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Genealogy Resources

Handwriting and Script

  • Bentz, Edna. If I Can You Can Decipher Germanic Records.  San Diego, California: Hyperion Records, 2001. Includes the Gothic alphabet, variations of letters, and common genealogical words.
  • Deciphering Old Handwriting
  • English Handwriting, 1500-1700: An Online Course. From Cambridge University.
  • Examples of 17th Century Handwriting
  • Kirkham, Kay. The Handwriting of American Records for a Period of 300 Years. Logan, Utah: Everton Publishers, 1976. Includes foreign alphabets, a glossary, and legal terminology.
  • Marshall, Hilary. Paleography for Family and Local Historians. Chicester: Phillimore, 2004. Has examples of English documents of varying difficulty from 14001700 including parish registers, wills, and court rolls.
  • Martin, Charles Trice. The Record Interpreter: A Collection of Abbreviations, Latin Words and Names Used in English Historical Manuscripts and Records. London: Stevens & Sons, Ltd., 1910, reprinted 1976, 1982.
  • Minert, Roger. Deciphering Handwriting in German Documents; Analyzing German, Latin and French in Vital Records Written in Germany. Has examples of handwriting in German-speaking regions of Europe including Latin, French, Fraktur and Sütterlin Script. Woods Cross, Utah: GRT Publications, 2001.
  • Palmer, A.N. Palmer's Guide to Business Writing.  Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Western Penmanship Publishing Co., 1894. His guidelines and script were used by over 25 million Americans by 1925.
  • Sperry, Kip. Reading Early American Handwriting. Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2005, 1998. A standard reference with illustrations of letter forms and images of documents with translations in facing pages, and a bibliography.
  • Stryker-Rodda, Harriet. Understanding Colonial Handwriting, Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1986, 1980. Has examples of letter forms and script, name forms, and signatures.
  • Thornton, Tamara Plakins.  Handwriting in America: A Cultural History, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1996. Surveys aspects of handwriting from colonial times to the present.