Several years ago I had a great idea, one that would save me a lot of money. When copies at the Library of Virginia went to $0.75 each, I had to do something to stop the financial bleeding. I came up with an old idea but with a new twist. I sat down and made myself blank templates for each type of document that I frequently copy. People have done this for years with census records but I wanted to take it a step further.
I made templates for birth, marriage, death and burial records. In the case of Virginia, the vital record forms did not change much over the years. The format changed slightly but the data was the same. I made about 50 copies of each form, put the into a folder, and stuck then into my briefcase.
Now when I sit down to transcribe records, I have a nice and neat form to fill out. I document the page, line, etc so that I can always go back and find the original if needed. Sometimes my handwriting does get a little sketchy!
When I get home, I type all of the info into my genealogy program and then file them away. For whatever reason, I rarely take my laptop to the archives. I think that I enjoy working with paper when I am researching in person.
Let's look at the potential cost savings. Say you did four document types and made 50 copies of each, assuming simple copies set you back about $0.10 each. Total cost would be $20.00. If I paid full price at the archives, I would have spent $141.00, saving $121.00 overall. I know the library could use the extra money but so could I!