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Making sense of old handwriting

Books & Articles


  • Alcock, N.W. Old Title Deeds: A Guide for Local and Family Historians. 2nd ed. West Sussex: Phillimore, 2001.
  • Barrett, John, and David Iredale. Discovering Old Handwriting. Buckinghamshire: Shire Publications, 2001.
  • Beau-Chestne, Jehan, de. A Booke Containing Divers Sortes of Hands. Amsterdam: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. 1977 (Original 1571) [BYU Lib.]
  • Bichoff, Bernhard. Latin Paleography: Antiquity & the Middle Ages. Translated by Dáibhí ó Cróinín and David Ganz. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
  • Brown, Michelle P. The British Library Guide to Writing and Scripts: History and Techniques. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998.
  • Buck, W.S.B., Examples of Handwriting, 1550-1650. [Found at National Archives Bookstore]
  • Cappelli, Adriano. The Elements of Abbreviation in Medieval Latin Paleography. Translated by David Heimann and Richard Kay. Lawrence: University of Kansas Libraries, 1982.
  • Chapman, Colin, 'How Heavy, How Much and How Long?: weights, money and other measures used by our ancestors' (Lochin,1995)
  • Clemens, Raymond, and Timothy Graham. Introduction to Manuscript Studies. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007
  • Cocker, Edward, A Coppie Book Containing Examples of all the Most Curious Hands (2nd ed, 1637). [Online resource
  • C.T. Martin, ‘The Record Interpreter,’ Kohler and Coombes, 1976. Latin appendix. [Good as a resource. BYU Lib.]
  • Denholm-Young, Noel, Handwriting in England and Wales, 2nd ed. (Cardiff, Wales: University of Wales Press, 1864). [BYU Lib.]
  • Gooder, Eileen A. Latin for Local History: An Introduction. 2nd ed. New York: Longman Group Limited, 1978.
  • Grannum, K., and Taylor N., 'Wills and Other Probate Records' (Kew, 2004)
  • Grannum, Karen, and Nigel Taylor. Wills & Probate Records: A guide for family historians, Second Edition. Surrey: The National Archives, 2009.
  • Grieve, H.E.P. 1954 Examples of English Handwriting 1150 - 1750 Essex Record Office Publications No. 21
  • Hector, L.C. 1966 The Handwriting of English Documents London: Edward Arnold Ltd Chapter 4 about secretary hand. [BYU Lib.]
  • Horwitz, Henry. Chancery Equity Records and Proceedings 1600–1800: A guide to documents in the Public Record Office. London: HMSO, 1995.
  • Ison, Alf, A Secretary Hand ABC Book.
  • Jackson, Donald. 1981 The Story of Writing. Taplinger Publishing Co., Inc., New York: New York. [BYU Lib.]
  • Joyce, Irene Whalley, English Handwriting, 1540-1853. [BYU Lib.]
  • Kathleen Doyle and Scot McKendrick, ed. 1000 Years of Royal Books and Manuscriptis. London: The British Library, 2013.
  • Marshall, Hilary. Palaeography for Family and Local Historians. West Sussex: Phillimore, 2004. [Found in the National Archives Bookstore]
  • O’Neill, Timothy. The Irish Hand: Scribes and their manuscripts from the earliest times. Cork: Cork University Press, 2014.
  • Preston, Jean F., and Laetita Yeandle. English Handwriting 1400–1650: An Introductory Manual. Binghamton: Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, 1992.
  • Rycraft, Ann, Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Handwriting, Series 1 (2 and 3) [BYU Lib.]
  • Scottish Handwriting 1500–1700: A self-help pack. Scottish Record Office, [c. 2000].
  • Sperry, Kip. Reading early American Handwriting. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1998. [BYU Lib.]
  • Stuart, Denis. Latin for Local & Family Historians. West Sussex: Phillimore, 1995.​
  • Stuart, Denis. Manorial Records: An introduction to their transcription and translation. West Sussex: Phillimore, 1992.
  • Tarver, Anne. Church Court Records: An introduction for family and local historians. Sussex: Phillimore, 1995.
  • Tate, W.E. The Parish Chest: A Study of the Records of Parochial Administration in England. 3rd ed. West Sussex: Phillimore, 1969.
  • Thoyts, Emma, ‘How to Read Old Documents.” West Sussex: Phillimore, 2001. Mostly court hand. Less useful for secretary hand. [BYU Lib.]