English-speaking researchers and historians working with a Spanish-language document face two hurdles—understanding the handwriting and vocabulary, and grasping the record’s institutional, historic, social, and cultural context. This book’s unique and detailed content fills both needs.
With images, charts, transcribed documents and in-depth commentary, this guide addresses fundamental handwriting concepts and challenges relevant to Spanish-language documents. Multiple examples familiarize readers with records written in both Humanistic hand (itálica) as well as the older, more difficult Secretary hand (cortesana or procesal), in the process giving users a more accurate research experience.
Beyond letter forms, the book’s textual discussions examine the format and procedures underlying ecclesiastical and legal record types—from a parish marriage record to the Spanish inheritance system—giving readers the context for a document’s vocabulary and format. Forty-two transcribed and translated Spanish-language documents form the book’s core, adding depth and personality to the text. A “Notes and Comments” section at the end of each translation gives document-specific commentary, ranging from a discussion of a priest’s handwriting idiosyncrasies, to weights and measures used in an inventory, to methodologies for determining the most likely correct translation for an obscure legal phrase.