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Margit
17 January 2006, 06:48 PM
I have a long-time road-block in my research of my husband's paternal side. The specific problem is the old-German style of writing, combined with my lack of knowledge of the German language. I find it particularly frustrating because I can pinpoint exactly where in Prussia both his grandmother and grandfather were born, but cannot figure out how to get beyond that.

Any recommendations? I think life is probably not long enough to learn both the German language AND the old style writing.

RobertB
17 January 2006, 07:49 PM
I have a long-time road-block in my research of my husband's paternal side. The specific problem is the old-German style of writing, combined with my lack of knowledge of the German language. I find it particularly frustrating because I can pinpoint exactly where in Prussia both his grandmother and grandfather were born, but cannot figure out how to get beyond that.

Any recommendations? I think life is probably not long enough to learn both the German language AND the old style writing.Margit,

As one who learned a little German in high school but who is "self-taught" in reading the old German script I strongly encourage you to pursue both. The German vocabulary that you need to know to translate church records in particular is really rather small. A couple of good resources are the German-English Genealogical Dictionary available from Genealogical Publishing Company and the "Old German" mailing list available through rootsweb. As for learning the script, do a Google search on Sutterlin, Suetterlin or S

Urs Geiser
18 January 2006, 01:30 PM
[QUOTE=RobertB]As for learning the script, do a Google search on Sutterlin, Suetterlin or S

MabryBenson
18 January 2006, 08:59 PM
There is a book called something like 'If I can read German, You can Too'. I can't lay my hands on my copy just now to get the exact title & author. Check your local genealogy library for it.

But with the help of it I have successfully done a lot of research in old German church books. It is all a matter of recognizing shape of the script of the names - something which is not too hard to do with a little practice. If you are looking for a particular name, write it out in the script to see what the shape of the letters looks like. Granted there are always some names that are impossible. But with those you can mail the copy to Salt lake and ask them to tell you the name.

You need only a little vocabulary, mainly months and numbers, a few words (hinterlassen, nachgelassen (both meaning left behing = father already dead) witwer (something like that= widow, widower), ehelich = legitimate). You can get a lot without being able to read the entire listing, though the more the better.

Al Poulin
18 January 2006, 09:52 PM
Any recommendations? I think life is probably not long enough to learn both the German language AND the old style writing.

It may be useful to seek out the language translation aids produced by the Family History Library. They should be available at your local Family History Center. Ask if they have a staff volunteer who can help get you started.

martha
19 January 2006, 01:58 AM
I have a long-time road-block in my research of my husband's paternal side. The specific problem is the old-German style of writing, combined with my lack of knowledge of the German language. I find it particularly frustrating because I can pinpoint exactly where in Prussia both his grandmother and grandfather were born, but cannot figure out how to get beyond that.

Any recommendations? I think life is probably not long enough to learn both the German language AND the old style writing.

I had a total mental block against learning German because of the Shoah, but realized that I needed it to do my family history. So I taught myself the ancient script and can now read any book in German with a dictionary. There is no reason for you not to be able to do that. The old German script is a pit and frequently it is difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish the letters, but the more you practice, the better you get. As a genealogist, you love puzzles, so this is just one more to piece together!! You shouldn't hesitate to try!

Online, you can go to http://www.peter-doerling.de/Englisch/Sutterlin.htm
to get lessons in learning Sutterlin. It is a very good site.

Martha [in Israel]

Michael Rosenkötter
20 January 2006, 12:13 PM
I have a long-time road-block in my research of my husband's paternal side. The specific problem is the old-German style of writing, combined with my lack of knowledge of the German language. I find it particularly frustrating because I can pinpoint exactly where in Prussia both his grandmother and grandfather were born, but cannot figure out how to get beyond that.

Any recommendations? I think life is probably not long enough to learn both the German language AND the old style writing.

I may help you. I'm a German

Margit
20 January 2006, 07:33 PM
[QUOTE=Michael Rosenk

Al Poulin
21 January 2006, 11:16 AM
At: http://ce.byu.edu/is/site/courses/freecourses.cfm

you can find an independent study course in "Reading German Handwriting," "Vital Records," and other interesting items.

marnen
25 August 2006, 06:08 PM
Sorry about replying to an old thread, but if anyone comes across this and is in a similar situation, I thought I'd mention that I can read German and certain varieties of archaic German handwriting. If anyone has German records that they need read, I'll be happy to try.