Transcribing, Extracting, and Abstracting
Genealogical Documents

Transcribing, Extracting, and Abstracting Genealogical Documents

Course Overview

The purpose of family history research is not merely to collect documents, it is to use those documents to trace missing ancestors and to prove the relationships in our family tree. Simply duplicating documents will not accomplish those goals. The way to build your family tree accurately and successfully is through the careful examination and analysis of those documents. This can be accomplished by fully transcribing a document, extracting selected portions, or abstracting the important information while leaving the nonessential legal language out.

A transcription is an exact word-for-word copy of the full document with all the spelling and grammar meticulously replicated.

An extract is a word-for-word copy of selected portions of a document.

An abstract is a summary that records all important information from a document but may leave out the nonessential legal language.

This course provides detailed instructions on how to transcribe, extract, and abstract documents along with when to use each process in your genealogical work. The goal is to teach you the skills needed so that you will be able to apply the knowledge accurately from any kind of document with confidence and success to further your genealogical research.

This is great as a refresher course for the experienced genealogist and provides comprehensive instruction for those who are working to acquire these skills.

Author: Julie Miller, CG, CGL
Course: Online, cloud based
Price: NGS Members $75 Non-members $100

Course Description

DNA Helix

The ten modules of this course guide students through the skills of transcribing, extracting, and abstracting documents. There are multiple examples, videos, and guidelines for working with deeds and wills as well as other types of documents. The videos demonstrate the use of transcription software and the practice documents can be downloaded to use in the software.

The many exercises in each module give students hands-on experience working with documents and refining their skills.

Module 1: Transcriptions
Module 2: Transcription Software
Module 3: Transcribing Deeds
Module 4: Transcribing Wills
Module 5: Extracting
Module 6: Abstracting
Module 7: Abstracting Forms
Module 8: Abstracting Deeds
Module 9: Abstracting Wills
Module 10: Abstracting Related Groups of Records

About the Author

Julie Miller, CG, CGL, FNGS, is a full-time professional researcher, speaker, and writer who lives in Colorado. Miller speaks on a wide variety of genealogical subjects both locally and nationally. Her articles have appeared in the NGS Quarterly and NGS Magazine. Miller was the NGS interim Education Manager (2018), is a member of the NGS conference committee, and was a volunteer at NARA-Denver for twenty-one years.


Continuing Genealogical Studies Members Non-Members
Transcribing, Extracting and Abstracting Genealogical Records $75 $100
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The Continuing Genealogical Studies courses are cloud-based so you can take the course from home or anywhere at any time. You need either a computer or tablet with an internet connection to access the lessons, examples, and practice exercises. For this course you may choose to download transcription software onto your computer to help you complete the practice exercises.

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NGS grants a license to an individual to take the course shown above. This grants the individual a personal, nonexclusive, nontransferable right to the course materials for that student’s personal educational use only. All students work independently.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Course?

The Continuing Genealogical Studies series of courses have no set time or date for attendance. These online courses are designed for individuals who have varied schedules and allows them to prioritize their learning and work at their own pace.

Students have access to the course for six months from the time of registration. If you need extra time, a three-month extension can be granted by contacting the NGS Course Administrator.

When Can I Start the Course?

Within three business days, you receive two separate emails, one that confirms your registration and one that provides log in instructions.

Refund and Cancellation Policy

All purchases of courses are final. No refunds or credits are available.


Here is a link to the Continuing Genealogical Studies: FAQs. If you have further questions, please contact the NGS Course Administrator.