Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Palaeography: A Crucial Specialty for Successful Genealogy

Palaeography. I'll admit it right off. The first time I came across this specialty I was not familiar with it. I'll also grant you that it is not a word that we tend to use all the time, nor one that trips easily off the tongue. However, if you are a family historian or genealogist, I would strongly suggest that you consider using an expert palaeographer from time to time in your efforts. A world-class palaeographer can make a world of difference in your genealogy, open amazing windows into the past, uncover leads, and add tremendous value to your family history.

First, what exactly is Palaeography? The Oxford Dictionaries define palaeography (in the U.S. spelt paleography) as follows:

"Palaeography Noun (mass noun): The study of ancient writing systems and the deciphering and dating of historical manuscripts."

If you have worked with any manuscripts, wills, indentures, deeds, etc. from before the invention of the typewriter, then you know this isn't your father's handwriting we often find ourselves dealing with in our family history. This can be particularly true if you happen to be lucky enough to be working with items from medieval times. They can be chock-full of amazing detail and information and incredibly hard to read given our unfamiliarity with secretary script used in medieval times!

Click here to read this article from the Huffington Post