Saturday, December 28, 2013

German Church Record Basics - Part 1 - German Records


All of my Panther family tree information was found in the church records of a few villages in Germany. So, let's say you know what town your family is from in Germany. You have found microfilm of the church records in the LDS archives. You order the film or are viewing the images online. How do you read them? You might recognize your ancestors' names written on the pages but that's all you can figure out. How do you know what they say?

First, you need to know what language the records are written in. The later records, from about 1800 and later, are typically written in German. Earlier than this, they're typically in Latin. This is part one of two, the German records. Part two covers the Latin records and can be found here: http://matthewkmiller.blogspot.com/2014/01/german-church-record-basics-part-2.html

Then comes the hand writing. Some of the writing is in very elaborate script that can make it difficult to read. Some is in clear handwriting which makes it quite easy. Some seems close to a scribble that sometimes can be nearly impossible to read.

Here is a sample of each of the types of German church book records:


German Birth/Baptismal (Geburten/Taufen) Record



German Marriage (Ehe) Record


German Death (Toten/Gestorben) Record


Latin Birth/Baptism (Natus/Baptizatus) Record


Latin Marriage (Matrimonius) Record


Latin Death (Mortus) Record

Let's take them one by one:

German Birth/Baptismal (Geburten/Taufen) Record - The key words you're looking for are:

getauft - baptized


Sohn - son

Followed by the father's name. The father's name may be preceded or followed by his occupation and possibly by the mother's name.

Tochter - daughter



vater - father

Mutter - mother


Zaugen - witnesses

In baptismal records the witnesses are typically the godfather and godmother


German Marriage (Ehe) Record - The key words you're looking for are:



Sohn - son
Followed by the father's name. The father's name may be preceded or followed by his occupation and possibly by the mother's name.


Tochter - daughter
 Followed by the father's name. The father's name may be preceded or followed by his occupation and possibly by the mother's name.


geboren - born
Some marriage records will list the bride and groom's birth year and possibly full birth date.



Zaugen - witnesses


German Death (Toten/Gestorben) Record - The key words you're looking for are:


tag alt - for babies, "days old"


monaten alt - for babies, "months old"

jahre alt - for older children and adults - "years old"

Sohn - son
 Followed by the father's name. The father's name may be preceded or followed by his occupation and possibly by the mother's name.


Tochter - daughter
  Followed by the father's name. The father's name may be preceded or followed by his occupation and possibly by the mother's name.
Vidua - Widow or Widower
Ehemann - Husband




Followed by his wife's name

Ehefrau - Wife
Followed by her husband's name.

geb. - abbreviation of geboren - born as
Followed by the maiden name of a married woman

Zaugen - witnesses


--Matt

2 comments:

  1. Matt, I've been looking at your documents off an on all day. I have very similar looking church records and I'm using your post as a guide to help me translate my records. It wasn't until this evening I notice your records are from Mosbach. My Baudermann's are from Klepsau which appears to be about an hour from Mosbach. Thank you for this post, it's been very helpful to me.

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    Replies
    1. I'm happy to have helped someone in their search!

      This "Mosbach" is actually "Mösbach", also spelled "Moesbach", not to be confused with Mosbach without the umlaut over the o, which is a larger town in Baden. This town is just south of Achern, which is just south of Baden-Baden and near Renchen and Oberkirch. Let me know if you have any questions.

      I've been studying the Mösbach and Ulm records since 2009. I suppose eventually I'll have all of the genealogies from these books into a database.

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