This article is part of the series “Get Familiar With German Given Names In Old German Script” where you will find similar articles about other German names, including name variations and examples out of old documents. In this article we’ll deal with old German script Friedrich and Friederike.
Some of the name variations are mainly used in certain German regions so it might well be that you’ll never ever see them in your own research. But according to the “better safe than sorry” it’s not one of the worst ideas to list them all, don’t you think? Please have a look at the list below.
Some male variations
- Fred, Freddie, Freddy, Fredi
- Frederic, Frederick, Fredric, Fredrick
- Frerich, Frerk
- Frieder, Friederich, Friedrich
Some female variations
- Friederika, Friederike
- Friderika, Friderike
- Friedrika, Friedrike
- Frieda, Fritzi, Rike
Interesting name website
For more and international variations of Friedrich resp. Friederike please have a look at “Behind the name“, an incredible name website with more than 200k of names all over the world. Please also pay special attention to the very interesting internal links on the right side of their page:
- Expand Name Links
- See All Relations
- Show Family Tree
Examples of old German script: Friedrich
Now let’s have a look at the snippets I collected for you. Of course I don’t have a snippet for each and every possible variation but I’ll add them when I stumble over them.
Here and there you’ll notice that I meddled with the snippets. I erased all leftovers and cutoffs from other words and letters to make it easier for you to spot the single letters.
We’ll start easy. These are the first five versions of the name “Friedrich”. I picked all with the same spelling to make comparing the letters easier.
|The first snippet is mainly written in Latin letters while snippets two to five are written in Kurrent letters. Compare the first “F” with the others to notice the difference.
Have a look at the “d” in all five snippets. All of them are the Kurrent “d” (see below).
|The Kurrent “r” consists of two vertical strokes, connected at the bottom. Snippets two to five contain two Kurrent “r” each. Snippet one doesn’t have two vertikal strokes for the “r” but just one. So that’s a Latin “r”.|
|Not much of a different between a Latin letter “i” and a Kurrent letter “i”, therefore that letter should be fairly easy to recognize.|
|You can spot the difference between the Latin letter “e” in the first snippet (upward loop) and the Kurrent letter “e” (two vertical strokes connected with a short vertical upstroke) in snippets two to five.|
|The “d” is a letter that’s easy to recognize: short vertical upstroke, then a downstroke, finally a long upward loop counterclockwise. All five snippets use the Kurrent letter “d”. Even the first snippet (which is mainly in Latin letters) has the Kurrent letter “d”.|
|Another Kurrent letter “r”, see above.|
|Another Kurrent letter “i”, see above.|
|Except for the first snippet, all other snippets use the Kurrent letter “c”. Short vertical upstroke, then a downstroke, then another short vertical upstroke to connect to the next letter. Depending on the writer and the time frame, the Kurrent letter “c” may also have a short “flag” on top. But very often that is skipped in everyday writing as you can see in the examples.|
Another outstanding letter: the Kurrent letter “h”: counterclockwise upward loop, downstroke, clockwise downward loop. The first snippet uses a Latin letter “h” which resembles more the modern handwriting. The other four snippets use the Kurrent letter “h”.
You’ll notice that snippets four and five don’t use a fully fledged downward loop. Their loop remains unfinished, and the letter is ended with a swirl to the left instead of right. Some writers will do that, mainly at the end of a word (or even sometimes a syllable) when a loop to the right is not necessary to connet the “h” to the next letter.
I picked this example because you can easily see where one letter ends and the next begins. The “F” doesn’t exactly look like it’s supposed to look though, according to the example “F” in the lower right corner.
Try to see the similarities between the snippet “F” and the example “F”. Like: the lower loop isn’t as long as it should be but at least it goes clockwise and backwards. What about the top arc?
Aside from that the dot for the second “i” is missing, probably forgotten by the writer.
This one is similar to snippet one, except the writing seems a bit slack. Similar “F” as in the first snippet.
The third snippet shows a more individual handwriting.
- Similar “F” as in the first two snippets
- longer loop for the “d”
- the vertical strokes of the two “i” aren’t clearly recognizable
- the “r” isn’t as clear as it should be
- neither is the connection between “r” and “i”.
But all in all the handwriting could be worse.
As consistent and clear this handwriting looks, it’s not easy to read. Here you’ll actually have to count the up & downs and try to link them to actual letters.
