Help with possibly obsolete German word 'Vegräbnit' and abbreviations 'yl' 'Fran' & 'lt' or 'it' (in obituary)

+2 votes
"Vegräbnit" appears in my great-great-great grandmother's obituary, printed in Fraktur.  It's not in my German-English dictionary, Google Translate has no idea what it means, and I get zero Google hits, but when I Googled, "Vegräbni," since I wasn't positive that the last letter wasn't a ligature, I did find usages from 1825-1917, though this isn't helpful in figuring out what the word actually means.  

Used in context in her obituary:

"Vegräbnit von dem Trauerbause, No. 1100 St. Gregory Str. Mt. Adams."

I translate this as, "? of the funeral home, number 1100 St. Gregory Street, Mt. Adams."  

If anyone has any ideas for what it means or how to find out, please let me know!  I am still struggling with a few other words, and I'll add them here in case anyone can help.  

There is an abbreviation that looks like yl.  The context:

"Starb nach kurzem Leiden, ?woblberfeben? / ?mobiderfeben? mit

den ?yl?. Sterbesakramenten, in ihren 78.  Lebens-alter."

I translate this as:

"Died after a short illness, ? with the ? last rites, in her 78th year of life."

I don't know what this yl. is.  I am guessing it means, "Received?"  

I also can't figure out that other word that starts with M or W, so any ideas there would also be appreciated.

Finally, in several obituaries (I am translating 6 of them), at the bottom there is the date, and then it looks like 'lt' or 'it' just after it.  Any idea what this stands for?  

One more, on an infant's obituary, it says the fathers name and then, "und Fran."  I would expect, "und Fam."  What might this mean?

Thanks so much for any help!  I do have the images but they are uncropped PDFs right now, and the quality went down so much when I converted them to cropped JPGs that I'm waiting to upload them until I find a better format.

One last note, she died of lobar pneumonia, if that might help explain the word that I am reading as 'woblberfeben' or 'mobiderfeben.'
in Genealogy Help by Susannah Rolfes G2G5 (5.8k points)
edited by Susannah Rolfes
Some of the confusion may be due to mid-reading fraktur. Some letters look similar. Without seeing the original, however, it is hard to tell.
I've got some of the words by brute force, just changing letters until a word came out that made sense.  These are words that I'm sure I have all the letters right, or where there are really only 2 options for how they could be spelled that seem viable, and I still can't tell what they're supposed to be.

Wohlversehen.  She died "well supplied" with the holy last rites, I GUESS that makes sense, though it seems like an odd way to put it....   I previously thought it was something like woblberfeben/mobiderfeben, but this is the only combination that makes sense.

Fran might be Frau
It's definitely Fran.  My first thought was that you're probably right, but then I looked at it, and all the letters are very clear.  It looks just like all the other n's and nothing like the u's.  Closed at the top and open at the bottom.  Unless the publisher chose the wrong slug/die/whatever they call the individual letters, and it's essentially a type, it definitely says Fran.

(So I'm not confusing, this was the second child they lost.)

I think the simplest explanation is that it's supposed to say Frau.  It makes sense that he would put the father's name followed by, "und Frau," though it's odd that their first dead child had the names of both parents and all three then-living grandparents listed by name.  

My thoughts...when their first child died, they were poor; nevertheless, they listed all the grandparents and both parents.  They were doing well later on, when they lost another child, and they actually said that it was a private funeral TWICE in the obituary, presumably to keep the public from attending. They included an entire poem in the obituary.  It certainly wasn't for want of money that they didn't include both parents' names (they did charge by the line), and I actually wondered if, as odd as it seems, "Fran," might stand for, "franchise," which I did look it up, and it is the German abbreviation for franchise, because by then, he had founded a clock company.  Could be be saying that he and his franchise were mourning?

It makes more sense to say that he and his family, or he and his wife, were mourning. So I want to go with typo, but I'm just not fully comfortable saying it was definitely a typo.  Especially whether it was supposed to say, "und Frau." or "und Fam."

It's certainly something to consider, though.
It might be helpful to just upload a scan of the obit so we can see for ourselves.

I lost all image quality when I cropped the PDF and saved as a JPG, so I'm waiting until I can get some decent resolution, because otherwise you won't be able to make out the letters.  They are saved images from microfilm (except one, which I was allowed to actually see the newspaper because the microfilm was being digitized).

The one that I've uploaded, I was able to make out all the words, though it is the one with "statt" in it, which I'm interpreting as, "instead."  Maybe someone can figure out how I ought to be translating that from this:

3 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer
"Vegräbnit" is most likely Begräbnis (burrial); Trauerbause = Trauerhause (probably not the funeral home but the house of the grieving family); ?woblberfeben? = wohlversehen (well provided); ?yl? in this context should be hl. = heilig (holy).

Kurrent is a tricky script with many letters looking very similar.
by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (534k points)
selected by Gaile Connolly
That makes sense..."Begräbnis von dem Trauerbause, No. 1100 St. Gregory Str."  It does look more like Begräbniß with a badly inked ß, which it turns out does mean burial, so that works, too.  I thought it had too many lines for it to be a B, but it's possible that this font is a slight variation from Fraktur, which otherwise seems to be the font they were using.  

