Latin abbreviations – Part 3: Word contractions

For simplicity’s sake we will categorize every abbreviation form as a contraction when one or more letters are omitted inside a word. I.e. it is not at the beginning or end of a word, which we have written about in our former posts (click the words to read them) and it is not a one-letter abbreviation which we will write about in future. There are two groups within this category: Abbreviation of nasal consonants and Word specific contractions. Let’s see the examples! One less nasal consonant It was usual to write only one n or m instead of two or [...]

Latin abbreviations – Part 3: Word contractions2019-04-02T15:41:39+00:00

How to avoid the most common mistakes of beginner genealogists

Part 1. Ouch, I didn’t write it down! Where have I read this? You are enthusiastically throwing yourself heart and soul into the archival documents that seem relevant. You are so glad about a possibility to find an ancestor or relative. You are bitterly disappointed to have looked through something without finding useful data. And you celebrate your success if you have found a new ancestor. Amongst all these emotions you may forget to write down the number of the microfilm, the title of the book, the url of the page. Later - believe me, you won’t remember - you can [...]

How to avoid the most common mistakes of beginner genealogists2019-02-23T13:44:09+00:00

Baptism in the age of our ancestors in different churches

How, where and when were our ancestors baptized? Read our former blogpost about the date of baptism here.  We believe, a genealogist's ultimate goal is to really get to know his/her ancestors. They too were real people, not only a name, a date and a place. So how did they live? We should try to learn about their circumstances, beliefs, habits. Let’s see some habits and beliefs connected to childbirth and baptism. See our former blogpost about childbirth here. As you already know from the former blogpost, in some churches anyone could baptize the newborn if needed. But if [...]

Baptism in the age of our ancestors in different churches2019-01-24T12:03:51+00:00

The column date in Latin birth registers

Have you already searched for your ancestors in Latin church registers? You may have noticed that in birth registers, there are sometimes two dates in one row or column. There may be separate columns set up for them named “dies nativitatis” and “dies collati S. baptismi/baptismae/baptisationis/baptismus”. If however there is only one column “dies” (day), there may be two dates in the same column. These two dates are always those of the birth and the baptism. (Or there may be only one date, we will write about this in a next post). Why is it that these two dates are sometimes the same [...]

The column date in Latin birth registers2019-01-15T10:05:18+00:00

Why is it so hard to read old handwriting? Part 4.

Latin abbreviations found at the end of words. Read the first part of this series about abbreviations at the beginning of words here. The most common things abbreviated at the end of words are: -us, -m (two endings), -que (English meaning: and, put before the word to which it is glued) Hover over the images to see the transcription! The sign for the ending -us resembles a 9 at the end of the word. The abbreviation sign for -m can look like the last letter's hook or flourish was prolonged upwards like an ornament [...]

Why is it so hard to read old handwriting? Part 4.2019-02-20T11:22:10+00:00

Why is it so hard to read old handwriting? Part 3.

Abbreviations at beginning of Latin words You start to decipher the old Latin document or register entry containing your ancestor's name. You have even found a dictionary or glossary to look up the words. Then you meet some weird lines or symbols and some letters are missing to make up a known word. See part 1. and 2. of the series "Why is it so hard to read old handwriting?" on our FB-page with the hashtag #sohardtoreadoldhandwriting. You may see slightly different Latin abbreviations in different regions and times. These are taken from documents genealogists researching in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy's wider [...]

Why is it so hard to read old handwriting? Part 3.2019-03-04T13:08:25+00:00

How to learn Latin words?

How to begin with reading Latin manuscripts? Read our first post in this here So you know the first step to take when reading a Latin manuscript is to learn the words or at least know where to find them. If you don't know what to expect, it will be harder or impossible to decipher the letters, words of a manuscript. NOTE: You are very lucky if you need to read a printed text. If you don't need to decipher the letters, you will find the words in a dictionary easier. Will any dictionary do? What kind of dictionaries are [...]

How to learn Latin words?2019-01-24T10:21:54+00:00

Microhistory: Being a mother – exhibition in the Hungarian Natural History Museum

Microhistory: Being a mother - exhibition in the Hungarian Natural History Museum   As genealogists, we would like to know the whole lives of our ancestors, we would like to imagine how, in which circumstances they could have lived. This way the data turn into real life humans in front of our eyes. The temporary exhibition in the Hungarian Natural History Museum helps us just in this point: it discloses the fate of single people through births. Of course we know that neonatal mortality was high, but it is still staggering to read that Joseph Weiskopf, a tanner living in Vác in [...]

Microhistory: Being a mother – exhibition in the Hungarian Natural History Museum2019-01-24T10:12:44+00:00

Reading Latin

Reading Latin You are eager to research your family tree. Perhaps you have already found or plan to search for your Christian ancestors in church registers written in Latin. Maybe you have already found your ancestors in the searchable database of Familysearch, in the vital records collections on Ancestry or any local database by searching for their surname. If the entry is indexed, you may have the full name, location and date. But did you look at the record itself? Is it indexed correctly? Not always! (Did you know that indexing volunteers often don't speak the language of the records [...]

Reading Latin2019-02-15T11:03:11+00:00


Gemini Usually, in birth registers written in Latin twins are called gemini or gemelli (diminutive) if boys, or geminae or gemellae if girls. […]


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