Reading the Handwriting
Hints and Tips
Cursive handwriting can often be hard to interpret. Reading Agreements and Logbooks comes with practice: there is no other practical way of recognizing the letters than frequent reading, and even then different masters have different writing styles. But here are a few tips and tricks to help you read the documents.
- Some masters were still using the stylized "s" which is an "s" stretched out until it resembles a cursive "f".
- Where you have recognized whole word, concentrating on the individual letters and comparing them with letters in words still to be deciphered, may help.
- Ditto, otherwise abbreviated to "do" or "〃" is a common abbreviation throughout the lists of crew on agreements. It means "as above" and was used instead of repeating the same information.
- Often masters will use superscript abbreviations, such as Jany. This works by dropping all the remaining letters but superscripting the final.
- If all else fails, websites like Google can be helpful. Write what you think the word is and see what is suggested.