Use of old letters as sources and deciphering handwriting

+1 vote
83 views

If this question is not appropriate for G2G/Wikitree, please let me know and I will remove it.

My father passed away in December so I have acquired all his genealogy papers. Among this are a number of old letters, written in 1900-1920, by and to his father, his grandfather, his step-sister/cousin and his step-mother/aunt

My goal is to "transcribe" them all, gather what genealogical information I can and (perhaps) write a book. Since the letters are more than 100 years old, some have faded and others will soon. But I need help in figuring out how to get this accomplished. Does anyone have any ideas or resources that could help me? And how much could I (or should I) upload to Wikitree?

in Genealogy Help by Susan Hughes G2G6 Mach 3 (35.2k points)

2 Answers

+3 votes
Transcription is very good. We did that with the letters my grandpa wrote my grandma during WW II. Sometimes I take some minutes to read them and make an index of names in the letters. This is really interesting as my granddad had teachers in his education who were (according to him) notables during WW I. Another teacher of him was later among those who wanted to kill Hitler at the assassination attempt of 20 Jul 1944. But I also indexed the family that is mentioned in the letters.
by Jelena Eckst├Ądt G2G6 Pilot (693k points)
+2 votes
I wouldn't transcribe them all, but I would scan them so that you have an electronic version preserved.  Not all of them will be genealogically significant.  You might create a database or table to note the file name for the scan, author, recipient, anything of note.
by Kathy Rabenstein G2G6 Pilot (260k points)
If the writing fades away, it is imo (and out of experience) better to (also) transcribe them, because even on the scans it sometimes turns out difficult to read the letters.
Thanks. Some are too faded to get a good scan of. So maybe I will transcribe the faded ones and scan the others.
Transcription makes them useful in filling out a family history as well as genealogy That is always worthwhile.

You might be surprised at scanning the faint ones. Sometimes you can tweak settings and get enough extra contrast to make them readable. Not always, but sometimes you can make a more readable document so it is worth the attempt.

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