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July 24, 2012

Pennsylvania German Pioneers Signature Marks

Margaret asked Olive Tree Genealogy about the Palatine Ships Passenger Lists on my site:
On the Palatine ship lists, there are many passengers who have various letters between their names....I know what “X” means, but not the other letters.
I am particularly interested in “U” and “N”

Jacob (E) Taubefishel
Peter (B) Barth
Frietz (M) Mengel
Theobald (N) Nabinger
Hans (H) Stayman
Nicholas (N Z) Timberman
Hans (O) Timberman
Joseph (J) Flure
Margaret -What you have spotted is the names of those who signed the Oath of Allegiance. Many could not write and so had their marks they made. As you noted, some used an X as their signature, but others were able to write an initial or two.

So you may see a first name initial, or a surname initial or both. In some cases a man might use a stylized mark but in any case these letters are simply the representation of their names.  If you are interested please see an earlier blog post on Dutch handmarks. It's quite a fascinating subject!

1 comment:

Devon Lee said...

That's cool. I hadn't noticed hand marks. Now I'll know for the future.