Reading Early American Handwriting
by Kip Sperry
This book teaches the researcher how to read and understand the handwriting seen in Early American documents, provides samples of alphabets and letter forms, and defines terms and abbreviations commonly used in documents of the time, such as wills, deeds, and documents-important tools for genealogical research. It explains techniques for reading early church records, as well.
Reading Early American Handwriting also presents numerous examples of Early American records, since Sperry contends that it is helpful to study and transcribe each of these documents--letter-by-letter, word-by-word. Examples of documents are arranged by degree of difficulty, from relatively easy-to-read documents of the 19th to the more difficult to decipher 17th century records.
Also covered, with particular emphasis on handwriting, are numbers and roman numerals, dates and the change from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar, abbreviations and contractions, and standard terms found in Early American records.
According to Elizabeth Shown Mills, the farther back in time our research takes us, the more "plain English" begins to look like a foreign language. That's why Sperry's "plain-English" guide to not-so-plain-English writing is an absolute must for every genealogical bookshelf.
289 pp., hardcover, 1998, ISBN 0-8063-0846-X