Do you think that the one word could be, "Trauergottesdienst," literally, "funeral-God-service?" Does that mean funeral mass?   I have tried literally over 100 different spelling variations, and Google Translate didn't recognize any of them as words.  I know it means funeral-something-service.  The context is, " Trauergottesdienst um 8 Uhr Morgen in der Unbefleckten Empfängniß Kirche, Montag den 23 April."  If that word is correct, it would make sense: "Funeral mass at 8 o'clock in the morning in the Immaculate Conception Church, Monday 23 April."  Do you think I'm right?

Thanks so much for your help!
Trauergottesdienst would be a funeral Mass or service.

Gottes = of God.

Lots of German words are compounds that a translation program may not have but can easily be broken into component parts.
Yeah, I tried to break it down and that's when I thought maybe it was "gott" instead of "golt."  I missed the "of" in my translation, though.  So I would be right to say it was a funeral mass.  Yay!  Only 4 more words to go, plus 3 abbreviations!

Since there are so few, and you seem to be a lot more fluent than I am (I would not consider myself fluent):


"Starb am Freitag Morgen 10 Uhr, nach 2-wöchent licher Krankheit"

I translate this as, "Died on Friday morning 10 o'clock after a 2-week ? illness."


"Starb gestern Montag Bormittag, 7 1/2 Uhr, nach ?Hidgiger? Krankheit unser geliebter Sohn und Enkel,"

I translate this as, "Died yesterday Monday morning 7:30 o'clock after ? illness our beloved son and grandson."  I think it might be a disease?


This one is badly printed: "199 George Straße, ?woru? Freunde und Verwandte ergebenst eingeladen..."  The top of the third letter is cut off, so it could be anything:  r,i,t,k,l,s,f, I even tried x, j, and I tried all these with m instead of w as well, no luck!  I translate it as, "199 George Street, ? friends and relatives humbly invited."


This one translates as, "instead deaths" or, "aus statts toden," as, "out of the movement death," so I know I'm misinterpreting the meaning rather than getting the wrong word:

"...90 Clay Straße aus stattstoden und wird in der St. Matien-Kirche ein Requiem"

This is is one other obituary, too, this "instead" in my translation:

"Der Beerdigung findet am Samstag Morgen um 8.30 Uhr von Wohnung, No. 849 Hopkins Strasse aus statt, und wird um 9 Uhr in der St. Josephus kirche."

"The funeral will be Saturday morning at 8:30 from the apartment at 849 Hopkins Street from instead, and will be at 9 o'clock in the St. Josephus Church."

An abbreviation, "Fran."  I looked it up and it's supposed to be, the abbreviation for, "franchise," but it makes no sense, so I think it was supposed to be Frau or Fam., because it is near the bottom and is signed, "Frank Herschede and Fran."  It would make most sense if it was, "und Familie," and the whole rest of that line is blank, and since they pay by the line, why not list his wife's name?  Especially because this was the second child they lost, and his wife's name (same wife) was listed in that one, including her maiden name!  They clearly weren't worried about keeping it short to save money (they included a poem).  Any ideas?  Or a typo for Frau or Fam?

Next abbreviation, "No."  I looked and apparently No. is not supposed to be the German abbreviation for number (as in house number), however this appears right before an address in 2 of the obituaries.  Should I assume it does mean number?

 At the end of almost every obituary, this abbreviation occurs with the date.  It looks like either "it," "kt," or "lt."  My only guess is that it could be the abbreviation, "lt," which means, "according to." I also thought it could be a German version of A.D.? But I didn't find evidence to back that up. I'm going to assume lt for these examples:

24 mai, lt

Feb. lt

22 juni, lt

I've translated everything else just fine, I'm just stuck in these places.  I had 2 years of German in high school 22 years ago, and I remember most of it, though I need a refresher if I'm going to be doing any more translation!  I know I couldn't have translated half these words if I hadn't already known them or at least understood the sentence structure and how verbs are conjugated!

Vegrabnit is a dialect version of Begrabnis meaning burial.

Gottesdienst means "service" as in we have church services every Sunday morning.

wochentlicher means weekly; so, yes, a two-week-long illness.

statt means place, and "stattfinden" means "to take place".  It is separable, so "findet ....... statt" means that it takes place (not instead).  statttoden means the place of death. The "aus" that just precedes this means "on".  Therefore, the burial takes place from 8.30 am on.

woru is very likely "wäre" (e and n look exactly alike), which is the subjunctive, and so it would would mean "were invited"

yl is indeed hl for heiliger (holy). I have seen this in other documents.

The only one I can't get is "Hidgiger" but the -iger just makes it an adjective. My guess is that it is a dialect word for "severiger" which means after a severe illness.

I would love to see the original documents.

Fran. almost certainly does mean Familie, but if Fran does mean Franchise it would mean "father and company" and because German capitalizes all nouns, it would have the same sense you get from it in English, "from all of us" and not be referring to his company at all.

No. does mean number; that was correct.

lt. means "letzt" which is last.  Older obituaries in America used to say, "He died Friday ult." which means he died last Friday.  (that is, the last one before the printing of the obit).  This is the same thing.
+3 votes
yl may not be yl, but hl. and then an abreveation of heilig (holy, saint).

meaning buried with the christian rites.
by Fabian Schütz G2G Rookie (290 points)
That's an idea!  I think you're right.  I had gone through all the possibilities for the letters and concluded that yl. was most likely right, but it could just as easily be bl. or hl.  That's one down, anyway, thank you!
+2 votes

Susannah, I have no answer as this subject is way out of my skill set, but I have got to hand it to you (and others) for your doggedness is translating this difficult document.

by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.0m points)

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