Transcription errors

Is it better to have a document transcribed wrongly than never transcribed at all?

We have all looked at transcriptions on-line – many of us have to as we live in a different town or even worse a different country or continent, and we are very, very grateful for enthusiasts and companies who place these document transcriptions on-line.  I know none of us are perfect and if you are a sole transcriber its hard to check your own work, but where does that leave companies who upload obvious transcription errors – do they have the transcriptions checked?  Are these transcriptions done by people who know British places and surnames?

For many years I’ve been looking at transcriptions of the census – they are a marvelous tool for family and local historians and most of the time the transcriptions have been good.  But….what drives me to distraction are the obvious and  careless errors that have been to be uploaded.

Many are the times I have had to search by just christian name rather than surname as the spelling of that could be any ones guess, then there is the opposite of that search as you would be surprised at some of the spelling variations.  Sometimes I think it’s just a matter of chose a few letters, juggle them about a bit and enter what you have.

While looking for a family member in one of the transcription sites I came across my family – good, as all the children were there including a daughter who had previously been living with her husband.  There was dad, mum, the married daughter, and the rest of the 5 children.  The obvious transcription error was that the children had been transcribed with the surname of the married daughter.  When looking at the original page it was plain to see, dad, mum, married daughter who was  a widow, son, son, daughter, daughter.

I know some of the original documents are very hard to read, have faded or are just in a poor condition but, come on, if you are going to put the effort in, try to make it right!