July 2, 2015

The Evolution of Handwriting: Tools

From Twigs to Keyboards

There is a current discussion in the genealogy circles, as well as in general circles, about the demise of cursive writing. Forgive me if I don’t have my mind completely wrapped around this, but I think it’s interesting to discuss and mull over the evolution of handwriting in general. I take a personal interest in this topic because I am able to analyze cursive handwriting.

No doubt someone has done a paper on this, but I don’t want to get all scientific and deep about it. Here’s the gist of my thinking on the subject. Handwriting is brain writing. That said, does it follow that the human mind has evolved along with the tools we have available to us? From the most simple of communication using writing I’m guessing it would be cuneiform which would be more printing than any kind of cursive. Using cuneiform would have been fairly uniform with little or no attempt to personalize it with much success.

Moving forward then, let’s consider penmanship as we know if from the last few hundred years. During the Victorian and Edwardian ages cursive was much more flamboyant, which if you consider that time, humans had more spare time and the availability of better clothing, etc. Naturally this era of spreading one’s wings intellectually would have brought about the loops and curls of handwriting that would have indicated the person was well-educated and worldly with a certain style and flair.

Jumping ahead again, during the 1900’s handwriting evolved again, going from the flamboyant to the more “conformative” methods such as Spenserian and the Palmer type. Most likely, this was because it was being used in the business world and would have given businesses an advantage in that any communication they conveyed was universally readable and understood.

If handwriting was brain writing then how were these changes affecting the human mind. Even if you don’t understand handwriting analysis, the change in handwriting still has some effect. As English writing humans progressed it shows the coming out of the era of upper and lower classes. Lower classes had no time or opportunity to even learn to read and write.

We went from an agrarian society and into the industrial age. The upper classes might have held on to their writing for a while, but change was in the air for everyone and expediency became the driving force of society. Faster was the key to making more money and prosperity. No time for fancy writing, we needed to get our points across and so, little by little even our lower grade school children who were taught cursive writing all through the 20th century slowly were weaned off cursive and “graduated” more and more to typewriter keyboards, and even now to computer and personal devices.

Do We Still Need Cursive Writing?

In my opinion, we will always need to have a form of communication that only depends on our mind and some way to share our thoughts. We can’t put all of our communication gifts all in one basket if, for no other reason than we have no idea what the future might bring. What if electronic devices suddenly went away? How would we communicate?

Brain Writing

Before I began my courses in handwriting analysis I had some incorrect assumptions about my fellow humans and what their handwriting might be telling me/us. What you might think is ‘sloppy’ handwriting could very well include indicators of a sharp and incisive mind (V like lines), with the ability to concentrate (uniform writing size and depth), and various indicators of the ability to speak intelligently to share those ideas (how they make their rounded letters and if they are open or closed).

Conversely, the people who have retained their somewhat flamboyant writing with big rounded letters and looping curves might just be unable to concentrate, superficial and even selfish.

For now, at least, the electronic age is here to stay. If we are no longer writing in cursive, how are our minds working if we are still brain writing? It does involve the brain even if we type on keyboards as I am doing right now. I think we are using more of both side of our brains for one thing. Our creativity might extend to more “coded” thinking as more and more of us learn to write computer code. Will we be able to analyze the person just by keystrokes and words used in the text?

We won’t be able to analyze handwriting though if too many people lose that skill entirely. Do you think we should still teach cursive writing to all school children? What’s your opinion?

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy – Challenge #29 – Handwriting

With the holidays upon us….the article below might be handy as you visit with family.

How To Do A Genealogical Interview

 

 

 

Grandma’s Pocketbook

Pocketbook ball closure

Grandma’s Pocketbook

Do you watch Antiques Roadshow, or search for fashion memory-makers like old purses? When I was watching Downton Abbey last night something made me think of my grandma Josie and her pocketbook.

 

 

Grandma never called it a purse. It was always her pocketbook. A name that harkened back to olden times when ladies always carried a fresh hankie in them, along with some mints or gum, a comb and possibly a pen or pencil. I don’t think I ever saw her with anything but a black purse. One of those tapestry looking fabric bags would have been too risqué in Grandma’s opinion.

There was no Coach wallet or anything so upscale inside either. It was probably more like something she got at the five and dime, or the drugstore, for a nominal sum.  It was either a smaller version of the purse with the ball closure, or had a zipper. I think Grandma, ever the practical and frugal lady, even recycled Grandpa’s old coin purses and got another decade or so use out of them!

So what was my fascination with her purse and why do I remember it so well? I think it was my first inkling of what ladies carried their important going-to-town accoutrements in. I was right by her side when she would pay for her groceries. She’d give that clasp a quick turn and delve deep inside with her hand to extract her checkbook or cash. You never spoke to Grandma as she was pay for anything. Gads no!

