Before 1870, you're likely to find little if any punctuation. If it was there, it was often used as a decoration. Expect to see little of it and don't make any assumptions because it is or isn't there.
Unlike today, capital letters were often used mid-sentence to emphasise any word felt important.
There were three types of abbreviations in common use.
- Superior letters, for
= William ; Richrd
= Richard ; wth
= with ; wch
= which ; yr
Titles were also abbreviated: Mr = Master ; Mrs = Mistress - these are common titles today but meant something in olden days - a person of importance.
- Contractions - letters
missed from the centre of a word, usually marked with ~
or ' to indicate the contraction.
= parish = Margaret = Johannes (Latin for John) = daughter
- Suspensions - where the
end of the word was missed off. The word may be marked with a
' or ~.
= widow = buried = Philip = filius (Latin for 'son of') = filia (Latin for 'daughter of')