GenealogyMagazine with James Pylant

Episode # 5: Graphology for Genealogists


Malevolent or maligned?
A local historian described Addie Stewart as a haughty, vicious woman who drove her husband to suicide. How did a graphologist’s analysis of Addie’s personality traits found in handwriting samples compare with these claims? In GenealogyMagazine, Episode 5, learn how graphology proves to be an insightful tool for the family historian.

To resolve this question, I turned to Gordon Gibson, Certified Graphology Analyst (now deceased), who examined several lengthy handwritten letters penned by Addie Stewart. He found a “strong, explosive temper that was relentless.” Gibson also found that Addie could be unrealistic. “A lot of her goals in life were merely aimless dreams.” Demanding, she applied pressure to her target. “When someone close to her did not live up to her expectation—she could be devastating in her response.” Addie husband’s committed suicide in 1901, leaving a note saying, “I have no happiness at home.” This tragic story was the subject of a chapter in my book, Destiny in Texas: Descendants of Jacob Hampshire and Hannah Lee of St. Martin Parish, Louisiana.

sources for handwriting analysis 

graphology books

Andrea McNichol’s Handwriting Analysis : Putting It to Work for You is my favorite book on the subject of graphology. This fascinating 351-page volume is chock-full with examples that illustrate how handwriting analysis reveals personality characteristics—with case studies.

Another excellent book on this subject is Sex, Lies, and Handwriting: A Top Expert Reveals the Secrets Hidden in Your Handwriting, a 285-page book by syndicated columnist Michelle Dresbold.

(Note: both of these books are Amazon “affiliate links,” meaning that if a site user clicks on the link and purchase the item, will receive an affiliate commission.)

Paula Sassi 2017

Do you need to hire a graphologist? I recommend Paula Sassi, Certified Master Graphologist, who worked with me on a case involving falsified documents. Her analysis gave insight into the personality of the document’s creator. Paula, past president of the San Diego Italian Genealogy Society, was a presenter at the Genealogy Jamboree in 2013. “By analyzing old documents, records and letters, you can discover what great-grandpa was really like as well as many other people in your family,” she explains. “From colonial times to the present, you learn how to discern personality and behavior from the strokes of writing no matter what the time period or heritage of the person.” Visit Paula’s website: