16 January 2013

The Digital Image Was Made From a Transcription

I've been using the Bureau of Land Management Tract books which recently were released online in digital format at FamilySearch

This "first page" to the tract book for the Indianapolis Land Office (Volume 1), indicated why all the entries looked surprisingly consistent even though the items took place over time.

The book was a copy.

According to the note on the "first page," the tract book was transcribed in 1924 and compared the original in by several individuals over time.

Always look at those "first pages" of any microfilm, digital image, or print materials to see if there are any comments or annotations.

They may be crucial to your research or at least explain why the handwriting is more consistent that you would expect. And, given that the digital image was made from a microfilmed copy of a transcribed copy of the original, we are looking at derivative material.