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  1. #1

    Default I've hit the genealogy JACKPOT!!

    Whilst researching my Great Grand Uncle I came across references to his Diaries kept in the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre. They span some 46 years of his life from 1906. I have been in touch with the centre and they confirmed that the diaries are, and I quote, "EXTENSIVE".

    My initial thoughts are to visit the centre, (who said they will prepare for my visit), and start to read through and photograph any interesting entries(£9 a day). Then I can examine them more thoroughly at home.

    This will be time consuming but that is not a problem to me. I am in full time work and due to retire next year. I told my sister who is excited to help me also. Who knows what they will reveal? Not just BMD’s etc. but a real glimpse into his actual day to day life.

    Have any of you had experience of reading through a mass of documents? If so, do you have any advice for me?

  2. #2
    Knowledgeable and helpful
    Join Date
    Dec 2004


    oh how lucky you are I am quite jealous!
    I would say make sure you take breaks as it will make your eyes tired and it can then be easy to miss things
    make notes don't rely just on photos it might take more than one day do let us know if you find anything exciting good luck sandie

  3. #3
    Loves to help with queries barbara lee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Crosby, Liverpool, UK


    I haven't had anything so exciting and extensive, but when I go to an archive, I concentrate on simply collecting data. If you are confident of your camera, and that you can transfer the pics to a larger screen without problems, I would suggest the opposite to Sandie. Don't read them, don't think, just photograph everything, in sequence, as efficiently as you can.
    Then, when you are home, you can take your time to savour them, transcribing them carefully and slowly. That's the best bit!

  4. #4


    How exciting for you, Paul. What a lovely project to look forward to on your retirement.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Sue Mackay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Rhoose Point, South Wales


    I photographed 10,000 letters of application to emigrate to the Cape of Good Hope written by hand in 1819, and then transcribed them at home. It took me about 15 visits to Kew to take the photos, then six months of transcribing to complete the project. I know mobile phones these days have powerful cameras, but I was very glad of my digital camera with rotating view finder and macro mode. I took a spare battery with me as well as a charger, and made sure I photographed the reference numbers as well. If I found a foolscap page of small handwriting I would take several close-up shots of parts of the page for ease of reading later. Prepare to have it take over your life!!
    Sue Mackay
    Insanity is hereditary - you get it from your kids

  6. #6



    46 years worth of diaries equates to 16,790 entries. I am hoping they are in "week to view" format. I fully expect it to take me many visits to photograph them all. I will know better after my first visit. I have spare batteries and have already photographed some old documents so I have a vague idea what I am to expect.


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