In Their Words: A Genealogist’s Translation Guide to Polish, German, Latin, and Russian Documents – Volume IV: German

by William F. Hoffman and Jonathan D. Shea

ISBN 978-0-9985857-0-3              Copyright 2017

$49.00 + postage and handling

This 665-page work is designed to help genealogical researchers find and understand German-language records that will tell them about the lives of their ancestors and relatives. The book’s features include:

  • 25 documents drawn up in America and 70 drawn up in Europe, reproduced, analyzed, and translated, most with the handwritten parts repeated in modern Roman-style typeface to facilitate comparison. The sample documents include numerous formats of birth, marriage, and death records, as well as a variety of other documents that may provide genealogical information.
  • A section on German grammar, phonetics, and spelling
  • An 80-page chapter on using gazetteers and other sources to help locate ancestral towns and villages, as well as contact information for state and regional archives in countries where large numbers of Germans lived (Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Luxemburg, Poland, and Switzerland), including maps showing the modern administrative divisions of those countries
  • A German letter-writing guide, to help you write to archives in German-speaking lands
  • A 210-page vocabulary section, emphasizing archaic terms seen in old records. Every German word is given in Fraktur (the old Gothic blackletter typeface), Kurrentschrift, the old German handwriting) and modern italics, to help you get used to dealing with those old forms and recognize them more easily
  • A 32-page chapter listing common German given names and their equivalents in other European languages
  • A 19-page index designed to help you find information on any subject covered within the book

This book is soft cover, perfect bound, with 665 bindery pages, 8.5″ x 11″, weight 3 lb., 11 oz.

Table of Contents

Introduction

1. German’s Phonetics and Structure
Das deutsche Alphabet – The German Alphabet
Document 1–1: Army Volunteers from Bavaria
Phonetics and Orthographics: The Sounds of Hochdeutsch
Vowels
Diphthongs
Consonants and Consonant Combinations
Grammar
Definition of Terms
German Declensions
Declension of the Definite Article, der
Declension of the Demonstrative Pronoun dieser
Declension of the Indefinite Article, ein
Adjectives
Strong Declension of Adjectives
Weak Declension of Adjectives
Mixed Declension of Adjectives
Nouns
Masculine Nouns
Feminine Nouns
Neuter Nouns
The Chopping Block
Pronouns
Personal Pronouns
Relative Pronouns
Declension of the Relative Pronoun der
Possessive Pronouns and Adjectives
Demonstrative Pronouns
Reflexive Pronouns
Verbs
Present Tense
Past Tense
Auxiliary Verbs
Future Tense
Present Perfect Tense
Past Perfect Tense
Indicative, Imperative, and Subjunctive Moods
Participles
Passive Voice
Prepositions
Adverbs
German Word Order
Nouns and Adjectival Phrases
Verb Components
Numbers
German Numerals
Days of the Week
Months
Dates
Punctuation
Summary

2. Locating Records in America That Lead Back to Europe
A. Church Records
Document 2-1: Page from a Marriage Register for a German Roman Catholic Parish in Chicago, Illinois
B. Civil Vital Records
C. Naturalization Records
D. Passenger Lists
E. Social Security
F. Probate Records
G. Fraternal Organizations and Clubs
H. Parish or Congregation Histories
I. Obituaries and Cemetery Inscriptions
J. Enemy Alien Files
K. Consular Records: Passport Applications
L. Military Records
M. Insurance and Fraternal Organization Death Claim Records

3. German Documents Created in North America
Birth and Baptismal Records
Document 3-1: Sacramental Register for Trinity Lutheran Church in Cleveland, Ohio
Document 3-1a: An Index to a Parish Register
Document 3-1b: An Index of Names Appearing in the Register
Document 3-1c: An Excerpt from Page 50 of the Register
Document 3-2: Baptismal Records from St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in New York City
Document 3-3: Baptismal Certificate from a Lutheran Church in Newark, New Jersey
Document 3-4: Newspaper Lists

