Category Archives: Champollion

New Genealogy BSO – Champollion 2.0

Champollion 2.0 is a terrific utility program for genealogists. How many times have you not only needed to transcribe a document, but also wished that the image were sharper, darker or cleaned up so that it could be read more easily?

Champollion 2.0, a semi-finalist at the RootsTech 2017 Innovator Showdown this year, may be just what you are looking for. I learned about this program as I walked around the booths in the Expo Hall at RootsTech 2017.  On one of my wanderings, who should I meet but DearMYRTLE herself, Pat Richley-Erickson,  visiting with Christoph Marin, the program developer.

After the conference, time slipped by and Champollion 2.0 also slipped by the wayside, as I got busy with other things. However, on 5 April 2017, DearMYRTLE hosted her Wacky Wednesday hangout and Champollion 2.0 (YouTube link) was the topic for the evening. Christoph gave a demonstration of the many features in this program, described as THE tool for savvy paleographers. In other words, it is a transcription tool with many extras.

First, the website appears in French, but if you scroll to the bottom right side of the screen, you can select English.

French and English Options

First of all, Champollion 2.0 isn’t free – the cost is 39.90 euros or about US$42.50. However, there is a trial version good for ten days (top left box in image below).

Champollion 2.0 is described as “a software that brings a helpfull (sic) set of tools for any work dealing with digitalized ancient manuscripts.”

After watching DearMYRTLE’s hangout, I decided I needed this program. I’ve used free versions of other transcription programs, but Champollion has the added capability of improving the image quality, which to me, is huge. It also offers several other options:

Live blue links display examples

To be honest, Champollion 2.0 offers more power than I probably will ever use, but it is definitely better to have too much than too little! I decided that the cost was well worth the program.

So how does the program actually work? A few minutes after purchasing it, I received an email with the link to download. Installation was very easy.

I had already started playing around with the program when this image was imported, but I quickly decided that my high school French, although adequate for figuring out some choices, was definitely not strong enough to navigate all these choices. AIDE on the top left side of the tool bar is the HELP button. Click on the bottom option, LANGUE, and choices appear:

English or French?

Click on the flag and then hit APPLY (if you hit NEXT, a message box opens for you to contact the company) and, voilà! Text appears in English.

English Screen and Buttons

To get started, I just went to the IMAGE button at the top left and chose Open an Image and retrieved the one I wanted from my desktop.

Source: FamilySearch

This is the first page of the index from Washington County, Kentucky will records, volume B. The handwriting itself is not hard to read, but the faded ink presents some issues. I wanted to see how well Champollion 2.0 could repair the page.

I spent just a couple of minutes – without reading any instructions – and was able to darken the text and zoom in to make it legible:

Repaired View

What a difference! I’m impressed. A little bit of quality has been lost because I used a web clipper to grab this view, but it still looks very good. Reading my actual screen in Champollion is no problem at all now.

Top – Image Toolbar, Bottom – Transcription Toolbar

To transcribe a document, I chose Transcription, then Open a New Transcription.

Transcription Screen

Documents can be transcribed side by side or vertically, one on top and the other below.

I am admitting here that I am a rank beginner with Champollion 2.0. However, when I try out a new program, I first check to see how far I can get without reading any instructions. My reason for that, fairly assumed or not, is that if I can’t get very far without the instructions, that the program isn’t very intuitive and the instruction manual may just make me want to throw the computer out the window.

While this software has many different tools, the learning curve doesn’t appear to be terribly steep, which is my kind of program.

This program allows annotations, imports images from PDF files, allows the user to number the lines in the document plus much more. I need to spend some time really delving into all of the possibilities, but I already am very pleased that I bought this program.

If you read my blog regularly, you know that I don’t often promote products for sale. I figure there are enough other bloggers out there who share commercial information, not to mention companies themselves advertising their wares.

I decided to blog about Champollion because (1) I really like it so far (2) there is a trial version available so users can check it out beforehand and (3) I haven’t seen any other posts extolling the virtues of an excellent new product. Instead of waiting for me to become an accomplished navigator, I wanted to spread the word now.

If Champollion 2.0 looks as interesting to you as it did to me, I encourage you to visit the website and to view DearMYRTLE’s Wacky Wednesday hangout with Christoph from 5 April 2017 (Both links found above in this post.) Then decide for yourself if it is a worthwhile addition to your genealogy research toolbox.

Disclaimer: I purchased Champollion 2.0 for the regular price of 39.90 euros and have received no compensation of any kind from this company.