Transcribing the baptism register from Norfolk, England in my previous post, “Transcription and Translation: Baptism of Elizabeth Stalham and others from the St. George Tombland Church register” was particularly problematic for me, requiring my learning to transcribe from ‘ye olde englishe’ and latin.
I am familiar with transcribing in several languages such as German, Swedish, French, etc., even though I do need help from Google Translate.
For this translation, I was able to interpret the text fairly easily, including the months, and the years. At first, I thought there were no days mentioned at all, until I took a closer look and realized there was one small ‘word’ in each entry I couldn’t account for. One thing I did notice was the pattern of repetition within each entry and it’s resemblance to the pattern of repetition to Roman numerals – even if they did appear to be just miscellaneous symbols or text (see image below).
To confirm my suspicions, I did some research into interpreting Latin dates. It took some time and effort as everything I found at first referred to the date formats used in general, including those used in recording events in genealogy software.
Just as I was about to give up and use my standard ‘????’ in place of the mysterious text since I was unsure of my conclusions, I came upon the following web page that provided the answer I was looking for. They were ‘Reading dates in old English records.’ The following is the verbatim section from the page that specifically provided the answers I was seeking.
The chart below shows some of the different ways numbers may be written.
|1||unus, primo, primus,||I||i|
|2||duo, secundo, secundus||II||ij|
|3||tres, tertio, tertius||III||iij|
|4||quattuor, quarto, quartus||IV||iiij, iv|
|5||quinque, quinto, quintus||V||v|
|6||sex, sexto, sextus||VI||vi|
|7||septem, septimo, septimus||VII||vij|
|8||octo, octavo, octavus||VIII||viij|
|9||novem, nono, nonus||IX||viiij, ix|
|10||decem, decimo, decimus||X||x|
|11||undecim, undecimo, undecimus||XI||xi|
|12||duodecim, duodecimo, duodecimus||XII||xij|
|13||tredecim, tertio decimo, tertius decimus||XIII||xiij|
|14||quattuordecim, quarto decimo, quartus decimus||XIV||xiiij, xiv|
|15||quindecim, quinto decimo, quintus decimus||XV||xv|
|16||sedecim, sexto decimo, sextus decimus||XVI||xvi|
|17||septendecim, septimo decimo, septimus decimus||XVII||xvij|
|18||duodeviginti, octavo decimo, octavus decimus, duodevicesimo, duodevicesimus||XVIII||xviij|
|19||undeviginti, nono decimo, nonus decimus, undevicesimo, undevicesimus||XIX||xviiij, xix|
|20||viginti, vicesimo, vicesimus, viccesimo, vicessimo, viccessimo||XX||xx|
|21||viginti unus, vicesimo primo, vicesimus primus||XXI||xxi|
|22||viginti duo, vicesimo secundo, vicemus secundus||XXII||xxij|
|23||viginti tres, vicesimo tertio, vicesimus tertius||XXIII||xxiij|
|24||viginti quattuor, vicesimo quarto, vicesimus quartus||XXIV||xxiiij, xxiv|
|25||viginti quinque, vicesimo quinto, vicesimus quintus||XXV||xxv|
|26||viginti sex, vicesimo sexto, vicesimus sextus||XXVI||xxvi|
|27||viginti septem, vicesimo septimo, vicesimus septimus||XXVII||xxvij|
|28||duodetriginta, vicesimo octavo, vicesimus octavus, duodetricesimo, duodetricesimus||XXVIII||xxviij|
|29||undetriginta, vicesimo nono, vicesimus nonus, undetricesimo, undetricesimus||XXVIV||xxviiij, xxix|
|30||triginta, tricesimo, tricesimus||XXX||xxx|
|31||triginta unus, tricesimo primo, tricesimus primus||XXXI||xxxi|
Numbers may also be written as scores. A score is twenty and is written as XX or xx. If XX is above another number, it would be multiplied by the number under it. Therefore, four score or eighty could be written as XX over IV or xx over iiij as shown below.
- About.com; “Reading and Understanding Old Documents & Records”; Kimberly Powell; http://genealogy.about.com/od/basics/a/old_handwriting.htm.
- Family Search; Reading dates in old English records; Document ID: 111804; https://help.familysearch.org/publishing/43/111804_f.SAL_Public.html.