German Language and Languages

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Most materials used in German research are written in German. However, you do not need to speak or read German to do research in German records. You will need to know some key words and phrases to understand the records.
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Back to [[Germany|Germany Page]]►
  
Because of Germany's history, you may also find several other languages in German records. Latin was frequently used in Roman Catholic church records. French was often used in Elsaß-Lothringen and during the French domination of the area west of the Rhein river (1806-1815). Danish was used in much of Schleswig-Holsteinuntil Preußen annexed that area in 1864.
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<br>Most materials used in German research are written in German. However, you do not need to speak or read German to do research in German records. You will need to know some key words and phrases to understand the records.  
  
German grammar may affect the way names appear in genealogical records, so your ancestor's name in German may vary from record to record. For help in understanding name variations, see the “Names, Personal” section.
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Because of Germany's history, you may also find several other languages in German records. Latin was frequently used in Roman Catholic church records. French was often used in Elsaß-Lothringen and during the French domination of the area west of the Rhein river (1806-1815). Danish was used in much of Schleswig-Holstein until Preußen annexed that area in 1864.
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Click here for information on [The_Low_German_Language_in_German_Research|Low German]]&nbsp;or here&nbsp;for [[Languages_in_the_Lower_Rhine_Area_of_Germany|languages in the Lower Rhine]]area or here for [[Spellings_Variants_in_the_Northern_Rheinland|spelling variation in the northern Rhine]] area.&nbsp;
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German grammar may affect the way names appear in genealogical records, so your ancestor's name in German may vary from record to record. For help in understanding name variations, see the “Names, Personal” section.
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Click here for information on how [[The_Dialect_Basis_of_Spelling_Variation_in_German_Surnames|dialects affect German]]names.
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Click here for information on [[Spelling_Variations_in_German_Documents|spelling variations in German documents]].  
  
 
=== Language Aids  ===
 
=== Language Aids  ===
  
The Family History Library has genealogical word lists for [http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/RG/Guide/WLGerman.ASP German], [http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/RG/Guide/WLLatin.ASP Latin], [http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/RG/Guide/WLFrench.ASP French], [http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/RG/Guide/WLDanish.ASP Danish], and [http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/RG/Guide/WLPolish.ASP Polish]. The German Genealogical Word List includes symbols commonly used in German genealogical sources. For more information about reading German writing, see the “Handwriting” section.  
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<br>FamilySearch Wiki has genealogical word lists for: [[Danish Word List]] [[French Wordlist]] [[German Word List]] [[Poland Genealogical Word List]] [[Portuguese Genealogical Word List]]
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The German Word List includes symbols commonly used in German genealogical sources. For more information about reading German writing, see [[Germany Handwriting]].  
  
 
The following books and English-German dictionaries can help in your research. You can find these and similar materials at many research libraries.  
 
The following books and English-German dictionaries can help in your research. You can find these and similar materials at many research libraries.  
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''[http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=259067&disp=Langenscheidt%27s+German%2DEnglish%2C+En%20%20&columns=*,0,0 Langenscheidts German-English, English-German Dictionary = Langenscheidts Deutsch-Englisches, Englisch-Deutches Wörterbuch]''. New York, NY, USA: Pocket Books, 1952, 1993. (FHL book 433.21 L262g.)  
 
''[http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=titledetails&titleno=259067&disp=Langenscheidt%27s+German%2DEnglish%2C+En%20%20&columns=*,0,0 Langenscheidts German-English, English-German Dictionary = Langenscheidts Deutsch-Englisches, Englisch-Deutches Wörterbuch]''. New York, NY, USA: Pocket Books, 1952, 1993. (FHL book 433.21 L262g.)  
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Grimms Dictionary online can be found at this link [http://germazope.uni-trier.de/Projects/WBB/woerterbuecher/dwb/wbgui?lemid=GA00001 Dictionary of German historical words].
  
