Questions tagged [palaeography]

The study of historical handwriting and inscriptions, including analysing and reading manuscripts.

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23
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there a transcription standard that separates unclear words from added words?

Right from the beginning I picked up the habit of adding [square brackets] round unclear or illegible words / letters in transcriptions and < angle brackets > round words / letters that I added ...
18
votes
5answers
786 views

What is the Russian town in this census listing?

I'm trying to determine my (step-)grandparents' birth place from the 1916 Canadian Census. The relevant portion is this: For context, here is the entire record. The people in question are listed as ...
16
votes
6answers
1k views

Determining what old document with Illegible handwriting says?

When looking through handwritten records, I found a document. Some fields are legible and matched information I already knew. However, the name is written illegibly. I cannot read it for the life of ...
13
votes
5answers
416 views

Can anyone decipher the comment above Louis' name on this 1940 census record?

Finally posting my first question, after answering many ;-) The following 1940 census record from Bronx, New York has a comment written above Louis' name. It seems to start with "Party has" or "...
12
votes
4answers
576 views

How do I distinguish a handwritten long "s"(ſ) and a lowercase "f"?

The long s(ſ) is often confused with the lower case f. Because the use of the long s died out in the early 19th century, few are familiar with it. It leads to many confusions. Now, in printed text, ...
11
votes
6answers
333 views

Help needed reading a place of birth in an 1871 census record from Glamorgan, Wales

I'm struggling to read the place of birth of Elizabeth Jones (Head of household schedule 167) in this image from the 1871 census of Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, Wales. Here is a larger image of the ...
10
votes
3answers
192 views

Where was Berditoscher, Russia in 1912?

My Grandmother emigrated from Berditoscher, Russia in 1912. I'm trying to find out where this city was located? Updated to add the probable source of this information (incorporating information ...
9
votes
1answer
210 views

How can I find out the name of this street?

The image below comes from a page from the 1940 US Census: (Full size image here.) The page header from the Census is a poor scan. While I can make out the location as Washington DC, I'm unsure as ...
9
votes
1answer
105 views

Deciphering 1868 Irish marriage record?

I recently got a copy of my 3rd great grandfather's marriage certificate. He was married in the district of Drimoleague, union of Skibbereen, County Cork in Ireland in 1868. Most of the handwriting in ...
8
votes
4answers
478 views

Deciphering an Intended Marriage from England around 1800

I have a record that is an Intent to Marriage for my very great grandparents George Dutton and Ann Davies. I'm trying to understand exactly what it means, including the handwritten portions. ...
8
votes
2answers
307 views

Meaning of “dofhoadayne” in 1648 Will of William Noake from Longburton, Dorset, England?

The man I believe to be my 9th great grandfather William Noake wrote his Will on 2 Jan 1648 at Longburton, Dorset, England, and a cropped image from very near the beginning of that document appears ...
8
votes
4answers
350 views

Reading name and occupation of 18th century ancestors from Kirchheim unter Teck, Württemberg, Germany?

Here is the family record of one my ancestors, Tobias Brackenhammer, Coachmann (germ. Kutscher) and Ana Maria Gollmar from Kirchheim unter Teck, Württemberg, Germany. Below the name of the couple is ...
8
votes
1answer
351 views

Reading comment in 1825 baptism register?

I'm trying to read the comment that has been added above the curate's signature in the final column of an 1825 baptism record from Lancaster Priory: It relates to a second entry that appears a few ...
8
votes
2answers
288 views

Help reading an Ellis island record

I wonder if you could help me figure out some text in an Ellis Island record (Line 15). Here's what I've been able to get so far. I've put questions marks where I'm not sure. Luka Cacic Age 23 ...
8
votes
3answers
597 views

Old German script. What is the wife's name in this 1837 baptismal ledger from Stark County, Ohio?

The partial image below is from an 1837 baptismal register of a church located in Paris Township, Stark County, Ohio. It is written in old German script. At least to our knowledge, these ledgers have ...
8
votes
1answer
81 views

Reading city name in Eastern Europe on passport from around 1900?

