May 30, 2014

Reading 16th Century English Records

Call me a geeky nerd but I love the challenge of old handwriting. This image on the left is the baptism record of my 11th great-grandmother Martha Barrett. 

It took me awhile to find her on the page but by scrutinizing the handwriting of all entries I was eventually able to recognize her first name and the surname. This entry reads: 

28 of October was baptised Martha
daughter of Henry Barrett
Isn't the handwriting beautiful??!
I used to decipher 16th and 17th century Dutch handwriting - at first I struggled but after a few years I was sort of getting the hang of it. In fact I have some tutorials on my blog in case any of my readers are researching in the same time frame and country. If you think it will help, please see How to Read 16th & 17th Century Handwriting
By the way I was pretty thrilled to find this baptism for Martha. Next I'm going to look for the marriage of her parents. Wish me luck!


Steve Baldock said...

Let me know if you struggle - I've been quite busy with similar looking Wills in the last few months, and am getting used to 16th, 17th and 18th handwriting.


Anonymous said...

Just a minor point regarding the transcription, but isn't it "Martha ye Daughter" and "Henrie Barrett"?


Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Thank you Justin. You're absolutely correct :-)

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Thanks Steve! I do have a few dozen of these Brixham Devon families in my ancestry going back from mid 1800s to early 1500s (no more records before that time) so I am bound to find some early ones that are challenging!

Sue Adams said...

A further point on the transcription,Justin rendered as "Martha ye Daughter". The "y" in"ye" is a thorn, a letter that is no longer used in English. In some scripts it looks like a y, hence common mis-interpretations like 'Ye olde tea shop'.

Phonetically, the thorn is equivalent to 'th', so the baptism reads "Martha the Daughter".

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Sue - that's fascinating! I never knew that and I love to learn new things.

Thank you for sharing your expertise with us

Isabella Baltar said...

Lorine, I enjoyed reading your blog. I love paleography and dig myself in Portuguese records finding my family and helping others. I can spend hours!!!