Lately, family historians have been using graphology, or the study of handwriting, to determine character traits in deceased ancestors in cases where there has been no history left behind, but a sample of handwriting has survived.
Of course I had heard of graphology before, and I wondered if it was like having a palm reading done behind a tasseled curtain by a gypsy woman with a crystal ball.
Some of my ancestors did leave much of themselves for us to read and enjoy, and after analyzing their handwriting, the results seem to match what we knew of them. So I decided to look closer at an ancestor who left little of himself behind except that written by his children and grandchildren--my great, great grandfather Josiah Tuttle.
According to the graphology, Josiah Tuttle had many strong traits. In fact, he had more strong traits than I had dealt with previously. The results showed his strongest trait was distrust. I am not sure if distrust is a good or bad trait. I guess it depends on how one looks at it. The testing also showed other strong traits. He was reserved, consistent, thrifty and logical. It was also suggested that he was clear of judgment, had a good memory which included being mentally strong. He had a strong sense of order and was adaptable. Some lesser traits showed he was practical, dependable, determined and showed perseverance.
A letter from Josiah Tuttle to his mother
Wow! I would love to share some of his traits. But the distrust thing has me a bit puzzled. I decided to go through some of the stories written about him. His granddaughter Iva Lee Sorensen wrote this, apparently recalling what was told to her by her Grandma Sarah, Josiah's wife,
"Grandpa Josiah was always jealous of Grandma. She told of a time when one of the men in Glenwood [Utah] made a statement in the store that Grandma Tuttle was the prettiest woman in town. This bothered Grandpa just terribly. Grandma said that in his [Josiah's] earlier life whenever he got really sick and thought he was going to die, he would just beg her not to marry again."
How interesting! Could that paragraph mean he was a little distrustful or just a man who loved his wife very much? I'm not sure. Only Grandpa Josiah could tell us how he really felt.
I certainly don't think less of any of my ancestors for their insecurities. In this case, Josiah actually seems much more real to me when I see all of his wonderful traits. I hope some of those traits have been passed down to me.
So is graphology an art or a science we can rely on to help us learn more about our ancestors? I don't know for sure. But to me I am beginning to be less distrustful.