Could you please help me to decipher the name of the city, region, and/or county? My grandma was born in the year 1901 and left Poland in the year 1925. She lived in Kovel, Poland for several years. I ...
8
votes
1answer
350 views

19th Century Debtors Prison Records, London

I have found (I think) two records for Demetrius Rogers in Ancestry's Marshalsea (London) debtors prison records. The first has "Dematris Rogers" brought into custody on 11 Sep 1812: (This record ...
7
votes
2answers
750 views

Reading given name of German great-grandaunt?

I cannot read this name, which is the name of one of the older sisters of my great-grandfather. It is supposed to be a german female name. This was written in 1878. Sample of handwriting by the same ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Techniques for reading poor or illegible images?

What techniques work for reading poor or illegible images of a source? Turning the source into a negative is one that's often quoted but what other techniques are valuable, and in what circumstances?
7
votes
4answers
256 views

Help needed reading an occupation and place name

In the 1891 Census of England and Wales for the household of James Jeans, Bermondsey, Southwark (RG12 piece 377 Folio 135 page 12), I can't read (1) the occupation of James Jeans and (2) the ...
7
votes
2answers
92 views

What was George August Imprisoned For?

I've come across a log on Ancestry.co.uk which shows that George August was imprisoned in 1854. Below is a screenshot of the entry. I have managed to read it as follows, but this could be wrong as I ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

What is written over some of these Irish birth records?

In the below Irish birth records, two entries that interest me, 476 and 477, were crossed out, with some cursive writing on top of them (most visible in entries 473, 474, and 476). What is written ...
7
votes
2answers
512 views

What is this place in County of York on UK War Office Marriage Record?

I am indexing an image on FamilySearch for UK War Office Registers, Soldier Records, 1772-1935. This text in this image is the place of a marriage that took place on Dec, 11, 1825. I can make out the ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How do I decide two signatures match?

This image shows two signatures made by "a" man named George Cox. One signature is on an Army Attestation Form when a boy of 15 signed-up in 1900. The other comes from a 1922 Migration Application by ...
7
votes
3answers
275 views

Ellis Island immigration record handwriting help

I've had an Ellis Island record for my great grandfather for several years, but have never been able to read the 'relative or friend's name and address' column for that record. I'm hoping someone ...
7
votes
2answers
342 views

Making it easier to read scans of records when other side of page bleeds through?

Sometimes the scans of parish registers and other old records show “bleed-through” from the other side of the page. Is there something I can do to make these images easier to read? Here are some ...
7
votes
3answers
440 views

Can you identify this Russian town: "Chashvato, Podolski"?

Can you identify the name of the USSR town referenced in the 1910-1914 images below? My maternal grandfather's side references several different places in various naturalization records & ship ...
7
votes
1answer
157 views

Where is Gellovsasvetgood, Eazasso, Russia?

My grandfather's military draft registration states that he is from, based on my interpretation of the handwriting, Gellovsasvetgood, Eazasso, Russia. I can't find any towns with similar spelling. I ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Deciphering cause of death?

I can't make this cause of death out: What might it be?
6
votes
3answers
171 views

Recognize a handwritten word from a Spanish town

I am working on the investigation with old documentation, to see if you can help me to recognize this town in Spain, it could be in Castilla La Mancha, although I do not know for sure.
6
votes
3answers
1k views

What is written in this excerpt from a Manifest of Alien Passengers for the US arriving at Providence?

I'm having difficulties reading a field from a specific column from a List or Manifest of Alien Passengers for the United States Immigration Officer at Port of Arrival In this case Port of ...
6
votes
1answer
187 views

Deciphering three words from mid 19th Century Cornwall Marriage Certificate?

The image below has been clipped from the Marriage Certificate of my 3rd great grandparents Mary Symons and John Billin. That marriage took place on 5 Feb 1839 in the Chapel of Helston in the Parish ...
6
votes
2answers
199 views

Reading entry from Quarter Sessions Order Book of Dorset, England 1682-1693?

The clipped image below comes from the Dorset, England, Quarter Sessions Order Books, 1625-1905 via Ancestry.com: Name: Arthurus Bewsey Event Date: 1682-1693 Event Place: Dorset, England ...
6
votes
3answers
187 views

What Island is likely to be mentioned on 19th Century Somerset Will?

