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ARCHEOLOGICAL SOCIETIES IN UNION WITH THE
SOCIETY OF ANTIQUARIES.

1892

Report on the Transcription and Publica

tion of Parish Registers, etc.

The Congress of Archæological Societies in union with the Society of Antiquaries desires to call the attention of the public and especially of those interested in antiquarian research, to the extreme importance of duly preserving and rendering accessible the Registers and other Parish Records of the United Kingdom.

These contain matter of the greatest value not only to the genealogist, but also to the student of local history, and through these to the general historian; it is to be regretted that sufficient care has not been taken in the past of these documents, which have too often been thoughtlessly destroyed.

Many Registers have already been copied and published, and every year adds to the list, and the Congress is in hope that these suggestions may lead to a still greater number being undertaken.

As the older writings are in a different character from that used at the present time, they are not easily deciphered, and require careful examination, even from experts. It is extremely desirable therefore that they should be transcribed, not only to guard against possible loss or injury, but in order to render them more easily and generally accessible to the student.

The Committee appointed by the Congress of 1889 for the purpose of considering the best means of assisting the transcription and publication of Parish Registers and Records was constituted as follows: EDWIN FRESHFIELD, LL.D., V.P.S.A., Chairman.

The Rev. Canon BENHAM, B.D.,

F.S.A.

R. S. FABER, M.A.

(Hon. Sec. Huguenot Society.)

W. J. HARDY, F.S.A.

J. J. HOWARD, LL.D., F.S.A.
(Maltravers Herald.)

G. W. MARSHALL, LL.D., F.S.A. (Rouge Croix.)

G. H. OVEREND, F.S.A.

(Public Record Office.) Rev. W. SPARROW SIMPSON, D.D., F.S.A. (St. Paul's Cathedral). MILL STEPHENSON, B.A., F.S.A. (Hon. Sec. Surrey Archæo. Soc.)

RALPH NEVILL, F.S.A. (Hon. Sec.)

The Congress trust that the following paper of Suggestions drawn up by the Committee may prove useful to those anxious to assist in the preservation, transcription and, where possible, publication of the documents referred to.

Suggestions as to Transcription.

LIMITS OF DATE.

It is evident that there is most reason for transcribing the oldest Registers, but those of later date are also of great value, and it is suggested that 1812, the date of the Act of 52 Geo. III, cap. 146, is a suitable point to which copies may be taken.

CHARACTER OF WRITING.

In transcribing, great care must be used to avoid mistakes from the confusion of certain letters with modern letters of similar form.

An alphabet is adjoined giving some of the ordinary characters, but Registers vary, and the manner in which the capital letters are formed is of infinite variety. It may be noted that capital F resembles two small ff's, but there is no reason whatever for printing it in the latter way; G is a difficult letter running into C and T; K and R are formed exactly alike, except that the direction of the top loop is always reversed; W is formed as two U's or two V's.

A B C O O I. E H E C D H I J L FK, L, MC, IC, O P Q P R S T C D W W W W, * D E a b c d e f g h i k l m n o p q x c. p. q. x.ffo t n k w x y z

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Great help in deciphering names may be gained from a study of existing local names. It must, however, be borne in mind that the same name may be continually spelt in different ways, and may undergo considerable changes in the course of time or from the hands of different scribes.

In copying dates it must be remembered that down to 1752, the year began on the 25th of March and not on the 1st of January.

METHOD OF TRANSCRIPTION.

There can be no doubt that a verbatim et literatim transcription is of far more value than any other form; it is otherwise impossible to be sure that some point of interest and importance has not been overlooked; the extra trouble of making a complete transcript is small, and the result much more satisfactory. In any case the names should be given literatim and all remarks carefully copied, with some indication, where possible, as to the date of the remark. Other records,

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