I have roughly translated about a dozen ancestral marriage records from Sønderborg Parish, Aabenraa-Sønderborg Amt in southern Denmark. All are in German and I understand them except for the reference to a "Vau. Attest", a "Vau. Certificate". (See line 2 of image.) The period after Vau. is intentional and indicates, to me, this is an abbreviation. I hoped it was shorthand for vaccination, but the diacritical mark above the U in Vau, makes the vowel clear.

I have attached a snip of a record to illustrate the Attest (certificate) is related to a statement by a local doctor.

My transcription: Die Braut, hieselbst geboren den 10 Apr. 1810, und confirmirt 1825, prod.[produziert] eine Vau. Attyst des doctors und Physikus Henrici, Augustenburg, den 12 Juli 1823, Einwillingung des Armencollegii [collegii? is Latin for college] Sonderburg, den 28 Oct. 1842. Die Mutter hatte ihre Einwilligung mündlich erklärt.

The Bride, born here 10 Apr 1810, and confirmed 1825, produces a [Vau.] Certificate of the doctor and Physikes Henrici, of Augustenburg, 12 July 1823. Consent of the poor College[?] Sønderborg, 28 Oct 1842. The Mother gave her consent orally.

To add to the confusion in this record, see the writer's added parenthetical message. I think this says "Die [V/S]acrimet. Atteste sind gebredgeben."

The [something] Certificates are spoiled.

So. Any ideas? What is a Vau. Attest? What does Vau. mean? Is this related to the parenthetical statement after the initial paragraph?

enter image description here

  • 1
    Armencolleg = Armenkolleg from collegium. an institution that deals with local poor people.
    – lejonet
    Commented Feb 17, 2021 at 6:35
  • 3
    Maybe this refers to the smallpox vaccination that became somewhat mandatory in Denmark at the beginning of the 19th century. See e.g. familysearch.org/wiki/en/Vaccinations_in_Denmark
    – lejonet
    Commented Feb 17, 2021 at 6:42
  • 1
    I have no idea yet regarding your main question, but I am fairly sure the last word in parentheses is "zurückgegeben", i.e. "given back" or "returned". Maybe that helps someone. Not that it matters, but the doctor's name is given as Henrici, not Henrin.
    – ad42
    Commented Feb 17, 2021 at 7:38

1 Answer 1


I'm quite sure that the words in question mean "Vacc. Attest". I'm not aware of any other documents in that location and era that would make sense (there are not many words in German starting with "Vau", actually...). The comment given by lejonet is right: small children were vaccinated in Denmark during that time, and had to produce the corresponding certificate when they wanted to get married later.

What might be confusing here is that in the script used in Denmark at that time, a "c" carries a small dot or dash on top. This can often be mistaken for an "i", and if written sloppily, it might look similar to a "u" (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurrent for very tidy examples).

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