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May 8, 2020

Learning to Read Old Handwriting

Sometimes we are lucky enough to find a very old document concerning an ancestor. I don't know about you but I'm so excited when I do find an old will or inventory from the 17th or even 16th century!

So I have studied hard over the many years I've been researching family, and can read very basic Dutch or English documents from those early years. In fact I created a few tutorials and wrote a few articles to help others with some of those early letter formations.

Reading 16th Century English Records

How to Read 16th & 17th Century Handwriting

Tricks to Deciphering Old Handwriting

Palaeography: reading old handwriting 1500 - 1800 A practical online tutorial

Help Reading 17th Century Dutch Church Records

But still I struggle with these old documents and find myself floundering, unsure as to what I am reading. That's why, when I found out this booklet on Reading Tudor and Stuart handwriting existed but was out of print, I went on a hunt for it.

Just before the Pandemic began I received 17 wills of ancestors ranging from the earliest will of my 13th great-grandfather Alexander Cullmer dated 1551 to the 1748 will of my 8th great-grandfather Thomas Hinds. I haven't had much time to go through them carefully but I've skimmed them. Now I'm anxious to use my new book and start going through them very slowly.

Some are inventories, not wills, and those are the most fun as I feel like I am walking through their homes as I read about the belongings in each room.

I hope you are finding time to work on your genealogy during this Stay At Home era.

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