Marriage Records
Document 3-5: Marriage Entries in the Trinity Lutheran Church Register, Cleveland, Ohio
Document 3-6: Marriage Register Entries from St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, New York City
Document 3-6a: An 1863 Entry from St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, New York City
Document 3-6b: An 1864 Marriage Entry from St. Peter’s Lutheran Church
Document 3-6c: An 1892 Entry from St. Peter’s Lutheran Church
Document 3-7: An Entry in a Roman Catholic Register with Information in German
Document 3-8: A Lutheran Marriage Certificate

Death Records
Document 3-9: Death Entries from Trinity Lutheran Church, Cleveland, Ohio
Document 3-10: From the Death Register of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, New York City
Document 3-10a: Name Index for Deaths from St. Peter’s Lutheran Church
Document 3-10b: 1871 Excerpts from St. Peter’s Death Register
Document 3-10c: 1888 Excerpt from St. Peter’s Death Register
Document 3-11: A Newspaper Obituary – 1853 Excerpt from a New Orleans Newspaper, Die deutsche Zeitung
Document 3-12: 1912 Death Notices from Pittsburgh’s Volksblatt und Freiheits-Freund
Document 3-13: 1914 Death Notices from the Providencer Anzeiger
Other Sources of Information
Document 3-14: List of Confirmations from Trinity Lutheran Church, Cleveland, Ohio
Document 3-15: A Certificate Commemorating Confirmation
Document 3-16: A Card Used to Recruit German Immigrants to Wisconsin
Document 3-16a: Front Side of a Card Recruiting Immigrants
Document 3-16b: The Back Side of the Card Recruiting Immigrants
Document 3-17: Various Newspaper Announcements
Document 3-18: A Membership Certificate in the Order of the Sons of Hermann
Document 3-19: A German-Language Will from Clinton County, Pennsylvania
Document 3-19a: The First Paragraph of the Will
Document 3-19b: The Will Itself
Document 3-20 through 3-25: Tombstone Inscriptions
Document 3-20: A Lutheran Tombstone
Document 3-21: Another Lutheran Tombstone
Document 3-22: Another Lutheran Tombstone in English and German
Document 3-23: A Catholic Tombstone
Document 3-24: Another Catholic Grave in St. Mary’s Cemetery
Document 3-25: One Last Tombstone for a Catholic

4. Finding the Right Place, and Writing the Found Place

I’ve Found It—Where Is It?
Figure 4-1: Das Deutsche Reich, 1871–1918
Figure 4-2: The German Partition of Poland
Gazetteers
German-Language Gazetteers
Document 4-1: A Sample Page from Meyers Orts-und Verkehrslexikon
Document 4-2: A Sample Page from the Gemeindelexikon für das Königreich Preußen
Document 4-3: Sample from Barthel’s Gazetteer of … East and West Prussia
Document 4-4: Sample from the Słownik geograficzny Królestwa Polskiego
Other Sources
Gazetteers for Former Austrian Territory
Document 4-5: Page X from the Bukowina Volume of the Gemeindelexikon der im…
Definitions of Terms Indicated by the Symbols
Document 4-6: Pages 2 and 3 from the Bukowina Volume of the Gemeindelexikon der im
Document 4-7: Pages 14 and 15 from the Mähren Volume of the Gemeindelexikon der im
Document 4-8: Sample from Jan Bigo’s Gazetteer of Galicia
Document 4-9: Sample of the Primary Community List in Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia
Document 4-10: Sample of the German Name List in Genealogical Gazetteer of Galicia
Regarding German Place Names in Chapter Six
Maps of European Countries That Have or Had Large German Populations, Showing Modern Administrative Divisions
Austria
Czech Republic
Germany
Denmark
Selected German Terms for Administrative Units, Past and Present
Hungary
Poland
Switzerland
Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Writing the Found Place
State and Regional Archives of Germany
Archives Outside of Germany
Civil Registration Offices and Town Archives
Church Parish Offices
Historical and Genealogical Societies
“Deutsche Archive im Internet”
Other Archives of Interest in Germany
Ecclesiastical Archives in Germany
Catholic Archives
Archdioceses
Dioceses
Lutheran Archives
Archion – Online Portal
Austrian State Archives
Austrian Diocesan Archives
Swiss State Archives
Polish State Archives
Regional Archives
Ecclesiastical Archives in Poland
Protestant Records in Poland
Jewish Records in Poland
Czech State Archives
German Letter-Writing Guide

