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Someone recently sent me a link to the “History For All the People,” a blog for the State Archives of North Carolina. They are beginning a series of posts on deciphering the “Handwritten Records of Early America.” The first installment, “What Does That Say?”Series, Pt. I, says:
The following sections include a brief history of writing during this time period, characteristics of 17th and 18th century British-American handwriting, and some tips on deciphering the text found within these records.There are examples of abbreviations used, like Heñ for Henry [an approximation restricted by the modern keyboard]. It explains about the thorn, often mistaken for the word “ye”:
- ye is "the”
- yt is “that”
- ym is “them”
And it goes on to give more examples of old handwriting and a list of recommended reading to learn more.
Records written in colonial times is certainly not unique to North Carolina, or to any other state of the union. We should never discard information coming from areas outside our research areas. My advice to you is to click here to read the blog post and if it is relevant to you, bookmark it and sign up to receive their blog posts in your email so you won’t miss the next installment in that series.