How to Read Old Handwriting: A Primer

How-to-Read-Old-Handwriting-A-Primer-ancestralfindings

When doing genealogical research, you will sometimes come across original documents from past centuries. Handwriting has changed a lot since colonial days. There are distinct differences from the 1600’s, 1700’s, and 1800’s, before handwriting became more recognizable as our modern handwriting in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s. Spelling is also an important part of reading old handwriting. You may come across words you do not recognize, or that seem familiar, but are spelled differently than you remember. This is because there are words that were used in the past that are no longer used today. Also, there was no uniform way of spelling things until Webster’s Dictionary came out in the 1800’s. Before that, people spelled phonetically, which means some words would be spelled differently multiple times in the same document...