19 April 2012

Written in the Same Hand?

Will of Mimke Habben, probated 1877 Hancock County, Illinois
Will of Antje Fecht, denied probate 1900, Hancock County, Illinois

Do these two handwriting samples appear to have been written by the same person?

It's key to a presentation I made "Preparing for Mother's Death." I won't repeat the whole presentation here and these two wills are only a small part of the presentation. To be honest, the fact that the handwriting was the same didn't really "hit me" until I began preparing the visuals for the seminar. I had been working from my transcriptions for quite some time.

But the handwriting appears to be similar, as if the will was handwritten by the same person. In this case, the wills, written within approximately fifteen years of each other, are conflicting. That conflict is ironic given that the same person apparently wrote them.

Are there clues in handwriting that you are overlooking? And have you thought about looking at the original when you have the transcription? Even if you believe the transcription to entirely accurate, a typed version will have to leave out some clues that the handwriting contains.


Nancy said...

No, not the same hand. There are a few similarities in some letters but there are too many differences to be the same hand.

Grandma Cantrell said...

There certainly are a lot of similarities and differences. I know that my personal handwriting always looks similar, but I sometimes make slight differences in the formation of some letters, depending on my mood or if I am in a hurry.

At the same time, I know that some people write in very similar ways. I remember my grandmother's handwriting was also the same as her daughter-in-law's. Turns out they had been educated at the same school (a generation apart), both using the same handwriting method.

Hard to say. You might need an expert to know for sure on this one.

It is a great point, though, about getting to see actual documents, not just transcriptions. It is sometimes surprising what you find.

Thanks for the clues and tips you share.