Help deciphering a German place name from Death Certificate

+2 votes

This death certificate is for my GGG grandfather August BEER. 

From other documents we know he was born in Waltersdorf and then lived most of his life in Hamburg.

The translation kindly provided by Florian Straub here has the birth place as : 

geboren zu Waltersdorf in Siristau(????)

 Any suggestions for the ???? - could it be Sachsen? 

Also, the address in Hamburg is difficult - something like Hiling(?)straße, but I cannot find any street similar in Hamburg

WikiTree profile: August Beer
in Requests for Project Volunteers by Alistair McLennan G2G Crew (860 points)

3 Answers

+7 votes
Best answer

The birthplace is definitely "Waltersdorf in Sachsen-Altenburg". For the state, known in English as "Saxe-Altenburg", see There are many Waltersdorfs in Germany today, but based on the fact that your Waltersdorf used to be in Saxe-Altenburg it can be identified as the village that today is part of the municipality of Meuselwitz in the Kreis (County) Altenburger Land in the state of Thuringia. For its location see; for a description in German (can possibly be made intelligible through Google Translate) see

The name of the street in Hamburg is Lilienstraße, for which see (note that the loop under the letter before the "ß", which was interpreted to make this a "g", belongs not to this word, but rather to the capital "B" in the line below. Also compare the capital "H" in the name Hickfang in the line above to see that this streetname does not begin with an H)

by Living Geschwind G2G6 Mach 8 (83.9k points)
selected by Alistair McLennan

Thanks,  C-H Geschwind, that confirms the certificate states Sachen-Alterburg.

A curious thing is that August's son says in his diary (only have the English translation, not the orginal German) that he was born in "Waltersdorf near Gera in Reuss". I took that to mean this Waltersdorf which is to the west of Gera, rather that the East. Its a pity there isn't any more detail - it must have been tricky to post a letter back then!

Actually, now that I look in more detail at the former borders of Saxe-Altenburg, both of those Waltersdorfs are within the bounds of that state (Saxe-Altenburg was actually divided into two, with an eastern part and a western part, divided by Gera in the middle). And both are about 25 km from Gera, so we can't really tell which one August came from. Sigh.

To make it even more confusing, there is actually yet another Waltersdorf that is only 10 km west of Gera (and within the territory of Reuß), but this Waltersdorf is not in Saxe-Altenburg. See Who knows, the shoemaker Franz August Hickfang, who reported the death to the Hamburg officials and provided the data for the death certificate, may not have known which of these Waltersdorfs his roommate (and former shoemaker) August Beer was from.

Wow - so many Waltersdorfs - I didn't see that one before, but it actually looks better than the others: it is 'near Gera' and in Reuß. I agree about Hickfang - he must have only known about Waltersdorf and not which one.

Some day I'll check them out, I might be lucky looking at some headstones in the church.

I just hope the posties were well paid back then!

Thanks for your help - much appreciated!
A search at shows a lot of matches for the name in Suhl, Thuringia. The 1910 address book has 25 hits:

Maybe the distribution map also helps:
+2 votes

Hi August,

"geboren zu" is German for "born to." So, "geboren zu Waltersdorf in Siristau" probably mean "born to Waltersdorf in Siristau" where "
where ""Walterdorf" is a person not a place and "Siristau" is the place. 

I looked at the image you provided and started trying to translate the printed parts of the form using: and found it to be quite helpful for those parts. If you can get a reasonable translation of those parts from google translate, it might be easier to decipher the intent of the handwritten entries. 

I am in the middle of moving so can't offer much right now but should be settled in about two weeks. If you want to get together with me then, we can work on this together.

I lived in Germany for a total of just about 10 or 11 years myself; twice while with my father while he was in the Air Force and once when I was in the Air Force. I picked up a bit of German then and remember enough of it to be dangerous. :)


by John Beschler G2G1 (1.1k points)
+4 votes
Birthplace is Waltersdorf in Sachsen.

The street name is a bit confusing, looks like Bilienstraße. The first letter looks like the B in Bürgerbrief (top, "... der Persönlichkeit nach durch Bürgerbrief anerkannt ...) But I would guess it to be Lilienstraße.
by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (553k points)

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