With the National Archives and Family Records Centre in states of flux (see http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk for the latest news on access), it’s a good time to brush up your palaeographic skills online.
The National Archives site offers an online tutorial on reading early modern handwriting dating from 1500-1800. The interactive site provides examples for users to translate into type and scores the user’s attempts to convert old into new. There is even a very useful ‘retry’ button! Once you’ve honed your skills and are feeling confident you can play the ‘ducking stool game’ in which your task is to save a woman from the raging waters below. Get it wrong and she gets dunked.
Even without the interaction the site gives good advice and hints on transcription. You can visit it here: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/palaeography/.