Transcription Tuesday 2020: Royal Navy WW1 Lives at Sea FAQs

By Editor, 29 January 2020 - 3:42pm

Got a question regarding the Royal Navy WW1 Lives at Sea Project? We're here to help!

British sailors wiring a mine 1914

British Sailors wiring a mine, 1914 (Getty Images)

This is one of four projects that we are supporting as part of our fourth annual Transcription Tuesday event on Tuesday 4 February 2020. Click here to learn about the other three projects.

Welcome to the Royal Navy WW1 Lives at Sea Project FAQs!

Thank you for agreeing to take part in Transcription Tuesday 2020 and for choosing to support the Royal Navy First World War Lives at Sea Project.

You will have been sent instructions when you registered to transcribe (if you haven’t registered yet and would like to take part then please email

As these service records were filled in by hand, they can sometimes be difficult to read and, although most records will follow general rules, there are some that are a bit more idiosyncratic.

To help the day go as smoothly as possible, we have put together these FAQs relating to the project.

If any transcribers come across a difficulty on the day, please email us at and we will try to help as well as add the answer to this page of FAQs.

This page is not a substitute for the general instructions sent to transcribers, rather it is here to clarify any queries that volunteers may have.


I’m not free on Tuesday 4 February, can I volunteer for another day? 

Yes absolutely. As soon as you have registered for the project (see above) and received your log in details by email, you can start transcribing. You are also encouraged to continue after Transcription Tuesday. There are a lot of service records to get through!

How long will it take to transcribe a record? 

When you log onto the site, you will be assigned a service record to transcribe. Some are longer than others and the first record you transcribe may be slow going as you get used to the process. It is probably worth allowing 45 minutes for your first record although you will get quicker and some can be done in just 15 minutes.

I can't work out the discharge date or reason 

When transcribing service records it might not be altogether obvious as to what the cause of discharge might be. In many of these instances the discharge reason is indicated by a stamped box, (as shown in the example below). In such cases the cause of discharge is See Record Card and the date of discharge is 1 January 1929.

I can't read the name of the ship 

There is a list of ship names provided which is very helpful when decoding difficult handwriting. If you are still not sure, then please use […] to fill in any gaps or replace words.

There's another word in brackets after the ship's name, should I include that? 

Yes, if you see another name in brackets after a ship, please include it. You may find the same name in brackets occurs in subsequent entries but with just ditto “ marks. Please write the word out in full again. If you can’t read the word, please use […].

There are two occupations listed on the service record. Which should I record? 

Sometimes you may find two occupations listed with one of them crossed out. Please transcribe the crossed out entry which will be the one given on joining. The second occupation will have been added at a later date and is not to be recorded.

I think I made a mistake on a previous service record, can I return to it? 

As you progress, you may wish to return to previous records to check your work or change something. From your ‘home’ page you should be able to see the past six records you worked on. You will have to uncheck the ‘Complete’ box to access the editing tools.


Please share your queries, experiences, photographs and any discoveries you have come across by email at, on Twitter using the hashtag #TranscriptionTuesday, or on our forum and Facebook group. We’d love to hear from you!



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