Mistrust Transcriptions: And Here's Why

Dr. Bruce Durie
May 27, 2020
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2m 20s
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Presenter's Introduction
1m 29s
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4m 06s
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Census Transcriptions
8m 18s
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Place Names
9m 59s
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Transcription Accuracy
12m 02s
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Questions / answers
15m 05s
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Announcements / prizes
14m 03s
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Questions / answers
14m 45s

About this webinar

I think we’ve all been there…we find a transcribed Birth/Baptism, Marriage, Death/Burial or Census entry, and it either 1) looks completely wrong, 2) looks too good to be true, 3) has no supporting citation or source information. So, how do we know 1) where it came from? 2) whether it’s actually correct, or even complete? 3) what the transcriptional errors might be? The answer, of course, is to find the original document. But that isn’t always possible. Particular bug-bears are 1) the dreaded “Selected Births and Baptisms, Scotland” 2) census transcriptions, 3) indexes, 4) online Family Trees. Join Dr. Bruce Durie for a Cautionary Tales tour of some of the worst offenders and howlers, and gives hints and suggestions as to how to get around them.

About the speaker

About the speaker

Dr. Bruce Durie is considered one of Scotland’s top genealogists, with an international reputation. He is perhaps best known for his eight-year BBC radio series, “Digging Up Your Roots” and “A House with A Past”, and he has authored over 3
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  1. Legacy Family Tree
    3 years ago

    A charming and engaging speaker.

    A very knowledgeable speaker.

    Absolutely fabulous! I love his humor and his no nonsense attitude.

    Actual examples (and the stories that go with them) are not only enjoyed, but very helpful as well!! A most pleasant webinar afternoon. Thank you, Dr. Durie!

    All true, all good! And fun….

    Always a pleasure to hear Bruce talk.

    Always enjoyable to listen to Bruce Durie. The depth and breadth of his knowledge always offers new information for a genealogist!

    Always interesting with Dr. Bruce Durie!

    Always love to hear Dr Durie, he is informative and fun

    Amazing presentation and presenter!

    Amazing to find out that a LOT of sources are incorrect!

    As always Bruce Durie is an ever flowing fountain of knowledge!

    As always, Dr. Druie makes us think

    As usual, the webinar was very interesting, very informative and Bruce Durie has a charming way of presenting it all. Thank you for another great webinar!


    Awesome! I have lots of “iffy” data to review, I know. Pandemic entertainment!

    Brilliant..as always!

    Bruce is a very easy to understand speaker – I mean the way he presents his material

    Bruce is absolutely wonderful, with a great sense of humor.

    Bruce is always entertaining and his down home style makes all his topics a pleasure to listen to and absorb!

    Bruce is always good. This was back to the basics. Excellent.

    Bruce was fabulously informative, as always!

    Crystal clear and absolutely excellent

    Dr Drurie is always good Reiterated to me how you must really look at transcripts but sadly didn’t learn too much Had some good laughs I love listening to him but really have no relationship with Scottish genealogy and very minimal with UK Figure I might learn something to help someone else some day

    Dr. Bruce Durie is an excellent speaker. I learned many ways to look at transcriptions that don’t look right. There was a lot of information and quite a few laughs. Thank you.

    Dr. Durie did have time for a long story!

    Dr. Durie has so much good advice. His webinars are always worth watching.

    Dr. Durie is a great source of information, quite knowledgeable, and has a great personality! Thank you!

    Dr. Durie is always informative and amusing – a great combination!

    Dr. Durie was very knowledgeable.

    Dr. Durie’s webinars are always great – very informative and lots of fun. Thanks for the webinar & for everything you’re doing for us during the pandemic.
    enjoyed Dr. Bruce Durie. Will listen again as I was late in signing in.

    Enjoyed listening to the presentation.

    Enjoyed the humor and the prodding at being a “skeptic”.

    Excellent as always

    Excellent discussion about a major problem. Interesting to know Legacy software has a feature to help–didn’t know that!

    excellent examples that I will be on the lookout for in my own research

    Excellent information

    Excellent information. Thanks!

    Excellent pointers to keep in mind while researching. Bruce, Thank you!

    Excellent presentation! Dr. Durie makes me wish I had Scottish ancestors!

    Excellent presentation. Appreciated the slides being included in the syllabus.

    Excellent presentation. Just wish Scotland’s records were more accessible online.

    Excellent tips for any researcher. Thank you for the thoughtful presentation, full of usable tips.




    Excellent!! I learned a lot!

    Excellent….need now to return to my list of problems again 🙁

    fabulous–I am reentering all of my research (from 1977 onwards) into a new database, and this reinforces my determination to check for and document sources.

    Fantastic information as always

    Fun & informative! I think everyone who has done genealogy research has at least one indexing horror story.

    Glad there was time for so many questions.

  2. Legacy Family Tree
    3 years ago

    Good advice!

    Good examples, and fun mistakes. I did like the references to the widespread impact.

    Good info about examining a record closely for accuracy.

    Good info for beginners and actually for the rest of us. It is frightening to finally adopt new info unless you are very sure it is correct.

    Good info!

    Good information and presentation.

    Good suggestions, examples, and reasons were given.

    good webinar. thanks


    Great examples of errors! And I agree with Durie about companies needing to take responsibility for their incorrect records.

