Four New Projects to Key!

Yesterday we thought we would be ambitious and release four new projects, British Postal Service Appointment Books, Tax & Rent Records Perth, Scotland, Valuation Registers Perth, Scotland and Perth, Scotland, Survey of Inhabitants, 1766, 1773.  These collections, as indicated by their titles, are all UK collections.

I love keying (who doesn’t?), and if I can gain an insight into the lives of the names I am keying it just makes it all the more interesting.  As I was getting ready to test the Postal Service Appointments I’ll admit that I didn’t think it would be that engaging of a project but in between the lists of appointments are the free form documents that are little gems into the lives of the postal workers.  I ran into a series of letters detailing retirement plans and I couldn’t help but be drawn into Mr. Curran’s life and wonder why they were talking about his retirement years in advance…not that I’m nosey or anything.  The Postal Appointments is a simple project to key – if you would like to read more about how to key this project visit the help article by clicking here.

Next I tested the Tax and Rent records which proved to be a more difficult project to key.  The handwriting in the images I downloaded was definitely challenging, which is one of the reasons why this project is classified as Advanced – although the handwriting can be difficult it is good way of honing your skills!  If you’re up to the challenge in addition to reading the help article I also suggest reviewing the Conquering the Challenge of Reading Handwritten Documents webinar.

The third project I tackled was the Valuation Registers, which like the Tax and Rent records also lists the names of proprietors and their tenants.  Unlike the Tax and Rent records the Valuation Registers are all typed and incredibly easy to read, which also means that there are quite a few more names on a page.  My favorite thing about this project, other than sailing through it, was reading all of the titles of the proprietors, such as “His Grace John, Duke of Athole”.  Is that how they addressed each other, was this just how they wrote their names…?  Although this project is pretty straightforward along with reading te Field Helps you may find it helpful to review the help article

 And the last project I tested of this group was the Perth, Scotland, Survey of Inhabitants.  We are keying the names of the individuals listed on each document, whether they are free form or columnaroth of which are generally handwritten.  It was a funny challenge at first to figure out what the names were – which probably sounds strange – but when the occupations were listed after the surnames I did have to think.  Consider how many surnames came to be, based on the occupation of the person, so I ran across Tailors, Bakers, Dyers, etc, all of which could have been their last names but in these cases they were the occupations.  This is another relatively easy project to key, but as always, it is a good idea to read the help article and review all of the Field Helps.

If you have questions that the articles don’t address please send them in to our support team, or visit the International Records – English Language message board to chat with others who are also keying these projects.  

My challenge for everyone this week is to key a few image sets from at least one of these projects.  Happy keying!

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Reader Comments

The various places where I can get information is just great. However, I’m wondering how to get information on ancestors that were born and died in Russia. I’d be willing to help on an archival project in that part of the world…but I don’t speak Russian. Hopefully someone that does will start something in that part of the world.



At least one minor technical problem needs to be overcome first. Add Cyrillic alphabet support.

Would not be a bad idea. Also need to add Chinese, Japanese and Korean at some point to get to break into Asian records.

Of course, the other part is finding the human talent to get the records transcribed.

Would like to see more information on the imigration of the portugeese to Hawaii.Large numbers of portugeese
imigrate to Hawaii from the madeira islands of portugal.

I’ve been keying and arbitrating occasionally and enjoy it.

I have a comment to share. I get frustrated when I see my accuracy going down and I can’t know why. Clearly, I’m doing something wrong, but what? I have gone back to the project instructions and reread them, but there is still something amiss.

So, could you make my arbitrated sets available to review? Perhaps for a short time period?

Also, as part of the keying instructions could you make a completed and arbitrated set available for review? This would give some examples of keying challenges that occur in a real data set, over and above the field help.

The project I have been keying lately is the Jacksonville Directory.

Thanks for listening.

Have you read the US Directories board as well?

We post mistakes we find there. Only things I can think of on Jax would be not keying the spouses or not keying the first name listed after a business. Some people are still keying the Ads but we delete those before we start arbitrating


Thanks for the tip. I only key occasionally and haven’t been arbitrating because I don’t feel confident that I am sync enough to fill that role.

I see the error of my ways was not keying the spouse. How could I have missed something so basic? Better go back and read those directions one more time.

Again, thanks for your help.

Jane, the spouse thing is a recent rule change. You are hardly the only one not yet aware.

I find there is an abundance of UK records, but once the British went to India they seem to have fallen off of the face of the earth. Is there any records upcoming that will give info on the British in India?

Need to find more information about
Bartholomew Blake who was born : 1874
& he died: 1950 in Townsite cemetery
in CornerBrook, NL.

A couple of weeks ago I saw some helpful information on keying the Perth valuation registers but now I can’t find it. Please can you tell me where to locate it.