Welcome to the Scan2 Syndicate of FreeBMD


  1. Follow the Instructions in the email for saving the Scan and the Instructions to your Desktop.
  2. Read the Instructions.
  3. Open WinBMD (Start → Programs → WinBMD) and the first thing you see will be a blank header page.
  4. Click on Scan → View Scan on the top toolbar. A new window will open. Click on the little arrow by the top box and choose
    Desktop → FreeBMD Scans → 1846d3-603.tif. Another window will open so you can now see the scan.


Use the scroll bar to see all the information across the top of the scan page.

Event Type         Births, Marriages or Deaths
Year               The year of the event you are transcribing
Quarter            Jan-Mar (1st) Apr-Jun (2nd) Jul-Sep (3rd) Oct-Dec (4th)
Empty Box          Scan The Scan2 Syndicate always works from scans
Page               The number on its own at the top or bottom of the scan
Letter             The first letter of the first Surname on the scan. In the
example below, the first name is Wilson so W should be
entered in the box Volume No. format Changes depending on year - Pre-1852 handwritten: XX Pre-1852 Typed: 99 Post-1852: 9z Source/Scan Ref The name of the scan e.g. 1846d3W-603.tif Comments 1846 Deaths First Quarter (WIL-WIL) year/event/quarter/first 3 letters of last name on scan Your name Your name Submitter ID As chosen during registration Password As chosen during registration

The completed header page should look like this but with your details instead of those shown.

NOTE: Please double check the header details and correct any errors before proceeding.

Click OK - Start Transcribing and you will get another window like this. Notice that the first row has +PAGE,603 in the first column. This is entered by the program from the information you put in the header. You start transcribing from row 2.

Before transcribing you will probably need to resize the WinBMD window so it doesn't overlap the scan. Move the mouse slowly towards the edge of the window and a 2-headed arrow will appear. Click on that and you will be able to resize the window.

The image below is taken from my monitor and shows how I prefer to have the windows set out for transcribing. The WinBMD window is spread right across the screen and about a third of the height. The scan is to the bottom left and the Picklist to the right. You may prefer a different layout. You can alter the size, shape and position of all of the windows to whatever suits you best. You can use the Zoom buttons on the scan page to alter the size of the print. If there is a digit you can't read move the cursor over it and a box marked MAG will appear. Hold that down and you will see the digits magnified.


The first rule is: ALWAYS TYPE WHAT YOU SEE - There are exceptions to this rule and they are show in red below.
Surname    Please use mixed case - First letter Capital, the rest lower case. e.g. Wilson.
Ignore any comma after the surname. On the scan there may be 'ditto' marks to
indicate a repeated surname, or it may just be blank as on the scan above, but
you need to put the actual name in. Using the scan above as an example, all of
the surnames down to the bottom of the screen would be Wilson. Now here's a great feature of WinBMD: You don't have to type all the surnames in!
Once you've typed the first surname in, simply pressing Enter or Tab will put the
name in for you. Forename Include a full stop/period after an initial for example Elizabeth J. Again, if a
forename is repeated, pressing Enter or Tab will insert the name. District WinBMD has a feature called the 'Picklist'which contains a database of known
districts to help you to 'pick' a district to save typing the whole name each time.
However, the indexes contain many different spellings of the districts which are not
in the Picklist database. Look at the following example: The scan shows the district as Leighton Buz'd
and the Picklist is offering two alternative spellings. However, neither of these
match the scan, so using the Picklist in this instance would be wrong! In this case,
you should type the district exactly as shown on the scan. When you've done this, the
Picklist will offer you the choice of adding the new district to its database.
You should choose yes, and the next time you come across this district, the Picklist
will give you three choices, including the new district you have added. One other thing You are likely to come across is a district followed by &c e.g.
Stockton &c, The &c means etcetera and should be transcribed as shown on the scan.


Below are a few of the most common problems you are likely to come across while transcribing. If you meet other problems, the solutions are likely to be found in the Project Instructions on the Scan2 Page or in the Transcribers' pages on FreeBMD.

Unreadable Characters

I can't read 1 character/number but there is definitely just one
Put _ (1 underscore) e.g. Edw_rd
I know there are three characters but I can't make out what they are
Put ___ (3 underscores) e.g. Ed___d
I can't see how many characters are missing
Put * (asterisk) e.g. Ed*
There is a number which is not clear. It could be an 8 or a 3
Put [83] (square brackets) e.g. 7[83]4

Names with apostrophes

Just Type what you see e.g. O'Boyle. However, the next time you save your work you will get a sequence error message. These are warnings to check what you've entered is correct and will appear whenever a surname or forename is not in correct alphabetical order. Unfortunately the scans are not always alphabetically correct and names which include apostrophes, hyphens, spaces etc will also cause the warning to appear. So long as you Type what you see you can ignore the warning message.

Handwritten Addition

Sometimes you will come across a scan with a handwritten entry at the bottom of the page. Look further up the column for a mark to show where it needs to be inserted. If there is no insertion mark enter it at the bottom of the column.
  1. Click in the Surname box below where you want to make the insertion
  2. Click Edit → Insert New Row
  3. Type the handwritten entry into the blank row*
*Sometimes the page number will consist of a letter and a number e.g. D27. WinBMD will accept this format but SpeedBMD will not. If using SpeedBMD you will need to put ___ (3 underscores) in the page field.

Page Finished

After you have complete transcribing a scan you need to enter +PAGE,N in the last row, where N is the page number following the page you have completed.

Look at the following example: The page just transcribed was number 601 so in this example, you would enter +PAGE,602 in the Surname column of the last row. This tells the FreeBMD software that this is the end of a page.

Now that you've finished transcribing a page, you should use BMDVerify to proof-read your transcription. Instructions for use are in the Project Instructions on the Scan2 page at Click on Help at the bottom of the page.

Now follow these instructions for what to do with your transcribed file:

  1. Upload the completed file to FreeBMD. In WinBMD click on File → Send to FreeBMD
  2. Send a copy of the file to Derek. Go to Scroll down the left hand side and click on 'Send to Derek'. Enter your userID in the top box. Below is space to upload 5 files - click on the first 'Browse' button and browse to where the file is stored on your computer.
  3. Send a copy of the file to our Training Officer Brian Clark
Please enclose your FreeBMD password so that Brian can check your file.

In a day or so after you send your file to Brian you will receive an email from him detailing any amendments you need to make to the trial page. Either way - well done for getting this far!

If you have any problems with your first transcription, please contact Brian, who will be happy to guide you through the process and answer any queries you may have.

Good luck with your transcribing. We hope you will find it a most rewarding and enjoyable experience.