Avoiding Transcription Errors

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Avoiding Transcription Errors


This Avoiding Transcription Errors page has been developed to supplement the Transcription and Editorial Policy



accompts or accounts
- "accompts" is the most common variant

Acts and proceedings of this said Court
- frequently mistranscribed as "Acte" not "Acts"

aforesaid or aforesayd
- probably 60% of the time "aforesayd"
- where there is the abbreviation "aforesd" on a page, look for an example of the expanded version on the same page and use that to expand the contracted "aforesd" to that version
- almost never "aforesayde"

allegation NOT allogation
- expansion of "allon"

- EXAMPLE: "the ketch the Coronation alias the ffortune

allsoe or allso or also
- usually written as "allsoe"

- Often wrongly transcribed as "mend"
- To amend a ship is to have a ship repaired
- EXAMPLE: "to repayre and amend her"

answere or answer
- take care as to whether there is an "e" at the end or not
- 60% of the time there is an "e" (answere)

- MEANING: ship's sails

- many transcribers struggle with this one

- the contracted form of articulate
- MEANING: something referred to in the articles of an allegation


Barbadoes or Barbados
- you will see both variants


beare sayle
- MEANING: to carry sail

beare up
- USAGE: a ship was requested to beare up, that is to slow down to avoid a collison or someother event

beleeveth or beleiveth
- you will see both versions

boatswaine or boatswayne
- you will see both versions


- almost always with an "e" (captaine)

caske or casks
- a very common mistranscription is to write "caske" rather than the plural "casks"

certaine or certayne or certain
- usually with an "e" at the end

charterpartie or charterparty
- you will see both varians, and also examples of the word being written as two parts "charter partie" and "charter party"

Cilley or Scilley
- MEANING: What we now call the Scilly islands
- Transcribe with a "C" of "S" according to what you see

- EXAMPLE: to colour a bill of lading
- meaning: to pretend the bill of lading is from one country, when it is from another

companie or companye
- splits 50/50
- EXAMPLE: "one of the said shipps Companie"

comprise or comprize
- you will see both variants

conceyveth or conceiveth
- you will see both versions

- MEANING: to admit to something

- MEANING: the deponent who will depose after the current deponent; as opposed to the deponent's "precontest" who deposed prior to the current deponent


convert; converted
- MEANING: legal terminology: to seize and item and to turn it to ones own use rather than the original owner's

- USAGE: in the ship's course for Scarborough

currans or currants?
- usually "currans", but occasionally "currants"
- currants were imported from Zant and the Morea



- almost always with a double "mm"

- MEANING: to have loss to a given value, e,g, "to be damnified to the summe of three hundred pounds sterling"

deponent or deponents
- look at the grammatical structure and check whether it is singular or plural
- MEANING: a witness in the English Admiralty Court who is being "deposed" by a proctor, that is they are giving evidence in response to the articles of a "Libell" or an "Allegation"; a witness who is responding to questions in "Interrogatories" is called a rendent; within one witness statement the witness can go from being described as a "deponent" to being a "rendent", when the proctor moves from addressing the articles of the allegation to addressing the questions of a set of Interrogatories


dischardge or discharge
- usually has the extra "d"
- EXAMPLE: "dischardge goods at the Port of London"

dispoiled or dispoyled
- you will see both variants
- MEANING: to cause damage to, to spoil a ship and goods during seizure

divers NOT diverse

dollers or dollars
- often with an "e" ("dollers")

dunkerkers alt. dunkirkers
- MEANING: Dunkirk men of war
- Transcribe what you see, but "e" and "i" is very easily mistaken


elephants teeth

- MEANING: to receive financial damage

eye and ear witnesse


- we are NOT transcribing the double "ff" as "F"
- so "ffebruary" and NOT "February" (unless of course it is written "February"); "ffrancis" not "Francis"

- always with a double "rr"

- usually spelled with an "e", so "goeing" not "going"

fowerth or fourth
- splits 50/50

ffrigat or ffrigot or frigat or frigot or ffrigatt or ffrigott etc
- you will see all variants

- USAGE: "sailing to and froe"


further or farther
- it is usually "further" and often mistranscribed as "farther"
- the "u" can often be quite closed up at top, causing it to be mistaken for an "a"


goe NOT goo
- goo is what babies like

gonne or gone
- usually with a double "nn"


