¿Qué dice? Reading Spanish Handwriting Helps Find Records

Books in Spanish Language--shutterstock_171346901

Latin America research can be fun and challenging for those who know Spanish, but for those who don’t, language may be a big obstacle. There are several resources you can use to help you read and understand these important records.

The Center for Family History and Genealogy at Brigham Young University has created a wonderful site designed to help students, researchers, and indexers read handwritten documents. The site Script.byu.edu has online tutorials that can guide you step by step to reading old Spanish handwriting. The site contains examples of letters, common abbreviations as well as a wealth of other information about record types and handwriting resources.

In the Learning Center on FamilySearch.org there are three online classes you can view that teach some of the basics necessary to begin reading Spanish handwritten records. There are lessons on the following:

The Spanish Alphabet

Words and Dates

Reading Spanish Records

Maybe you’re not having trouble reading the writing but you just don’t know enough Spanish to know what the words mean. You might want to visit the Spanish Genealogical Word List in the FamilySearch Family History Research Wiki. Here you will find a list of many of the words commonly found in Spanish records, such as Catholic parish records and Civil Registration.

For those of you who are more advanced but struggle with the records from the 16th and 17th century, a Spanish Paleography Tool has been created by the Dominican Studies Institute of the City College of New York. The tool allows you to view a document and its transcription to compare words and letters and become more familiar with the script styles Cortesana, Procesal, and Humanistica Cursiva.

The Family History Library will be holding an online webinar on Saturday, November 15th, at 3 pm MST on this topic and all are invited to log in and join us. To join this webinar, please use this link: http://ldschurch1.adobeconnect.com/fhlesp/

This sign-in is in Spanish. Simply type your name in the box which says Nombre and then click the box which says Entrar en la sala.

When signing in, please include your first name and the name of the country or state from where you are watching. If you are watching as a group, please include the number of people viewing the class together in your sign-in name. For example: If your name is Ercilia and you were watching from Chile with 4 other friends at the local Family History Center your sign-in name might look like this: Ercilia Chile 5

If you have never attended an Adobe Connect meeting before:

Test your connection: http://ldschurch1.adobeconnect.com/common/help/en/support/meeting_test.htm

Get a quick overview: http://www.adobe.com/products/adobeconnect.html

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