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Frequently Asked Questions

What are German Scripts?

From the Sixteenth Century until 1941 German handwritten documents used a cursive script ("Kurrent", "Kupferstich") sometimes called "Fraktur" or "Bruchschrift"(from the broken line that characterized the writing) or "Sütterlin" (after the designer of one example of this script taught in German schools in the last century). The documents written in this script may originate in modern day Germany, Austria and Switzerland, and from other areas where there were German-speaking areas in the past and which are in modern-day Poland, Russia, the Baltic Republics and so on. This script was also used for North American German-language documents, such as Birth and Death records, Diaries -- particularly those of the Moravian Missions, and documents written by Menonites. Even after World War II some students in Germany were taught to write in Old German Script by old teachers who were the only people available to teach children after the war.

An example example of the alphabet is published by Hans Rollmann of Memorial University. Top

What does "Translation" involve?

Normally translation means the creation of a transcript of the document, keeping the original line arrangement and punctuation, and then the production of an English-language version of the document.

What kinds of work have you done?

In addition to numerous translations and transcriptions of family diaries, birth, marriage and death records, survey map notations, the following are examples of longer projects:


How much does it cost?

Send me a copy of your document and I'll give you an estimate, based on an hourly rate.

Costs depend on the time it takes to translate your document. That will depend on the handwriting itself, the quality of the copy, the number of pages written by the same hand, and so on.

How do I send money over the Internet?

I use PayPal to transfer money. 


How can I learn to read these scripts myself?

Some years ago I was writing my thesis on Switzerland in the eighteenth century and learned to read German documents written in cursive. While I was (still) finishing my thesis, I translated several hundred pages of Moravian Diaries from the Labrador coast, and was invited to try to transcribe a set of seventeenth-century hand-written notes. One thing led to another ....

If you already have (some) German, learning to read these scripts is not very difficult. There are books and websites set up to help you learn how to do this. In particular, I would point you towards


Hopedale Labrador in July 1794

You also may need a longer sample of German script to work on. Here are twelve pages from the Mission diary at Hopedale, Labrador, from 1794. Contact me for help or tutoring with these pages.

July 2 - 8, 1794

July 9 - 10, 1794

July 11, 1794

July 12 - 13, 1794

July 14 - 15, 1794

July 15 page 2 1794

July 15 page 3 1794

July 15 page 4, 1794

July 23 - 24, 1794

July 25, 1794

July 26-27, 1794

July 29 - 31, 1794


I am interested in collaborating on translation/research projects. Send me an email. I hope to hear from you!