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Interpreting German Records

OnDemand Webinar

By James M. Beidler

Format: Download

SKU# U7460


  • You want to master basic German terms that could be key to finding your Germanic family
  • You want to learn strategies for decoding the intimidating Gothic typeface that covers everything from German books to newspapers
  • You want a crash course in how to begin transcribing and translating handwritten German cursive

Presenter: James M. Beidler
Duration: 1 hour

If you're intimidated by the strings of hard consonants and stolid Gothic script shrouding your German ancestors, then this webinar is for you. In “Interpreting German Records”, you’ll learn the basics of several interrelated skills that you need to work with German genealogy records, from basic translation to decoding hard-to-read handwriting and typeface. Expert presenter James M. Beidler we'll help you decipher records from Prussia, Bavaria, Hanover and the rest of what's now Germany. Webinar attendees receive a free copy of Family Tree Magazine's article “Evasive Maneuvers: Avoiding Germanic Genealogy Research Pitfalls”.

What You'll Learn:

  • How to arm yourself with resources to build vocabulary and decipher abbreviations.
  • A methodology for solving the quirks of the printed Gothic/Fraktur typeface in which books, forms, gazetteers and newspapers are found through the mid-20th century.
  • Getting started transcribing and translating the handwritten German cursive script in which most church and civil records are found.


James M. Beidler writes “Roots & Branches,” an award-winning weekly newspaper column on genealogy that is the only syndicated feature on that topic in Pennsylvania. He is also a columnist for German Life magazine and is editor of Der Kurier, the quarterly journal of the Mid-Atlantic Germanic Society. He is Vice President for Development for the Federation of Genealogical Societies, President of the Pennsylvania Chapter, Palatines to America, and is the former Executive Director for the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania. He served as national co-chairman for the 2008 Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Philadelphia. Beidler is also frequent contributor to other periodicals ranging from scholarly journals such as The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine to popular-interest magazines such as Ancestry and Family Tree Magazine. He also wrote the chapter on genealogy for Pennsylvania: A History of the Commonwealth, published jointly by the Penn State Press and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. As a lecturer, he has been a part of the Pennsylvania Humanities Council’s acclaimed Commonwealth Speakers program since 2002, and has been a presenter at numerous conferences. In addition to being a member of numerous genealogical, historical, and lineage societies, Beidler also sits on Pennsylvania’s State Historic Records Advisory Board as well as the selection committee for the Pennsylvania Newspaper Project. Beidler was born in Reading, PA, and raised in nearby Berks County, where he currently resides. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Hofstra University in Long Island, NY, with a BA in political science in 1982.

SKU U7460
Author/Speaker/Editor James M. Beidler
File Type PDF, MP4
Format Download
Runtime 1 hour

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