Reading the Old German Handwriting

Transform the Scribble of the Script into the Stories of Your Ancestors

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One of the best genealogy decisions I've ever made:

After 20+ years of dealing with German Catholic records that primarily used Latin script, last September I connected to a Lutheran line that used Kurrentschrift which I've always found challenging (to say the least). While I could pick out names, dates and places I knew that I was missing a great deal of detail.

Katherine's course is aimed at keeping learning Kurrentschrift not only enjoyable but achievable. I truly would recommend the course to anyone who is serious about being able to get the most detail out of their family's documents.

I'm not done with the course yet but I've noticed an improvement in what I can read and understand. The course is one of the best genealogy decisions I've ever made. - Kurt Cook, Salt Lake City, UT

Amazing "Aha" Moments:

I’m now well into this course and I remain absolutely delighted! I can see how much care Katherine has put into the planning of the course and its progression. I love the variety in the teaching formats: powerpoint lessons, games, quizzes, vocabulary downloads and the practice sessions. All these help to reinforce the teaching and facilitate learning.

I’ve noticed such an improvement in what I can read and understand of my ancestors’ records. There have been some amazing “aha” moments when I’m now able to recognise the shape of a particularly tricky letter, or a cause of death. Along the way Katherine has also provided tips and tricks, together with links to some really helpful websites….. the total package! - Lis Drew, Australia

Loads of Fun:

I love Reading the Old German Handwriting class! I am very much a "hands on learner" and also need visuals, so being able to do this on my own time and feeling the security of going back to reinforce what I have learned has been really great. I love the matching and flashcard games. They really reinforce the presentation; and they are loads of fun! There are a number of samples that have been very helpful; especially with Katherine vocalizing and pointing out the letters. I also like the helpful hints. All of these things combined have made this a great learning experience for me. - Sandy J.

She Shared Her Whole Toolbox With Us:

First of all, I was excited to find an in-depth online course for translation of old German documents. I found the course challenging and comprehensive. I appreciate Katherine’s Powerpoints with the careful and measured instruction and explanations appropriate for even the least experienced students. With the games, challenging practice documents, plus tips and links to online assistive sites, it felt like she shared her whole toolbox with us. This includes some of the more tricky workings of the German language, like word order and alternate spellings. The vocabulary lists of BMD, occupations, causes of death, include some not found in other sources. Having studied the language in the past, viewed webinars and practiced the handwriting, I’ve had some success with translation. I have also been left with pages of German words (not all BMD documents) for which this course has provided context, enabling me to better understand my documents and to more skillfully transcribe them into English. - Josephine L.

Moves My Research Along Faster:

My eyes used to glaze over when I looked at the old German handwriting on parish and civil records, on postcards and letters.

NO MORE! After working through 75% of the course, I find myself pushing back at that glaze, starting to sight-read the handwritten words, or at least recognizing/transcribing individual letters/words written in those less-than-perfect handwriting styles, to actually reveal a word. Now I don't have to wait days and weeks for those vital records translations to learn what is in them, which moves my research along faster. - Don R.

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Class Curriculum

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  Discussion Forum
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  Introduction: Why Did Our Ancestors Use the Old German Script?
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  A. Individual Letters, Lesson 4: Common Combos (Common Letter Combinations in German Handwriting)
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  A. Give it a Go!: Deciphering Short Words Yourself
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  B. Give it a Go!: Deciphering Vocabulary Words Yourself
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  C. Reading Records: Tips and Tricks of Deciphering the Old German Handwriting
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  C. Reading Records: Transcribing Letters
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Why I Made the Course

All About "Reading the Old German Handwriting"

What if you had the power to decipher your ancestors' documents all by yourself? What if those scribbles on your ancestors' church records actually meant something to you?

I'll tell you what: You can, and they will!

Have you finally found your ancestors' German documents, but can't read that tricky German handwriting? Or perhaps you can recognize some of the words, but you'd like to improve your skills and increase your reading speed. Either way, this course is for you! Designed as the ultimate guide for reading the old German script, this course starts with the basics - learning the individual letters of the alphabet - and culminates in reading entire genealogical records - vital records, church records, and more.

A Style of Learning for All: Video Lectures - Flashcards - Matching Games - Reading - Writing - Tests & Quizzes - Practice Records - Discussion Forum

Once you enroll, you'll receive:

  • In-Depth Look at the Individual Letters of the Alphabet + Tricks on How to Recognize Them
  • Guide to Common Letter Combinations in the German Script + How to Sightread Them
  • Practice Section on Deciphering Short Words from Actual Genealogical Documents
  • Deep Dive into the Vocabulary on German Records, such as:
    • Names
    • Months
    • Abbreviations
    • Milestone Words
    • Occupations
    • Causes of Death
  • Practice Section on Deciphering These Words from Actual Genealogical Documents
  • Lessons on Reading Specific Genealogical Records (Videos and Text)
  • Actual Genealogical Records to Decipher + Answer Keys
  • Downloadable Articles on the Best Tips and Tricks for Reading the Old German Handwriting
  • Discussion Forum to Discuss Struggles and Victories with Fellow "Classmates"

Once you finish this course, you'll be itching to go decipher your ancestors' records - and will feel very proud of yourself as you realize you now can do it!

Don't wait - get started today!

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
Access is unlimited! After enrolling, you have access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
Do I need any experience with German to take this course?
No experience with the German language is necessary! This course has an entire section focused on German vocabulary you will find in genealogy records - along with how to recognize these words in the old German handwriting. While this course primarily focuses on the script, you can't help but learn some German along the way!
This course would be a big investment for me. Is it worth the price?
It is! If you can learn to read the old German handwriting yourself, this will save you a great deal on paying for translations. Not that I want everyone to stop buying translations - that is my business, after all - but I am a teacher at heart, and I love to see my students succeed. I truly believe you can learn the handwriting, and that you will enjoy that sense of accomplishment you feel from deciphering your own ancestors' documents. It is fun, I promise!
Are refunds available?
If you are not satisfied with the course within 30 days of purchase, you will receive a full refund. We want happy customers!
Can I download and print the course materials or will I only be able to see them on my computer?
Many of the course materials can be downloaded and printed out. These include all vocabulary lists, all text documents and articles, and all practice records and their answer sheets. The video lessons cannot be downloaded, but you may watch them on your computer as often as you like. The interactive activities - flashcards, games, etc. - are also meant for your computer only, but the words that these activities cover are available in your downloadable vocabulary lists.
Is the course fun?
That was my main goal! As adults, we're no longer required to go to school - so when we choose to learn something, it should be a fun experience. This course includes flashcards, matching games, listening activities, and fun tests and quizzes - a style of learning for everyone!

Your Instructor

Katherine Schober
Katherine Schober

Katherine Schober is a German-English genealogy translator who has translated for both The History Channel and PBS' Finding Your Roots. She works with the old German script in letters, diaries, certificates, church records, and more, helping people like you decipher the clues to their ancestors' lives. With a Master's Degree in German coupled with a passion for history and language, Katherine truly enjoys working with the documents of the past - and knows this course will enable you to do the same!




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