Tools to help decipher handwriting?
May 28, 2014 6:37 PM   Subscribe

I do a good bit of genealogy research at work and help others with theirs as well. I want to get better at deciphering handwriting (in English) from the colonial period onward. Has anyone used any specific resources that helped them with this? I don't need a certification or anything but I would like to be able to show I've done my research in this area. Thanks!
posted by justnathan to Education (4 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
This is referred to as paleography. I've used the Brigham Young University tutorials in germanic gothic scripts, but not their English scripts tutorial specifically.
posted by muddgirl at 6:46 PM on May 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

Another good paleography tutorial site here -- English, not American, but I'd imagine the scripts would have had a good deal of overlap.
posted by Bardolph at 7:07 PM on May 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

I work with historic documents and sometimes use an online crossword dictionary to help me figure out mysterious hand written words when I'm transcribing something. Seeing a list of possible other words often helps!
posted by zem at 7:47 PM on May 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: English Handwriting 1500-1700: An Online Course (mainly designed for literary students; good selection of examples, graded in difficulty from 1 to 5)

Early Modern Palaeography (designed for historians; wider variety of hands, including various forms of court hand)

Reading Early Modern Handwriting (online tutorial, particularly helpful in identifying distinctive features of individual hands)
posted by verstegan at 11:34 PM on May 28, 2014 [2 favorites]

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