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Reading Old Handwriting

Reading Old Handwriting

Tracing your family history is made easier with online old handwriting guide.

An online tutorial in palaeography (the study of ancient writing), developed by University College London (UCL) and the National Archives (TNA) is available online at the Institute of Historical Research and can be accessed at

Old handwriting is well-known for being difficult to decipher but the increased interest in tracing family history means that more and more people want a guide to analysing documents written between 1500 and 1800. Interest in the subject can be gauged by the popularity of The National Archives' online censuses, which have received more than 100 million searches since they have gone online and the large audiences of programmes such as ‘Who Do You Think You Are'.

The aim of the tutorial is to help people who are trying to trace their family history do just that. Many of the documents out there, once uncovered, reveal very little to the reader because they're just so difficult to read. This online tool should provide those people with an interesting, modern guide to help them decipher old records that often seem mysterious and obscure.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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