Monday, October 17, 2016

Transcription and Translation of a Church Record Written in German

Sometimes church records are an entry in a ledger without a formal document.  That is the case with this death record for Carl Kropp from the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church (which became the Zion United Christan Church) in Steubenville, Ohio.

It is written in German but not in one of the more-difficult-to-translate old German scripts such as Suetterlin or Kurrent.  Yet because the handwriting and German words are unfamiliar to me it has not been a quick transcription nor translation.  Google Translate has been helpful, especially because I could try out possible spellings.

Below is a transcription of the handwritten German words and beneath that is a translation from German to English.
Kropp Carl geb. [geboran] am 2c ten Januar 1835
Kropp Carl born                 on  2nd  January 1835

in Heiddersdorf, Hannover, verherheiratet c. Sophie
in Heiddersdorf, Hannover,      married    with Sophie

Meintzen am 14 ten September 1863.  Gestorben
Meintzen on  14th   September 1863.   Died

am 30 ten Mai 1905 an, ["]general debility" Abends
on  30th  May 1905 of,  ["]general debility" in the evening

6 [???], beirdigt am 2 ten Juni auf dem
6 [???],  buried  on   2nd  June on  the

Union Friedhofe.  Die Hinterbluebene:  Seine
Union Cemetery.  The     survivors:         his

Wittwe und 5 lebende Kinder:  Wilhelmine
widow  and 5  living  children:  Wilhelmina

Schuette, Wilhelm, Heinrich, Karl Kropp,
Schuette,  William,   Henry,   Karl Kropp,

und Sophie Spahn.   (Geweindeglied)
and Sophie Spahn.      (Member)

Notes and Comments
On the German words and translation:  Google Translate sometimes gives different translations for the same word.  I am unclear whether "am" is "on" or "of" in English.  I used whichever made sense.   And there is that word at the beginning of the fifth line that I was unable to decipher or translate.  The "6" after it may indicate the time at which Carl died.

The location of Carl's birth looks like it could be Huddersdorf but I was unable to locate a town by that name.  However there is a town named Heiddersdorf.  The minister's dots over his "i's" are barely discernible or are higher than usual, making the handwriting uncertain enough that I went with Heidersdorf.   I'm aware that villages and towns can disappear over time and that in 1835 there may have been a town called Huddersdorf which now no longer exists.

This document gives Carl's date and location of birth; his wife's name and their marriage date; his death date and burial location; and the names of living children at the time of Carl's death.  This record is a page from a journal and has no date on it.  I have no other information about it than the church from which it came.  The citation will be minimal.

While Carl is not the collateral ancestor in question -- his wife, Sophie Meinzen Kropp is -- the location named on this record may be helpful in finding where they were married which could, in turn, be helpful in finding Sophia's city of birth (and by extension, possibly her brother Henry Carl Meinzen's city of birth, too).  (That's me:  ever the optimist.)


Copyright ©2016 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.


  1. You have every right to be optimistic. Great job!

    1. Thanks, Wendy. I appreciate your encouragement!

  2. I'm very impressed. I've seen quite a few of my German lines mentioned in records, but fortunately, they were transcribed. Good job, Nancy

    1. Thanks, Barbara. This German was much, much easier than any of the old German entries when letters have to be figured out before they become words, which then have to be translated. Still, for me, any German is a challenge. Lucky for you your German documents had already been transcribed!

  3. It is possible the word you couldn't translate following the number 6 is the word Uhr - which means clock. Maybe they used a similar expression to represent the time. We would say 6 o'clock - perhaps they simply put 6 clock?

    1. Thanks so much for suggesting this translation for the word/letters in question. Uhr/clock makes a lot of sense. Thanks!


I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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