Playing Grammar Cop in a 1763 Will

Part of the 1763 will of Joseph Daby from Middlesex County, Massachusetts, reads “…was my Sons Viz Daniel Daby Deceased…”

A superficial reading may interpret the word “Sons” to mean that Joseph had more than one son. The intent in this rendering is to indicate that Joseph is bequeathing something in his will that used to belong to his son Daniel.

It’s not used to indicate that Joseph had multiple sons.

18th century scribes don’t often use apostrophes to indicate possession. Genealogists need to “cut the scribe some grammar slack” or risk making incorrect conclusions.

[from our old blog site posted in 2015]

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