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Making sense of old handwriting

About the Script Tutorial

BYU's paleography tutorial has been a key piece of the Center for Family History's online presence since its beginning in 2005. Initially, faculty members Professor Ray Wright and Professor George Ryskamp, along with student assistants, including Leandro Soria and Bradley York, constructed tutorials and information on German, English, and Romance languages.

By 2012 it was expanded to be more interactive and supportive of the Family History program's curriculum. The Department of History, the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, and the university were generous in their support to allow for that work. In 2012-13, Professors Amy Harris and George Ryskamp were awarded the David O. McKay Research and Creative Works Grant to support an expansion of the online tutorials. This was further supported by Professor Harris being awarded the Family, Home, and Social Sciences College Teaching Initiative Grant in 2013-14.

In 2021-2022, the website was again updated under the direction of George Ryskamp, Sarah Reed, and Joe Everett, as well as student supervisors Amy Stoddard, Britney Condie, and Jacob Badal. Work on each of the current languages has been progressing over the years and continues today, and the site will continue to add more languages over time.


About/George Ryskamp

George Ryskamp

In Memoriam
George Ryskamp, J.D., AG,

During his twenty-eight-year tenure, George worked tirelessly to build BYU's Family History program. He served ten years as its Program Director. As Director of the Center for Family History and Genealogy, he spearheaded the Immigrant Ancestors Project website, which to date has had millions of visits by users from many different countries. He had the vision to expand the existing Script Tutorial website, supervising student content for all the Romance languages as well as Latin and Dutch.

About/Amy Harris

Amy Harris

Associate Professor of History
(801) 422-2276 | 2150 JFSB

Dr. Amy Harris is the current Family History Program Coordinator at BYU and an associate professor in the History Department. Her research focuses on families, women, and gender in eighteenth-century Britain, though she has also written on family and genealogy in the LDS context. Her first book, Siblinghood and Social Relations in Georgian England (2012) explored sibling relationships and their connections to political and social ideas of equality. More recently, her article “Early Mormonism’s Expansive Family and the Browett Women” received the 2018 Mormon History Association Best Article Award. In 2018 she also published “A Genealogical Turn: Possibilities for Mormon Studies and Genealogical Scholarship” in Mormon Studies Review. Her latest book, A Single View: Family Life and the Unmarried in Georgian England was published in 2023. Dr. Harris has a professional genealogical credential in English research and, along with Dr. Christopher Jones, teaches the English language paleography course at BYU.

Dr. Harris currently supervises the British Tutorials on the Script site.

About/Sarah Reed

Sarah Reed

Dr. Sarah Reed is an Assistant Professor of History at BYU. She joined the department after completing a Ph.D. in German with a minor in Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she wrote a dissertation on Mormonism in nineteenth-century German literature. Her research areas include German-American studies, Scandinavian-American studies, Mormon literature, and women writers. She has published on the Austrian writer Sidonie Grünwald-Zerkowitz, the Norwegian-American author Nephi Anderson, and on German-American studies topics. She lives in Provo with her husband Matt and a foster pipe organ.

Dr. Reed currently supervises the German and Scandinavian Tutorials on the Script Site.

About/Joe Everett

Joseph B. Everett

Joseph Everett, MLS, AG, is the Family and Local History Librarian at the BYU Library. He has over 25 years of combined experience in the genealogical field at BYU, FamilySearch, and Joe manages the collections and patron services of the BYU Family History Library and serves as a faculty liaison to professors in BYU's Family History program and others involved in family history on campus. Since 2020, Joe has been the associate editor of Dr. Roger Minert’s German Immigrants in American Church Records series. He is an Accredited Genealogist in German and Russian research and has a breadth of experience in other geographic areas.

Dr. Roger currently oversees the Russian Tutorial on the Script Site.

Student Supervisors

  • Jacob A. Badal*

    Portuguese, Spanish, Latin, Catalan, French, & Italian

  • Amy Stoddard


  • Brittney Condie

    French, Spanish, Portuguese, & Italian

  • Jensen Cordon


  • Leandro Soria


  • Pablo Higueros



Student Employees, Interns, and Volunteers


Noel Coleman; Amy Wallace, Abbie Lee Black, Kate Olsen


Brandon Baird, Nathaniel Jensen, Rachel Fullerton, Camilo Valderas Muñoz, Kayla Gomez


Tatum Frampton, Ariel Munyer, Jennifer Wenyi


Lauren Wake, Eulalia Miles, Miriam Brown


Larissa Vecchi, Eulalia Miles, Elisabeth Cupp


Kajsa Marie Bradley, Fabio Carnline


Paul Ahlstrom


Emily Bakly, Hailey Wentz


Erich Wacker