Molly Kerr / Digital Humanities Program Manager
While the documents may be fascinating, the people involved with the project are even more so. I asked several of our long-time volunteers to tell me a little bit more about themselves and their responses will be intermingled with the other posts in the coming months. Today’s post features Nicky Resch who got started with the project in 2012 around the same time I did. I have learned much from Nicky and have appreciated her willingness and flexibility to work with me through the project’s initial growing pains. She transcribes, edits, and has even tried her hand at scanning the microfilm. Nicky graciously took a few minutes to answer questions about her participation in the project. Here is what she wrote:
The day I was interviewed in the volunteer office I was given a copy of the Volunteer Newsletter (which has since gone electronic). I noticed a posting by the archaeology department looking for volunteers to work on a transcription project. The word “Archaeology” immediately lured me to inquire. I received my transcription manual and my first few pages of a ledger and I was hooked. It was challenging and interesting and at first I felt like I was doing a puzzle (and I do like puzzles).
I have my degree in Medical Technology and worked for over 20 years for a large HMO as a Laboratory Supervisor for three labs in Virginia. I was a math and science person and this was a new world for me.
The most challenging part about transcribing has been learning the different handwriting from the teeny, tiny penmanship to the large scrawl. Luckily there are only about 3 to 4 different people writing in a ledger so they get to be old friends.
I think the most interesting thing I have learned is all of the different business transactions that took place in the store. It wasn’t just purchasing merchandise but paying rent, paying officer’s fees, the sheriff and the parish. The store was a hub for many community business activities.
I don’t believe I have a favorite account but I enjoy working on the account of someone I am familiar with like George Mason or a member of the Washington or Fairfax families. You feel like you are taking a peek into their private lives.
When I tell people about my volunteer work I always talk about how interesting it is and that the store was close to my home, followed by how you work at your own pace, in the comfort of your own home. I think most people are impressed by what I’m doing. If they express interest I always recommend they get involved.