I am have here a hard-to-read Austrian baptism register entry with several additional notes added later on (note in the image from the beginning of the 20th century).

That it's hardly legible is not the focus of this question, rather I would like to understand what the meaning of those symbols in the beginning and end of this text are. Why is this text put in between |: … :|?

Baptism register entry snippet

  • If this is a parish register of Austria then it is likely available on matricula-online.eu. Linking to the document might help with context.
    – nebulon42
    Jan 6, 2020 at 12:48
  • @nebulon42 The document in question: data.matricula-online.eu/de/oesterreich/wien/… It's the second entry.
    – phk
    Jan 6, 2020 at 12:50
  • 1
    My guess is that this refers to some documents containing a decision by the administrative authority and the "fürsterzbischöfliches Ordniariat" (ordinariate) about the father of the child.
    – nebulon42
    Jan 6, 2020 at 13:01
  • @nebulon42 Thank you for deciphering that. From what I understand there are three seperete notes (someone even numbered them). From 21. Aug 1884, 3. Feb 1916 and 5. May 1916. The other notes also seem to reference document but don't have those symbols.
    – phk
    Jan 6, 2020 at 13:04
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    I've seen those frequently in Hungarian civil registers. It seems to me that they're basically parentheses crossed with quotation marks: they mark parenthetical text that comes from (or is based on) another document.
    – JPmiaou
    Jan 8, 2020 at 14:31

1 Answer 1


I don't have a definitive answer and can just refer to my experience. I have seen this often in parish registers when referring to how something is said, spoken or generally known e.g. like house names. In a wider sense it may be also used to refer to something which is known by reference. In your example we see a reference to another (legal) document. Such references often had to be copied to the register word by word so it might being used as our quotation marks there.

Some examples for the usage of /: ... :/ in parish registers in the Diocese of Gurk, Austria:

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