Friday, September 14, 2012

Help with German Documents


A German company named Metascriptum contacted me to ask if they could mention their services on Bieganski the Blog. I agreed to let them do so. I know some amateur genealogists and others seeking keys to their ancestors' pasts sometimes have old documents in the languages of Poland's colonizers, including Russian and German. I cannot recommend this company, because I have never worked with them, but this blog post provides information for those who would like to explore their services. And so, from Metascriptum, the following: 

Old German Script Need Not Fade

Old German script is difficult if not impossible for younger generations to read. However, this does not mean that old documents need to fade away into nonexistence or misunderstanding. There are many ways that you can keep history alive.

Of course, one way to decipher these documents is to learn the old script that was used prior to 1941. However, this is a tedious task, made more difficult by the fact that the script is no longer taught in traditional schools. Yet, you can still learn what your past family has left behind. All you need to do is find someone that can transcribe or translate the documents for you.

Family History Regained

One of the biggest reasons people have documents written in old German script is to regain pieces of family history and lore. It is entirely possible that there may be stories in your families past that have been lost because no one can remember them. However, if those stories can come out in past personal letters, diaries, journals, and memoirs, you can regain your family history and a sense of your own self.

There are many different types of documents that may be found in the personal belongings of family members past. Personal letters, journals and diaries, or manuscripts may be found. It is entirely possible that you don’t even know what you have because you cannot read the old German script. Descriptions of property owned, business transactions, or personal encounters may all be discovered by having these documents translated.

Discovering New Insights

Since the old German script was faded out during the Second World War, there are many things you may discover in your family’s old papers. If you had ancestors that fought in the war, you may gain new insight to military life in the Nazi regime. You could also learn about your ancestor’s feelings about the war and about the German government of the time. It could give you a fresh outlook on the war itself and on your family’s part in it. This can give one satisfaction or disappointment, but it is important to the history of your family and the world nonetheless.

If you are so inclined, you could use the research gained from having old documents transcribed to write a book about the time period. Or, you could simply use the information to fill in gaps in your family history. Passing down stories about your family to your children becomes much easier when you have a full understanding of those stories from the perspective of those who actually lived in those times.

Of course, the old German script was used long before the Nazi regime as well, so you could uncover a wealth of family history and information by transcribing documents that you find. You could learn about marriages and births in the family, which could lead you in a totally new direction in your quest for family history and genealogy. All in all, it can be very rewarding and informative to have documents written in old German script transcribed for current and future generations.

We at Metascriptum provide professional support for deciphering your documents written in old German script and are happy to help you assist you in your research process.

The Metascriptum website is here.


  1. Speaking of German..

    Here is an article about a newly English translated book that was published to some sensation in Germany a few years ago. Apparently the British secretly recorded cell conversations of German POW's from the early 1940's onward, capturing candid conversations between Germans. It can probably be said that some is the "normal horror of war" but a lot of it is really disgusting, like pilot's targeting women with prams, etc. The fact that these were not SS men is a big part of the sensation. The photo of a placid and yet undamaged Poland through the front windows of a German bomber is pretty sickening
    . Here is the link:

    'They seized three-year-old children and shot them': Darkest atrocities of the Nazis laid bare in the secretly recorded conversations of German prisoners of war
    Read more:

  2. MB thanks for that. If I can get around to it, I will post about this article, which is horrifying.

  3. One of the worst I have ever seen. Maybe because of the modern and undeniable technique used to get the info. The bomber pic gets me. Maybe its why wars can't be "won" anymore. Too much information.


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