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How to read old handwritten documents

After the initial Internet search for your ancestors, you might want to go a bit further with your genealogy and family history research. In that case you will soon need to work with original documents; from old personal letters and diaries/journals to vital records, emigration lists, wills, and other official records. At first this old handwriting seems illegible and very difficult to read for the untrained eye, but you will also discover that with a bit of practice it soon becomes more easy to read.

The following will provide you with some general information about old handwriting and a guide on how to get started transcribing and reading old documents along with a few examples.

Read more: How to read old handwritten documents

A few numbers and facts...

  • 500,000

    ...Danes emigrated up to 1968, and of these about 70% departed for the USA. In the 1800's alone a vast majority of 90% went to the USA. Read more...

  • 261,065

    This many individuals, comprising of 4.6 percent of all Danes, carries the surname JENSEN followed by NIELSEN, HANSEN, PEDERSEN and ANDERSEN. Read more...

  • 1,000

    Of the 5,000 basic words in modern English, as many as 20 percent are so-called loan words from the Old Norse language (ON). Read more...

  • 1769

    This year the first Danish census was taken. The next censuses were taken in 1787 and 1801 and from 1834 onwards every 5-10 years. Read more...