As opposed to reading an Italian newspaper, the reading of old Italian handwritten records requires being aware of certain unique features that may complicate this task. The average reader with an intermediate knowledge of the Italian language will quickly realize that, in older records, scribes may have included words that do not match their modern equivalents, either because they were misspelled or because they were not Italian words but words in a dialect of Italian. These variations could be the result of Latin influence when writing the Italian words, for example using “th” instead of “t” or “ch” instead of “c”, such as in “Thomaso” instead of “Tomaso” or “Catherina” instead of “Catterina.” These are examples of the challenges that the researcher may face when reading old Italian handwritten records. This section includes the following main challenging features:
LanguageLatin InfluenceNumbersHandwriting Abbreviations
We recommend studying these sections thoroughly before reading old manuscripts. Doing so will help you be more confident in your ability to understand these records, and prevent misinterpretations or missing the information for which you are searching.
The image below is a sample record illustrating the challenges one could find while reading old manuscripts.