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Level 3: Deciphering Records in German Genealogy

Practice Vital Records, Church Records, and Letters to Improve Your Deciphering Skills

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Want to know a secret?

You can learn to read your ancestors' documents. All it takes is a bit of practice!

* If you have no prior experience with the old German handwriting, it is recommended to take Level 1 and Level 2 of the course first. This is the final level for those more advanced. *


In German, they say "Übung macht der Meister", or "practice makes one a master". In English, we say practice makes perfect. And this course has the practice you need to become a master yourself.

When I was first starting out with the handwriting, I just wanted someone to tell me if I was doing it right. The practice records and answer keys provided in this course will do that for you - a wonderful way to learn and grow in your skills.


The Course Includes:

  • Video Lesson on Tips and Tricks for Deciphering the German Handwriting - All My Best Secrets!
  • Video Lessons on How to Read Vital Records, Church Records, and Letters
  • Practice Vital Records: Birth, Marriage, and Death
  • Practice Church Records: Birth (Baptism), Marriage, and Death
  • Practice Letters
  • Answer Keys with the German Transcription and English Translation of the Above Records
  • Downloadable Articles on the Best Tips and Tricks for Reading the Old German Handwriting
  • Discussion Forum to Discuss Struggles and Victories with Fellow "Classmates"

After you practice with these records, you will be amazed at what you can now read on your own ancestors' documents.

Are you ready to join us? Ready to try?

Let's get started!




Get started now!



Testimonials for Reading the Old German Handwriting Online Course (Entire Course)

As this course is brand new, the below testimonials are for the entire course (Levels 1, 2, and 3 combined). Level 3 focuses on practice records, so please take that into account when reading testimonials.

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


Could not recommend it more highly:

I started this course frustrated that I couldn’t even decipher the signatures of my ancestors on documents. By the time I had finished, I felt confident enough to study and begin translating the entire record! What an empowering experience! Katherine Schober’s unique approach to education encompasses multiple learning styles, allowing each student to absorb information in the way that suits him or her best. The variety of options for review – a combination of videos, flashcards, games, and printable vocabulary lists – keeps study time interesting. I could not recommend “Reading the Old German Handwriting” more highly! - Katie C., New Jersey

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

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.

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.

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.

I can really see the difference:

I would highly recommend this course for beginners to advanced genealogists who want to learn or improve their abilities to read Kurrentschrift. I am about half way through the course but have already noticed improvement in reading Kurrentschrift. I will still need to practice and this course allows you to practice, test yourself, and review. I have already tested myself against other documents that I have on hand and can really see the difference. The coursework is relevant and aimed towards the genealogical terms you will encounter and there are many tips and tidbits along the way. - Sherri T., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Course Curriculum


  Introduction Video: Watch First!
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days after you enroll
  Discussion Forum
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  Pre-Lesson: Why Did Our Ancestors Use the Old German Script?
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  Lesson 1: Tips and Tricks of Deciphering the Old German Handwriting Video Lesson
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  Lesson 8: Transcribing Letters
Available in days
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Why I Made the Course

All About "Reading the Old German Handwriting" (This course relates to "Section C" mentioned in the video).


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.
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?
Yes, you can download and print out all of the records, answer keys, and articles in this course. The only items you cannot download are the video lessons, but they are available for you on your computer at any time.

Get started now!



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!

Contact: [email protected]

Website: https://sktranslations.com/