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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Translation Tuesday ~ Death Notice in Fraktur

Awhile back I shared my attempts to learn to read French. While I am still far from fluent, I can muddle through enough of a document to get the gist.

And now I have another language to learn! Of course I turned to my Rootsweb friends when I received this copy of my 3rd great-grandfather's obituary. Color me embarrassed, I referred to the font as "German script". I quickly learned this artful style of writing is called Fraktur.

My French Schmitts hail from Moselle in Lorraine, a region of France that shares a border with Germany. They spoke Moselle Franconian, kind of a mix of German and French that was unique to their birthplace. It makes sense that they would read a German-language newspaper when they relocated to Cincinnati Ohio.

Three Cincinnati courthouses (and the documents therein) were destroyed by fire, so this clipping from the February 23, 1876 issue of the Cincinnati Volksfreund may be the only source of Nicolas' date of death:

In German it says, "Todes-Anzeige. Starb am Montag, den 21. Februar 1876, Abends um 11 Uhr, unser innigst geliebter Vater: Nikolaus Schmitt, im Alter von 64 Jahren, geboren in Hellimer, Lothringen. Die Beerdigung findet statt am Donnerstag Morgen um 8 Uhr, vom Trauerhause aus, No. 637 Race Straße, und wird ein feierliches Todtenamt in der St. Johannes Kirche abgehalten werden. Freunde und Verwandte sind ohne besondere Notiz dazu freundlichst eingeladen von den trauernden Hinterbliebenen."

And in English, "Death notice. Died on Monday February 21st 1876, in the evening at 11 o’clock, our beloved father Nikolaus Schmitt, at the age of 64 years, born in Hellimer, Lorraine. The entombment will take place on Thursday in the morning at 8 o’clock, starting at [the] house of mourning, 637 Race Street, and there will be solemn obsequies at St. John’s Church. Friends and relatives are invited to this without special note by the mourning bereaved."

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