[w] www.phillimore.co.uk [t] 01243 787 636 ISBN: 186077072X PRICE: £17.99
Like any branch of historical research, researching a family history demands continual referencing of original source material to ensure accuracy in fact gathering. While this may be straightforward when delving into documents that are 100 or even 200 years old, it gets increasingly trickier the further you go back.
One of the main problems in using old documents is the words used, the strange, outdated terms, abbreviations and, as much as anything else, the style of writing. And that's compounded by the fact that before 1733, many documents were written in Latin.
Hilary Marshall's new book, Palaeography for Family and Local Historians goes a long way to helping even the novice researcher decipher old texts. It is a practical journey through old documents and pamphlets (there are some 50 facsimile reproductions of documents of graduated difficulty) that attempts to teach the reader the secrets of reading old writing.
Marshall approaches the task in obvious fashion - start with the alphabet and look at the variations of individual letters, as she points out, it is the individual letters that enable the deciphering process to begin.
"If a hand is unfamiliar, and
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