Transcriber’s Comments On the Manuscript

by Robert Monroe Fleming Jr.

This web page is not finished yet.

My opinion is that the manuscript is mostly accurate, and should be very useful in tracing a family tree and learning something about the lives of various family members. Howeever, in transcribing the manuscript, I noticed a number things that could indicate that some of the information could be inaccurate.

For one thing, my goal in transcribing the manuscript was to copy it as accurately as possible, including all the typing mistakes, misspelling, etc. The purpose of this transcription is not for publishing as a book, but rather to provide a source of information for research. The researcher can learn more the more accurate the copy is, and can even form inferences from misspelling habits, etc. However my father seemed to “correct” things as he copied them. For example in a letter from one Englishman to another, the word “labor” appears. But one Englishman writing to another would almost certainly have spelled it the British way, “labour.” In another example Dad did not know how to spell “whether.” He almost always spelled it “wether.” When he copied other people’s letters, the word was spelled “wether” Rather than believing nobody in those days knew how to spell the word, I am pretty well convinced that Dad always “corrected” it. In another case, an Irishman writing to an Englishman comments about his “last dollars,” when their currency was in pounds. So the impression I get is that rather than copy things exactly, he tended to modify them to fit his standards, understanding, or knowledge.

Personally, I am offended by some of the comments and stories relating to African Americans and slavery, however my duty is to transcribe the manuscript as accurately as possible and disregard my opinions in doing so. I just want everyone to know that opinions expressed in the transcript are not necessarily mine and are often contrary to my own opinions and beliefs. So please don’t shoot the messenger!

Another consistent error is the use of “it’s” instead of “its.” “It’s” is a contraction of “it is.” If you repeat the sentence or phrase using “it is” and it doesn”t make sense, it’s probably because it is supposed to be “its,” which means “belonging to it.”

©2009 Robert M. Fleming Jr.

This page was last revised on 29 September 2009.