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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Deciphering Challenging Handwriting in Genealogy Records

This question came from Allison

Are you able to decipher this Place of Residence from an Army Record?

 Olive Tree Genealogy response: Without seeing the entire page or pages to compare letter formations and without knowing the country of origin of the original record, I can only give my best "guess". I believe the entry might be "Chelsea and Essex" 

This is a good time and place to explain that when you are trying to decipher challenging handwriting there are a few simple methods you should use.

1. Compare other words and letters in the record. For example in this case, how does the scribe make an upper case "C" - is it the same as the word I believe is Chelsea? What about upper case "E"? How does he write a double "s" (ss) Does it look like the word I think is Essex? You may have to look a few pages ahead or before to get a good overall comparison of letter formations used.

Read the rest of my tips and tricks at