FreeBMD Transcription Software and Add-ons


WinBMD has been written by Ian Brooke as a Windows version of SpeedBMD, and offers additional features, including automatic file upload. WindBMD is recommended for new transcribers and is available from here. Problems should bre reported to Contact.


SpeedBMD is obsolescent and is not recommended for transcribing. The following information is included for historical reasons.

SpeedBMD has been designed to help FreeBMD transcribers increase their transcription rate and improve their accuracy. A performance  improvement of 30-50% over other spreadsheet methods  is claimed, depending of course on the quality of the source data being deciphered. You can download SpeedBMD here

SpeedBMD achieves this through a number of devices which minimise the keystrokes required, such as:

This software works as a DOS application on all Windows or DOS based computers. There is a Tutorial contained within SpeedBMD that is highly recommended as a means of learning how to use the software.  Most users become quite comfortable in less than 30 minutes. Users will need Internet access to upload their entered data. First, read the installation instructions. Download Version 1.10 here.

SpeedBMD was developed by Peter Cox and tested by members of the NZ syndicate, especially Chris Lloyd who also created the pre-1852 District file.

Peter is most grateful for the sterling efforts of Barrie Archer, Nick Tatham, Peter Watts, Stephen Carter and Stephen Cope in testing the new features of version 1.10 and for coming up with lots of good ideas for improvements.

Peter is also very grateful to Barry D, John Slann, Kenneth Hyde, Mary Muir, Tony McHugh and Steve Gaunt for their efforts in beta testing this release. They found a few remaining bugs and annoyances, which has helped to make this a stable and user-friendly release.


The version of MacBMD that works with current versions of the Mac Operating System is called MacBMD-X and the latest version (1.0.9) can be downloaded from here. This version was created by a team headed by Peter Adams and we are very grateful for the work that they have done to produce this version. Any problems with this version should be reported to Contact

Ben Hines wrote an earlier version that only works on Operating System versions 10.6 (i.e. Snow Leopard) or earlier. This is available from here but is no longer supported.


Andrew Higgs has written a Linux version of SpeedBMD which is available from here


This program helps with the process of verifying completed WinBMD and SpeedBMD entries against the orginal scan. This Windows program is written by David Lang and is available (including previous versions) from here.

IrfanView Image Viewer

A very easy to use and useful image viewer is available free from any one of these sites. If one is not available or slow to access at least one of the others should be available.

Lotus Approach

Graham Cannon has kindly provided Lotus Approach Import Templates for FreeBMD datasets. They are in the form of a self-extracting zip file, which can be found here. The file contains a README.TXT and the templates.

N.B. whilst the author has taken care to avoid viruses and other problems with this file, you run it at your own risk. Please let us know of any problems.

District and Surname List

Bob Phillips has kindly produced a couple of files to help FreeBMD transcribers. They are a surname list and a district list sorted by volume.

N.B. These can be used as an assistance to transcribing but transcribers should not use the list as a means of guessing and modifying the transcription. It is important to transcribe what you see, not what you think might have been intended. These files may be downloaded here.

CVS and SSH for Windows 95/98/NT

We've had a lot of problems with compatibility between various versions of SSH and CVS on Windows, so here's a zip file containing a version we know works!

N.B. You only need CVS and SSH if you are doing development work on FreeBMD!

Here's how to install and run it.

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