Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Do you Feel Lost While Reading Old Wills? #virginiapioneersnet #genealogy

Colonial Script is a Lost Art



Colonial Handwriting


The task of interpreting the handwriting of our ancestors during the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries can be troublesome. However, cursive writing began to change dramatically during the 20th century, and today, has no design to it whatsoever. It is simply a sloppy scribbling of choice. One can use a chart to discern letters in the colonial hand-writing, but try and read a 20th century death certificate! Without structure, then, we seem to be losing our interpretative skills. Hence, the skills of the past are being lost in the 21st century. I personally spend many long hours trying to read the script of yesterday. It is important to me to intepret the old records because those people are my ancestors. They were fluent in Latin, French and English, and their verbage and writing styles reflect an education and skills far superior than what we have today. If you do not believe me, read the old wills and inventories of the colonial estates which reflect a massive effort of building communities around their farms and promoting supportive economies of farm stores and trades. Such a reading is helpful in understanding the work which was required to build a new country out of wilderness terrain. 
See images of old Shenandoah County VA Wills, Estates, etc.

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