Volunteers Can Help N.C. State Archives Transcribe Archival Records

Hobson Pittman’s travel journal describes his impressions of paintings at the Tate Gallery in London
Raleigh

The State Archives of North Carolina is developing a program that showcases some of its collections while engaging the public with hands-on activities that will increase the accessibility of archival records.

“Transcribe NC” is recruiting volunteers to spend a little time helping to transcribe its first projects—county draft board records of those men who were drafted or enlisted during World War I, and the travel writings of those North Carolinians fortunate to travel the nation and the world.
 
The travel collection is a group of images, diaries, journals, and scrapbooks. This project will require a word-by-word transcription of those who traveled the U.S. and abroad for pleasure. For example, Wharton Jackson Green, traveling Europe with his wife and cousin in 1859 writes, “Visited the famous Green Vaults of Dresden.” 

The transcription of draft board records is more straightforward, recording the names of enlisted and drafted soldiers who served in World War I, along with their age, race, and hometown. These elements will be entered into a database searchable online through the State Archives’ website. There are some selected letters and soldiers’ diaries in this collection as well.

“This project is critical to telling North Carolina’s story,” says Randon McCrea, digital archivist for online programming, who is heading this initiative, along with archivist Anna Peitzman, at the State Archives. “Each of these archival collections—WWI draft lists and travel diaries—personalize the human experience and keep this state’s legacy alive. When complete, the WWI information will be of importance to veterans, their families, and communities. The travel diaries will give insight to the perceptions and experiences of those who traveled outside of the state in a different era. Both of these collections will benefit researchers and educators alike.” 

Other transcription projects will populate the website as they are scanned. “Transcription volunteers of all skill levels will most definitely find materials of interest in one or all of these collections while helping to build incredibly valuable indexes and the ability for all to more readily access information about North Carolina records,” says Anna Peitzman.  

If you would like to volunteer your time and talents, visit the project’s webpage; there you will find instructions and tips for transcription, a guide, and instructional video. Or send a message to archives.webedit@ncdcr.gov for more information. Take this opportunity to add to the state’s knowledge.