Origins of Gothic Handwriting
Gothic handwriting was used by clerks and scribes as early as the fifteenth century and predominated in documents produced in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the countries of Scandinavia, well into the twentieth century. Historical research, including genealogical research, in original documents is impossible without the ability to interpret Gothic handwriting.
There are several different forms of Gothic Handwriting, usually based on the region and the time period. Earlier forms resembled what became Gothic Typefaces. One of the last forms to be taught in German schools was called Sütterlin. The form that will be shown in this tutorial is called Kurrent. This form was most prevalent in Middle to High German speaking areas throughout the nineteenth century.
The Kurrent Alphabet
Below is a full chart of the Germanic handwriting alphabet in Kurrent style. The numbers 1 to 10 are also shown. The letters and numbers on this chart are the ones that you will be learning how to write momentarily. You may download a practice sheet of this alphabet chart (in Adobe PDF format).
The following pages in this section will describe each letter of the alphabet in detail. Tracing animations will show you how each letter is written. Pictures from actual documents will show you real examples of each letter. Downloadable practice sheets (in PDF format) are also available on every page, and we encourage you to take advantage of them.
Be sure to use the items mentioned earlier on the Tools & Materials page. Again, learning how to write Gothic Script is the key to being able to read and understand it effectively.
Click each letter below to view an animation of how to write the German script.