What’s the Record Format?

Foreign language records present difficulties for researchers. That difficulty is compounded when the records are written in ledger format and there are not columns to guide in the reading and interpretation of the record. This baptismal record from 1798 was different (at least to me) than others I had recently used in other locations. The name of the father was underlined and was the “focus” of the entry–not the name of the child. If I had not really read the entries and concluded that the underlined name was the name of the child, I might have missed this entry.

Just because other entries in other records I used highlighted the name of the child does not mean every location does. It’s good not to make assumptions about records when one crosses cultural, political, or chronological lines. It’s also good to know the general format of record entries when they appear in this ledger format. Otherwise it can be easy to miss a record or interpret it incorrectly.


Learn more about transcribing genealogical documents in German with
Katherine Schober ‘s transcription book–see our brief review of her Tips and Tricks of Deciphering German Handwriting.

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