We are investigating volunteer reports of inaccessible project pages that will not load. For more information, see this Talk post.

We are investigating volunteer reports of inaccessible project pages that will not load. For more information, see this Talk post.


What are the records being transcribed?

These records are letters from the Pemberton Family Papers housed at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. Phineas Pemberton (1650-1702) was an English Quaker and shopkeeper who migrated to Pennsylvania in 1682, where he became a farmer and prominent politician. He was married first to Phoebe Harrison (1660-1696), daughter of James Harrison, and second to Alice Hodgson (d. 1711). These letters provide a wonderful opportunity to learn about the lives of ordinary people in the seventeenth-century English Atlantic world.

Where do these records come from?

The letters here are mostly between Quakers living in the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales) and Pennsylvania or other British Colonies. They range in date from 1655 to 1702. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania has graciously allowed us to work with their collection.

Can I access the originals of these records and/or use them for cultural works?

Yes! Scans of the original records can be found at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/printmigrationnetwork-pemberton/

The records are located at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

What will be done with the information being transcribed?

The ultimate goal of this project is to produce a standardized, machine-readable transcription of each letter in the database. This means that the transcriptions will become keyword-searchable so that other researchers have greater access to these documents.

How can I read this handwriting?

Please do your best to transcribe what you see. Use the field guide and tutorial to help with specific letters. If you are still having difficulty, you may choose a different letter.

Should I spell out abbreviations used in the records where I know what they mean?

No! We want you to type out everything exactly as you see it. For example: If you see an abbreviation for brother which is “bro,” please type: “bro” in the transcription line.

Should I correct the spelling of misspelled words?

No! Please type out everything exactly as you see it. Spelling was not standardized in the seventeenth century.

Should I include words that were crossed out or that are cut off by tears/holes in the page?

If you can read what was crossed off or can see some letters prior to the tear, please type what you can see. If you cannot read it, please write “[crossed out: illegible]” or “[page tear: illegible].”

How do I format words that are in the margins?

Please transcribe the text exactly as you see it, just as you would with the rest of the letter.

How do I format words that are inserted?

Please put carat marks on both sides of the word that has been inserted. For example: “meetings”.

What do I do if I find a word that doesn’t make sense in this context?

The English language has changed over time and the usage of words today may not match past usage. If you find a word that does not make sense in the context of the letter, you may be able to get a better sense of its usage by finding the definition of that word in the past. The closest accessible online dictionary is from 1755 and is Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language, please visit Johnson’s dictionary for help: www.johnsonsdictionaryonline.com