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Monday, October 18, 2010

How To--German

The most important foreign language is German for Americans trying to find their roots, since about 25% have German ancestry. Actually English is a Germanic language meaning both languages share roots with many easily recognizable words that are called cognates, for example: Vater [father], Sohn [son], Onkel [uncle], März [March], Haus [house], and Land [country], etc. So with a little imagination most of us can read the pertinent information of names, places, dates and relationships. However, German writing [Gothic Script] is not the same! Go to www.wiki.familysearch.org to see the alphabet [same 26 letters] and common words with translations used in genealogical records. Also you can find a list of commonly used Latin words with their translations, which are often in Roman Catholic records. If you need help in deciphering any German record simple go to www.familysearch.org and on the bottom of the Homepage click on Contact Us to send your query to a German consultant, who can translate
the pertinent data [not every word] for you. Of course, you will need to e-mail them a scanned copy of the record. Another option is to post your query on www.forums.familysearch.org for others to assist you. Viel Glück! [Much Luck]

Jerry Molloy,
FHL, CSM, Int’l Ref

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