5. German Documents Originating in Europe
Parish Registers – Birth and Baptismal Records
I. Columnar-Form Original Entries in Registers
Document 5-1: A 1682 Parish Baptismal Entry from Olomouc, Czech Republic
Document 5-2: 1815 Baptismal Entries from Wiśnicze, Śląskie, Poland (Silesia)
Document 5-3: An 1837 Protestant Baptismal Register from Passau, Bavaria
Document 5-4: Catholic Baptismal Entries from Blansko, Czech Republic
Document 5-5: Jewish Birth Entries from Bernartice near Milevsko, Czech Republic

Note on Terms for Occupations and Social Status
Document 5-6: A Protestant Baptismal Register from Chodzież, Wielkopolskie, Poland
II. Paragraph-Form Original Entries in Baptismal Registers
Document 5-7: A Baptismal Record from Bigonville, Luxembourg
Document 5-8: An 1809 Birth Record from Waldsolms, Hessen, Germany
Document 5-9: An 1860 Birth in Hardheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
III. Certificates Drawn up on the Basis of Original Entries in Registers
Document 5-10: A Transcript from an 1831 Birth Record, Seulberg, Hessen, Germany
Document 5-11: An 1897 Birth/Baptismal Certificate from Kärnten, Austria
Document 5-12: A 1911 Baptismal Certificate, Brzozie, Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Poland
Document 5-13: A 1900 Jewish Certificate for an 1899 Birth, Suceava, Romania
Document 5-14: An 1876 Birth Certificate from Wysławice, Wielkopolskie, Poland
Document 5-15: A Baptismal Certificate on a Postcard, Halle (Salle), Germany
Marriage Entries and Certificates
I. Columnar-Form Original Entries in Registers
Document 5-16: An Index to a Protestant Marriage Register from Klagenfurt, Austria
Document 5-17: An 1863 Entry from the Klagenfurt Protestant Marriage Register
Document 5-18: Columnar Entries from the Catholic Parish in Smilov, Czech Republic
Document 5-19: An 1874 Entry from the Catholic Parish Marriage Register in Smilov
Document 5-20: Jewish Marriage Entries from Kozliv, Ukraine (Formerly Galizien)
Document 5-21: Entries from a Handwritten Protestant Register, Northeastern Germany
Document 5-22: An 1870 Columnar Entry from a Czech Military Register
II. Paragraph-Form Original Entries in Registers
Document 5-23: An 1854 Marriage Record from Itzig, Luxembourg
Document 5-24: A Handwritten Entry from Żelazna, Opolskie, Poland
Document 5-25: A Printed Form from Wysławice, Wielkopolskie, Poland
Document 5-26: Notice of Intent to Marry in Municipal Files of Dinkelsbühl, Germany
Death Entries and Certificates
I. Columnar-Form Original Entries in Registers
Document 5-27: Index to a Death Register for Klagenfurt, Austria
Document 5-28: 1863 Entries from the Protestant Death Register for Klagenfurt
Document 5-29: A Jewish Man’s 1881 Coroner’s Record from Rozdil, Ukraine (Galizien)
Document 5-30: 1793–1795 Death Entries from České Budějovice, Czech Republic
Document 5-31: An 1843 Military Death Record from a Czech Parish
Document 5-32: A 1917 Entry from an Austro-Hungarian Military Death Register
II. Paragraph-Form Original Entries in Registers
Document 5-33: 1589 Death Records from the Area of Baden, Germany
Document 5-34: An 1864 Printed Form from Bigonville, Luxembourg
Document 5-35: An 1853 Entry from a Death Register in Landau in der Pfalz, Bavaria
Document 5-36: An 1880 Death Entry from Bolszewo, Pomorskie, Poland
Document 5-37: An 1885 Death Entry from an Asylum in a Suburb of Berlin, Germany
III. Certificates Drawn Up on the Basis of Death Register Entries
Document 5-38: A 1936 Death Certificate from Hamburg, Germany