Guinney or Guinny or Ginny
- you will see all three variants


hee or he
- 60% of the time it is "hee"


his or this
- read the letters carefully and think about the context, e.g. "his goods", not the improbable and grammatically incorrect "this goods"
- transcribers often mix these two words up

- come hither, go thither

- no longer common usage today, but you will see it in the Admiralty Court records




imbezealled or imbezelled
- two variants exist

- MEANING: to urge

Interrogatorie or Interrogatory, but NOT Interrogatorrie
- you will see both variants

- MEANING: "jointly"


judgement or judgment
- you will see both variants


knew or know


ladeing or lading
- the variants are distributed roughly 50/50, so be careful

lemmon or lemon
- usually with a double "mm"
- I have seen an awful lot of "lemmons" which are in fact "linnens": quite a difference!
- If the goods come from Genoa, Saint Remo, or Spain and the word looks like "lemmons" then you are probably right

lett or let
- MEANING: to let out a ship
- USAGE: "without any let or hindrance"

linnen or linen
- usually with a double "nn"
- THINK before you transcribe: if the phrase refers to a fraile or box of "XXX" rather than bayles of "XXXX" they are "lemmons" not "linnens". Believe I have seen this mistranscription many times!

lost or left
- it is a common mistake to mistranscribe these words, chosing the wrong option
- THINK about the meaning in context and you will chose the right option


Master or master
- Master is often (but not always) capitalised; if so please reproduce the capitalisation

May or March
- surprisingly transcribers sometimes confuse the two months

merchandise or merchandize
- you will see both variants, but "merchandize" is more common

merchants or marchants
- you will see both variants

mett or met
- almost always with a double "t"
- EXAMPLE: "the ship was mett with a seized by a Brest man of warr"

ministred not ministered
- MEANING: to minister an oath

moneths, monethes, or months
- usually the first of the three variants

was a twelve moneths
- MEANING: twelve months ago


neere NOT neare


- "no" is rarely written without an "e"

not withstanding

- usually written as two words, rather than one


oportunity or opportunity
- you will see both variants

- MEANING: Ostend men of war



peeces; pieces
- most common is "peeces"


- USAGE: performance of a voyage

periurie or perjury
- you will see both variants

- an "e" is often used where we would now use a "u"
- MANING : pursuit

Port of London
- the "p" in the phrase "Port of London" is often written in the Court manuscripts as a captial "P". Please transcribe as "Port of London"

- yes, it says "premisses"!
- MEANING: the facts as stated
- as in "the premisses he knoweth because"

- MEANING: the deponent who proceeded the current deponent; in contrast to the deponent's "contest" who will depose after the current deponent

prejudice or preiudice
- you will see these 50/50
EXAMPLE: "hee cometh to bee a wittnes in this cause at the request of the producent and saith hee expecteth not nor shall receive neither benefit nor prejudice whichsoever of the parties litigant prevaile in this cause"

proceeds or proceed NOT proceede
- usually "proceeds"
- EXAMPLE: the "proceeds of certaine goods"

- everyone gets this one wrong, since they are not expecting it!

- the individuals who have made the allegation and who have had the witnesses "produced" in Court (as opposed to the "deponents" who are the witnesses themselves being deposed in Court)

- EXAMPLE: to prosecute a voyage

- EXAMPLE: prosecution of a voyage

putt not put
- usually you will see this with a double "tt"


quiett and peaceable possession
- stock phrase


receaved or received
- you will see both versions

- used when referring to a witnesses response to interrogatories (as opposed to "deponent" when responding to athe articles of an allegation or a libell)


risque or riske
- you will see both versions

- much more common than "rope"

Rochell NOT Royall
- MEANING: port in France

- EXAMPLE: "romeaging among the goods on board found then that some a sugar casks on board was halfe empty of sugar"
- I love this word every time I see it!


running fowle


said or sayd
- probably 60% of the time "sayd"
- almost never "sayde"
- where there is the abbreviation "sd" on a page, look for an example of the expanded version on the same page and use that to exapand the contracted "sd" to that version

sancke vs. suncke
- look very carefully at the vowel after the "s"

