SOUTH-AFRICA-L ArchivesArchiver > SOUTH-AFRICA > 2005-08 > 1124518242
From: Richard Ball <>
Subject: Re: [ZA] deciphering signatures
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2005 07:10:54 +0100
KM> I should add that the clergy were not always literate
If, by literate, you mean they couldn't read and write I think you are
probably wrong. Many of the Dutch Reformed Clergy were not, in
fact, born Dutchmen. In the early years some were German, and
in the 19th Century many were Scottish.
KM> and the parishioners were also not literate.
Once again in the early years, 17th, early 18th century, there were
many Cape settlers who could not sign their names and therefore
presumably could not write - I suspect many, even of these, could read
to a limited extent. As the eighteenth century wears on it is unusual
to find anyone making a will or other document who could not sign
their name, even if it is obvious that many were not used to writing.
KM> In the Durbanville registers I have Johanis (Johannes in every
KM> other document) and Geliam (Guilliame).
'Johannis' is a not uncommon spelling of the name right through to the
KM> As I have remarked before, the fixation on "correct" spelling is
KM> perhaps recent.
There was a generally accepted way of spelling names but yes, the
emphasis on 'correct' spelling is modern.
The following is not your comment, I know, but:
KM> It does prove the worth of checking original documents personally
In my opinion there is no substitute for checking the original document
(or a photograph thereof) personally - and crucial for any information
which is important to the interpretation of the family history.
|Re: [ZA] deciphering signatures by Richard Ball <>|