MANTEO, N.C. (AP) — The State Archives of North Carolina is looking for help in transcribing hundreds of old records with handwriting that one expert described as “colonial chicken scratch.”
The Virginian-Pilot reported last week that some of the documents are 300 years old.
The state has put the records on a website called Transcribe NC. Volunteers can take a stab at deciphering what they say.
The task won’t be easy. The documents are written in an outdated style with large swirls, twists and tails reminiscent of hieroglyphics. But the site does offer a tutorial on how to decode the writings.
“Seventeenth and 18th-century handwriting can be very difficult for us to decipher — especially for 21st-century students, many of whom never learned cursive,” said Adrienne Berney, outreach coordinator for the State Archives of North Carolina.
Many of the documents are court records from before the Revolutionary War. There are also Slave trade documents as well as treaties with Native Americans and letters from both World Wars.
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