The purpose of Transcribe Group is to foster and support the transcription and translation of German historical documents and the extraction of historical information and to assist interested researchers with the appropriate research techniques by providing guidance and learning aids for conducting German research.
The work of Transcribe Group began in 2002. This project is dedicated to providing family researchers with transcriptions and translations of their family documents at no charge. In this manner, we began to preserve historical details contained in baptismal, marriage and death records as well as immigration documents. With the information that a dedicated group of volunteers presented, the family research projects were enriched and research furthered. In order to request assistance with records, you must be a member of the Transcribe Group.
Early records were written with "the old German script" that varied considerably among different scribes and different regions.
Kurrent script evolved out of a need for more legible handwriting and became widespread in its use. Kurrent is characterized by beautiful flowing letters as in the sample below. By the end of the 18th century, Kurrent became more modern in its style.
Ludwig Sütterlin (born 1865, died 1917) developed a German script that eliminated the flourishes of Kurrent, replacing the sharp angles and straight lines with wider, softer curves.
By 1934, Sütterlin became the script being taught in virtually all schools in Germany. However, by 1941, it had, for the most part, disappeared in the school system. As a result of this, most people are not capable of deciphering documents written in the old script forms, leaving historical and family documents as mysteries.
Family bibles, letters and official documents provide insight into the lives of our forebears as well as providing a historical value beyond compare. Official documents might consist of baptismal records, marriage records, death records, military papers, immigration documents along with items pertaining to town histories.
While accounts currently available do inform us of historical events, there are many details that have yet to be deciphered and translated for future generations. By having accurate depictions of history taken from the words of those who lived before us, we are able to learn from their experiences and apply those lessons to life today.
We look forward to future preservation projects with the same enthusiasm and dedication displayed since Transcribe Group was created. Through the generosity of our volunteers, many important details of the past will be discovered and recorded for the benefit of future generations. As time moves forward and less people are capable of deciphering the old German script, these projects become more imperative.