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Categories, Example, Notations, Abbreviations

Systematic manner :
For simplifying, we speak about "families", this is similar to a household with all persons which belong to. This can also mean a single woman with a child or an unmarried man, from whom we only know his day of death.

All persons of a family / a household share a family number. If children will marry one day, they get their own family number. The former number will then be added as number of their parents.

A familial sequence is catagorized according to an alphabetical listing of surnames. The husband's surname is used for this because traditionally this name never changed (today that is of course optional).

Families with the same surname follow continuously, whether they are actually related or not.

One difficulty in this classification is the fact that these surnames were often spelled differently (phonetically), there being no standardized spelling for them.
To sort these names alphabetically, however, a standardized form is absolutely necessary.
Therefore, the author, using his own judgement, has established a standard spelling, using the modern spelling of a name as far as possible.
If, then, your name is"Alers" you must search under "Ahlers" since this, as the most common spelling, is used as the standardized form of the name.
Details you'll find at "Changes in the surnames".

The sequence of families is primarily sorted alphabetically, from
Ahlers (Alers) and Ahrens (Ahrends) ....... to Wulff (Wulf) and Zeising (Seising).
They are further sorted by the birthdate of the husband or individual. This method has the advantage that first the grandparents, then the parents, then the children (occasionally with thier families), are listed.

Precision of Dates:
When dates of births/baptisms, weddings and deaths/burials come from church records, they consist of the day, month, year and church, i.e.: 5. 10. 1702 Eichede
PLEASE NOTE : this is german notation of dates : Day - Month - Year

For any given person, we can only know what has been recorded in the church records. Because precise details are often lacking, these details must be drawn from conclusion or must be estimated. The main effort when working with these books is drawing the correct conclusions from the overall collection of individual data.
In most cases the events are certain. Uncertain classifications are marked as such.

It is a hard work to read the entries of a book which is 300 or 400 years old. All persons which participate in this work, did their very best. But for reading or writing mistakes - or attachment to the wrong family we cannot give any liability. In case of doubt you better write to the county archive or church archive

Example from Eichede Church
1. Line : Family number
HackJochim Friedrich (EIC103125)~ 15.2.1737 Eichedevh. um 1765 wo ? + 2.1.1786 Eichede
2. Line : Family name as it was originally spelled (occasionally varied)
............Father's given names (given name in parentheses : differs from baptismal name!)
............(EIC1-103125) is the family number of the parents
............~ 15.2. 1737 Eichede : baptismal date (birthdate unknown) from church records Eichede
............vh. = married / around 1765 where? = estimated wedding date, church unkown
............+ 2.1. 1786 Eichede : date of death in church records Eichede

Sprenge / Bauernvogt, Witwer
3. Line : place of residence and profession or status
Eltern (1777): Altenteiler u. Bauernvogt Eggert Nicolaus Hack, Mollhagen, u. Anna Magd. geb. Möller
4. Line : parents, with profession and place of residence, if possible

StahmerAnna Magd. Dorothe (EIC1-107377)~ 7.2.1740 Eichedevh. um 1765 wo ? + um 1776
5. Line : Details of first wife, who is known only by the marriage of her eldest daughter, 1787.

PeemöllerMargaretha Elisabeth (EIC1-105681)* err.1755 Tr.vh. 21.11. 1777 Tr. + 7.9.1811 Eichede
6. Line : Details of second wife, birthdate calculated by given age.
............vh. 21.11. 1777 Tr. : Date of the marriage, which took place in Trittau (Tr).
............+ 7.9.1811 Eichede : Date of death in church records of Eichede

ihre 2. Ehe (1786) : EIC1-106733 Scharrenberg
7. Line : she remarried as a widow : a note of the new family number and the name.

1. KindAnna Magd. Marg.* um1765 nEivh. 26.10. 1787 Siek siehe SIE1-166200 Peemöller
8. Line : "1st Child" is the list number, not a guarantee of the correct order of children!
............* um 1765 nEi = born around 1765, not listed in Eichede church records (nEi)
............SIE166200 Peemöller : a note of the new family

Eltern (1787): weil. Bauernvogt Jochim Friedr. Hack, Sprenge/Eichede, u. Anna Magd. Dor. geb. Stahmer
.........weil. = the father died before this wedding occurred.
.........The classification of this child with these parents is based solely on the details of her wedding.

