Tuesday’s Tip: Transcript

How many times have you heard that the best way to make sure you have read an entire document is to transcribe it?  Probably like, a lot of times.  I know I have.  I’m fortunate because I have room on my desk for two rather large monitors side-by-side.  Not everyone is that lucky.  For you, there is an easy (and free) solution!

It’s called Transcript.  It is the brain child of Jacob Boerema, a Dutch genealogist who was frustrated – probably like most of us – with having to flip back and forth between image and text to transcribe a document.  So he created this solution.

Just so there are no misconceptions, it does NOT perform text recognition on your documents (which, in my opinion, defeats the purpose of transcribing them in the first place).  It is also not available for Mac.  It’s Windows only, sorry guys.  The most recent update was in 2012.  But that’s okay – because it works!

Transcript screenshot

The way it works is that your images opens in the top panel and your text goes in the bottom panel.  As you transcribe your document, every time you hit ‘enter’ the image adjusts and moves down a line, which makes it easier to keep track of your place on the image.  The software also remembers your position in the image and text if you have to save and close your work.

It has a very simple text editor, though there are the basic formatting options (bold, italics, underline, strikethrough), and you really shouldn’t need more than that.  You can use bullets, numbered lists, superscript/subscript (though it does not support footnotes or endnotes), and you can change the text and background colors.

I use it often, and I highly recommend it – especially if you don’t have multiple monitors.  I like to use it to transcribe documents, then copy/paste into my genealogy database program … or into a blog post.  It makes quick work of it!


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Please email me at lostancestors [at] gmail [dot] com

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Ancestor Spotlight: Patrick Slowey (~1815-1902)

Patrick E. Slowey was born in Ireland, likely County Monaghan (but I’ve heard County Cavan also) between 1815 and 1825.  He immigrated to the United States around 1840 and by 1855 he was settled in Wisconsin with his wife Catherine [maiden name believed to be McCabe]. I can only assume they were married by 1852, as that was when their first child was born.  They had a farm in Lafayette County

Patrick Slowey Naturalization CertificateThe couple had 9 natural children – Barney, Kate, Mary, Thomas, John, Lizzie, Patrick, Ellen, and Peter – and one adopted son, George Meter.  All of their natural children were born between 1852 and 1870 in Wisconsin, and in 1872 he moved them all to Yankton, South Dakota.  Patrick became a naturalized citizen in Yankton on October 14, 1875.  The couple adopted George in October 1876.  There is a story that the Meters were close friends of the family and some tragedy led to George being adopted by Patrick and Catherine, but I am still searching for documents to corroborate that.

I have found a Declaration of Intent filed in November 1848 in the Lafayette County Circuit Court (Wisconsin), but I am still trying to confirm this is the same Patrick Slowey (there were several, apparently).  It is possible that he arrived in New Orleans in June 1845 via Liverpool, England.

Patrick and Catherine Slowey - Walshtown Cath CemeteryIn June 1881, Patrick purchased 160 acres of land comprised of the southwest quarter of Section 28 in Mayfield Township in Yankton County, South Dakota, under the Homestead Act of 1862.  When I was plotting all the land owners on the original plat maps for this township and the neighboring township, I recognized a couple of names: Gemmill and Noonan.  James Noonan and William Gemmill provided sworn testimony as to Patrick’s residency and character.  Later, one of his granddaughters would marry one of William Gemmill’s grandsons.

Patrick’s first home in South Dakota was a log house with a sod roof.  He broke his land using oxen and horses, and had a good farm.  He and Catherine were devout Catholics and attended Walshtown Catholic Church.  Unfortunately, he would only spend a few years on the farm together with Catherine.  She died in August 1884.  Patrick continued to live and work on that farm until he died on February 12, 1902, due to “extreme old age hastened by a severe cold,” which he had for a few days.  They are buried together in St. Columba Cemetery (formerly Walshtown Cemetery).


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#TBT Will Fish Sunday; Pray on Wednesday (4 Jun 1938)

BannerYankton Press & Dakotan

4 Jun 1938 (Evening); p. 1, col. 2


BUTTE, Mont., June 4 AP — Members of the Butte United Congregational church can fish on Sunday with a clear conscience if they have attended services on Wednesday.

“My congregation and I want to do some fishing this year, but we want to go to church, too,” explained the Rev. Emerson W. Harris, pastor, “so for the rest of the summer we’ll hold our regular services on Wednesday evening instead of Sunday morning.”


