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This book is designed to teach you how to read & understand the handwriting found in documents commonly used in genealogical research. It explains techniques for reading early American documents, provides samples of alphabets & letter forms, & defines terms & abbreviations commonly used in early American documents such as wills, deeds, & church records. Furthermore, it presents numerous examples of early American records for the reader to work with, for it is the author's contention that by studying & transcribing each of these documents-letter-by-letter, word-by-word-readers will become proficient in reading & understanding early American handwriting. Arranged by degree of difficulty, from relatively easy-to-read documents of the nineteenth century to those of the seventeenth century, the documents showcase examples of handwriting styles, letter forms, abbreviations, & terminology typically found in early American records. Each document-nearly 100 of them at various stages of complexity-appears with the author's transcription on a facing page, enabling the reader to check his own transcription. This strategy allows the reader to attain proficiency in reading the documents at a natural rate of progression. Also covered in the work, with particular emphasis on handwriting, are numbers & roman numerals, dates & the change from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar, abbreviations & contractions, & standard terms found in early American records. In addition, there is a timely section on the Internet & compact discs, as well as an annotated bibliography of books & articles of particular interest to genealogists & historians. Taken together, these features describe a book that is absolutely indispensable in learning to read early American handwriting.