 
Other language aids, including dictionaries of various dialects and time periods, are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:  
 
Other language aids, including dictionaries of various dialects and time periods, are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:  
  
[http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=topicdetails&subject=383785&subject_disp=Germany+%2D+Language+and+languages&columns=*,0,0 GERMANY - LANGUAGE AND LANGUAGES]  
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:[http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=topicdetails&subject=383785&subject_disp=Germany+%2D+Language+and+languages&columns=*,0,0 GERMANY - LANGUAGE AND LANGUAGES]
  
[http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=topicdetails&subject=329866&subject_disp=Germany+%2D+Language+and+languages+%2D+Dictionaries&columns=*,0,0 GERMANY - LANGUAGE AND LANGUAGES - DICTIONARIES]
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:[http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=topicdetails&subject=329866&subject_disp=Germany+%2D+Language+and+languages+%2D+Dictionaries&columns=*,0,0 GERMANY - LANGUAGE AND LANGUAGES - DICTIONARIES]
  
 
Also check the Subject Search of the catalog under:  
 
Also check the Subject Search of the catalog under:  
  
[http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=subjecthitlist&columns=*%2C0%2C0&subject=German+Language&presubject=German+Language GERMAN LANGUAGE - DICTIONARIES] <!-- Tidy found serious XHTML errors --><!-- Tidy found serious XHTML errors -->
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<br>
<!-- Tidy found serious XHTML errors -->
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[[Category:Germany]]
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<br>
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:[http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Library/fhlcatalog/supermainframeset.asp?display=subjecthitlist&columns=*%2C0%2C0&subject=German+Language&presubject=German+Language GERMAN LANGUAGE - DICTIONARIES]
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<br>Other language aids for parish Latin can be found at these links:
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[http://www.krumhermersdorf.de/literatur/latein.htm#Auswahl http://www.krumhermersdorf.de/literatur/latein.htm#Auswahl]&nbsp;
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[http://www.e-latein.de/ http://www.e-latein.de/]
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[http://www.krumhermersdorf.de/literatur/latein.htm http://www.krumhermersdorf.de/literatur/latein.htm]
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[http://www.albertmartin.de/latein/ http://www.albertmartin.de/latein/]
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[http://lateinisch.bildung-infos.info/latedeus.htm http://lateinisch.bildung-infos.info/latedeus.htm]
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[http://www.muehle-com.de/HP-Tools/html/latein.html http://www.muehle-com.de/HP-Tools/html/latein.html]
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[http://lateinwiki.org/Hauptseite http://lateinwiki.org/Hauptseite]<br>[http://www.albertmartin.de/latein/?q=bapti&con=0 http://www.albertmartin.de/latein/?q=bapti&amp;con=0]
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== NUMBERS  ==
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----
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In some genealogical records, numbers are spelled out. This is especially true of dates. The following list gives the cardinal (1, 2, 3) and the ordinal (1st, 2nd, 3rd) versions of each number. Days of the month are written in ordinal form. Ordinal forms may have other endings, for example: erste, ersten.
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Cardinal Ordinal <br>0 null <br>1 eins 1st erste <br>2 zwei 2nd zweite, zweyte <br>3 drei 3rd dritte <br>4 vier 4th vierte <br>5 fünf 5th fünfte <br>6 sechs 6th sechste <br>7 sieben 7th siebte, siebente <br>8 acht 8th achte <br>9 neun 9th neunte <br>10 zehn 10th zehnte <br>11 elf 11th elfte <br>12 zwölf 12th zwölfte <br>13 dreizehn 13th dreizehnte <br>14 vierzehn 14th vierzehnte <br>15 fünfzehn 15th fünfzehnte <br>16 sechzehn 16th sechzehnte <br>17 siebzehn 17th siebzehnte <br>18 achtzehn 18th achtzehnte <br>19 neunzehn 19th neunzehnte <br>20 zwanzig 20th zwanzigste <br>21 einundzwanzig 21st einundzwanzigste <br>22 zweiundzwanzig 22nd zweiundzwanzigste <br>23 dreiundzwanzig 23rd dreiundzwanzigste <br>24 vierundzwanzig 24th vierundzwanzigste <br>25 fünfundzwanzig 25th fünfundzwanzigste <br>26 sechsundzwanzig 26th sechsundzwanzigste <br>27 siebenundzwanzig 27th siebenundzwanzigste <br>28 achtundzwanzig 28th achtundzwanzigste <br>29 neunundzwanzig 29th neunundzwanzigste <br>30 dreißig 30th dreißigste <br>31 einunddreißig 31st einunddreißigste <br>40 vierzig 40th vierzigste <br>50 fünfzig 50th fünfzigste <br>60 sechzig 60th sechzigste <br>70 siebzig 70th siebzigste <br>80 achtzig 80th achtzigste <br>90 neunzig 90th neunzigste <br>100 hundert 100th hunderste <br>200 zweihundert 200th zwei hunderste <br>1000 tausend 1000th tausendste
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<br>
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== Dates and Time<br>  ==
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In German records, dates are often written out. For example:
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Freitag den vierzehnten Februar achtzehnhundert sechs und dreißig [Friday, the 14th of February, eighteen hundred six and thirty (1836)].
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To understand German dates, use the following lists as well as the preceding “Numbers” section.
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Months
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<br>English German <br>January Januar, Jänner, Hartung, Jenner <br>February Februar, Hornung <br>March März, Frühlingsmonat <br>April April, Ostermonat, Osteren <br>May Mai, Wonnemonat, Blütemonat <br>June Juni, Brachmonat <br>July Juli, Heuert, Heumonat, Heuet <br>August August, Erntemonat, Hitzmonat <br>September September, Fruchtmonat, Herbstmonat, Herpsten, 7ber, 7bris <br>October Oktober, Weinmonat, 8ber, 8bris <br>November November, Wintermonat, 9ber, 9bris <br>December Dezember, Christmonat, 10ber, 10bris, Xber, Xbris
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Click here for an extensive list of [[Month_Names_in_German|month names in German]].
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<br>Days of the Week
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<br>English&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;German <br>Sunday&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Sonntag <br>Monday&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Montag <br>Tuesday&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Dienstag <br>Wednesday Mittwoch <br>Thursday&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Donnerstag <br>Friday&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Freitag, Freytag&nbsp;<br>Saturday&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Samstag, Sonnabend
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Click here for an article on [[Week_Day_Symbols|special symbols used for week days]].
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<br>Times of the Day
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<br>German birth and death records often indicated the exact time of day when the birth or death occurred. This is usually written out.
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German English <br>ein Uhr one (o’clock) <br>zwei Uhr two (o’clock) <br>drei Uhr three (o’clock) <br>halb eins half one = 12:30 <br>halb zwei half two = 1:30 <br>halbe Stunde half hour <br>Stunde hour <br>früh early (a.m.) <br>spät late (p.m.) <br>morgens in the morning <br>vormittags in the forenoon <br>mittags at noon <br>nachmittags in the afternoon <br>abends in the evening <br>mitternachts at midnight
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<br>Return to top of page
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<br>SYMBOLS
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<br>The following symbols are commonly used in German genealogical sources.
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Symbol Meaning <br>born <br>baptized, christened <br>married <br>died <br>buried <br>born illegitimately <br>common law marriage, illegitimate <br>divorced <br>killed in action <br>died of battle wounds <br>stillborn
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<br>Paper publication: Third edition 1997. English approval: 4/97. <br>
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<br>
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==
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[[Category:Germany]] [[Category:Language_and_Languages]]

