Understanding Documents for Genealogy and Local History
Date of publication: February 2013
Publisher: The History Press
Genealogists and local historians have probably seen every birth, marriage, death and census record available, and are adept at using the internet for research. However, once they have learnt everything they can from them, the next step is reading and understanding older documents. These can be hard to find (not many are online), are often written in challenging handwriting and use legal and other unfamiliar terms. Some will be in Latin, antiquated English or Scots. Readers need to be able to understand the nature and intent of a range of documents as well as the palaeography (the handwriting) and orthography (the ‘shape’ of the contents).
Documents covered include wills, testaments, contracts, indentures, charters, land records, personal letters, official records, Church records and others, mainly from the period 1560 to 1800. Also covered are dates, numbers, calendars, measurements and money, abbreviations, transcription conventions, letter-forms and glossaries, and it includes a Latin primer.