Wednesday, May 25, 2016


Transcribing records is one of those things that can be easy if the handwriting is neat and easy to read, or difficult if the handwriting messy and hard to read.

And then, just for fun, some colonial sadists threw in superscript, those little abbreviations that sort of float just between two lines of text.Here's some examples taken from my ancestor John Wetherbee's will:

This first is a symbol called a thorn which was derived from a letter in the Old and then Middle English alphabets. It's used an abbreviation for several words that begin with th:the, that. this. thou, and which word it stands for depends on the other words it's used with in a sentence. For example, in the example below, I decided it meant that as in "the meadow that belongs to my home lott" . I've usually seen it written as "yt" but for some reason whoever wrote the will used "ty" instead.

The next one is not an abbreviation but the familiar "ye". What is not familiar is that again the writer puts it down as "ey":

Lastly here's part of a sentence with two superscript abbreviations. I must admit the beginning seems like gobbledygook. Ironically the only word I could make out was the abbreviated "wth" for "with". The second part of the example uses "wch" for "which" in the phrase "the wch ten pounds".

Luckily the handwriting itself was mostly legible, otherwise I'd have really been frustrated!


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