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Ask a Genealogist: What was a parity of hands?

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Question:

In the proceedings of the probate case of an ancestor in 1741 it stated - "After a parity of hands the final Last Will and Testament was approved." Can you explain what this means?

Answer:

Generally this was the event when a court officer was presented with two or more handwritten documents for comparison.  The parity of hands would be the approval that the two or more documents were clearly of the same handwriting.  It is possible the signature of the person was not on the document, but was written entirely in their own hand.
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