Research Notes

29 Transcribing/Translating Document Image Dates, Places, and Names

The images of  documents contain information not reported in the database document abstracts. Transcribing and translating the data requires some care but is well worth the effort to be able to identify and distinguish people with similar names.


The year of the event is usually given at the top of the page on which an event is recorded in the church record book.  One can usually distinguish between birth/baptism, death/burial, and betrothal/marriage dates by the column headings of the record.

The day may be recorded as a month and day.  However, the day that the event occurred is often recorded in church records as days and weeks or Sundays before or after a Feast Day. (The calendar of saints is a traditional Christian method of organizing a liturgical year by associating each day with one or more saints and referring to the day as the feast day or feast of said saint. The word “feast” in this context does not mean “a large meal, typically a celebratory one”, but instead “an annual religious celebration, a day dedicated to a particular saint”.) Some of the Feast Days are always on the same day of the year. But many of the Feast Days are ‘movable’ and depend on the year in which the event occured. And, some will depend on the country and religion. For this research, the following page was referenced: Moveable Feast Day Calendar for: Germany

Locations/Place Names

Assumed Event Locations

The location at which the events such as baptism, marriage and burial occurred are assumed to be at the church given in church records. The exception is when an event such as a marriage is recorded in two church records. In this case, the record with the earliest date is assumed to be where the event initially occurred and the record with the later date is assumed to be just a recording of the event.

The records often include where the parents are from in birth records. Births are inferred to have occurred where the father was from.

Deaths are assumed to have occured where the individual or parent was from.

Abbreviated Place Names

Care must be taken, because the place recorded in the record is sometimes an abbreviation of the location.  For example, “fich” is sometimes the identification of Fichtenhainichen.

The place name from which Justine Kratsch and her father were from given in the Rositz marriage record of Christoph Kirmse and Justine Kratsch is given as Graßa. Furthermore, all the birth/baptism records of Justine’s children have that she is from Graßa.  There is no nearby village named Graßa. There is a village named Krossa. However, the fit was not good because the initial script letter of the place name is definitely a “G”. When the marriage of Justine and Christoph was discovered to also have been  recorded at Monstag, Großröda, it became apparent that Graßa was shorthand for Großröda.

People Names

The spelling of people names can vary from record to record.

For example, Anna Johanna Christina Kratsch’s birth name is given as “Johanna Christina Kratsch”. However, in the record of her marriage to Johann Gottlieb Dieg, her name is given as Johanne Kratzsch with an extra “z” in the spelling of her maiden name.  Most of the birth/baptism records of her children have her as being born “Kratzsch” with a few spelling her maiden name as “Kratsch”.

Kratsch or Kratzsch

The spelling of the last name Kratsch as some records have the spelling Kratzsch with an extra “z”.  This difference in spelling could mean that there are different families involved. However, on examining the records for some people, their last name is spelled differently in various records.  It appears that the spelling was likely that given by the recorder of the church record and does not always mean there are different people being referenced.

This means that one has to search the database records with both spellings. A search of Ancestry for abstracts that reference a male Michael Kratsch found  231 references with this spelling. And, there are 181 references for a Michael Kratzsch.

Order of Birth

Many of the birth/baptism and marriage records include the order of birth as child number, son/daughter number of the mother. This has been helpful in distinguishing children and parents as well as identifying missing children.


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