Old German handwritten scripts

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Samples of Old German handwritten scripts


  • Edna M. Bentz: If I Can You Can Decipher Germanic Records, Self-published 1982; 84 pages; spiral bound. Available from Bentz Publishing, Frontier Press, or amazon.com. This book has examples of many different variations on each letter, as well as fairly extensive lists of illnesses, occupations, and titles. The words are in the script also so you can see what they look like.
  • Fay S. Dearden: Deciphering Gothic Records: Useful Hints for Helping You Read "Old German" Script, Frontier Press; (1996), 11pp., 4.5 x 9, spiral bound cardboard flip-book. This is a small flip-chart book. Contains hints for deciphering Gothic records such as key words written in script, alphabets in script, symbols, abbreviations, and common Latin terms. This is meant to be an introduction to the subject.
  • Kenneth L. Smith: German Church Books--Beyond the Basics, Published by Picton Press. It is the best book that I have found on this subject. It contains tables showing variant forms of the different letters and numerous samples of handwriting from actual churchbooks. (Contribution by: David F. Schmidt)
  • Fritz Verdenhalven: Die deutsche Schrift. Ein Übungsbuch zum schnellen und sicheren Erlernen der alten deutschen Schreibschrift. [The German Script. An Exercise Book for Quickly Deciphering Old German Handwriting Script] 2. Auflage 1991, 151 S., 66 Abb., ISBN 3-7686-1040-3. Verlag Degener & Co., amazon.de After a short intro in German and English, including one page of alphabet and variants, the rest of the 50 pages are made up of a script document on the right hand page and the same in type on the left. Deciphering these writings should be good practice for anyone learning script, and amusement for those who just likes puzzles.
  • Witters deutsch-englische Schreib- u. Lese-Fibel / German-English Primer (1881). Reprint Edition (1987) 95+VIII pp. Indiana German Heritage Society. Introduces old German script. No knowledge of German required. Very popular among genealogists. (Contribution by: Eberhard/Ruth Reichmann)


Members of the Sütterlin-Schreibstube in the Center for the Aged Support Association in Ansgar transliterate texts (written) in "Sütterlin" or the "old German Schrift" into Latin (Roman) script. Thus, diaries, letter and other documents of our ancestors are made accessible.

In this area the Sütterlin-Schreibstube attempts to make the abilities of the old useful to the young. Currently there are 90 active members, whiching to help others that the old scripts can be read, As a side effect it is very a important for the members because it keeps their brain and fingers active with doing a use- and helpful work. These texts are either translated and written with typewriters or on a Computer. Costs are not incurred; however, the Center for the Aged Support Association in Ansgar is grateful for any contributions. Texts to be translated can be sent in the original or as a preferably as a good copy to:

Sütterlin Schreibstube

im Förderverein Altenzentrum Ansgar
Reekamp 49/51
22415 Hamburg
Homepage: http://www.suetterlinstube.de

The coordination is done by Dr. Dr. Peter Hohn.

I found this text in the Hamburg Abendblatt. After inquiring I received permission to make it available to a greater audience.

Contributed by Uwe Henz, translation by: Joel Streich

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