I purchased roughly 25 original issues of the Yankton (South Dakota) Press & Dakotan, dating from 1938 to 1946.  I am systematically going through every issue and will be posting the articles that include the names of individuals.   I am happy to email full-size scans of any article.  Feel free to ask.


Do we share any ancestors?
Please email me at lostancestors [at] gmail [dot] com

Copyright 2014 - Are My Roots Showing? All rights reserved

Exciting New Feature in FamilySearch Catalog

I was poking around in the online catalog on FamilySearch the other night and stumbled across something so simple, yet so brilliant, I couldn’t believe my eyes.

I went to the FamilySearch Catalog like I normally do, did a search for Lafayette County in Wisconsin (trying to unpuzzle the Slowey/McCabe connection I wrote about earlier).  I plugged in the place name and got a list of subjects returned.  When I started clicking the subjects to open them up to see the various materials, I found this:

FS Catalog add to print

What is it, you ask?  Well, it’s a new (easy) way to keep a list of the materials you need to request from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City!  You just have to click “Add” to put it on your list.  If you click through to see the details about each item, there’s a big blue “Add to Print List” button there too.

big button

This should make planning a research trip SO much easier!  Once you’ve added items to the list, you can print it.  You can add microfilm, books, or any other item in the catalog to this list (the microfilm don’t have call numbers – not sure why they don’t include the reel numbers or anything for those).  This is what it looks like:

print list

Okay … now here’s the best part.  Are you sitting down?  Okay.  If you print your list to a PDF, you get ACTIVE links to your items.  You heard me.  So you can print to a PDF, take your list with you on your tablet or smartphone or whatever, and click on your items so you can remember why you requested it in the first place (I’ve heard of people forgetting this tidbit of information, but I can’t attest to it personally, you understand).

This should make it that much easier to keep a research log (in theory).  It will probably be a while before I actually get to Salt Lake City, but I’m going to start making my list right now.


Do we share any ancestors?
Please email me at lostancestors [at] gmail [dot] com

Copyright 2014 - Are My Roots Showing? All rights reserved

Land Sales for Higher Education?

As I mentioned in my previous post, I ran across some puzzling entries while I was plotting out the land ownership for Township 96N, Range 55W in Yankton, Dakota Territory.  I discussed one of those puzzles before.  Now I’ll try to tackle the other two entries in this post.

Jerome Phillips to James Stone land patentBoth entries have this in common: James Stone is the ultimate owner of the land.  One parcel of land was transferred to James Stone from John Wormwood, and the other was transferred from Jerome Phillips.  Then I read something I had never seen before.  The patents for both parcels are issued under an Act of Congress, approved July 2, 1862, entitled “An Act Donating Public Lands to the several States and Territories which may provide Colleges for the benefit of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts.”  These are apparently referred to as agricultural scrips.

John Wormwood to James Stone land patentThis Act of Congress is referred to as the Morrill Act (named for Justin Smith Morrill, the Vermont congressman who introduced the bill).  As far as I can tell, it provides a total of 30,000 acres of land for each senator and representative in Congress apportioned for each state or territory according to the 1860 census.  There are a lot of provisions that had to be followed, but basically the parcels could be no less than one quarter section, and could not be mineral lands.  Each state that participated in the grant was required to build at least one college within 5 years, or they would lose the land and/or any monies derived from the sale of the land.  Each state was to sell its allotted land by issuing scrips (which I assume is sort of like a voucher) for the equivalent of a quarter section of land.  The funds earned from the sale of the land were to be invested, and the principle to remain intact and undiminished as a “perpetual fund” to maintain at least one college that had a curriculum focused on agriculture and the “mechanic arts.”

One specific provision I found interesting was “no State while in a condition of rebellion or insurrection against the government of the United States shall be entitled to the benefit of this act.”  The Wormwood scrip was issued in Tennessee, and the Phillips scrip was issued in South Carolina.  Given that the Act was passed in 1862, after both of these states had seceded from the Union, I can only assume that it was some time later that these scrips were issued.

I wonder if the states still maintain these perpetual funds.  Of course, at $1.25 per acre, the principle amount is only about $37,500 for each congressman, so I guess that won’t really go very far these days.


Do we share any ancestors?
Please email me at lostancestors [at] gmail [dot] com

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