The Secretary Alphabet: Full Chart

Go to Click on the coin on the right representing "early-modern paleography," then from the menu on the left, "The alphabet." As you move the pointer over the Secretary letters, the box in the upper left gives the modern letters. Then click on the box in the lower left of your screen labeled "Forms (cursive)" to see actual sample letters that you are likely to encounter. 

Pay particular attention to the lowercase c, e, h, r, s, u/v, w, and x.


Most numbers are likely to be written in Roman numerals, but with three interesting differences from the modern approach: 

  1. They will be written in lowercase rather than uppercase letters. 
  2. A single 1 or the last 1 in a series will resemble our modern j. 
  3. Four (4) and nine (9) are more likely to use four ones rather than the single 1 of today.

​I ​i or j
​II ​ij
​III iij​
​IV ​iii​j
​V ​v​
​VI ​vj
​VIII ​viij
​IX ​viiij
​X ​x
Abbreviations for "ber" Months

Prior to 1752, the first month of the new year in the church calendar was March. Accordingly, January was the 11th month and February the 12th month in that system. The months ending in "ber" were not names but numbers reflecting this situation.


​Place in Old Calendar Latin Designation​ Abbreviation​
​7th September ​vijber
​8th October ​viijber
​9th November ​viiijber
​10th December ​xber


Arabic Numbers

The 1 may be dotted or appear to still be an i as in i72i for 1721.