One of the best tools for transcribing old handwritten documents is called GenScriber, a FREE program for Windows and Linux created by Les Hardy. A Macintosh version is also available although it operates as a Windows version packaged inside a wineskin wrapper. While not ideal, the “pseudo-Windows” version is still a reasonable solution for Macintosh users.
GenScriber is a transcription editor for census records, church records, birth, marriage, baptisms, burials, index records, and more. GenScriber is useful for transcribing both free-form text as well as columns of data, such as U.S. census records. It is designed to be used for easily transcribing digital images of old, handwritten documents.
GenScriber is simple to use. First, store the image of the document you wish to transcribe someplace on your hard drive or on external media, such as a flash drive or external hard drive. Launch GenScriber and point it to the folder that holds the document images you want to transcribe, click on the file and then start transcribing. GenScriber displays a “split screen” with the top half of the screen showing the image and the lower half is your worksheet for transcription. Images may be rotated, zoomed and various filters applied.
Unlike the more common method of transcribing to spreadsheets, The GenScriber worksheet is not a spreadsheet. It will not change dates or numerical input. All cell inputs are alphanumeric. No assumptions are made about the data type. Dates and values remain exactly as you entered them.
Of course, any data entry program is only as good as its ability to import from and export to other applications. GenScriber will import and export several different formats. It can import a GEDCOM file. Imported files are always converted to CSV files. Exported files may be in CSV, ODS, XML or GEDCOM formats.
GenScriber is free for non-commercial use. GenScriber may be found at http://genscriber.com/genapps. A number of videos showing how to use GenScriber may be found at http://genscriber.com/genapps/genscriber/help/tips_and_tutorials/200_videos.