Today I obtained the 1836 Will of my 4th great grandmother Martha Chichester (nee Noake) who lived in Old Cleeve, Somerset, England. She mentions two sons living at an Island of ?????? which I am ...
6
votes
2answers
109 views

Reading church name in Gaelic on Marriage Certificate

I've just found a certificate online and I'm trying to work out in which church the marriage took place because it is written in Gaelic. Can you translate it for me?
6
votes
1answer
466 views

What is this town in Macedonia, Greece?

I have been indexing on a FamilySearch (US Oregon Draft Registration WWII, this particular record was registered in 1942) and have come across a place name in Macadonia, Greece that I can find no ...
6
votes
1answer
339 views

What are these words in the 1841 will of Elisha Strong?

I was able to read most of the words in Elisha Strong's 1841 will but not the two shown in red below. My transcription includes: The Said Eunice Strong shall pay one third for the support & ...
6
votes
1answer
228 views

Reading handwriting of David L. Aldrich's Occupation in 1860 Census?

I am trying to figure out David L. Aldrich's occupation. By the 1860 Census and after, he is listed as a cotton manufacturer. I know that he was also involved with the Richmond Bank from 1856 on. But ...
6
votes
1answer
188 views

What is the parenthetical phrase in this Irish baptism record?

In Ancestry's "Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers, 1655-1915" record set there is a baptism in Birr, Offaly on 15 May 1856: Mary Henry Moore Margt Gillece Sp: (per pr??) John & Bridget ...
6
votes
1answer
207 views

Meaning of "Map" as birthplace on NY 1855 Census?

On the 1855 NY Census, one of my relatives (Mary Whitney) has a birthplace noted as "Map". According to the instructions on the census form, that field contains one of the following: the NY county ...
6
votes
1answer
84 views

Is there any place like "Wertinberge" in Germany?

The 1850 census taker did their best for Mary Fox's birthplace, but I can't really decipher it: I strongly suspect this is somewhere in Germany, because family lore says Mary Fox and her family came ...
6
votes
1answer
78 views

What are the dates on these documents?

This document from a Mississippi probate record has what appears to be a date at the top: Later on the page, I see: The following page shows this date: What are these dates? Is what looks to me ...
6
votes
1answer
472 views

Deciphering letters with "crossed lines" from 1813 Battle of Vitoria?

Can anyone help decipher this letter from a Lt. Moore of 1st Life Guards from the Battle of Vitoria in 1813? Also, if interested there are two more pages!
6
votes
2answers
430 views

Learning German scripts (handwriting and printing) used in 19th century records

In my related question about finding parish records in Saxony, Germany lejonet reminded me about other resources for Werdau in the Family History Catalog. The Family History Library has resident ...
6
votes
1answer
81 views

Reading a Canadian 'Oceans Arrival' form completed in 1924

I'm studying the FAN club of John Stanley Wright (mentioned at Finding an elusive ancestor after the 1901 census (who may have deserted his family)) in an attempt to narrow down the date range for his ...
6
votes
0answers
104 views

Deciphering place names in Northern Alsace?

I am having some difficulties with a 1797 marriage record from Birlenbach, Northern Alsace (departement Bas-Rhin), specifically some of the geography. The record is hard to retrieve (all they let me ...
5
votes
1answer
278 views

What might word "wise" mean on 1764 Marriage Record of John Smyth and Sarah Osment from Stoke Damerel, Devon, England?

My 5th great grandparents John Smyth and Sarah Osment married on 13 Jul 1764 at Stoke Damerel, Devon, England, and a cropped image from the record of that marriage appears below. On the top line, ...
5
votes
1answer
127 views

What is the first word in this baptism record?

My transcript from Bishop's Transcripts, Church of England, Parish of Melbourne, Cambridgeshire. 1616 https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C9T9-6BN5?i=41&cat=1109075 J***rimis Thomas ...
5
votes
3answers
135 views

Identifying Australian soldier named Bennett in World War I photograph (1917)?

For more background to this question please see Identifying Australian soldier named Williams in World War I photograph (1917)? This is a photograph of what I believe to be an Australian soldier from ...
5
votes
1answer
325 views

What does huba mean in this Polish Catholic marriage record?

I got my hands on a marriage record from Poland. It's written in Latin. Here's what I divined with the help of Google Translate: Inter Josephem Wojnowski viduam de Bialybrod operanium et Hedwigam ...

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