-- Put straight fence around yard.  R. P. D. here --sent corn to mill.
May 14:  Variable—sheared the sheep.  29 altered and marked the lambs
May 15:  Clear—put up posts and made a yard gate.  Jule had a mule.  Sandy sow had 6 pigs.
May 16:  Cloudless—Went to Father’s, made gate irons and put them on -  Commenced plowing corn.  Father here.
May 17:  Clear and cool—worked the road.
May 18:  Clear & warm. A portion of citizens of Castles Woods met at John Banner’s to form a home guard.  [Good?]
May 19:  Clear AM –Rain PM-Josie and I started to Lebanon to the training -  went as far H. B. Gray’s.
May 20:  Rained all day—did not train any.  North Carolina seceded by a vote of the Convention.
May 21:  Rained –Trained.

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