Sunday, December 16, 2012

Transcribing and translating your family documents

Books and documents are important components in our genealogical research as they help us build our own family history. Many times our ancestors belong to different countries and different languages that are not the one that we belong, and language, as well, becomes a barrier affecting our personal investigation when we don’t know it.

When transcribing a manuscript all the elements of the text are kept exactly as they appear on the writing, including all the abbreviations. While doing an abstract, only the relevant information is provided, including dates, places and full names.

I will use as an example the baptism of my maternal 3rd grandmother Balbina, from Cabo da Praia, Terceira Island, in the Azores. The original document is part of Biblioteca Pública and Arquivo Regional deAngra do Heroismo, all rights reserved.



In earlier times, it was common to condense some of the words in a document. If you are transcribing, is very tricky if you don’t know the original language.

Below is the above document transcribed, exactly as it appears on the original document, line by line, following the original old way of writing. Note that I placed in between brackets the words that are abbreviated by the person who wrote the document and on the left side the numbers correspond to the number of lines is the document.

1             1829
2             Balbina, filha de João Jaquez e de sua mer.[mulher]
3             Maria do Carmo ella nal.[natural] da Villa de S. Se
4             bastião e ele nal.[natural] e ambos freguezes desta
5             Parochial de Sta. Catharina lugar do
6             Cabo da Praia desta Ilha 3a. nasceo em
7             os quinze dias do mez de Novembro do an-
8             no de mil oito centos e vinte nove. Foi Ba
9             tizada por mim Vicente Toste Coelho Vigro.[Vigario]
10           proprio desta da.[dita] Parochia, em os vinte
11           e dois dias do do.[dito] mez, e como logo lhe im
12           puz os Stos.[Santos] Oleos: foi Padrinho Franco.[Francisco]
13           Mdo. (Machado) cazado com Rita Ignacia nossos
14           Parochianos Era ut Supra.
15           Vigro  Vicente Toste Coelho


And here I have another way of interpreting the same document.  The text describes what is in the original paper but do not attain to it’s original writing, line by line as I have done above.

1829
Balbina, daughter of João Jacques and his wife Maria do Carmo, was natural of São Sebastião and he was natural of Santa Catarina Parish, at Cabo da Praia, where both were parishioners, in Terceira Island. She was born in 15 of November of 1829 and was baptized by the Vicar Vicente Toste Coelho, from the same Parish, in 22 of the same month and year. Francisco Machado, married to Rita Inácia, was the Godfather and both are parishioners. Date as above. The Vicar Vicente Toste Coelho.

Do you need any help researching, transcribing or translating a portuguese document? ? I can help you transcribe, translate, and conduct further genealogical research as well as restore these books, documents and photographs. Click here for more information about these services and below a link for the before and after pictures of my work while my site on conservation and restoration is in contruction.


Thank you!

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