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Arts & Culture

North Carolina Wants Help Deciphering Old, Hand-Written Documents

old document nc.JPG
State Archives of North Carolina
Can you read this? If so, the State Archives of North Carolina could use your expert eyes.

MANTEO — 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The documents are written in an outdated style with large swirls and long tails. The site offers a tutorial on how to decode the writings.

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.

“These records are unique pieces of evidence illustrating the ways in which history happened on the coast of North Carolina and Virginia,” Samantha Crisp, director of the Outer Banks History Center, told the newspaper.

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