Eszett (ß) in German surnames

+12 votes
What should be done when adding a family member who has an Eszett (ß) in his or her surname? Should the name be written with or without it? Or doesn't it matter? I'm not sure if I should add my 3rd-great-grandmother as Anna Maria Aussem or Anna Maria Außem.
in Policy and Style by E. Gatlin G2G6 Mach 1 (11.0k points)

2 Answers

+12 votes
Best answer
German orthography makes a difference between ß and ss, to be over-simplifying, ß follows a long vowel and diphthongs, which are considered long vowels (au is a diphthong), ss follows short vowels. Since 1996 it is permissible to use ss instead of ß when a typeface does not contain ß. The exception is names (see Theodor Heuss, the first post-WWII president of West Germany), so whether to use ß or ss for your family member depends on whether the family historically used to use ß. If that is the case her name should be Außem.
by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (544k points)
selected by Ellen Smith
Thanks for the information! Yes, the family used ß.
So my grandmother's family name, who go by Bossler in US and Boßler in Germany would actually be pronounced with a long 'o' sound instead of an 'ah' sound?  Am I understanding that correctly?

I have just now added Boßler as the current last name with Bossler in the alternate field for my ancestors who lived entirely in Germany, even though their profiles are all Bossler-# 's. I added Boßler as an alternate name for my immigrating relative but not for his descendants who never spelled their name that way.

Does that all seem reasonable and acceptable or must I change the LNAB and therefore the profile name for those in Germany to Boßler instead of Bossler?

Hello, you must see that orthographic rules aren't given for names. A "ck" couldn't follow an !r!, but Bismarck ist written so. In the 18th and the 19th century it depends on the Pastor how he wrote the names.

So some persons were baptised as "Hanß Henrich", married as "Johannes Henrich" and died as "Heinrich". Or Girls were named Anna Margaretha, married as Anna Margarethe and died as Margarete.

About 1876 the civil registry was installed. Since rhen the names became official and didn't change any more.

+5 votes

If Außem is the way it is spelled in original sources, I would use that spelling

by Torben Friberg Sørensen G2G6 Mach 1 (12.1k points)
Completely agree!

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