Help reading birth/marriage/death documents in old German hand-script

+5 votes
I am looking for people who are able to read old German handwritten Birth/Marriage/Death records/entries.

I am not looking for translations but someone who can read/transcribe the old handwriting. There's an example of the type of thing I need help with. This particular document, I had someone who was able to read it but there are others which still need reading.
WikiTree profile: Gerhard Damm
in Policy and Style by Seán Sloane Johnson G2G5 (5.4k points)
edited by Seán Sloane Johnson

2 Answers

+3 votes
Best answer

Hi Sean WikiTree does have Language Volunteers that will help with these types of Questions Terry

by Terry Wright G2G6 Pilot (184k points)
selected by Mary Hammond

My bold is my addition/correction:

Kirnbach. Im Jahr achtzehnhundert acht und zwanzig den 14ten

September abends 10 Uhr wurde geboren, u. den 15ten d. M.

Morgens 7 Uhr getauft: Gerhard Damm, ehelicher Sohn das

Taglöhners Joseph Damm, u, der Franziska Gemeiner von

Kirnbach. Taufzeugen gegen [not waren]: das bauer Lorenz Kranz aus

dem Kirnbach, u. Viktoria Wörner, des Adlerwirths Benedikt

Schneider Ehefrau aus dem Hambach.

Zall (?) hamannsbach (?) dan 15th September 1828.

Jillaine, yes, I do think it's maybe better that you don't speak German as you're not trying to make it out but just reading it... it is like learning a completely different language. Today's German handwriting is much more legible, although not extremely easy either.

That's amazing what you've done! It would be Zell am Harmersbach, the next largest town to Kirnbach, the seat in the area. The place where his parents married.

I am very excited indeed to see what you'll come up with for the rest! I'll get on them now.
Hi Jillaine, I had already had his parent's birth record uploaded, it's attached to [[Damm-157|Joseph Damm]]'s profile, now I'll see to his brother Michael's birth record.

When I was in Zell am Harmersbach this past July in the local museum, there was a little plaque for the death of a Magdalena Damm (néé Armbruster) but I am not sure if/how she fits in. It is signed by Josef Damm, who could have been Gerhard and Michael's brother but until I find, at least a marriage record, I won't know. I will create a profile for her anyways and post a question...

Ah, I see one needs to use html links for comments...

okay, I have created a profile for <a href=>Magdalena Armbruster Damm</a>. This will be much simpler.

I have also uploaded <a href=>Michael Damm</a>'s birth record

The task that awaits is to page through each book for the area to discover other siblings of Michael and Gerhard but it's rough going as I mostly cannot read the script... ;)

Well then, no link types (internal nor external) seem to work...

dont get too excited. i'm hit and miss and far from perfect...

oh and as for going through the registers: you know what Damm looks like, right? That's what you look for-- those shapes.

working on magdalena armbruster damm... I'm going to walk you through my process so perhaps you can see how I do it. It's iterative; look:

The first word after Magdalena looks like it starts with Amt... and ends with ...buch; I'm thinking based on what's stamped in the lower left that this is a book that records deaths, at least, and perhaps other vitals. [But see below... I change my mind.] It's a civil record, not a church record. But in between Amt and buch is not sterbe, which is death.  This is followed by 13[th] Juli 1892.

She was the "lediger tochterlein Joseph Damm" (single daughter of J.D.)

Ah, here's that Amt... word again; it's a place. "wohnhaft zu ..." Ah, it's not Amt at all, but Unter... a "prefix" used in many regions. Unterharmerbach, perhaps? Followed by:

und zeigt an, das die Joseph Damm streißbauer [cut off "mann"?]  bauer is farmer, so this is probably his occupation.

Mutter [although it really looks like Mitter] Magdalena geb. Armbruster (and the challenge that "geb" is so closely following Magdalena it looked like one word)

The deceased Magdalena (daughter of Joseph and Magdalena) was 63 jahr alt and of the Catholische religion.

wohnhaft [resident of] Unterharmersbach

geboren [born in] Unterharmersbach

The next line that has text in it starts with tochter [daughter] der Eltern das oder? Untstorbener? K/B.... weiß genannt werden zu Untersharmersbach am zwift?ten [15] Juli das Jahres taufend acht hundert [nine]zig und zwei [1892]. [Fairly certain this refers to when she was buried-- typically a couple days after death; and the first part of the sentence is something about either surviving or predeceasing her parents; not sure but there's reference to her parents (Eltern).]

The next section is describing her time? and cause of death; it's helpful to have handy a list of common causes of death. ugh... this one is getting the better of me...

Nachweistags ? um [....] uhr (prpobably what hour she died or became sick]] verstorben fei

der Ange... blänt?   I really can't get this next section: it's all guess work das der starbfull an fac... gagen...t putt... ugh.

