You have found that all important estate record of your ancestor! Hooray for you! And then you try to read it!

Records from the 1800’s, and earlier, can be quite difficult to read – the handwriting, the “language” used – many things can make it difficult for us to decipher the record.

Have you tried transcribing it? Transcribing is something that can be very helpful. Look at the pen strokes in the word – write down what you think it is, and then compare with other similar pen strokes. Also, try enlarging the original – sometimes making the writing “bigger” can aid in the transcribing.

Don’t look at transcribing as a chore. Look at it as an opportunity to learn more about your ancestor!