Wednesday, 8 June 2011

PhDs, AGRA and Chancery records ...

Quite a busy few weeks for me recently. But first, many congratulations to my friend Victoria Carolan, who recently completed her PhD at Queen Mary, and passed the viva with flying colours. I have no doubt that her work, entitled 'British Maritime History, National Identity and Film, 1900-1960', will be snapped up by a publisher and laid before the public in due course.

The morning after celebrating with Victoria I attended the AGM of the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives (I am an Associate Member). Dr Nick Barrett gave a fluent and thought-provoking address, and I met many fellow toilers in the research/genealogical vineyard; all were generous with their time and advice.

And finally ... another successful visit to The National Archives on behalf of a previous client. I managed to obtain some crisp digital images of Chancery and Star Chamber records which my client needs for his research. I confess that I cannot read them, but some of these documents can be admired purely for their aesthetic qualities; my guess is that they were written in Court Hand, although some of them might be in Secretary or Chancery Hand. I will ask my client for further information. The general deterioration in the level of calligraphy is very sad, and presumably will only get worse as traditional letter-writing declines, and the keeping of written records in general is superceded by the cold impersonality of electronic documents. Much to my annoyance my own handwriting is not particularly impressive (it is, at least, clear) but my mother's hand is a joy to behold: perfectly legible, consistent and almost preternaturally beautiful.

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