View Full Version : Penmanship of our emigrant ancestors

June Pelo
16-10-13, 13:36
These past few days I've been looking at copies of various documents signed by people who emigrated from Finland in the 1800s... looking especially at the manner of writing. It's been interesting to note the different ways they formed letters... much like my father learned at the little country school he attended in his village. Some of the handwriting I've been looking at was very shaky, as though the person wasn't accustomed to writing. Makes me wonder if they had to practice penmanship as we did in school. Judging from some of the handwriting I see of our young people these days, I doubt that the schools still teach the various handwriting exercises I had to do when I was in school. Makes me wish I had asked more questions when my parents were still living.

Karen Norwillo
16-10-13, 19:28
How well I remember those hours of penmanship in grade school. First the fat pencil and the paper with the broken line, a full space for capital letters and a half space (only to the broken line) for lower case. And those exercises, circles, up and downs to limber up the hand and fingers so you didn't grip your pencil too tight. I still have a bump on my middle finger from all that writing. How proud we were when we graduated to a regular pencil.

June Pelo
16-10-13, 19:46

Yes, that's just how it was... and there's still a small bump on my finger. I read that 45 states aren't teaching penmanship because they feel it's a waste of time. But research conducted using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) technology has shown that handwriting can improve a student’s ability to form and express ideas, and it might even aid the development of fine motor skills. When we write, large areas of the brain that handle thought, language and working memory –RAM if you will – light up on brain imagery screens like stars in the sky. Another study found that children in early grades tended to write faster, use more words and communicate a broader range of ideas when writing by hand as opposed to using a keyboard. Perhaps the act of building words and sentences out of shapes and letters engages the brain in ways typing on a keyboard or swiping at a touch screen just can’t.

When I worked for the government in D.C. the First Lady utilized volunteers with legible handwriting to address the many Christmas cards sent out each year... she preferred handwritten addresses rather than having them typewritten.

23-10-13, 08:01
My Nedervetil born grandmother always chastised us for our "hand" writing and explained that that was why we were getting the bump on our writing hand ring finger.

She said that she learned to write with the full sweeping of her arm, from the shoulder to the wrist.