German Resources

German Language Equivalent Notations

  ä ≈ ae    |     ö ≈ oe     |     ü ≈ ue     |     ß ≈ ss (rarely sz)

Only in handwriting, not in printed format

  n̅ ≈ nn   (e.g. An̅a)
  m̅ ≈ mm   (e.g. Kam̅erer)
  ŭ ≈ u   (e.g. Baŭer)
  ÿ ≈ y   (e.g. Seÿfried)

German Language Variant Notations

  i/y   (e.g. Seifried/Seyfried)
  c/k   (e.g. Katharina/Catharina; Jakob/Jacob; Kramer/Cramer)
  d/t   (e.g. Schmidt/Schmitt)
  tz/z   (e.g. Schatz/Schaz)

Joh. Joes. Johannes Joannes Joan Johan Hans

Johan Bap. Bapt. Baptist

Johan Ev. Evang. Evangelist

Johan Nep. Nepo. Nepomuk

Mathias Matthaeus Matheus Matthias etc.

Kath. Katharina (may also mean Catholic)

M. Mar. Maria

A. Anna

Typefaces:  Fraktur

Scripts:  Old German Style, Kurrent, Sütterlin

Fraktur (typeface)
Typeface issues

  A/U   |   B/P/V   |   M/W   |   C/E/G/S   |   I/J   |   R/K/N

  f/k/l/s/t   |   h/y   |   b/d/p   |   r/x   |   g/q/z   |   c/e   |   i/j


Old German Style (script)

Script issues

  R/K   |   M/W   |   N/St

  e/n/u   |   f/s   |   g/p/q/y

Staat/Land
State
Bezirk
Region/County
Kreis
District/Area that is a subdivision of a Bezirk
Gemeinde/Amt/Stadt
Municipality/town/city

English

German

Latin

birth / born

geburt / gebor(en)

nat(us) / nativitas (N.)

baptism

taufe

baptism(us) / renatus (R.)

name (of the child)

namen (des kind)

nomen (baptizati) / proles / infantus

parents

eltern

parentes

occupation

stand

occupatio

residence

wohnung

locus

godparents

taufpaten / taufzeugen

patrini

minister / pastor

pfarrer

baptistae

time (of birth)

zeit (der geburt)

tempus

place

ort

locus

day / month / year

tag / monat / jahr

dies / mensis / anno

boy / girl

knable / mädchen

puer / puella

son / daughter

sohn / tochter

filius / filia

twins

zwilling

gemini / gemelli

and

und (ŭ)

et

from

von (v.) or aus

ex

marriage

heiraten / ehe / trauung / copulation

matrimonium / copulation / nuptiae

single / unmarried

ledig / unverheiratet

caelebs / innuptus

bride / groom

braut / bräutigam

sponsus / sponsa

spouse / husband / wife

gatte / gattin / ehemann / ehefrau

uxor / conjunx

dead

tot / gestorben

mortuus / defunctus

disease

krankheit

morbus

buried

vergraben / beerdigen

sepultus

widow / widower

witwe / witwer

vidua / viduus

Prussia was a German kingdom originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. Prussia shaped the history of Germany with its capital in Berlin after 1451. The German states united creating the German Empire in 1871 under Prussian leadership. Monarchies were abolished in 1918 and Prussia was effectively abolished in 1932, officially abolished in 1947.

 

In US Census records, the term Prussia is used frequently up until about 1871 when the creation of the Second Reich of Germany began. You will see Germany listed as a place of birth for those born before 1871 even though prior to then it was referred to as Prussia. REMEMBER - your family will not be "German" prior to 1871, it wasn't Germany until after that date.

 
East and West Prussia

A political subdivision/province in the nation-states of Prussia and Germany. It was ethnically cleansed of Germans by Poland, the Soviet Union, and the allies after World War II. All vestiges of German government and control were removed following WWII. Today the area that was West Prussia is North Central Poland and is largely populated by Polish peoples, many of whom were forcibly relocated in 1945-1947 from what is today's Ukraine.

There were a variety of reasons why Prussian/German immigrants settled in the US Midwest, especially Wisconsin. The east coast of Wisconsin along the Lake Michigan shore was heavily settled by German immigrants. Some of the reasons immigrants chose Wisconsin were:
 

  • They received information from relatives that had already moved to the area about how pleased the new settlers were with the area.
  • The climate and soil resembled Germany which allowed farmers to already know the climate and how to farm the land.
  • The farmers also knew they could raise the same crops as in Germany - wheat, rye, oats, and garden vegetables.
  • Wisconsin had no large public debt; no burdens of taxation at that time.
  • The Wisconsin Constitution was liberal toward foreigners. One year of residence was all that was required to vote.
  • Land was $1.25/acre and sometimes sold on credit. Becoming a landowner was especially sought after for new immigrants.
  • There was a great deal of advertising being done in both New York and Europe to encourage immigrants to move to Wisconsin. One of the companies advertising was the Wisconsin Central Railroad. They offered good wages in lumber camps where men could earn enough to by land and also had immigrant housing - two weeks free of charge and the use of a cooking stove.
  • The Wisconsin Bureau of Immigration was widely known as honest and square dealing.

Special thanks to Bob Danovich in the Facebook German Genealogy Group for some of the above information.