Reading old handwriting

Wills and inventories

23 September 2024 6pm to 7:30pm

Old documents

Do you find reading old handwriting a challenge? If you would like to find out how to read the handwritten documents you may encounter when researching family or local history, these classes are ideal for you. In one-hour sessions, we will look at a selection of typical formats of document that you may find from the 16th to 19th century, and we will see common ways of writing particular letters, abbreviations and phraseology.

We will introduce you to some of the styles of handwriting often found in historical documents, and provide some tips for coping with the abbreviations often found in them. There will be a chance to try reading some extracts; you are very welcome to take a turn or not as you prefer. Cracking the code can be great fun and very rewarding and we will make these informal and, we hope, enjoyable sessions.

Each session will focus on a particular group of records.

Wills and inventories wonderful sources of information about family relationships and people’s innermost thoughts and beliefs, alongside lists of the items in someone’s house, and other assets, compiled after their death – a chance to have a virtual walk around our ancestors’ homes.