Saturday, September 20, 2008

Online help for deciphering old handwriting

The Genealogy column on TribStar.com suggests a web site aimed at helping to decipher handwriting in old documents. According to the article, all genealogists are challenged to some degree when they have to read and interpret documents in original handwriting. And the further back in time the handwriting sample is, the greater the challenge, until our own language looks foreign to us. A Web site aimed at scholars and researchers aspires to change all of that. English Handwriting 1500-1700, An online course, is a remarkably professional and thorough course of study, certainly equivalent to a college class. The site is at www.english.cam.ac.uk/ceres/ehoc/index.html and contains 28 self-guided lessons ranging in degree of difficulty from 1 to 5. Each lesson divides the computer screen into four sections, taking the user step by step through the process of analysis. The site also has lots of supporting data and sample transcriptions to "shortcut" the process for those not wanting to take the 28 lessons.

This is a great site to visit to refine your skills in transcribing old handwriting. Anyone graduating from this online classroom will be close to an “expert” by the time they are finished, the article said. The site is free to use with no registration.

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