Revision as of 21:18, 12 August 2012

Back to Germany Page


Most materials used in German research are written in German. However, you do not need to speak or read German to do research in German records. You will need to know some key words and phrases to understand the records.

Because of Germany's history, you may also find several other languages in German records. Latin was frequently used in Roman Catholic church records. French was often used in Elsaß-Lothringen and during the French domination of the area west of the Rhein river (1806-1815). Danish was used in much of Schleswig-Holstein until Preußen annexed that area in 1864.

Click here for information on [The_Low_German_Language_in_German_Research|Low German]] or here for languages in the Lower Rhinearea or here for spelling variation in the northern Rhine area. 

German grammar may affect the way names appear in genealogical records, so your ancestor's name in German may vary from record to record. For help in understanding name variations, see the “Names, Personal” section.

Click here for information on how dialects affect Germannames.

Click here for information on spelling variations in German documents.

Language Aids


FamilySearch Wiki has genealogical word lists for: Danish Word List French Wordlist German Word List Poland Genealogical Word List Portuguese Genealogical Word List

The German Word List includes symbols commonly used in German genealogical sources. For more information about reading German writing, see Germany Handwriting.

The following books and English-German dictionaries can help in your research. You can find these and similar materials at many research libraries.

Thode, Ernest. German-English Genealogical Dictionary. Baltimore, Maryland, USA: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1992. (FHL book 433.21 T352g 1992.)

Langenscheidts German-English, English-German Dictionary = Langenscheidts Deutsch-Englisches, Englisch-Deutches Wörterbuch. New York, NY, USA: Pocket Books, 1952, 1993. (FHL book 433.21 L262g.)

Grimms Dictionary online can be found at this link Dictionary of German historical words.

