When is it necessary for a genealogist to create a verbatim copy of a record?

The word "verbatim" means word-for-word, the exact rendering of the original, whatever that original may be: speech, document, text, recording, etc. A verbatim copy is an exact copy of the original, as opposed to an abstract, summary, index or some other method of extracting parts but not the whole. For example, when transcribing an oral interview, a verbatim copy would record the interview exactly as it took place, including the precise words of the subject and the interviewer, including verbal pauses, etc.

For the purposes of genealogy, the best copy, of course, is the original itself, viewed at whatever repository it is stored, which allows you to see the document in context with other pages, records, etc. This, however, is not always possible or practical. The next best source is a exact duplicate of the document such as a photographic copy or digital image, showing the information in its original form -- even then, it may miss information written in the margins or on the back of a page, but does preserve the integrity of the original.

There are times when it becomes necessary to copy a document by hand in places where there is no other recourse; in which case, a verbatim transcription would copy the record exactly as presented, including its order of arrangement, headings, subheadings and any errors in spelling, etc. There are also times when it is not practical to make a full verbatim copy. When a document extends for many pages and much of it does not contain genealogical information, it makes sense to copy only the information that is relevant, keeping in mind that whatever is copied, is copied verbatim, as described.

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