As opposed to reading a Portuguese language newspaper, the reading of
old handwritten records in Portuguese requires awareness of certain unique
features that may complicate this task. The average reader with an intermediate
knowledge of the Portuguese 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
Portuguese words but words of a derivative dialect or influenced by another
language spoken in the area. These variations could also be the result of Latin
influence when written in Portuguese; for example using “th” instead of
“t”, such as in “Thomas” instead of “Tomas” or “Thereza”
instead of “Tereza." This section provides examples of some challenges a researcher may encounter in reading old Portuguese and also provides assistance in those particular challenges:
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 minimize misinterpretations or missing the information you are searching for. The other topics under TECHNIQUES AND TOOLS section of the Sidebar are for your reference as you develop your personal paleographic expertise.
It is very helpful to have an alphabet open while transcribing a record.
Below is a sample record from Portugal, Braga that illustrates the types of challenges you might find while reading old manuscripts.