Rhineland (Rheinland) Language and Handwriting

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Rhineland (Rheinprovinz)
Wiki Topics
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Getting Started
Major Rhineland (Rheinprovinz) Record Types
Reading the Records
Additional Rhineland (Rheinprovinz) Record Types
Rhineland (Rheinprovinz) Background
Local Research Resources
Germany Record Types
Germany Background
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Rhineland (Rheinland) Language and Handwriting



Because of the French influence during the Napoleonic years, many records will be written in French.  As a result of this it is also the time when the French Republican Calendar was in use in Rheinland.
Early Civil Registration beginning in 1792 often had preprinted French formats requiring specific information.

There are several interesting and helpful articles on the linguistic situation in the Rheinland.

Click here for languages in the Lower Rhein, here for Spellings Variants in the Northern Rheinland
here for dialect basis of spelling variation in German names|, and here for Low German.

Reading the Records[edit | edit source]

  • It's easier than you think! You do not have to be fluent in German to use these records, as there is only a limited vocabulary used in them. By learning a few key phrases, you will be able to read them adequately. Here are some resources for learning to read German records.
German Genealogical Word List
German Handwriting
  • These video webinars will teach you to read German handwriting:
  • Also online interactive slideshow lessons are available to help you learn to read these records:

This converter will show you how any phrase or name might look in German script:

Downloadable Handouts[edit | edit source]

Latin Records[edit | edit source]

Records of the Catholic church will usually be written in Latin:

Feast Dates[edit | edit source]


Reading French Records[edit | edit source]

French Genealogical Word List
French Handwriting.
  • There is a three-lesson course in reading French Records:
Reading French Handwritten Records Lesson 1: The French Alphabet,
Reading French Handwritten Records Lesson 2: Key Words and Phrases
Reading French Handwritten Records Lesson 3: Reading French Records