New Transcription Workflow: African American Civil War Soldiers

The following announcement was written by the African American Civil War Soldiers team:

African American Civil War Soldiers recently launched a new workflow to complete the transcription of the military records of all Black men who fought for the Union army, beginning with the famous 54th and 55th Massachusetts regiments. Read on to see how you can get involved!

Last year Zooniverse volunteers transcribed the records of a sample of 40,000 members of the United States Colored Troops (USCT), the African American soldiers who fought for their freedom in the American Civil War. Due to the enthusiasm and commitment of these volunteers we completed the sample ahead of schedule. Today we are launching a new site to transcribe the records of the rest of the USCT and make them all freely available to scholars, genealogists and members of the public. We have divided the remaining soldiers based on their state of enlistment, and will be launching each new batch of records state-by-state.

We are starting with the members of the 54th and 55th Massachusetts regiments, whose bravery at Fort Wager was immortalized in the 1989 film Glory. The 54th regiment was the first regiment made up of free Black men to be raised in the Northern states after the Emancipation Proclamation. The tragic and courageous fight at the battle of Fort Wagner, in which both regiments fought, marked a significant loss of life for the Union but showcased the bravery and honor of African American soldiers.

By visiting our project and transcribing these mens’ records you can help preserve their memory and build an invaluable database for African American genealogists and historians. On our new workflow we have revamped and streamlined the transcription process. Through the use of pre-filled dropdown menus, an improved database of place names, and a fast-paced tagging system for the complex remarks field, the time it takes to transcribe a single soldier’s record has been cut in half. We hope that the new workflow will help us complete and publish our database in much less time.

Go try it out and see for yourself: visit usct.cc today to get started!

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