Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Eloquent Style and Handwriting

As a general rule, the first colonists to Virginia were not seeking wealth.  They are referred to as "adventurers" because of the risks, such as voyages across the sea, fevers and ills, Indian tribes, and a vast wilderness which required tilling.  The Law of Primogeniture was prevalent in England.  That is, the eldest son inherited.  We are speaking of aristocrats - a class of people whose family lands and rents survived for generations. Whether you were an aristocrat or the common class, you needed to better yourself.  The American colonies was the chance for a new beginning.  After the first colonists to Jamestown suffered starvation and early death, others were able to build homes for themselves.  They fashioned their lifestyles and homes after those they had left behind in England. During the 17th century, the builders of Virginia paid premium prices for goods shipped from England.  Window panes, nails, planks, and other construction items, for example, were costly.  Those  Englishmen with titles and substance were sent to the colonies by the King in an executive capacity. All of the governors were royalists.  Therefore, most of the affluent society which the movies portray were aristocrats sent in official capacities drawing a stipend and having limited tenure.  Up until the time of the American Revolution, the governors ultimately returned to England.  From the 17th century documents, although the first settlers were indeed adventurers, they were also gentlemen of eloquent letters, well-educated and literate.  The expression "gentlemen of letters" comes from the fact that a vast correspondence existed between friends and families. The eloquent script, phrases and extensive vocabularies (including French and Latin) puts today's educational system to shame.  And pity to us if we cannot read these documents!  The old last wills and testaments provide too much inciteful information for the genealogist and historian to ignore.  The images of old Wills and Estates as written by the county clerks in the 17th and 18th century style handwriting can be viewed on Virginia Pioneers  This is where to search for your Virginia ancestors.

Need more time to sort things out? A good deal for genealogists needing to read old Virginia Wills and other helpful family data. 6 months subscription to Virginia Pioneers for $54.00. Subscribe to Virginia and view wills and other documents online

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