The problem rests on the fact that most of us unknowingly read by identifying whole words by their shape rather than looking at individual letters. When we come across unfamiliar writing, we are forced to look at the individual letters in their context. The unexpected shapes of old letters and a multitude of shortcuts in writing results in considerable difficulties for modern readers, and this booklet provides some strategies to overcome this problem.
There are a number of books on this subject, but, apart from the practical advice within, a strength of this publication lies in the number of actual examples to help the researcher identify seemingly meaningless words.
Early parish registers often have some level of Latin in their content. This book contains a useful dictionary of the more common words that may be encountered in parish registers containing Latin.
The issues behind the problems
Understanding old handwriting
How to tackle the problem
A modern problem or two
Common letter forms of the 17th to 19th century
Some problem letters in Secretary Hand
Common ligatures in Secretary Hand
Suspensions and ligatures associated with q
Relationships that may differ from today's meanings
19th Century Copperplate style
Round hand example transcriptions
Chancery hand example with transcription
Coo Latin words encountered in texts