At the end of the transaction, Grandma would return her wallet or coin purse to the dark confines of the pocketbook, close it with one-handed pressure on either side of the top of the purse and I’d hear that thump-snap of the clasp. It seemed so important somehow. So grown up, and she was so sure of herself. Self-centered little cuss that I was, I probably was already enjoying one of those silly wax bottles with some red sugar syrup inside. Yes, I always persuaded Grandma to buy me something. Groceries in paper bags were taken out to the car and Grandpa would drive us back to their house.

Oh, and by the way, on one of those trips to the store I discovered my Grandma was a thief! Oh yes she was. I saw her take a grape off the stem of a bunch and pop it in her mouth! And then, she didn’t even buy any grapes. I never told a soul…

© Carol Yates Wilkerson – 2012

 

2012 Genealogy Goals

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I’m going to do my best to set some attainable goals for my genealogy for next year and actually try to attain them.

Blogging: I’m going to try to include more Wilkerson genealogy articles on this blog.  I have so many about my own family, but perhaps I can get some of Jim’s family to visit and join in some conversations.  I hope to share some family pictures too.  Maybe there are some the family has that they would like to share also?

Family Trees: I need to go through and merge duplicate people.  As someone else said, “that may take me all year”. :)

DAR goal: I’d like to get going and send in my documentation to my DAR Chapter at Ozark Springs, MO to get Richard Osgathorpe (Osgatharp) recognized for his service during the Revolutionary War. I actually have a copy of his pay vouchers.  I think I stand a very good chance of getting him in the roll of Patriots.

That’s about the gist of my goals. I think those three will be time-consuming enough, don’t you?   What are your genealogy-related goals for next year?

 

Is There Such A Thing As Too Socially Connected? Nope!

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Article first published as Is There Such a Thing as Too Socially Connected? Nope! on Technorati.

Facebook, Twitter and now Google+? Aare we just like dogs chasing our social networking tails?  Obviously, those three are just a very abbreviated example of all the ways to be socially connected, but have you ever considered just how “out there” in the social universe you really are?

In just the last week my friends and I on Facebook have been discussing how we spend so much time on keeping up socially online that we aren’t spending that time doing what would be more productive or valuable.  Have you kept track of how long it takes you to check into Facebook, read the updates from family, friends and business associates? Now, multiply that by all the other sites you check daily, or at least weekly.  We all know they’re referred to as “time wasters”, but are they really?  No matter what, when you submit a written word anywhere online that is a form of “social networking”.

Put Your Online Social Life On Auto Pilot

Can you put any of them on automatic pilot, so to speak?  My niche happens to be in the genealogy world.  Even there I find myself sharing links, promoting other genealogy blogs and tweeting with hashtags like #genealogy #history and most recently #SCGS11 for the Southern CA Genealogical Society 2011 Jamboree in Burbank this month.

Here’s what I do to keep in touch and yet not have to do anymore than hit the submit button.

On my iPentimento | Genealogy and History blog (WordPress self-hosted), when I post a new article it automatically is sent to Twitter which in turn also submits it to Facebook. It was as simple as giving permission to either site to perform that action.  This is built right into the WordPress backend.

Plugins on my blog enable me to add links to my own previous articles, as well as new products, blogs and share reviews.  Here are some of the plugins I use:

AddThis: An oldie, but a goodie because it makes it super easy for your reader to share your content with others. It’s also great to utilize for adding blog juice (SEO) to your site. AddThis

CMF Ads: I’m able to display other blog’s 125 X 125 link ads and they in turn host a link to mine. It’s kind of like a blogroll but with images. (Ben Barden) CMF Ads

CommentLuv: the big daddy of social commenting just launched a new version and it’s now possible to leave comments on CommentLuv enabled sites and no longer worry about getting ‘banned’ when the CL server isn’t able to pick up your feed. As a plus, CommentLuv just this week is now hosted by a new server that’s more efficient than ever. (Andy Bailey) CommentLuv

TwitterLink Comments: Another nifty social plugin by Andy Bailey but it’s purpose is to reward your commentor with a place to add their Twitter name. It’s a plugin to show a link to follow the comment author on twitter if they have entered in their username at least once in the comment form. TwitterLink Comments

Thank Me Later: Automatically sends a ‘thank you’ e-mail to those who comment on your blog. This plugin engages the visitor by reminding them to check back for responses or new blog posts. Thank Me Later

WordPress PlusOne This: New plugin by Dennis Hernandez it automatically adds Google’s PlusOne button to your posts. WordPress PlusOne This

The point here is that getting your presence out there in the online social world involves a little initial effort to adopt all the ways to initiate it, but once you do, it’s almost automatic.