Borgelefen? gene...migt und unscriben [then signature of Josef Damm] der standesbeamte zu Unterbach Albeert Schwarz [title or occupation follows]

That should have been easier than the other but wasn't. I don't have causes of death down pat yet... clearly.
okay. Michael's birth record is much easier. Go figure.

Kirnbach. der 13[th] Sept 1824 morgan 5 uhr werde geborhen und ... falben? nachmittag und 3 uhr gebrucht? Michael Damm das Joseph Dam taglohner [day laborer] aus der Kirnbach und der G/B?ranz.... Gemeiner ehrlz? kind. [Don't see reference to mother]

Pather w... [godparents?] Lorenz Kranz bauer aus Kirnbach und Nik..nia Ante... das B...dikt Schneider Adlerwirth aus Hamerbach ehefrau [Nik...nia was the wife of the Schneider and innkeeper].
Okay, now here's my bad. I should have compared what I was reading on Michael's birth record with his sister's birth record. Then the godparent part would have been clear. In some regions the families used the same godparents for all their children. At least in the case of Michael and his sister, both had the same godparents. It was Victoria, not Nik...nia... sheesh.

Jillaine, I am still impressed... I just scanned the left-hand side of the document (the paper is a strange size (not standard DIN A4) and doesn't fit on my scanner completely.

I can mostly read the printed text but not the hand-written on this document.

Unterharmersbach am 13ten Juli 1892

Vor dem unterzeichneten Standesbeamten erschien heute, der Persönlichkeit nach bekannt, ___________________ Josef Damm wohnhaft zu Unterharmersbach und zeigte an, daß ___ Josef Damm ___ Bauer. ____ Magdalena geb. Armbruster 63 Jahr alt Catolische Religion, wohnhaft zu Unterharmersbach geboren zu Unterharmersbach ___________ zu Unterharmersbach am zwöften Juli des Jahres tausend acht hundert neunzig und zwei [12.07.1892] _________ um vier??? Uhr verstorben sei von ___________________________________.

Vorgelesen, genehmigt und unterschrieben

Josef Damm

Der Standesbeamte...

I don't think she could have been Gerhard & Michaels sister when they said Magdalena Damm geboren Armbruster. This Josef Damm could have been her husband or maybe son... But without knowing more , it will be dificult to tell. I will have a look through the marriage books, to see if I find a marriage. She died the 12th of July 1892 at maybe four o'clock.

This whole area is full of Damms so I do not know if she is related but I hope to get to that point ;)

Kirnbach. den 13ten Sept 1824 morgens 5 Uhr wurde geboren und am selben nachmittag um 3 Uhr getauft. Michael Damm ??? Joseph Damm Tagelöhner aus der Kirnbach und der Franziska Gemeiner ehelich kind. [Don't see reference to mother]. der Franziska Gemeiner is the reference to mother ;)

Pather w... [godparents?] Does it look like Taufzeugen or Taufpate or just Paten? Yes, they should be the godparents. Lorenz Kranz bauer aus Kirnbach und Viktoria Ante... das Benedikt Schneider Adlerwirtshaus Hamerbach ehefrau

It's getting closer :)

Ah, most likely "Paten waren" the godparents were...
0 votes
I have done a lot of microfilm reading of the old German longhand.  I don't always get it right, but pretty frequently.  It helps to get the context first.  If you have a few examples I would be willing to give it a try.  The records I have looked at are from West Prussia in the area of Marienwerder.  What is the source of your records?
by David Golem G2G1 (1.6k points)

Hi David, if you have a look at the comments under the previous answer, you'll find loads of details. Most are from digitised Birth/Marriage/Death records at the Freiburg Archives.

A friend came round for dinner tonight and we came up with this for Magdalena Damm geb. Armbruster. The script is Sütterlin This is the text we came up with:

Unterharmersbach am 13ten Juli 1892
Vor dem unterzeichneten Standesbeamten erschien heute, der Persönlichkeit nach bekannt,
der ledige Taglöhner Joseph Damm wohnhaft zu Unterharmersbach und zeigte an, daß die???, Joseph Damm Straß... Mutter Magdalena geb. Armbruster 63 Jahr alt Katholische Religion,
wohnhaft zu Unterharmersbach
geboren zu Unterharmersbach.
Tochter: Die Eltern der verstorbenen können nicht genannt werden.
zu Unterharmersbach
am zwölften Juli des Jahres tausend acht hundert neunzig und zwei [12.07.1892] Nachmittags um ??? Uhr verstorben sei. Der anzeigende erklärt daß der Sterbefall in seiner Gegenwart statt gefunden habe.
Vorgelesen, genehmigt und unterschrieben
Josef Damm
Der Standesbeamte.
In Unterharmersbach
Albert Lohma... R

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