May 9, 2023
The meeting was held via zoom and in person at the Parkland library. It began at 6:30pm, opened by Liz Osborn, President.
Liz introduced Dawn Carlille from Oregon, who gave an informative presentation on "Deciphering Old Handwriting".
She presented numerous examples of handwritings that are difficult to read as styles of forming letters and spelling of words over the centuries have changed alot. She went on to explain that the context, type of document, time period of the writing and location (geographic) of the document could all be helpful in determining what was writtten. You will want to look at the big picture first; where did you get the document, who wrote it (such as a clerk or clergyman vs. an ancestor), is it a derivative copy of the original (photocopy vs. transcription). What was the purpose of the document? Does it contain words specific to the document type or purpose? Read through the document and pick out words that you can decipher and use those letters to help you to read other words, looking for similar shapes of the letters. Remember that spelling often doesn't count in older documents. If you can't figure out what is being written then take a break and return later to it and elliminate the possibilities, rule out instead of rule in. Use dictionaries (Latin, medical, Black's Law etc.) to help with the words. Try inverting the colors of a copy of a document as often white on black vs. black on white will help you out. If you use a digital photo copy taken with your phone you can often manipulate the document for easier reading. Her handout gave several resources for deciphering handwriting and a list of books for aids. There were a number of good questions. Her email address is:Dcarlille8@comcast.net.
Next month we will hear from the book author of "Life and Love"
Michael Jones, Secretary