Friday, June 20, 2008

FamilySearch Indexing Tip: Open E

The FamilySearch Indexing project helps point to information on old handwriting styles by the Genealogical Society of Finland. I didn't find the writing samples helpful for 1800s American records. In particular, there is a form of lowercase e called an "open E". It looks like an uppercase E, but has the height of a lowercase character.

To see some examples, let's look at the two words from last week. Separating each letter from the others, it is a little easier to see the name "Emeline." The first E is, of course, capitalized. Once separated from the M, the second E is obviously an Open E. The last letter is debatable, but since Emeline is a recognized given name and Emelim is not, it is likely the last letter is an E and probably an Open E at that.

This word gave me problems.

With letters separated, the name is Emeline.

The second word is also shown below, separated into its individual letters. Knowing about the Open E makes it easy to see the surname "McKenzie." Note that the penman used both a regular E and an Open E in the same name. Does anybody know if there was a rule explaining when each was used?

Here's another example.


Did you get Emeline and McKenzie as your answers last week?

1 comment:

  1. Did it ever occur to you that instead of the first name being "Emeline" that it could be "Emelein?" Emelein is also a known surname according to a quick check in Google. If you look at the letter following L, it appears to be a traditionally Closed E followed by an I with the dot just above it in your original example. However, in the 2nd separated example, that dot has migrated slightly to the left to align with the letter after L rather than remaining in its original position. This is just a thought.


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