BBC ] "Adult Literacy:
Old Handwriting Reading Old Handwriting Trying to decipher handwritten records can cause intense frustration, not to mention brutal eyestrain. Fortunately, it does get easier with practice! Prior to the 20th century, most people used a style of handwriting called "copperplate," which was invented in England in the 16th century as an alternative to calligraphy for business records and official documents.
Traditional calligraphy is very time-consuming to write because the pen has to be repeatedly lifted off the paper. Calligraphy was fine for monks in the Middle Ages, but in the furious Age of Commerce, an alternative was needed. Copperplate filled the need for quick and efficient paperwork.
The name "copperplate" comes from the copper engravings which were used to print writing manuals "copybooks". Eventually, many styles of copperplate script were developed, some quite simple, some highly ornate with generous loops and flourishes. Different copybooks were published for particular occupations, genders, and social classes.
The result was a great deal of variation in handwriting styles based on individual history and preference. Copperplate Script Common problems with reading copperplate handwriting: Capital "L" and "S" are hard to tell apart, especially in unfamiliar names.
Capital "I" and "J" are often indistinguishable. Double-s may look like "fs" or even "ps". Decorative loops and flourishes can mimic other letters such as small "e". If you have trouble deciphering a name in an old document, compare the letters to other words that are easier to read.
Keep in mind that names may be spelled in unusual ways spelling is very inconsistent in old records. If the name still seems very strange, check a Bible dictionary.
Although most people had ordinary names like John and Mary, you may occasionally come across an obscure Biblical name like Keturah, Vashti, or even Pharoah spelled Faro in one case I've seen. In some old documents, "th" is written as "y".
For example, "Anne Smith ye wife of John died April ye 1st The Latin alphabet has no letter for "th," so Medieval scholars used the thorn instead, which looks very much like a "y" when written in caligraphy.
It was pronounced with the normal "th" sound. The following table is taken from 19th century North Carolina census records, and shows some of the variations in copperplate handwriting.Calligraphy Print Copperplate calligraphy Calligraphy & Handwriting Calligraphy Alphabet Capital letters calligraphy Flourish calligraphy Dessin/ tattoo Penmanship Hand Lettering Forward This an antique page from an book on Business Writing and Penmanship.
of handwriting was lost (unfortunately, making palaeography more tricky). The type of paper used can also affect handwriting. Many letters used to be written on laid paper, which was marked with parallel lines or water marks. Parallel wires in the paper mould could make the ribbing quite prominent, which can make the formation of letters uneven.
Tips for Deciphering Old-Fashioned Handwriting. With the increased use of computers, typing has become the dominant mode of recording information and .
The name Copperplate comes from the fact that writing masters used to hand-write their books and then send them to an engraver who recreated all the subtle details onto copper plates, which where then used to print the handwriting books.
Copperplate script: Copperplate script, in calligraphy, dominant style among 18th-century writing masters, whose copybooks were splendidly printed from models engraved on copper.
The alphabet was fundamentally uncomplicated, but the basic strokes were often concealed in luxuriant flourishing and dazzling professional.
Copperplate Practice Strokes Calligraphy, Caligraphy And throughout Copperplate Calligraphy Worksheets Learn Calligraphy For A Latté: The Janet Style Worksheet Has Arrived throughout Copperplate Calligraphy Worksheets.