Sunday, January 15, 2012

One person's bad handwriting, 100 years later

One of my great-grand-aunts and uncles lived in Aurora from about 1875 to at least 1911.  They had six children before that, when they lived in Dundas, and three children in Aurora.

All three children's births were written down by the same clerk, and that clerk had atrocious handwriting.  Often when my husband sees me looking at original records, he shakes his head over what looks like bad handwriting to him, but is really just old.  I've gotten used to old handwriting, though, and this particular person's handwriting was not just sloppy, but his attention to detail was sadly lacking and his approximations of names are totally off the wall.  I'll give you the three examples, and how they were transcribed by volunteers.  You can guess what the names were actually supposed to be.  (Answers are below the pictures.)

I salute the volunteers who transcribe these records without knowing the families.  I know what the names are supposed to be because I see them in other records, such as censuses.  They don't have that context to help them.
 Transcribed as "Dennl Wellington Nelson", father "Dennel Henry Nelson", mother "Jane Hughey".  For extra credit, notice that Wellington is noted as Female.  Also, the clerk got two cracks at the father's name for the first two records, because the father reported the birth (the last row).  The informant's address is the last piece of info there - does that scrawl look like "Aurora" to you?
 Transcribed as "Josephine Snour Nelson", father "Dennel Heny Nelson", mother "Jane Hughey".
Transcribed as "Sarah Jam Holedydelan Nelson", father "Daml H Nelson", mother "Jenni Nelson".  Notice that he abbreviates December to "Dembr".

Answers: The three children's names are Daniel Wellington Nelson, Josephine Lavina Nelson, and Sarah Jane Holladay Nelson.  In all three cases the father's name should be Daniel Henry Nelson and the mother's should be Jane Hughey.

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