IV. Other Death-Related Records
Documents 5-39 through 5-41: Medical Examiners’ Certificates from Bukowsko, Podkarpackie, Poland (formerly Galizien)
Document 5-42: An 1858 Death Notice from a Newspaper in Munich, Germany
Other Documents of Genealogical Value
I. Censuses, Revision Lists, Police Registration Records, Etc.
Document 5-43: Records from the 1867 Census in Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Document 5-44: Revision List Entries for Bauska, Latvia (formerly Russian Empire)
Document 5-45: Revision List Entries from Kleinliebenthal, Now in Ukraine
Document 5-46: A 1916 Persons- und Melde-Nachweis from Lviv, Ukraine
Document 5-47: Identification Papers in Nazi-Occupied Poland
II. Papers for Citizenship, Right of Domicile, Etc.
Document 5-48: A Transcription of a 1670 Citizenship Request, Basel, Switzerland
Document 5-49: An 1840 Bürgereid or “Citizen’s Oath,” Bremen, Germany
Document 5-50: A 1906 Request for Heimatrecht, Right of Domicile, in Passau, Bavaria
Document 5-51: A “Homeless” Woman’s Request for Aid in Passau, Bavaria
Document 5-52: An 1845 Hessen Heimathschein or Certificate of Domicile
III. Property Records
Document 5-53: Cadastral Entries for Cheremoshnia, Ukraine (Formerly Galizien)
Document 5-54: Receipts in the Land Records of Český Těšín, Czech Republic
Document 5-55: A Property Transfer and Marriage Contract, Nove Mesto, Slovenia
Document 5-56: Pages from a Probate Record, Schwäbisch Hall, Württemberg, Germany
IV. Military Documents
Document 5-57: A Haupt-Grundbuchblatt, Page from Austrian Military Service Records
Document 5-58: A Pre-World War I German Militärpaß
German Abbreviations
Document 5-59: A Draft Lottery and Muster Certificate
Document 5-60: A Führungs-Attest or Military Good Conduct Certificate
V. Papers Needed by Civilians
Document 5-61: Travel Authorization for a Civilian, Kamen, Germany
Document 5-62: An 1886 Certificate for a Journeyman Smith’s Test, West Prussia
Document 5-63: A Servant’s Employment Booklet from the Krosno, Poland Area
Document 5-64: A Servant’s Employment Booklet from Former West Prussia
Document 5-65: An 1841 Berlin Certificate of Citizenship for a Jewish Man
Document 5-66: An 1833 Request for Schutzgeld from a Jewish Resident
Document 5-67: A 1942 Letter Appealing a Resettlement Order from the Łódź Ghetto
Document 5-68: An 1854 Prussian Reise-Paß or Travel Pass
Document 5-69: An 1821 Austrian Reisepaß or Travel Pass
Document 5-70: A Cieszyn Commandant’s Leave for a Man to Travel to America
Document 5-71: A Prussian Passport Booklet
Document 5-72: A Polish-German-Ukrainian Passport for Livestock

VI. Items Connected with Emigration

Document 5-73: A Brochure Distributed in Prussia to Promote Michigan
Document 5-74: A Shipping Line’s Advertisement in a Jewish Newspaper
Document 5-75: An Abmeldeschein or “Unregistration” Certificate
Document 5-76: A Shipping Contract from Bremen to Suffield, Connecticut
Document 5-77: A Hamburg-America Line Passenger List

VII. Papers Unique to the Nazi Period

Document 5-78: A 1934 Letter Requesting Proof of Aryan Descent
Document 5-79: An Ahnenpaß or “Ancestor Pass”

6. German Vocabulary

Latin Titles Indicating Social Status, and Their Significance
Causes of Death and Other Death-Related Vocabulary
Family Relationships
Numbers, Cardinal and Ordinal
Months of the Year
Days of the Week
Rendering of Dates
Master Vocabulary List
Symbols and Abbreviations Used in This Book
Symbols Seen in Records

7. German Given Names and Equivalents

8. Acknowledgements and Bibliography

9. Index