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Need help in deciphering handwriting on will

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Need help in deciphering handwriting on will

Postby Usignuolo » Tue Feb 07, 2017 5:06 pm

We have English ancestors who worked for many years in Amsterdam. We have found out that the will of one of these is online (from 1852) at TNA (in probate and wills of Prerogative Court of Canterbury) and have downloaded a copy. It is in English but we are really struggling to read the handwriting. Is there anywhere we can find someone able to do this or failing that a guide to the handwriting of the period. I would post a few lines here but am not sure how to....
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Re: Need help in deciphering handwriting on will

Postby MaureenE » Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:43 pm

There are links to various handwriting guides on the FIBIS Fibiwiki page Reading old handwriting
http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php?title=R ... andwriting

Cheers
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Re: Need help in deciphering handwriting on will

Postby AdrianB38 » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:42 pm

This may not help much but if you can find someone with a subscription to the United Kingdom data on Ancestry, then the PCC wills that you refer to, are also on Ancestry. The advantage is that the Ancestry images are done in grey-scales while those on the TNA site (of the same wills) are in just black and white.

It is astonishing the difference that having grey-scales makes. If the image is just black and white, then bits of letters in thin ink are lost while bits of grey dirt go black. The resulting text is spotty and broken. Whereas the Ancestry images are much clearer.

I have certainly wept tears of frustration trying to read TNA images of wills, whereas I have a chance with the Ancestry versions. They are difficult to read - I'm not sure why - by 1852, there should be little difference with the letter forms - the long "s" will still be a problem, but it may be that some old letter forms are still used such as the older version of "c" that looks like a "r". I suspect that part of the problem is an old fashioned "house style" of writing that is simply big and round. Of the links on Maureen's recommendation, I would suggest that understanding Document 2 on the TNA tutorial http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/palaeography/doc2/default.htm is closest to the task that you have.

Frankly I would not recommend trying to read the TNA version if you are also struggling with the style of writing.
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Re: Need help in deciphering handwriting on will

Postby Usignuolo » Tue Feb 07, 2017 10:22 pm

where are these wills on ancestry? also I read that different government departments might use their own unique script. and word abbreviations. my ancestors will looks like it might be in a script called court chancery
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Re: Need help in deciphering handwriting on will

Postby AdrianB38 » Wed Feb 08, 2017 12:25 am

In the Ancestry database, "England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills, 1384-1858"

You may very well be right about there being a departmental style. It certainly seems to last for ages.

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