My blog has been changed to make it more appealing for those who have New England ancestors and want to see the area through photos. Things I’ll include are typical white New England churches, libraries showing their genealogical collection, historical societies, cemeteries, war memorials, in general, anything to do with history.

For four years I’ve blogged mostly about my personal genealogy in New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire), New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Illinois, Wyoming, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. I still will, can’t forget my own roots.

Please check out the labels on the right side for articles. The header tabs at the top are a work in progress.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Can't Read a Will? -- Tuesday's Tip

Have you ever tried to read a will, either an old one or a more recent one? Since I've been blogging, I've transcribed at least 10, and have had problems with reading the handwriting on all of them. The other day, while typing up my most recent for the post for yesterday, I discovered a way to figure out what some of the words were. I don't believe I've ever seen this method before. Being a huge user of Google, I decided to type in some key words, both before my unknown word/s and some key words after the unknown. Below, I give two examples of what I was up against, and Google helped!


I used these Key Words: lastly as to all the rest residue ___ whether real or personal (I knew I was missing about four words).
Correct: All the rest, residue and remainder of my estate, whether real, personal.



I used these Key Words: Decease her ____  apparel is to be given to my
Correct:  Decease her wearing apparel is to be given to my

16 comments:

Apple said...

Great tip! I have always just puzzled it out, sometimes with funny results.

Elizabeth said...

I've done the same thing when trying to figure out a handwritten cause of death on a death certificate. I enter what I think I'm reading (usually not a word) and often Google will "suggest" another word which is the medical term I can't read.

Barbara Poole said...

Thanks Apple, and Elizabeth, you had a good hint too.

Jacqueline said...

What I great tip. I'll definitely try it.

Barbara Poole said...

I hope it works when you get stuck, Jacqueline. Thanks.

Heather Rojo said...

That's a great idea for wills, which are usually written alike using templates. Now I'm thinking of lots of other uses, such as Catholic baptisms, and Deeds....hmmmm! Thanks!

Greta Koehl said...

Great tip! I did this for one will that was giving me fits and found all but one of the puzzling words (several formulas came up with about 3 options for that word, but none of them looked like what was written - I think the clerk just blanked out when he was writing it!).

Barbara Poole said...

Thanks Heather and Greta for your comments.

Dee said...

Great tip!

I usually post a scan of the document and hound my readers to take pity on me and help...

But I like your way better.

Dee at Shakin' the Family Tree

Barbara Poole said...

Thanks Dee, that puts a smile on my face. :-)

Susan Clark said...

Brilliant, Barbara. I'm sure I'll be using this as I wade through my files. Thanks!!

Barbara Poole said...

Susan, I hope the hint helps. Good luck to you.

Michelle Goodrum said...

Brilliant!! Thanks I'll be giving it a try Along with Elizabeth and Heathers ideas. Transcribing is tough task for me.

Jim S said...

Thanks for the tips on reading old handwriting. I have always had trouble transcribing old wills and more.

Regards, Jim

Genealogy Blog at Hidden Genealogy Nuggets

Barbara Poole said...

Thanks Michelle and Jim for your comments as well. Sorry I'm late in responding.

Carol said...

Shame on Carol, how did I miss this the first time around?? DUHHH

Brilliant! And, I currently have issues with an old Chancery case I am attempting to transcribe. Off to Google Search I go.

Brilliant!