Find the family history of everyone in the UK census from 1841 to 1891.
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z
Palaeography is the study of old handwriting. At first glance, many early records look illegible to the modern reader. This could be for a number of reasons:
- Latin is used.
- Unfamiliar style of writing
- Faded ink
- Pages stained with mould.
- Odd and incorrect spelling, e.g. Smythe for Smith
- Numbers written in Roman Numerals.
- Months partly written in Roman Numerals, e.g. October written as VIIIber
- Punctuation not very good or not used
- Capital letters only user for important words
On many of the census pages the handwriting is hard to read. If you are having difficulty in reading a name the first thing to do is look at other entries to get a guide to how the author writes various letters. It can take a while to "get your eye in" as to how a particular enumerator writes. First names are more readily recognised and so gives a basis as to what letter shapes an enumerator uses.
If a name is particularly difficult you will need to break it down into a range of names from the possible letters. Here are some more tips for you:
Letters such as p, f and q normally have straight descenders going below the line.
Letters such as y, g, j are likely to have loops to the left where as letters that swing to the right could be f or q.
Look for the crosses on t and the dots on j and i.
Look for straight strokes of l.
Consider all the information given about the family to verify you have found the person you are looking for. Don't forget: early census material may show a different surname spelling to a later one; as literacy improved these variations reduced.
Related Website: http://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/
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