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LATIN language update

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


moonbi Report 21 Nov 2012 06:14

Hi there, thanks for your replies.

yes indeed most of the wills I obtained were in old English script.
but the one in latin is from 1598; it is a digital copy which was put onto a cd for me from the NRO

The tutorials I am doing now are specifically for the translation of legal documents, and the example sentences are from that type of document.

Thats good Rollo, I agree in the main.


wisechild Report 19 Nov 2012 07:30

I would agree Rollo.
From what I can remember of translating old wills as part of my Family History cert, there are usually a couple of stock phrases in Latin at the beginning & end of the document & the rest is in almost unintelligible English.
The stock phrase at the beginning usually refers to the date, shown as the year of the reign of the monarch of the time, & the fact that the person is of sound mind.
CanĀ“t remember what the end phrase is.


RolloTheRed Report 18 Nov 2012 16:05

Dog latin as used in C16. C17. C18 legal documents does not have much to do with classic Latin as once taught in schools, "Greats" at uni. or even and especially the Roman Catholic church. Apart from the wacky writing - which is not too bad once you allow for the effects of using a quill pen - it is full of abbreviations and clauses which basic Latin will not help you with at all.

I have translated several such documents for people. Most of the time they are not Latin at all but English (!) with old French being a popular runner up. The rest were indeed in Latin but very seldom after 1670.

The photo copies of such documents issued by R.Os tend to be dreadful - translation from the original is much easier. Usually the R.O will allow you to take a digital picture in color and these are far easier to work from.

More than one of my ancestors was a barrister at Grays Inn as long ago as the C17. If anybody wants help with such documents feel free.

nonne amicus certus in re incerta cernitur


Kense Report 18 Nov 2012 09:44

That's good news moonbi. We know where to come for our Latin translations now.


moonbi Report 18 Nov 2012 00:27

I think I might be able to translate that will myself, after all.


moonbi Report 18 Nov 2012 00:25

I have recently found the ability to learn to READ Latin
at the website for

The National Archives, Kew, Surry

Under the RECORDS drop down menu.

As well as being easy to follow and understand, its free !
I am doing the tutorial for beginners, 12 lessons in all with sentence practise and words drills. you can do this online and it gives you feedback and suggestions.

but I printed off the lessons and the drills so I can do it in small stages.

so far finished lesson 2 with all its parts,

I am impressed.

~~~Secret Red ^^ Squirrel~~~  **007 1/2**

~~~Secret Red ^^ Squirrel~~~ **007 1/2** Report 27 Feb 2012 07:10

You're welcome. The A-Z on the site seems very comprehensive too,

Good Luck x


moonbi Report 26 Feb 2012 23:09

Thank you SRS

that family search link is more helpful to me, I think I will print it off.



moonbi Report 26 Feb 2012 23:02

Dear Suzanne, it would be wonderful if you could help me.
the particular piece that I am trying to work out has the reference

P Will and deposition John Lyon of Barnwell St Andrew, 1672, Book R, folios 153 and 153a

I have sent an email to the NRO where i got the digital image from asking about what is a deposition, and saying the handwriting is very scribbly, and the fact it is also in latin. Awaiting their reply.

Could I pm you about this?


Suzanne Report 26 Feb 2012 22:51

cant see the posting potty.x

~~~Secret Red ^^ Squirrel~~~  **007 1/2**

~~~Secret Red ^^ Squirrel~~~ **007 1/2** Report 26 Feb 2012 15:26

Genealogical Latin:


Potty Report 26 Feb 2012 11:59

Suzanne who has posted on the following thread says she can translate from Latin. I have posted this thread's details on the other thread:


moonbi Report 26 Feb 2012 05:17

I have printed off a copy of the page in Latin, but im afraid the writing is so scrawly that I cant decifer the letters.
I have tried to use some of the above translating tools, but unless I can work out the letters in any words, then its not much use.

But it seems to me that the son Benjamin has renounced his inheritance in favour to another brother Joseph.

I have this Benjamin as a Priest in Peterborough, so I guess he was not allowed to inherit.


Potty Report 25 Feb 2012 12:56

Could the Priest at your local Catholic church help? Or do any of the schools in your area teach latin?


moonbi Report 25 Feb 2012 09:41

Thank you very much. I will try as you suggest by printing off a copy and highlighting -- that a very good idea

in a few days I will let you know how i get on


Kense Report 25 Feb 2012 08:41

I don't envy you translating the whole will, transcribing English wills from three centruries ago is bad enough.

The word renounce is probably where he is renouncing all previous wills made by him and stating that this is his last will and testament.

I usually print off a copy when I am transcribing and mark off the words with a higlighter pen as I transcribe them, leaving out any difficult words and phrases, for later. Then when the context is there the difficult words are easier to decipher.

Googling a phrase from the will often helps as there are many wills on the web and they are largely composed of standard phrases. I expect the same to be true of latin wills.


moonbi Report 25 Feb 2012 03:32


there is another will for ancestor of the above Rector of BArnwell, where there IS a Probatum Fuit.

I have this Photocopy also

N will, John Lyon of Weekley, 1598, Book F, folio 408, MW 89


moonbi Report 25 Feb 2012 02:46


P will, John Lyon, rector of Barnwell St Andrew Northamptonshire
1672, Book R, folio 153 and 153a


MaureeninNY Report 25 Feb 2012 01:06

What year and where was the will written?



moonbi Report 25 Feb 2012 00:55

Thank you all for your replies.

If only the words were typed, !! then I could give it a go. But my difficulty is also the way the handwriting goes. It looks like the whole will is in Latin, and a codicil of a son. and an inventory.

I can understand one word "renounce" and just wondered what that was all about.
The will I received from the NRO on the condition I will not publish it.

I shall have a go at some of your suggestions and see how It pans out.

would it help if I enlarge and save the image on computer and print it off for my own use. instead of switching between windows.?

I have a large magnifying glass to view each word.

Thanks again