Other language aids, including dictionaries of various dialects and time periods, are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under:

GERMANY - LANGUAGE AND LANGUAGES
GERMANY - LANGUAGE AND LANGUAGES - DICTIONARIES

Also check the Subject Search of the catalog under:



GERMAN LANGUAGE - DICTIONARIES


Other language aids for parish Latin can be found at these links:

http://www.krumhermersdorf.de/literatur/latein.htm#Auswahl 

http://www.e-latein.de/

http://www.krumhermersdorf.de/literatur/latein.htm

http://www.albertmartin.de/latein/

http://lateinisch.bildung-infos.info/latedeus.htm

http://www.muehle-com.de/HP-Tools/html/latein.html

http://lateinwiki.org/Hauptseite
http://www.albertmartin.de/latein/?q=bapti&con=0

NUMBERS


In some genealogical records, numbers are spelled out. This is especially true of dates. The following list gives the cardinal (1, 2, 3) and the ordinal (1st, 2nd, 3rd) versions of each number. Days of the month are written in ordinal form. Ordinal forms may have other endings, for example: erste, ersten.

Cardinal Ordinal
0 null
1 eins 1st erste
2 zwei 2nd zweite, zweyte
3 drei 3rd dritte
4 vier 4th vierte
5 fünf 5th fünfte
6 sechs 6th sechste
7 sieben 7th siebte, siebente
8 acht 8th achte
9 neun 9th neunte
10 zehn 10th zehnte
11 elf 11th elfte
12 zwölf 12th zwölfte
13 dreizehn 13th dreizehnte
14 vierzehn 14th vierzehnte
15 fünfzehn 15th fünfzehnte
16 sechzehn 16th sechzehnte
17 siebzehn 17th siebzehnte
18 achtzehn 18th achtzehnte
19 neunzehn 19th neunzehnte
20 zwanzig 20th zwanzigste
21 einundzwanzig 21st einundzwanzigste
22 zweiundzwanzig 22nd zweiundzwanzigste
23 dreiundzwanzig 23rd dreiundzwanzigste
24 vierundzwanzig 24th vierundzwanzigste
25 fünfundzwanzig 25th fünfundzwanzigste
26 sechsundzwanzig 26th sechsundzwanzigste
27 siebenundzwanzig 27th siebenundzwanzigste
28 achtundzwanzig 28th achtundzwanzigste
29 neunundzwanzig 29th neunundzwanzigste
30 dreißig 30th dreißigste
31 einunddreißig 31st einunddreißigste
40 vierzig 40th vierzigste
50 fünfzig 50th fünfzigste
60 sechzig 60th sechzigste
70 siebzig 70th siebzigste
80 achtzig 80th achtzigste
90 neunzig 90th neunzigste
100 hundert 100th hunderste
200 zweihundert 200th zwei hunderste
1000 tausend 1000th tausendste


Dates and Time

In German records, dates are often written out. For example:

Freitag den vierzehnten Februar achtzehnhundert sechs und dreißig [Friday, the 14th of February, eighteen hundred six and thirty (1836)].

To understand German dates, use the following lists as well as the preceding “Numbers” section.

Months


English German
January Januar, Jänner, Hartung, Jenner
February Februar, Hornung
March März, Frühlingsmonat
April April, Ostermonat, Osteren
May Mai, Wonnemonat, Blütemonat
June Juni, Brachmonat
July Juli, Heuert, Heumonat, Heuet
August August, Erntemonat, Hitzmonat
September September, Fruchtmonat, Herbstmonat, Herpsten, 7ber, 7bris
October Oktober, Weinmonat, 8ber, 8bris
November November, Wintermonat, 9ber, 9bris
December Dezember, Christmonat, 10ber, 10bris, Xber, Xbris

Click here for an extensive list of month names in German.


Days of the Week


English        German
Sunday        Sonntag
Monday       Montag
Tuesday      Dienstag
Wednesday Mittwoch
Thursday    Donnerstag
Friday         Freitag, Freytag 
Saturday     Samstag, Sonnabend

Click here for an article on special symbols used for week days.


Times of the Day


German birth and death records often indicated the exact time of day when the birth or death occurred. This is usually written out.

German English
ein Uhr one (o’clock)
zwei Uhr two (o’clock)
drei Uhr three (o’clock)
halb eins half one = 12:30
halb zwei half two = 1:30
halbe Stunde half hour
Stunde hour
früh early (a.m.)
spät late (p.m.)
morgens in the morning
vormittags in the forenoon
mittags at noon
nachmittags in the afternoon
abends in the evening
mitternachts at midnight


Return to top of page


SYMBOLS


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The following symbols are commonly used in German genealogical sources.

Symbol Meaning
born
baptized, christened
married
died
buried
born illegitimately
common law marriage, illegitimate
divorced
killed in action
died of battle wounds
stillborn


Paper publication: Third edition 1997. English approval: 4/97.


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