Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lexicons of Lost Lifestyles: Get Me To the Church on Time

In her latest article, "Lexicons of Lost Lifestyles: Get Me To the Church on Time," Jean Hibbens examines the language of religion and the everyday phrases we take for granted. One I think might be of particular interest to genealogists is the significance behind one's illiterate ancestors signing legal documents with an "X". Why and X and not Y or Z? According the author, the signers "mark" is a representation of the Cross and "the belief that the "X" is sacred: the one who signs in that manner does so in honesty; it is considered a 'sign' that the document to which he affixes his name is true and binding." Regardless of religious affiliation, we can respect the meaning of symbol in our lives.

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