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Ernest Thode’s German-English Genealogical Dictionary Essential for Understanding German Documents

German-English Genealogical Dictionary

If tracing your German origins requires that you read documents written in German—if you plan to research ones from the  19th-century or earlier it’s a virtual certainty you will—Ernest Thode’s classic dictionary is one book you should own. This book is designed for the family researcher who has little or no knowledge of German but who nevertheless needs to make a translation of German-language documents. The dictionary covers thousands of German terms and defines them in single words or brief phrases. The front of the dictionary also provides examples of German script that will help you decipher German handwriting. 

To help convey the scope and detail found in Mr. Thode’s German-English Genealogical Dictionary, we have excerpted below a small portion of words beginning with the letter “A” from p. 4 of the Dictionary. If German documents are in your genealogical future, here’s a book that will pay for itself many times over.

Abschaetzung, Abscbatzung, Abschätzung – appraisal (of property); estimate; assessment

Abschied – farewell; leave-taking; (military) discharge; death

Abschiedsanzeige – notice (posted or in newspaper) of upcoming departure

Abschiedsbrief farewell letter, document giving permission to emigrate; document granting life estate

Abschiedshaus – house on life estate 

Abschiedsmann – man retired on life estate

abschiffen – depart (by ship); embark

Abschlusszeugnis, Abschlußzeugnis – certificate of completion

Abschn. – abbr. for Abschnitt

Abschnitt – paragraph; (small) section

Abschoss, Abschoß – emigration tax 

Abschrift – (usually handwritten) copy 

absens (Lat.) – absent; not present 

absit invidia (Lat.) – no offense; no ill will; no grudge; no envy 

absit omen (Lat.) – no bad fortune 

absolut – absolute(ly) 

absolution (Fr.) – absolution; the last rites (of the Catholic church) 

Absolutiones dies (Lat.) – Maundy Thursday 

Absolutismus – absolutism; absolute rule (by a ruler) 

absolutistisch – absolutist; paternalistic; dictatorial 

absolvo (Lat.) – I absolve; I acquit 

absque (Lat.) – without 

absque herede (Lat.) – without heirs

absque hoe (Lat.) – without this

absque prole (Lat.) – without issue (children) 

abst. – abbr. for abstammen, mng. “descend (from)” 

Abstaemmling – descendant 

abstammen – déscend from 

Abstämmling – descendant

Abstammung – descent; hereditary; derivation; pedigree

Abstammungskartel – card file of ancestry

Abstammunglinie – ancestral line

Abstammungsurkunde – (official) document of ancestry 

abstatten – report; pay (visit) 

absterben – die (off) 

Absterben – death

Abstiftung – public auction (of a farm)

Abstreiter – renderer; knacker; flayer; roof-uncoverer 

abstimmen – vote 

Abstimmung – vote; plebiscite 

abstrahieren • abstract 

Abstreifer – skinner; flayer

Abszæs, Abszeß – abscess

Abt abbot

Abt. – abbr. for Abtei mng. “abbey”; 

Abteilung, mng. “division”

Abtei  abbey

Abteilung, Abtheilung – department; division; section; apportionment

Äbtissin – abbess 

abtreiben – abort

Abtreibung – abortion

Abtnenniger, Abtrünniger – apostate

Abundus – 26 August

Abundus und Irena • 26 August

Abundus und Irenius • 22 August

Aburteilung – trial

abwaerts – elsewhere 

abwandern – emigrate 

Abwanderung – emigration

abwarnen – warn against 

abwärts – elsewhere 

Abweichen – diarrhea 

abwesend – absent 

Abwesenheit – absence 

abziehen – emigrate; extract

Abzehrung – consumption; tuberculosis

Abzug – tax (extracted from subjects); departure (from an area); emigration; emigration tax of 10% of net prop«ty

Abzugrechnung • calculation of tax

Abzugspfundzoll • toll (calculated by weight)

Abzugsrecht – right to emigrate 

Also by Ernest Thode . . .