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Thursday, December 3, 2015

How to Decipher Old Handwriting

Derek wanted help with reading some challenging writing in an image

I have struggled with this image for a long time and asked many people for their suggestions for the middle name. This (No 260) is presumably the father of James Gray my illegitimate maternal gt gt grand father.His mother Catherine Gray (born 1808, Purton, Wiltshire) was a servant living in Edmonton, London at the time. The  1861 Census for Purton, Wiltshire says he was born in London. Any ideas would be appreciated.

 Derek - Unfortunately when trying to deciper challenging handwriting, one needs to see the full sheet and other sheets written by the same hand. That allows a good comparison of letter formations. Also it would help to know the column headings (not to read the handwriting but to look for other records that might solve the mystery)

It helps to enlarge the image in a graphic program (I use Picasa) or to trace it.  See Deciphering Challenging Handwriting for more tips. 

Guessing only, it seems to be "James --- Fosse son of"

I did a little investigating and found another record for the baptism of your James, but without the extra name

This is found in Lambeth St John the Evangelist Parish Registers Jan. 1828 on Ancestry.

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