Is this German Scan Readable for Translation?

Title page to family bible that my mother copied
in the late 1970s. I love having my mother's handwriting

My darling mother started the family history in 1977 for both her and my father's lines. Did she rock or what? She did this back when Xerox copies were the rage. She came across a German Bible in possession of Margie Wasson. She copied the Bible but never got around to transcribing the book. Since that time, it is believed that the Bible passed on to my mother and was in her collection of stuff before she moved twice and downsized prior to her death last year. During this process, the German Bible is believed to have been discarded by an unknowing person because it was poorly cared for. So sad. I have what is believe to be the only copy of the genealogical data within that bible.

I have held onto the Xerox copies wondering what to do with them. The quality is poor and I don't read German. I don't want to send the copies to anyone for translation because these are the only copies of a book that no longer exists. If the pages could be read and I lost them in transit, I think I would, um, cry a river or something.

Today, I decided to scan the copies so I could have a back up. What the heck, right? The first scan left me in shock. I think the files might be readable enough to send to a transcriber? If that's the case, I might be able to open a few brick walls. I'm super excited. Now I am anxious to see what these pages mean.

German Bible entry in need of transcription
Second version of previous entry

Are these readable scans? I think they are, but I don't transcribe things often. However, I read a few ship manifests with terrible scan quality and people were able to read them. Could these scans be better than those manifests? Could I send them to a transcriber? Oh how I hope the answer is a resounding yes (for the vast majority of the 7 pages). 

If these pages are readable, it is my belief they are liked to the Hoppe and Geiszler families that I struggle with. A news clipping (not shown) is on a page across from the above page. If I can read it slightly, the last name Hoppe (English version of the name) is in the article. That's a great+ grandma!

German Bible entry in need of transcription
From a German Family Bible that no longer exists

The above page looks like the names could be Geiscler. Family members perhaps? The bottom half of the page doesn't get any better in person. But perhaps the top half is readable. Please let it be so!!!!

German Bible entry in need of transcription
Another entry from the same German Bible Xerox copies

I have no idea what/who this page refers to. I do know that my mother wrote 'DEATH' on her Xerox copy. So, this is an entry for someone. But who? I can't tell.

I've been to a class that said you can try to figure out what the writing says. However, I would rather know if these images are readable enough for someone familiar with the German language to transcribe. It would be faster and better to let someone else handle the work. I have so much other information coming in all the time (and stuff I haven't processed), that I don't think I could spare the time trying to figure everything out.

Anyway, if you know of a person who can translate German, please provide a referral. I would really love to unlock the mysteries of these old copied papers.

I just looked at the date. It's the 9th anniversary of my father's death. This is his line. Is he helping me from beyond the great divide? I'm in tears now. Anyway... I know the power of the Genealogical Community to collaborate and help each other out. Please point me in the right direction to turn this treasure and anniversary into something to celebrate.


  1. My Sütterlin (Sütterlin is the handwriting you're looking at) skills aren't too great, but I can manage to read a lot of the stuff. (Almost all of it.) I'm pretty certain a transcriber can handle this!

    First copy (the one that's a "double") starts with "Anna Margaretha ..."
    (although reading it again I'm getting uncertain about the "Margaretha")

    The second one seems interesting. It is readable, although I am so extremely unsure, I will not "publicly" write, what I can read. (As I might make some real mistakes here ;) and will look like a colossal donkey.)
    It gets harder to make out near the bottom of the list of names, but they are readable!

    Third one, (your mother's handwriting) "death", reads
    (printed) "Family Registry - death/decease"
    It says
    Anna Margaretha Geißler starb am 5. November 1888
    (died Nov. 5th 1888) and
    Lena Geißler starb am 6. Mai 1889
    (died May 6th 1889).

    Actually it seems to be a blessing that you made scans as you can play with the scan in your image software of choice and that will help with that list of names.
    I'm quite convinced you will be able to read everything.
    Unfortunately my Sütterlin skills aren't too great, so this would probably be quite time consuming for me too ... but I'm sure you will find someone that will help you! :)

    And if you can't find a transcriber, try posting in a German forum, usually some of the Germans there will be able to communicate in English. ;)
    If you want to try this, go here and click at "forum" (at the top!).

    It's popular and a lot of people interact there.
    Post it under the topic "Lesehilfe" (reading aid).

    Fingers crossed! :)

    1. Verena... you made my day. The Anna Margaretha Geißler is so exciting. I don't know who she is or where she died. But is a clue and a name. I will be so excited to find out the rest of the clues in the book.

    2. I know who Anna Margaretha Geißler is! I know that's the daughter of my great+ grandfather Henry Joseph Geiszler and his wife Martguerita Magdalena Hoppe. I think I might be looking at Maggie's handwriting. If only I knew who Lena is. Could this be another child? Oh.... I'm excited. I really, really, really want this Bible translated......

    3. Glad I could help! Sounds very interesting, please post about your finds. :)

  2. How exciting to have these copies, Devon! Maybe you will find some great information on them. If you're game to attempt translating yourself, I wrote two posts with resources for translating old German handwriting & type to English. You can find them at and I'm not much good at translating without looking very carefully at the guides but I found it very interesting (and challenging, too).

    I hope you'll share what you find.

    1. Thanks Nancy... I'll give translation a try. Yet I do hope to find someone with more experience. ;)


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