The gift of language-

Minutes to read: 4

Original Posting 19 Dec 2020


TLDR: German is hard- here are links to get you moving


Underlined blue text are links to the websites.


I wanna take you back to one of my favourite Rabbit holes. My Grandfather, a genealogy Magnate of the 80-the 90s gifted me a start that is enormous- 4 bank boxes with a 450-page book (5inch binder) that goes to a ready done sellable 50-page book that summarizes his work. I digitalized it then realized I want to continue his work. He has us going Calmar AB (my Dad), -->Mendham, Saskatchewan (himself) --> His dad married in Blumenfeld, North Dakota (Wendelin Senger-b.1885) -->Strassburg, Russia (Gaberiel -b. 1840) -->Johann Senger-b. 1800) then Riedseltz(Georg Senger- b.1770). Reidseltz- in France today. The calendar back then was special and the internet has a conversion. I should be fine- no really I'll be fine... I think. I use these notes in French for French notes. I am Canadian after all and I was in the classe Francais pour langue premier en Ecole secondaire (French as a first language in high school). I got this. I'll go at this from a bunch of angles if I have a struggle- I can find one family. Katherine (b1772) married to Georg Senger (b1772 in Riedseltz, lower Alsace, Germany) Stumpp's book cites them. Then I can work backwards. I started with the french civil archives.


Boy was I wrong.


I realize that I am hunting Catholics in an area where the German language is king. The priests/pastors are Latin speaking and legit this stuff look likes extreme sport to translate.


My weekends were me trying to find the Senger name. Look I found Sengerin here. It must mean something. I know I will ask a university professor from the U of Alberta, Christofer Mackay- Classics TA [at the time]. He does 3 images for me: [Translation for the one above]

Excerpt 1

Side entry: Anna Margaretha Sengerin, age 36


In the year above [apparently, 1766, to gauge by the next entry] on Feb. 16 there piously died, fortified with all the sacraments of the church and with general absolution, Anna Margaretha, wife of Johannes Senger, local citizen and tailor, at the age of thirty six. The next day, she was buried in the local cemetery. In attestation of this, the following signed: [signatures] Johannes Senger, Jörg Cohn, J.C. Dietz parish priest [with some ecclesiastical abbrevations I don't know]


I am getting close- 4year gap isn't that big. Right? Lets keep hunting the letters one by one are becoming tolerable.


Excerpt 2

Side entry: Johannes George Senger, infant, two months


In the year 1772, on October 3, there died Johannes George, the two-month-old son of the respectable spouses Johannes Senger, local citizen and tailor, and Maria Eva. The next day in that month, he was buried in the local cemetery in his own parish, in the presence of the witnesses Johannes Senger the father and Johannes George Sohn a local citizen, who have signed along with me. [signatures] Johannes Senger, Jörg Cohn, Constantius Fisch, OJ, parish priest


Except 3

Side entry: Johnnes Stephanus Senger, six-year-old boy

In the year above [no way to tell, presumably earlier than #2 in the time when Dietz was still priest; from the way she's mention, Margaretha seems to be alive, so before #1], on March 1 there died the infant Johannes Stephanus, six years old, son of the respectable spouses and citizens, Johannes Senger the tailor and Margaretha née Heinzin [i.e., her father's last name was Heinz]. The next day, he was buried in the local cemetery. In attestation of this, the following signed: [signatures] Johannes Senger, Jörg Cohn, J.C. Dietz parish priest [with some ecclesiastical abbrevations I don't know]


Crap there is more than one Johannes. I need help. GRHS has some cool guys that are still alive that hung out with my grandad. I'll ask them. Till the response comes I should learn about Latin translations. And work on learning German on Duolingo. The GRHS Team I sent them the link to the parish archives- explained I am a young kid I would love help... in a year the team member sent me trees, translations and the coolest letters- my fav was a wonderful lady who asked for anonymity- I hope you are not hurt but Damien ( Georg's possible dad)- the one you are asking about... he was adopted I am sorry here is the image and the translation.


My plea for help let me know so much but the stars were just that the stories didn't match complete and I was honestly just burned by Ancestry :( [another blog post another time] I needed images and translations for myself.


This is when I discover Roger P. Minert online while looking for translations help. What a hero: https://rpmgrtpublications.wixsite.com/mysite-2 A book to get through this exact situation.


Expectations of what the handwriting and symbols mean- characters one at a time:

http://narafriends-pittsfield.org/gechurch.htm?fbclid=IwAR1FrUaUMy9wUHRknqa_nmBC2Iugrzy6terj6hK0U-bGDbNKxkpdt-iZ0IY#:~:text=A%20baptism%20may%20be%20written,indicate%20an%20illegitimate%20birth%2Fbaptism


An explanation for when the letters don't match due to the use of Soundex

https://sktranslations.com/six-need-know-letter-swaps-deciphering-german-documents


Here are some cool videos as well on German Paleography and French from Family Search:

German Civil & Church Records

German Census Records 1816-1916

French handwriting 1

French Handwriting 2

French Handwriting Records 3

Francegenweb Intro

France Research With the Wiki Part 1 of 8: The France Main Page

France Research With the Wiki Part 2 of 8: A France Department Page

France Research With the Wiki Part 3 of 8: France Finding Town of Origin

France Research With the Wiki Part 4 of 8: Using France Department Archives Online

France Research With the Wiki Part 5 of 8: Reading Records in French and Latin

France Research With the Wiki Part 6 of 8: A French Case Study: Civil Registration

France Research With the Wiki Part 7 of 8: A French Case Study: Church Records

France Research With the Wiki Part 8 of 8: Writing for Records in French


Matching images on the trees to my personal tree is so rewarding- I hope my log here helps.


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