“Reading German II: Introduction to Reading German Church Books”
F. Warren Bittner, CG
Reading German church records written in old Gothic script is one of the most difficult challenges facing German researchers. Germans were meticulous records keepers and the church records are filled with details, but the church books are difficult to read. This course will introduce the basics of reading these essential records. Basic vocabulary for church records will also be introduced.
F. Warren Bittner, CG, is a genealogical researcher and lecturer. He is a trustee for the Board for Certification of Genealogists. He holds a Master of Science degree in history from Utah State University. His master’s thesis looked at the social factors affecting illegitimacy in nineteenth-century Bavaria.
Warren Bittner was a winner of the National Genealogical Society 2011 Writing Contest, with his article “Without Land, Occupation, Rights, or Marriage Privilege: The Büttner Family from Bavaria to New York.” This article was also awarded the National Genealogical Society, Award for Excellence, 2012 which is presented annually for an outstanding article published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.
He has coordinated German research tracks at the Samford University’s Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research in Birmingham, Alabama, and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. For six years he was the German Collection Manager for the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. He has done research in more than fifty German archives and in more than forty U.S. archives and record repositories
In the first session German baptism records will be introduced. The lecture will give examples of typical baptismal entries in both column and paragraph format. Examples of key vocabulary words from baptism records will be taught with examples written in Gothic script. A short homework assignment will help students practice the skills learned.
The second session will introduce German marriage records. The basic format of marriage records will be taught, and students will see examples in Gothic of common marriage vocabulary. A short homework assignment will help students practice the skills learned.
The third session will cover German death and burial records. Basic formats, layout, and vocabulary of death records will be introduced. A short homework assignment will help students practice the skills learned.
In the final session, we will review the information for baptism, marriage, and death records. Students will practice distinguishing between record types.