Transcription templates and other documents available for download

A selection of templates and other useful documents for OPCs and transcribers. These have been updated to be compatible with the database design which now lies behind the OPC web site. Please use these templates wherever possible as it seriously reduces the work involved in uploading to the web site. However, if you have a lot of transcriptions in a different format, we can write bespoke scripts to read them into the database - please don't do a lot of conversion work before speaking to us first - and most important don't be deterred from contributing them!

All of our templates can be opened by Open Office which is an excellent (and free!) suite of applications fully compatible with files produced by other major application vendors. The templates are sometimes updated, so when starting a new transcription it is always worth getting the latest version.

Transcribing tips

Please remember that the transcriptions are converted to CSV format, which removes all formatting, for uploading to the web site. For this reason, please do not use commas inside the spreadsheet fields, as this can make the conversions manually intensive - use a semicolon instead. All information on the OPC website is formatted according to the site standards.

Please do not leave blank lines in the spreadsheets - this again slows the upload process as each one has to be manually removed.

Always try to transcribe the full information – you are unlikely to find the time to revisit the work to add it later!

Make sure you include the source document reference number at the top of the file.

Please also remember to use numbers for the day, month & year fields, which standardises the data - however our scripts do recognise standard month abbreviations (Jan, Feb, Mar etc) if that is what you prefer to use. However, don't use the native Microsoft Excel date formatting as it doesn't work for 19th century and earlier dates, nor does it convert to CSV format properly.

Use the ‘Notes’ column to clarify any readability issues.

Obvious, but often overlooked, when transcribing, shrink infrequently used columns to make the form narrower so it will all fit on your screen at once.

Documents available:

A selection of documents are available, starting with the volunteer form, and then templates useful for transcribing parish records and census returns.

To display the file in your browser window, just click on the name, however if you want to download it, right click on the name and select something like 'Save target as ...' or 'Save link as ...', or similar depending on your browser.


Church register transcription templates

Parish registers have varying amounts of information available for each record, depending largely on the date of the event. If the register you want to transcribe doesn't have the data for a particular column available, feel free to delete the column or simply leave it blank.

Census return transcription templates

Where possible record the enumeration district details (this would typically be a district name (often the parish name with a number), a description of the route the enumerator took, the name of the enumerator and a piece number.

Additional tips

In addition to the general tips above, the following advice is given to help with transcribing census returns.

Use the standard abbreviations marital status and relationship to head (lists available as downloads below). If you come across things not in the standard list – this does occasionally happen – please contact the OPC co-ordinator for advice.

Only enter the address against the name where it is shown in the orginal return as this is often the only indication of the start of a new household.

Enter the age as a simple number (for years), or use use ‘m’ to indicate months, ‘w’ for weeks, ‘d’ for days. (e.g. 18 m for 18 months; 10 w for 10 weeks; 9 d for 9 days).

For 1851 census returns and onwards, please try to put the birth parish, county and country in modern spellings, as when the census returns are loaded to the website they are matched with the relevant information to allow searches by birth parish etc. Lots of manual corrections by the co-ordinator will mean a lot of time loading the data and therefore delays in making the information available.

If you have any questions about the templates, or the database upload procedure, please don’t hesitate to contact the OPC coordinator for alternative template formats.

We welcome comments for improvements to the transcription templates as they are unlikely to be perfect....

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