2. KindMarg. Dorothea* err.1767 nEivh. 9.11. 1787 Eichedesiehe EIC1-108981 Willhöft
3., mögl. KindC. M. * Aug.1768 nEivh. - bee.3.2.1769 Eichede
12. line : "bee.3.2. 1769 " funeral date
............This classification of this child to this family is based solely on the entry of the town name "Sprenge" for the funeral.
............The first 3 children were possible baptised in Trittau, which could perhaps still be proven

4. KindElisabeth* Okt.1769 Eichedevh.26.10.1792 Eichedesiehe EIC1-105217 Möller
............EIC1-105217 Möller : a note of the new family

5. KindMaria Magdalena~ 24.6.1771 Eichedevh. 6.11.1795 Eichedesiehe TRI1-300598 Scharenberg
............TRI1-300598 Scharenberg : a note of the new family, church Trittau

6. Kind, 2. EheClaus Friedrich* 12.2.1781 Eichedevh. 8.10.1805 Eichedesiehe EIC227680
Son Claus Friedrich, a child from second marriage, was later a Hufner and a Bauervogt in town Sprenge, see his family EIC227680
7. Kind, 2. EheChristian Friederich* 14.10.1784 Eichedevh. - + 22.3.1786 Eichede


Terms in old church books may fool our linguistic instinct, some words changed their usage over the centuries. In this cases a dictionary will confuse us.

Couples planning to marry were publicly bethrothed, the coming wedding was announced ("proclamirt") and the pair was then engaged "copulirt").
Deceased persons were described as "selig", "weiland" or "weyland".
"Hurenkinder" ("whore's children") are illegitimate offspring and "Dirne" is a housemaid.

Physically handicapped as well as insane people received the general description "behindert".
Accidental death, murder or suicide was generally described as "Unfall". If you think these situations are relevant to you in some way and wish to know the circumstances more precisely, please refer to the church archive.

The most unfamiliar descriptions are those of profession and status. What is a Hegereiter, what is an Inste ?
Spelling has become somewhat "smoother"; "Reuter" became "Reiter", (= rider)
"Schmidt" became "Schmied", "Wehmutter" (= pain mother) became "Hebamme" (= midwife), "Vollhufner" became "Hufner" . (= kind of farmer)

In a rural population, property ownership is essential. Church records distinguish between the following levels:
Hufner (also found as: Huffner, Hüfener, Vollhufner), is an independent farmer. A "Hufe" denotes a piece of land sufficeint to support a large family. The quality of the soil determines how large this piece of land must be.
Through inheritance and division come the following classes:
Halbhufner (1/2), Viertelhufner (1/4), 2/3 Hufner, Drittelhufner (1/3), Sechstelhufner (1/6).
Viertelhufner and Sechstelhufner were also called "Großkätner".(= bigger Käthner)
Kätner (also: Käthner, Köthener) had a small house with a small piece of land. Most of them would also have had a secondary profession.
"Anbauer" and "Bödner" are Cultivators, they had only small pieces of land and therefore a similar status.
"Erbpächter" are tenants with a hereditary land lease.
People without land are called "Inste" (also: Einlieger, Häuerling, Häuerinste)   ("Häuer" = rent)
and "Tagelöhner" (day laborers/hired hands).   ("Tag" = day, "Lohn" = wage)

The ratio of Hufnern, Käthnern and Insten ca. 1800 was supposed to be about 20 : 30 : 50 % of the population, with a strong tendency toward profligation of the lower class. The population was growing while the amount of land, of course, was not. The result was a general migration into cities, the Stormarn ancestors mostly moved to Hamburg and Lübeck.


