Thomas of GeneaBloggers has just invited us to the latest 52 Weeks To Better Genealogy Challenge – the inspiration for these Challenges coming from Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog. Our Challenge this week is to Practice reading handwriting because as Thomas explains, “Deciphering the penmanship of our ancestors is an exercise in patience, but this is a great skill to have in your genealogy tool box”.
Well, as far as I’m concerned this Challenge couldn’t have come at a better time! Last week I finally received all the Wills I had ordered from the Buckinghamshire Record Office and one has stumped me completely!
I know from having many other Wills it is not always easy to make out what has been written with the lovely flowy writing they used in the past centuries and with their spelling of the English words etc., but if I have difficulty reading them, I can usually at least make out names and places. But, there is this one Will I have now received and all I know is it is the Will of Jone Reade (I think she may be a Widow) of Long Crendon (I think) in Buckinghamshire dated 1545.
I’ve looked and looked at the Will, looked at it with a terrific magnifying sheet my partner Paul bought for me to help with all my Wills. I’ve scanned it and looked at it on the computer and zoomed in no end of times, but I just can’t make the words out at all. I can’t really make out names or places. I think I found the word “bequeath” but I’m not entirely sure as I can’t make out the other words either side of it!! So, with this one Will I am completely bamboozled.
This hasn’t happened before so I am delighted to accept Challenge #29 and am hoping that at least by the end of the coming week, I might have been able to look at olde worlde handwriting sites on the internet that just might help me with at least deciphering some of Jone Reade’s Will.
Have a look at the Will and if anyone can make any of it out I would love to know!!!
I think it actually starts with “In the name of God amen” but I am not completely sure as to me with my eyes it might only be what I think it says!! I’m trying to focus on some particular letters so that it might help pick them up elsewhere in the Will to help decipher the words. Now I’ve added it here I can see the words “… beinge fit in bodye …” and I know from other Wills they usually go on to say something like “and of sound mind and memory” or words to that effect, but of course I don’t want to just surmise that has been also included in the Will, so I know I must really try to focus on what has actually been written here.
I am looking forward to this new Challenge so much and if it helps me with this Will, then any others that I’ve had just a little trouble deciphering will be a doddle!!
I’ll let you know Friday how I get on!!