Until the turn of the century, spelling was phonetic. Words were spelled as they sounded. Every record keeper had their own style of writing, including abbreviations. Here's a quick example of how mistakes are made : In the sample above what looks like "f" is really the way a double 's' in a word or name may have been written. It is what is called a leading S. So the name Jesse might have been scripted as what at first looks like "Jefse" is actually "Jesse" Bafs would be Bass. Cafsidy would be Cassidy. Then there's abbreviations- Fred with an upper dash with a K atop is really Frederick. Rich dash d is Richard. (These are the easy ones.) Deciphering passenger lists and Census is hard enough, but having knowledge of these clues will help the going so much easier. Below are some links to pages that deal with the handwriting techniques of years gone by. http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~mahudson/ole-hw.htm

http://www.iltrails.org/oldhand.htm For particular nationality scripting- For old German script: http://home.t-online.de/home/hans-peter.voss/04eng.htm For Gothic (Western & Central Europe), etc. Includes 16th thru 19th century example sheets: http://www.genealogia.fi/faq/faq031e.htm Thanks to Judy Herbert for finding the links mentioned above. RETURN TO BROOKLYN MAIN