Sam Sullivan at Vancouver archives November 2022

November 4, 2022 | Vancouver Sun | JOHN MACKIE

Handwritten History Online

The City of Vancouver’s operating budget for 2022 was $1.747 billion. In 1897, it was $363,937. How do we know? Because volunteers for local website Transcribimus have gone through the original handwritten documents at the City of Vancouver Archives, transcribed them and mounted them online.

Transcribimus founder and former mayor Sam Sullivan displays handwritten budget minutes from 1897 inside the Vancouver Archives.

Belle Rogers as a young girl, City of Vancouver Archives AM1592-1-S2-F08-: 2011-092.3801

April 30, 2022 | Vancouver Sun | JOHN MACKIE

A Rare Glimpse of Vancouver Before It Was Vancouver

When Mary Isabella Angus Rogers first came to Burrard Inlet, it was a few shacks around Hastings Mill.

A lot of people came into Vancouver by ship in the pioneer days. But few wrote about it as eloquently as Mary Isabella Angus Rogers, who the family called Bella.

On April 28, 2022 Transcribmus celebrated the completion of ten years of Vancouver City Council minutes transcription — six hundred and nine documents contained in 4569 pages. Fifty two volunteer transcribers and nine sponsors contributed to this milestone accomplishment.

April 26, 2022 | Viewpoint Vancouver | GORDON PRICE

Ten Years of Handwritten Vancouver City Council History Transcribed

Interested In Volunteering?

If you can transcribe even a page or two, that is a permanent contribution to Vancouver history.  If you can’t read cursive handwriting, we will find lots for you to do – looking up historical photos to illustrate the minutes, looking up interesting stories hinted at behind the scenes, and spreading the word about our work.

Jewish Independent

January 19, 2019 | Jewish Independent | CYNTHIA RAMSAY

Transcribing Vancouver History

“When we were restoring the Jewish cemetery at Mountain View, we spent two years going through City of Vancouver material trying to determine if the city actually had something in writing to prove the legitimacy of this Jewish section since 1892,” Shirley Barnett, who led the Jewish cemetery restoration project, told the Jewish Independent in an email. The committee couldn’t find anything in the city records.

However, if the committee were to have started its work today, the information it sought would have been found, and the process would have moved much more quickly.

Sam Sullivan, member of the Legislative Assembly (Vancouver-False Creek) and former mayor of Vancouver, founded…Transcribimus, “a network of volunteers that is transcribing early city council minutes and other handwritten documents from early Vancouver, and making them freely available to students, researchers and the general public.”

February 3, 2016 | CBC Radio “On the Coast” | GLORIA MACKARENKO

CBC Radio “On the Coast” interview with Transcribimus volunteer Chris Stephenson

Vancouver City Council Minutes from the 1800s being Digitized

December 15, 2015 | Spacing Vancouver | YURI ARTIBISE

Transcribing Vancouver History

Transcribimus is Latin for “We transcribe.” It was started in June 2012 by former Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan. He wanted to learn more about David Oppenheimer, Vancouver’s second Mayor, who had been instrumental in establishing the trajectory of the modern city. Sullivan spent time in the Vancouver Archives with the Vancouver City Council minutes but found the microfiche copy was barely readable and the originals were physically deteriorating. He made a commitment to honour the legacy of David Oppenheimer by having the minutes from 1886 to 1891 transcribed and put online in a searchable form for free access by researchers and the general public.

news clipping

December 8, 2015 | Metro Vancouver | TERESA VERENCA

19th-century notes now on the Internet

Learning what City Council was up to during the late 1800s is now easier than ever, thanks to Vancouver-False Creek MLA Sam Sullivan and a handful of volunteers. They have transcribed more than 1,800 pages of council minutes and posted them to the web. The project was started in 2012 by the former former Vancouver mayor, who wanted to know more about the city’s second mayor, David Oppenheimer.

“You’re literally watching the city being built,” UBC library student Chris Stephenson

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