    Great info, very clear. Enjoyable presenter and host.

    Great info. Thanks.

    Great information & speaker.

    Great presenter!

    Great webinar, have found many mistakes and miss transcriptions. Like Bruce I contacted the people to be helpful, only to be told to mind my own business.

    Great webinar. I guess I need to confirm/ disprove potential Scottish ancestors

    Great webinar. I wish all genealogists and those who dabble in genealogy could watch this webinar

    Haven’t done my research on my Scottish ancestors so I definitely will watch his other webinars

    Helpful to learn about the many mistakes that can trip up the search for information!

    helpful, informative, enjoyable. What else could you ask for.

    He’s so very knowledgeable and fun to listen to… delivers just enough usable information. Good info on Legacy s/w as well.

    I know these things, and I remind newbies in our Society’s library BUT, it’s always good to have this repeated by the experts! I’ve seen the gammet of genealogical searchers…. Thank you.

    I agree with Mr. Guthrie on so many of his “bug bears”, top of my list being on-line family trees. The errors are rampant, and I especially go off when I see mistakes related to my own family members. And then the users who simply and blindly gather up a tree from someone else and plop it down into their own without checking, verifying, and seemingly not caring whether it is correct or belongs there.

    I always learn so much from Bruce Durie. Love his webinars

    I always make time to hear Bruce.

    I am new to this type of research and I’m so glad to hear that my caution is warranted. I will definitely try to attend again and will consider a membership to Legacy. Very excited to be taking the plunge in genealogy. 🙂

    I could listen to Dr. Bruce Durie, the master skeptic, speak on this topic all day long! Thank you!

    I have been “preaching” this to friends I have shown how to do their family genealogy. Sad that it has been allowed to have so much mis-information online.
    I agree with Brian, that it is the website’s responsibility. Great job!

    I learned something

    I look forward to delving in more to my Scottish roots and seeing what I can find out that is more concrete in the 1600-1700’s.

    I loved that he has a great sense of humor about some of the things that he has found.

    I really enjoy Bruce’s webinars. He has a wealth of knowledge and presents it in a very accessible way.

    Important points about checking for accuracy.

    interesting topic and I enjoyed it. . I wish it was a bit longer with more examples!

    Interesting, loved hearing Bruce, but a bit basic.

    It was great fun, and I was glad to also hear Geoff again.

    It was interesting and very informative.

    Just listening to his voice is a delight! Then all his webinars are so informative

    Listening to Bruce is always fun.

    Lots of good examples!

    Love Bruce’s accent 🙂 I highly recommend taking a course with him in SLC!!!

    love his wit and his high standards

    Love the Scottish accent.

  3. Legacy Family Tree
    3 years ago

    loved listening to Bruce! Thank you

    Lovely to hear Dr. Bruce Durie and his Scots accent teaching with lots of attitude!! I always learn something new to remember when researching. Thanks for having such personable presenters. Cheers!

    Most helpful. Thank you.

    My first time hearing Bruce: wow!!!

    One of my favourite presenters (besides Geoff)!

    Please more Dr. Durie!

    Really enjoyed Bruce’s webinar, bringing up errors in family trees that people repeatedly copy (a thorn in my side) and especially enjoyed his accent! Thanks to all. : )

    Really want to check out the other webinars now.

    So enjoyable to listen to!

    the information was awesome.

    The webinar gave me many new ideas/warnings to consider when looking at transcriptions of any document. Most helpful!

    The webinar was a very good reminder to look beyond the indexes and transcriptions when doing research.

    The words “Assume Nothing” is even more meaningful to me now! Valuable information and insight into doing all we can to make sure we have correct information.

    This was a fantastic webinar! I have been frustrated with the number of errors on many of the big Genealogy Websites. They are so misleading especially to those who are new to genealogy. Many thanks for your honest description of this situation and the ways to avoid the errors!

    This was my first time attending a Bruce Durie webinar, and I really enjoyed his presentation.

    Too bad the folks who make the most errors probably weren’t watching.

    Totally wonderful and informative.

    Very basic, good reminders!

    Very enlighten. Great speaker.

    Very Good

    Very good information about misspellings, etc. I volunteer at the Indexing for FamilyShearch.org and I find what he says really pertinent, especially when I do the Editing portion of the volunteer work.

    Very good webinar. I will be starting my Scottish genealogy soon and I appreciate this webinar.

    Very good!

    very informative

    Very informative and enjoyable.

    very interesting

    Very interesting and I will investigate buying a webinar subscription

    Very interesting!

    Very useful! A good pace, excellent examples.

    what an excellant webinar I could listen to him all day. Thansk

    Wish it had been longer with more examples

    Wonderful, as always! Thank you for all the tips and suggestions on our genealogy journey. I especially appreciated the tips to viewers, such as ‘not believing everything you read in researching’. We received a certified copy of my mother-in-law’s birth certificate which had a stranger listed as her mother. It took a lot of red tape to have the error corrected. Thank you Geoff for your enjoyable webinars. As for today, It is always a pleasure to hear Bruce’s beautiful Scottish accent!

    Yes! Great reminder to be distrustful and read everything for yourself. Wonderful presenter, very human and humane. Thank you!


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