Friday, April 23, 2010

Follow Friday - Witter's Deutsch Englische Schrieb und Lese Bibel

For those of you who are interested in old German handwriting I suggest a 95-page publication by the Indiana German Heritage Society titled Witter's Deutsch Englische Schrieb und Lese Bibel.

I bought this at the Fort Wayne Oktoberfest a few years ago for $7, but the Society's website is showing it for $5.

This book is a reprint of Witter's 1881 edition of German - English Primer. The German immigrants who came to the United States made an effort to hold on to their native tongue and culture by providing German education for their children, but in 1919 with the United States just coming out of World War 1 this educational practice was put to a stop when the Indiana General Assembly forbade the teaching of German in school. You will read about this in the introductory notes to this reprint.

I have found this book to be invaluable in reading and deciphering old German handwriting and for learning how to write it myself. The book deals with both written script and printed.

As the title suggests this is a German - English primer so words are both in German and English. I have a knowledge of German and a basic knowledge of German script so I find the book easy to use, but for those who know nothing about German it might be a little more challenging because even though words are in English, you might not understand the German enough to know what the letters are in script. A German dictionary at your side will be helpful in this case, so that you can see the German words in modern print.

This book has helped me to understand and more readily read even the modern handwriting of my German friends which has a distinctive characteristic look different from here in the United States even though the alphabet is the same.

For $5 or even 7 I find it well worth the price and it supports the Indiana German Heritage Society.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Thanks for telling us about this book. Combined with the 2 or 3 German handwriting/alphabet resources I've printed off the internet, I think this could be very helpful to me. I have had to translate only a few church birth and death records so far, but I hope (hope, hope) to eventually get back to German records for my ancestors. Thanks again.
Nancy from My Ancestors and Me at