Reading old documents with individual handwritings can be very annoying and frustrating, especially when you have to decipher names in old German script. Either the writer used an old-type lettering like Kurrent or Sütterlin or had a very scratchy handwriting. Sometimes even both which can be a pain in the … eyes :).
You probably have to fight several problems at once: the given name could be an unusual name so you wouldn’t know it even if it is printed in a modern font. But very likely it’s written in an old-type lettering, either printed in Fraktur or handwritten in Kurrent or Sütterlin. And if that wasn’t just enough, some of the writers tend to have a very “individual” handwriting to say the least.
Being able to compare the same word (in this case the same name) in different handwritings might help you to recognize that name more easily if you stumble over it in your own sources.
Since I have transcribed quite a few old documents already I decided to collect snippets of German first names for comparison, including their variations. This way it hopefully will be easier for you to decipher your ancestor’s names.
The snippets come from different sources and therefore are of varying scan qualities. Please forgive me if some of the snippets are a bit grainy because of that.
Examples of given names in old German script
This is the first batch of names I’m working on, step by step. All postings will contain female and male versions of the given name, if applicable.
- Christian, Christiane, Christine, etc.
- Dorothea, etc.
- Franz, etc.
- Friedrich, etc.
- Friedrike, Frieda, etc.
- Gottfried, Gottlieb, etc.
- Heinrich, Henriette, etc.
- Johann, Johanna, Hanna, Anna, etc.
- Katharina, Käthe, Ina, Trina, etc.
- Karl, Caroline, Charlotte, etc.
- Margarethe, Grete, Metta, etc.
- Michael, Michaela, etc.
- Sophie, etc.
- Wilhelm, Wilhelmine, Minna, etc.
What were the most unusual German given names you stumbled upon so far? Or are you still stuck deciphering them at all?