Let’s start with the beginning. The writer added a long vertical upstroke to start the letter “F”. That’s not necessary and it might baffle you a bit but don’t confuse the first letter with a lowercase “h”…
- Next you have two up & downs before there is another one with a dot on top which is clearly an “i”.
- Now there’s another two up & downs, then a “d” with the long top loop.
- Then you have another two up & downs before the single up & down with a dot on top which clearly another “i”.
- One up & down before a clear “h” with the unmistakable top and bottom loops.
Let’s see what’s missing:
- Two up & downs might be either two “c” right after one another, very unlikely, eh? Might be a “u”, but where’s the swirl on top? An Umlaut “ü”? No dots… Two “i”? No dots either. So it’s either “n”, “e” or a sloppy “r”. What makes sense between an “F” and an “i”?
- Two up & downs between an “i” and a “d”? What about a double-“c”? Maybe it’s a “u” or a “ü” or even a double “i”? How about “n”, “e” or a sloppy “r”? Eliminate those letters that don’t make sense or are very difficult to pronounce in this letter combination.
- Repeat the same for the two up & downs between the “d” and the “i”.
- Whenever you see one up & down (without a dot on top) right before an “h”, your first thought should be “ch” (which – in this case – sounds like you start to say the English name “Hugh” or the adjective “huge” but stop after the “h”. Complicated, I know…
Btw… my youngest son – who’s a teeny-tiny little bit of a language nerd – told me that the “ch” is a “voiceless palatal fricative”… a friggin’ what?? But here you go, the symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet is ç and it sounds like this. Just letting you know…
This name is written in Latin letters, so it should be more easy. But note: the writer simply skipped the “e” in the name. This now should be pronounced with a shorter “i” (which in German sounds like an “e” btw…) and as if it had a double “d”, like “Friddrich”. German pronounciation, eh?
We’ve already seen that handwriting in one of the Friedrich-snippets. Clear letters, easy to distinguish. Compare this “Friedrike” with the “Friedrich” in the examples above. But note that the writer skipped the middle “e” which usually is used in the female version “Friederike”.
This snippet was written by the same writer as in snippet four in the example above. I’ve colored single letters so you can recognize them more easily. Three “e” are in blue, two “r” in red, two “i” in green. The other three letters should be unique enough to identify them.
Uh oh… a mean one! If you stumble over such a handwriting, you need to tackle it step by step, all while skipping a few steps in between and trying to fill up the gaps later on. Like in this one:
- Spilled ink… yikes, skip for now
- Two up & downs, could be a variety of letters, double-“c”, “e”, double-“i”, “n”, “u”, “ü” or a weird “r”…
- up & down with dot: probably an “i”
- up & down plus upward loop: could be a “d” (here colored in red)
- up & downs, without dots, swirls, arcs or any other squiggly things on top, skip for now
- up & down with a dot on top: probably an “i”
- unique letter, could be a “k”
- up & downs again, without dots, swirls, arcs or any other squiggly things on top
Then go ahead as in the fourth snippet in the second example picture above.Check which options makes sense, which letters don’t really go well with each other. Eliminate unlikely combinations.
And if you can’t: don’t worry, you’re not alone. That snippet IS a tough one. But one day you’ll manage to work out that letter puzzle. Took a long time for me as well.
This one’s definitely not much better than the previous one. Give it a try but don’t despair over it if it doesn’t work the first time(s). Take this as a challenge to grow. At least you already know the correct answer to that riddle. Again I have colored the “d” in red so it’s easier for you.
This snippet had the same writer as the second one, but this time the girl’s name is Frieda. Actually an abbreviation or nickname for Friederike but it also was a legal first name.
More snippets with other variations are on their way, please check back now and then for new additions. Come time, come snippets…
Probably some of my examples are a bit frustrating to you, though that’s depending on your transcription experience.
I don’t want to get you down but rather offer the answers to tough questions so that you already know in advance what exactly you are looking for. I tried to explain how I usually attempt to tackle sloppy handwriting and unusual spellings (doesn’t always work for me either though…)
Were the examples too tough for you? If so, what (and how) would you rather have me explain?
And please don’t forget: I’m no native English speaker therefore I sometimes have a tough time explaining things like “up & downs” or the arcs, swirls, squiggles, loops, dots and strokes that were used in Kurrent or Sütterlin fonts. If you have a better idea of how to name the squiggly stuff or other parts of the letters, just go ahead and let me know. I like you to learn something from me – but I also like me to learn something from you. Give and take, eh?
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