- I have NEVER seen this actually written by the scribe, but it is an occasional mistranscription for "sayd"

sawe or saw
- almost always with an "e"

schedulate; schedulat
- very occasionally written without the "e"
- MEANING: stated in the accompanying schedule

she or shee
- the variants are distributed roughly 50/50, so be careful
- ships are referred to as "she/shee" and "her"

shewed or showed
- you will see both variants; with an "e" is more common

shewne or showne
- usually it is "shewne"

shipp or shipps
- look carefully to see if there is an "s" after the second "p"
- does the sense of the phrase suggest this is a plural?
- EXAMPLE: "one of the shipps company"

smale; smaler; or smalle
- MEANING: "small"; "smaller"
- I have seen one instance of "smalle"

soe or soo and very occasionally so
- it is NEVER "soo"
- This is a very common trancription error

sopra cargo or supra cargo; also sopra-cargo and supra-cargo
- you will see both variants
- MEANING: a merchant travelling on a ship specifically and contractually employed to look after buying and selling goods

sould or sold
- you will see both variants

souldiers not soldiers

stockings or stockins
- the first variant is more frequent

- MEANING: materials, textiles, as in "East India stuffs"

subiects or subjects
- you will see both variants; transcribe it as you see it

the Straights or the Streights
- you will see both versions
- MEANING: refers to the straits of Gibraltar, hence "within the Straights" and "without the Straights"


suite; suit
- MEANING: a law suit

- EXAMPLE: The ship was met with, surprized and seized"
- Usually with a "z"


- MEANING: ship's equipment

-EXAMPLE: "three bills of one tenor" (i.e. bills of lading all saying the same)

than or then
- Look very carefully: it is often "then"

thence NOT there
- frequently confused by transcribers with "there"
- NOTE: thence implies movement, as does "hence"

this or his
- read the letters carefully and think about the context

these or those
- You need to read the text VERY carefully, since "e" and "o" can look extraordinarily similar

- not to be confused with "hither"


- almost never "thread"

three NOT there
- you would be surprised how many transcribers switch off their brains and write "there" when the sense is clearly a number as in "three bayles", or "three caskes of sugar"

tobacco or tobaccoe; tobaccos or tobaccoes
- both variants seen in singular, though with "e" at end more common
- pluarl almost always has "es" at end

togeather or together
- usually it is "togeather"

- MEANING: to engage in commerce, to transact


twentith or twentieth
- don't correct "twentith" by adding an "e" if it is written without one
- it is esy to SEE letters which are not there




- yes, that's with a "w"
- "value" is almost never used

voyage or voiage
- you will see both variants


weight or waight
- don't be surprised if it is "waight", as in "one hundred waight"

who, when, where
- Look at the sense of the phrase
- what makes grammatical sense?

Wittnes or Wittnesse or very occasionally witnesse
- You will find the variants "wittnes" and "wittnesse"
- You will never find "wittness" with two "s" but without an "e"





yeilded or yeelded NOT yielded




C or G
- Captal "C's" and capital "G's" are easily confused

d or D
- only capitalise IF it is a clear "D", even if it is the first letter of a person's name
- EXAMPLE: "david" not "David", UNLESS a clear "D"
- EXAMPLE: "december", UNLESS a clear "D"
- EXAMPLE: "doctor of Lawes"; "doctor Godolphin"

h or H
- only capitalise IF it is a clear "H", even if it is the first letter of a person's name
- so "henry" not "Henry", UNLESS a clear "H"

i or I
- "Interrogatories" is usually written with a capial "I"

j or J
- Capital "J's" are used more often than we would use them
- EXAMPLE: "Judgment"

m or M
- pay attention to the capitalisation of "m/N", especially in "master" or "Master"
- transcribe what you see

- recognising a capital "V" is tricky. Good luck


  • Grammar is pretty close to modern grammar, and is rigorously adhered to (as opposed to orthography, which is very variable)

  • Plurals: read your work for its meaning. Have you missed the plural? Have you incorrectly transcribed in the plural, when the sense is of the singular?

  • Some oddities you may come across:

was instead of were
- EXAMPLE: "there was Currans and wine and oyle to about the quantitie of sixty tonnes put aboard"

and further cannot depose
- missing out the "hee" or "he"


  • hee saith, That

- note the comma between "saith" and "That"

Common Sense