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Making sense of old handwriting

Family Books

German-English Family Books Image

Family Book Record Context

Family books or Family registers may be found in two primary forms: condensed information about multiple generations of families found in the parish or as a 'snapshot' of all the families in a parish at any given time. Generally, 'Family books' refers to the multi-generational form, and such are regularly found in south-eastern Germany (Baden Württemberg) among Catholic parish records (and infrequently elsewhere in southern Germany and Austria). Records of the snapshot variety often are listed as Family registers and tended to be less common, but could be found in protestant church books of north Germany, among other places.

Family Book Record Content

Family book records will have:

  • A husband and wife (with birth dates, death dates and a marriage date)
  • Names of children (with birth dates and death dates)

Additionally, it is common to also find:

  • The parents of the husband and wife
  • Confirmation or first communion dates for the children
  • Marriage dates for the children
  • Places of husband and wife's birth
  • Assorted comments

You may discover a record that also records emigration dates, death, birth and marriage dates for the parents of the husband and wife, the names of the childrens' spouses, or even the children of household dependents' unmarried daughters.

Family Book Record Examples

Family book entries are generally found in a table or similarly organized format. Click on any image to go to its transcription and translation page.

Example of a typical table format:

German/Family Book Example 1

Note the crosses indicating death dates under the names of the parents.

Example of a free-form format:

German/family books example 2

Document example Attributions

  1. Example 1
  2. Example 2