Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Indexing Tips: Cursive Writing

Some four years ago I wrote a series of articles about cursive handwriting for indexers. With many new indexers trying out FamilySearch Indexing, I thought it might be nice to offer the cursive tables again.

Print these out or bookmark this article for quick reference while indexing.

Palmer Method

The Palmer Method Cursive

For more information, see “Indexing Tips: The Palmer Method.”

Hughes and Taylor

Hughes and Taylor Cursive

For more information, see “Indexing Tips: The Palmer Method in New York City Schools.”


Zaner-Bloser Cursive

This illustration of traditional Zaner-Bloser is courtery Educational Fontware, Inc. For more information, see “Indexing Tips: 1900's American Handwriting.”


  1. What kind of cursive style is it that I'm finding on tombstones that's so difficult to read? The letters have lots bars drawn through them.

  2. Don't let anyone under 30 do any indexing. They can't read cursive!

  3. The biggest problems are the variants of Palmer, with all the extra loops and strokes... Sigh. 200X and I use my finger to 'write' over what I can see. Challenging, some of those writers!

  4. If only the census takers had all practiced their handwriting before taking the census, we'd be in good shape!

  5. If those under 30 mustn't do indexing, what happens as their elders die off?


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