Welcome to the Scottish Handwriting online tutorials.

Each tutorial is designed to provide several hours' tuition in different aspects of palaeography, using images of original Scottish documents.

1 Hour Basic Tutorial
For novice palaeographers, an introduction to common Secretary Hand letters and other key aspects of Scottish palaeography.

Dunlop Letters
See how an individual's handwriting changed and deteriorated once he left the supervision of his writing master, by reading the letters written to his father by a young Scottish merchant.

Glasgow Burgh Court
For the more advanced palaeographer, an introduction to court records, using extracts from the minute books of Glasgow burgh court acting as justices of the peace (JPs). The writing has a relatively high proportion of Secretary Hand, Scots vocabulary, and legal jargon.

Testaments Tutorial
This tutorial will give you a good grounding in understanding as well as reading testaments. Based on 18th century testaments it takes you through a variety of types of testaments, explaining clauses and showing you how to calculate the value of the estate.

Hearth Tax Tutorial
This tutorial will introduce you to the five main forms of hearth tax rolls and gives you a practice session at the end. Suitable for more advanced palaeographers but also for beginners who like a challenge.

If you are interested in getting more practice in reading documents of a particular type you can find our posers arranged by record type below:

Birth, death and marriage registers
Burgh records
Church court records
Court records
Legal registers
State and Privy Council papers
Tax, customs and excise records
Wills and testaments