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Family History: Reading Old Handwriting

By February 20, 2007

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Ardis Parshall posted on the LDS Blog, Times & Seasons, some wonderful entries on the transcribing (and translating) of old, French handwritten documents from the life of Julie Desaules Desaules and her nephew, Henri Edouard Desaules, or "Ned". Ardis writes how many of the letters were written:
"Each page was filled in the normal way, then the letter writer had turned the paper a quarter turn and filled the page again by writing across the previously written lines, and in a few cases the page had been turned yet again with a third layer of handwriting crossing diagonally over the first two. When this was done on both sides of a transparent sheet of onion skin, you can imagine the nearly indecipherable snarl of writing that resulted." (Julie's Papers (1 of 2). Also see Julie's Papers (2 of 2), Ned Desaules and the United Order - 1 of 2, and Ned Desaules and the United Order - 2 of 2).
In part two of this amazing story Parshall also writes:
"I have no trouble at all reading the records. Yet when I sit back and look at the images objectively, I recognize that barely a word of the smeared ink, crabbed handwriting, and non-standard French is legible. I lean forward again, and blink my eyes a few times, and once again I am able to read every word."
If you're interested in learning how to work with old handwritten documents the Family History Library will be holding a "Free Research Series on Reading Old Handwriting" on February 24, 2007 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. This will be "an all-day series of free classes on reading old handwriting. Specific topics include ‘Early American Handwriting,’ ‘Older English Handwriting,’ ‘Germanic and Scandinavian Gothic Handwriting,’ and ‘French Handwriting.’" To register for the free classes, call 801-240-4950. Note: The email notice I received about this event said to visit http://www.familysearch.org/ for the schedule but I have been unable to find any information regarding it on their site. (If anyone does please post the URL as a comment!)

Learn more about the amazing work of Family History!
Comments
February 24, 2007 at 4:22 pm
(1) MDS says:

That was a interesting article. I have some questions about the doctrine of Polygomy and mormonism could you help?

March 24, 2007 at 1:11 pm
(2) lds says:

You can post your question in the LDS Community Forum here:
http://lds.about.com/mpboards.htm

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