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Volunteer for HistoryForge

HistoryForge Volunteer Application


HistoryForge is powered by volunteers.

Volunteers move the project forward and create a HistoryForge that encourages history and historical narrative.

In the process volunteers learn about Ithaca and its people, buildings and institutions, and about the raw materials of historical inquiry.

Check the 'Events' page for upcoming open volunteer transcription sessions!


 There are 3 Modes of Volunteering.


Transcribing the 1910 US Census.

The most ambitious part of HistoryForge is transferring the information on the manuscript enumeration sheets of the census to a searchable database of “people records.” In the process transcribers are able to produce a far more accurate and useful product than the transcription provided on Ancestry and Familysearch.

Census transcription requires patience and a commitment to accuracy. We provide written instructions and training on site. After training it is possible to work at home, although we see the greatest success from teams working in The History Center. Our “transcription parties” encourage sharing tips and checking doubtful readings. We also find that teams of two are most productive: a reader and an entry person, but it is quite possible to work alone.



Building the Building Database

Every building in 1910 has an address. Many, but not all appear on the Sanborn Map. Where they do we can capture information about the building from the map. The maps has information such as what the building is used for, how many stories it has and how it was constructed (construction materials are color coded. The maps also show the existence of outbuildings. All of this needs to be entered through a building data entry form. In addition the building markers may not be perfectly aligned with their buildings on the map and so the markers must be moved.

 The building database will also grow as additional information about the buildings becomes available either from The History Center’s collection or from Historic Ithaca or from user-generated content.

We will train “Building Contractors.”  Once trained, a contractor can easily work at home or join a transcription party for the camaraderie.

The Map Repository

 This may be the most interesting volunteer job. It involves uploading map images into HistoryForge and then using the MapWarper tool to geo-rectify the maps. Geo-rectifying the maps pins them to Google maps and allows buildings to be addressed. It’s critical to the success of the project. Like all the volunteer projects it requires concentration and a commitment to accuracy.




 Would you like to volunteer? We'd love your help! Sign up TODAY!!


Professors , instructors and teachers: if you think volunteering would be a useful and interesting exercise for your class (and we believe it is), we would be happy to host your class at The History Center or take our transcription party on the road and work at your site.

In a residential facility and think a group there would be interested? We would be very happy to visit your facility both to demonstrate HistoryForge and train volunteers.

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