a. = aus = from
Ahrbg. = Kirche Ahrensburg = Ahrensburg Church (formerly "Woldenhorn")
alias = denotes that a false family name has been entered into church records
Altenteiler, Altentheilsmann = Patriarch who has given his land to his son and lives on a pension
("alt" = old, "Teil" = part , "Mann" = man)
Anbauer = cultivator, see Bödner
Armenalumne = lives in the poorhouse
auch = also, name has been entered in var. form in KB church records
Bademutter = midwife
bee. = beerdigt = buried
bek. = bekanntes Kind = known child; there are certainly other yet unknown/unrecognized children
Bauernvogt, Bvoigt = a village mayor
Bargteh., Bheide = Bargteheide Church
Bödner = small landowner
Busse = see Kirchenbuße
Dirne = housemaid
Eck = Eichede
ehel. = "eheleiblich", ehelich = matrimonial
Einlieger = see Inste
Einw. / Einwohner = "resident" = profession/status unknown
Eltern = parents
Erbp. = Erbpächter = hereditary tenant
err. = errechnet = calculated date (f.e. a date of birth, from a given age)
etwa = estimated = plus or minus 20 years
evtl. = eventuell = possibly
Fr. = Frau = Mrs.
geb. = geboren = born
geschwächte = not virginal, may perhaps have an illegitimate child
Gevatter = godfather
Halbhufn. = owner of 1/2 Hufe
Hausmann / Haußwirth = house owner, see Hufner
Hegereiter = something like a mounted forest ranger
Höker, Höcker, Kramer = tradesman, merchant
Holländer = dairyman, usually itinerant
Holtzvoigt, Holzvogt = something like a forest ranger
hl. = hinterläßt = leaves behind (i.e., a widow), bequeathes
Hufner = independent farmer, posessing a "Hufe", ca. 50 ha farmland and meadow and a bit of forest
HV = from the Buch der Hausväter (= "Book of House Fathers = Patriarchs), written 1803
Inste = farm laborer without land or estate, differs from day laborers in that he has steady work and his salary includes use of a home, land and produce

Jfr. = Jungfer = spinster
Jgs. = Junggeselle = bachelor
Jurat = see Kirchgeschworener
Kätner, Käthner, Köthner = small landowner
KB = Kirchenbuch = church book
Ki. = Kind = child
Kirchenbuße = punishment for prematrimonial fornication
Kirchjurat, Kirchgeschworener = member of church government
Ksp. = Kirchspiel = parish
Kramer, Höker, Höcker = tradesman, merchant
Kröger, Krüger = landlord, innkeeper
Lü. = Lücke = gaps in church records
mögl. = mögliches Kind = relationship to a family cannot be proven
Mutter = mother
nach 1700 = after 1700 = chronologically restricted
nEi = not in Eichede church records
o.D. = ohne Datum = date unknown, not given
Oldl. = Oldesloe Church
P1680-2 = Pate (godfather) at baptism 1680 Nr. 2
Reinf. = Reinfeld Church
s. / siehe = see
Sandesnb. = Sandesneben Church in Herzogtum Lauenburg
Schönsöhlen = old name for village Schürensöhlen
sel. = selig = deceased
So. = son
Sülf. = Sülfeld Church near town Segeberg
To. = Tochter = daughter
Tr. = Trittau Church
ue. / unehel. = unehelich = illegitimate
um = estimated, plus or minus 5 years
Vater = father
verl. = verlobt = engaged/betrothed
verw. = verwitwet = widowed
vh. / verh. = verheiratet = married
vh. ja = it is recorded by obituary, that this child has married... but whom ?
Viertelhufner = owner of a quarter "Hufe" (see Hufner)
vKB = before church books appears = chronologically restricted
Vollhufner = whole farmer , contrary to half farmer (see Hufner)
vor 1700 = before 1700 = chronologically restricted
vorehel. = voreheliches Kind = prematrimonial child, but the parents married later
Wehmutter = midwife
weil. / weiland / weyland = already deceased
wh. = wohnhaft in = resident of
Wwe. = Witwe = widow
Wwr. = Witwer = widower

Translations by EvaSara Tullier, Berlin

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