This baptism record is from Creuzburg, in 1758. The bits in brackets are the bits I'm having trouble with.

enter image description here

20.† Anna Maria, [Vyl] Nicolaus Beckens, Ackermanns
     zu [Elmau] töchterlein ist den 11. Juli abends 9. uhr
     u. zwar 3. stundte vor ihres seel. (seelig) Vaters Todt geboh-
     ren, u. den 12. dito, daselbst getauft worden.
     Spond Fr. Anna Maria, Hans Georg Martins, Schalthei-
     sens zu Buchenau Ehefrau, [erhel…] des Kindes Groß-

Rough translation:

Anna Maria, [?] Nicolaus Beckens, Ackermanns of [?] young daughter is on July 11th at 9pm, although 3 [stopped in front of her ? father's death,] and ditto on the 12th, baptized there. Sponsors Ms. Anna Maria, [?] Georg Martins, [?] Zu [Buchenau] wife, [?] the child's grandmother.

Other issues:

  • There is a town named Elmau, but it is over 500 km from Creuzburg, and as far as I know, no connection.
  • There is a tiny town named Buchenau, but it is 63 km from Creuzburg, and again, no known connection.
  • For Johann Nicolaus Ackermann's own family I have documented him and his parents as having come from and lived in Creuzburg. Assuming he is the correct father, Anna Maria's grandparents would be named Henrich, Hermann, Magdelena, and Anna Martha.

Johann Nicolaus Ackermann and Anna Margaretha Schuchardt are who I thought were her parents, but this makes me wonder if that is incorrect.

  • ... vor ihres seel. [seelig, translates to deceased] ... Spond [not Sponsoren but likely Latin, likely means Godmother] ... Fr. Anna Maria, Hans Georg Martins, Schultheisens [probably a housename/farm] zu Buchenau ... Do you have a larger version of the image? Would make things easier but I cannot find any major transcription errors. Can't comment on the other issues but I don't think that you miss any relevant information.
    – nebulon42
    Commented Dec 7, 2020 at 18:04
  • @PolyGeo, would it be helpful to put line breaks in the transcription in the same place as the line breaks in the image?
    – shoover
    Commented Dec 7, 2020 at 19:34
  • @shoover I think it would.
    – PolyGeo
    Commented Dec 7, 2020 at 19:36
  • Also, isn't that "abends 9" not "bends 9" -- i.e. 9pm not 9am?
    – shoover
    Commented Dec 7, 2020 at 19:37
  • I've uploaded the full image to drive.google.com/file/d/1kRLCcr27eX890qajEkyY6QcMmuih4wbr/…
    – BrianFreud
    Commented Dec 7, 2020 at 20:30

1 Answer 1


I understand now, almost perfectly.

This says: "20.+ [i.e., twentieth entry, stillbirth] per the former Anna Maria:

The young daughter of the Elmau farmer Nicolaus Beckens, was born dead at 9pm on 11 July; approximately 3 hours later (about 12pm of the same day) her spiritual father baptized her nonetheless.

This news [Spond] comes from Anna Maria, wife of Hans Georg Martins, the "Schaltheisen" at Buchenau, the child's grandmother."

Schaltheisen is the only word I couldn't translate.

  • It's "Schultheisens". A Schultheiß is an official, responsible for taxes, amongst other things (Schult, or more modern Schuld, means "debt").
    – jadepx
    Commented Jan 18, 2022 at 7:48
  • Only slightly off topic, but I add this comment to see if someone with greater German knowledge can answer it definitively. "Sponde" literally means "spine." So my fuzzy memory tells me that Spondemutter or Spondevater, lit. "spine-mother" or "spine-father" because it is the person who supports a child and its parents. This is used figuratively, then, to mean "godmother" or "godfather". . . and, of course, the godparent is the one who DOES carry the report of a birth, esp. Catholic, to the authorities. Can anyone confirm or deny that?
    – shipr
    Commented Jan 18, 2022 at 9:06
  • Sorry, can't follow you there. Never heard of Spondemutter. As I know "Spond." stands for Latin "spondere" and means to promise. It simply means Godmother (as I have also indicated in my comment at the question). See britannica.com/topic/godparent.
    – nebulon42
    Commented Jan 21, 2022 at 19:43

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