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Example transcriptions are provided by scholars and experts in the field of palaeography. Explore the fascinating world of ancient writing.

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As a teacher or palaeographer you can add your own manuscripts and make them available to your students, or interest group.

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Newest Documents

Children’s book Pyhäjärvi parish, 1840-1871

The scope of Children’s books: Lists of every child and their families in the parish (parish members age under 15 years). Children´s books contain information from households of villages. The records contain the names of the parents, the mother´s birth year and the child´s name and birth date. The books have also some special remark columns, where the priest would sometimes note even very private information about parishioners. Children‘s book Pyhäjärvi parish 1840-1871 online: http://digi.narc.fi/digi/slistaus.ka?ay=124586 A location of Pyhäjärvi lake in Karelia: http://www.federley.com/pyhajarvi/pyhajarvi_index.html A map of Pyhäjärvi region in Karelia: https://www.luovutettukarjala.fi/pitajat/pyhajarvi/pyhajarvenkart.htm

Easy Learning - "Was ist Aufklärung?", 18th Century Kurrent, German

This is an "Easy Learning" document. It is a computer transcription of "Was ist Aufklärung?" in 18th Century Kurrent script. Immanuel Kant wrote his groundbreaking essay in 1784 for the "Berlinische Monatsschrift". With the famous first sentence "Enlightenment is the end of man's self-inflicted immaturity" Kant formulated the definition of the Enlightenment, with which modernity began in the true sense.

New Testament in Arabic, 12th/13th century

This is a manuscript of the New Testament. It was probably copied in Sicily during the 12th or the 13th century. The manuscript is located in the Marciana Library in Venice. The Arabic script is of nasḫī type. For further information, see: https://humarec.org

Dutch notarial paper, about 1600

This document is a dutch notarial book, written about 1600.

Documents For Beginners

Jeremy Bentham (easier handwriting), 1822

These documents consist of personal papers written by the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) and his secretaries. Original copies of these documents are held at University College London. This is a sample of easier handwriting which is suitable for beginners. Volunteers working on the Transcribe Bentham crowdsourcing initiative (http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/transcribe-bentham/) may like to use these documents to practice deciphering Bentham’s handwriting.

Jeremy Bentham (difficult handwriting), 19th century

These documents consist of personal papers written by the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham, who is most well known for formulating the doctrine of utilitarianism. Original copies of these documents are held at University College London. This is a sample of Bentham’s most difficult handwriting, written when he was eighty years old. Volunteers working on the Transcribe Bentham crowdsourcing initiative (http://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/transcribe-bentham/) may like to use these documents to practice deciphering Bentham’s handwriting.

Report on the Nopalry Gardens at Madras (Chennai), 1789

This is a Letter from Dr James Anderson to the Governor in Council, Madras, presenting his plan to propagate the Cochineal insect at the East India Company Nopalry Garden, plus a letter of instruction from Anderson to Dr Andrew Berry, nominating him to run the Nopalry. The letters contain details of the budget for the Garden, and instructions for digging and planting. The letters are written in a small, consistent rounded italic cursive, and the author uses heavy strokes on descending lines.

Letters to the Government of Bengal, 1790

Copies of letters sent to the Government of Bengal by botanists, including Robert Kyd and Dr William Roxburgh, reporting on the cultivation of Mawah and Teak trees, the discovery of a new species of Indigo (Nerium tinctorium), and attempts to propagate the Cochineal insect in the Calcutta Nopalry garden. The letters are written in a large, consistent italic cursive. The writer often embellishes capital letters with flourishes, and uses ampersands (&). Contracted words are often indicated with superscript final letters.