Cursive Handwriting Obsolete

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Letter from Aunt Emma 2

Is cursive handwriting becoming obsolete?  Recently, I heard for the first time, they are no longer teaching cursive handwriting in schools.  I asked my grandchildren if they learned cursive in school.  My two granddaughters 16 and 18 were taught cursive in school.  My 13-year-old grandson said, “What’s cursive?”  We explain cursive handwriting to him, and he confirmed that he has not learned it.  Some where in the three years between my 16-year-old granddaughter and my 13-year-old grandson they quit teaching it.  I haven’t heard why, but I can think of a couple of reasons.  They may think it is unnecessary because people now days use computers, tablets, and phones to communicate and are typing on a keyboard or keypad and there is always printing.  So do we really need cursive?   I happen to be old fashion and think they should still teach cursive.  Your signature is unique, and I would think less likely to be copied than a printed signature.

Then the genealogist in me thinks about all the old documents that are handwritten.  Who will read these documents when there is no one left who knows how to read cursive handwriting?  I suppose there will always be specialist around that will be able to do it.  If you find an old letter written in cursive, you could take it to a specialist and have it deciphered for you.  Just like I do now when I find letters written in German, or when I find documents written in old German script, I need to find someone to translate them for me. I think of all the genealogy documents around that will be lost to future generations if they cannot read cursive.   I know genealogy is changing too, and now with all the indexes on-line, it is easier to find someone, than scanning though microfilm reels.  So some things may be typewritten for them, but if you want to look at the original, you will want to be able to read it.  Sometimes when I can’t find an ancestor in an index, and I know he should be there, I get the microfilm and search it.  I have found ancestors this way that I would have missed,  if I believed the index.  In order to do this, I need to know how to read cursive handwriting. I  have kept journals for many years now that are written in cursive.  I guess my grandson and great-grandchildren won’t be able to read them. Maybe they won’t want to, but that’s another story for another day.

I’m a believer that they should teach cursive, but they are not going to listen to me so  I guess only time will tell.  In the meantime, if you agree with me, maybe we should start teaching our children and grandchildren to write in cursive so they will be able to read historical documents for themselves.

Daily Prompt: Handwriting

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About Gail Grunst Genealogy

Gail has been researching her own family since 1979. Her research has taken her back to 1800 Belgium and 1800 England. Gail has worked in a library for the last 20 years and has answered genealogy questions for patrons and helped patrons with their research. In addition to her degree in Library Media Technology, Gail has a two degree in Basic American Genealogy Research from the National Genealogy Society. She has done volunteer work for various Genealogy Societies. Gail teaches several Classes in Genealogy for the Round Lake Area Library, and would be happy to conduct a class for your organization. If interested in a class or if you would like a one-on-one consultation, please contact Gail. Please enjoy Gail's family History Blog

3 responses »

  1. I don’t write cursive anymore, to be honest, and at times, I find it tough to read.
    It technically is already obsolete, because according to the statistics, people who never learn to write cursive, are highly likely to be unable to read it.
    So why learn something that other people can’t read? It’s a useless skill in the workforce.
    Mind you; it’s quite romantic in an antiquity sort of way.

  2. Gail~ I feel as you do, for the very same reasons. These days, cursive is only taught to children briefly… long enough for them to “sign” their names. However, beyond that, many public schools do not invest the time in cursive lessons.

    It is sad to see this skill is being lost. However, as my children have been raised by me, a long-time family genealogist, they have developed an appreciation for cursive. Granted, they will never have beautiful handwriting; however, they will be able to read cursive, enjoying the documents of the past.

  3. Pingback: NaPoWriMo – Day 2 – “Some Of Us Die Heroes” by David Ellis | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

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