Most records used in English research are in English. They may, however, be difficult to read because of the use of Latin words or different handwriting styles or because of changes in the spelling or meaning of words.
Handwriting styles have changed over time. In early records the handwriting is quite different from what it is today. You may want to study some of the sources available for help in reading the old handwriting.
**Before 1900 spelling was not standardized. <br> **Family and place-names were often spelled as they sounded. <br>
**Given names were often abbreviated.
**The meanings of many English words changed over time. <br>
The following resources may help you learn to read old records.[http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/palaeography/ '''<br>''']
[http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/palaeography/ '''Palaeography: reading old handwriting 1500-1800 A practical online tutorial.''']
McLaughlin, Eve. ''Reading Old Handwriting''. Second Edition. Birmingham, England: Federation of Family History Societies Publications, Limited, 1987. (FHL book 417.7 M222. BYU Family History Library book '''Z 115 .M35x 2007.''') This is a basic explanation of techniques for reading old handwriting.
Petti, Anthony G. ''English Literary Hands from Chaucer to Dryden.'' Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1977. (FHL 942 G3p. BYU Harold B Lee Library book '''Z 115 .E5 P47'''.) This book gives a background and explanation of handwriting with samples from records.
== Language Aids ==
Until 1733 many records were kept in Latin. Sometimes records written in English contain some Latin words. Knowing some Latin will help you read these records. For help with Latin words, see the '''[[Latin Genealogical Word List]].'''
Ainsworth, Robert. Thesaurus ''Linguae Latinae Compendiarius''. London, England: F. Westly and A.H. Davis, 1836. (FHL book 473 Ai65a 1836; film 599788. Available in the BYU Harold B Lee Library as an online resource.) This is a Latin dictionary. Most libraries have similar works.
Parker, John. ''Reading Latin Epitaphs: A Handbook for Beginners selected from West Country Churches. ''Exeter, England: The Exeter Press, Ltd. 2008. Good introductory Latin grammar for translating phrases, with 52 epitaphs that build upon each other from simple to more complex. Very practical way to learn.