Starting to use BMDVerify

This is a guide on how to get started with BMDVerify. It may look long winded first time but once you have used it a few times you will find the process is very quick. As an example, I've used 1894 Quarter 4 Deaths page 31 which is a three column printed index.

If you're working on earlier index pages which have two columns, handwritten or typed, the process is similar - also note that the screen shots will not show the whole screen, only the part I'm working on.

Thanks to John Slann who had the original idea for this guide.

When you start BMDVerify, the screen looks something like this ...

You will see that the button labelled Step 1 is highlighted, click on this.
This will bring up a window like this:

You need to specify the name of the file you downloaded from the BMD site which contains an image of the index page you have been transcribing from. For this example I'm using 1894 quarter 4 deaths, page 31 and the file is named "1894d4-031.tif". If the file is not in the folder shown when the window appears, find the folder using the "Look in" box near the top of the window. When you have selected the right file, click on the "Open" button.

This will bring you back to this screen:

You will see that button labelled Step 2 is highlighted, click on this.

You now need to specify the name of the file that contains the transcription you have typed in, probably using WinBMD or SpeedBMD. For the example I'm using, the file is named "94d4_031.sca" but it could also have a name something like "1894B40031.BMD". If the file is not in the folder shown when the window appears, find the folder using the "Look in" box near the top of the window (WinBMD often stores the file in a folder named "Output"). When you have selected the right file, click on the "Open" button.

You will see that button labelled Step 3 is highlighted, click on this.

What you should see is the image of the page you have been transcribing from and on top, an orange box showing the first entry that you typed in. The BMDVerify program works by displaying each line that you have transcribed just below the same line in the image of the page you've been transcribing from so you can check quickly that your transcription is correct. Unfortunately BMDVerify can't automatically work out where to place the orange box to line up with the same entry in the page you've transcribed from so you have to help by positioning the box in the right place - this is called calibration.
Move the orange box so it is just below the same line in the original page - you can move the box either using the arrow keys on your keyboard or (version 2 only) by clicking on the box with your mouse and dragging it to the right position.

When you are happy that the box is in the right place, press the ENTER key.

You now need to do the same thing for the 10th line in the transcription. Again move the orange box until it is just below the 10th line in the transcription and when you are happy press the ENTER key. (BMDVerify needs you to do this so that it knows by how much to move the box down every time you want to move on to the next entry in your transcription)

You now need to show BMDVerify where the top of the second column of entries starts and also which entry is at the top of the second column (BMDVerify tries to guess the position and the entry but this does not always work). First move the orange box to just below the first entry in the second column of the index page. When it is in the right position, check that the entry shown in the box is the same as the one at top of the column. If it isn't press the "+" or the "-" key until the right entry is shown.
When you are happy that the box is in the right place and the entry matches, press the ENTER key.

Finally, you need to show BMDVerify where the top of the third column of entries starts and also which entry is at the top of this column (if you are transcribing a two column index, this step won't apply to you). First move the orange box to just below the first entry in the third column of the index page. When it is in the right position, check that the entry shown in the box is the same as the one at top of the column. If it isn't press the "+" or the "-" key until the right entry is shown.
When you are happy that the box is in the right place and the entry matches, press the ENTER key.

Calibration is now complete. You will see that button labelled Step 4 is highlighted, click on this.

You can now start to check your transcription. Basically you check that your transcription is the same as the entry in the original page, then press the ENTER key to move on to the next entry.
I find it easier to move down a column checking the names (and age if there is one), then go back to the top of the column and move down the column again checking the district then finally go back to the top again and move down the column checking the page number but others prefer to check a whole line, then move on to the next line.
Some of the scans of index pages are "leaning badly" and checking a column at a time will help if you have this problem although you will need to adjust the position of the orange box when you go to the top of the column to allow for the lean.

There are a number of options and changes you can make, for example changing the size of the text in the orange box, changing the size of the box, changing the orange background to grey and so on. For a full list of options, press the F1 key and a small help screen will appear.

Click on the NEXT and PREVIOUS buttons to see all the information and click on the HIDE button when you've finished
If you find that you made a mistake during calibration then you can press the "C" key and redo calibration at any time.

Correcting mistakes

If you find a mistake you made transcribing the index, you can either make a note and correct it when you've finished the entire page or you can make the change as soon as you find the mistake without quitting BMDVerify.

Eliza should be Elizabeth. If I correct this error using WinBMD and save the change, when I go back to BMDVerify, it will detect that I have changed the transcription file.

If I press the "R" key ....

... the corrected transcription is now visible in BMDVerify.