enter image description here Here's what I have:

den 26 Jan.

Meister Johannes Schweitzer des Haußmans Sohn 
Johannes Sein pfatter wahr Hans Ott Kramer
[?] sein Kind zum [Kalchobes?] pfatter war.
die gantz [?], ist ihm der nahm Johannes
Georg gegeben w. hat [?] uff [?] den
            wöllen geben.

I'm using Google translate, to get:

Master Johannes Schweitzer the Haussman's son Johannes His father was true Hans Ott Kramer [?] his child to the [Kalchobes?] father. the entire [?], is given to him by Johannes Georg who has [?] uff [?] give the woolen.

I could use some assistance in fixing up this transcription, and making sense of the translation.

3 Answers 3


Some help on the translation:

"pfatter" might be either "Vater" (father) or "Gevatter" (godfather). "wahr" is a wrong spelling of "war" -> "Sein pfatter wahr" means "His father / godfather was..." "ist ihm der nahm Johannes Georg gegeben worden" -> he was given the name / was called Johannes Georg "wöllen" is a wrong or old-fashioned spelling of "wollen" "wöllen geben" -> wanted to give

I can't help you with the transcription, though. Some words are really hard to read.

  • I'll go ahead and give this the checkmark. This does help make it make a little more sense. This isn't a straight translation, and there's a missing chunk in the middle, but here's how I'm reading it now: "Master Johannes Schweitzer the Haussman's son, Johannes. His godfather was Hans Ott Kramer, [?]. He was given the name Johannes Georg as that was the name they wanted to give." Perhaps that second half is just explaining why the child was given the name "Johannes Georg" rather than "Hans Ott"?
    – BrianFreud
    Jul 5, 2022 at 7:29

I'm sorry I cannot write comments, so here comes my answer to your comment:

"Kramer" can be a name, but it is also a profession, he was a grocer. In modern German, the word "Krämer" still exists, both as a family name and as a profession. So I would say that the name of the godfather was Hans Ott, and he was a grocer by profession.

I am not sure about the last part. "uff" is "auf" in modern German. In old texts, this sometimes marks a date, i.e. "auf den Tag des heiligen ..." / on the day of some saint. This is very common. So there might be a date specification after "uff", perhaps the name of a saint. But this is only a guess.

The word after "hat" in the last sentence might be "dies".

  • Ott is a surname I've seen in the area before, while Kramer is not, so that reasoning fits/makes sense.
    – BrianFreud
    Jul 7, 2022 at 14:25

It would be helpful to have a larger writing sample of the whole page or nearby pages to get a better feel for the handwriting.

Some of the spellings (as you read them) are weird. This is supposed to be Modern German (1651), but maybe spelling and capitalization wasn't yet standardized?

You interpret these two words

Hauß and Hanß

as Hauß and Hanß where the final letter is the sharp-s 'ß' but interpret this word des

as 'des' which should end with a final round-s like this word final round-s

unless 'des' should be something else like eg. 'daß'

In modern German, nouns are capitalized, but these two words which you interpret as 'pfatter' ("father") aren't capitalized:

pfatter pfatter

Modern German would spell father as 'Vater'. (An initial 'f' sound is spelled with the letter 'v').

Of course there was a phoneme shift High German Sound Shift long ago from /p/ to /f/, eg., 'ship' became schiff', 'sheep' became 'schaff', which started in Southern/Upper Germany and spread northwards to Lower Germany with Middle Germany being the rough dividing line between the adoption of the sound changes.

There may have been a transition period /p/ -> /pf/ -> /f/ during the sound change or between regional dialects which did or did not make the sound changes, but I don't know exactly when this phoneme shift occurred for all regions of Germany.

Also, probably 'father' makes more sense but another possibility would be cousin 'Vetter' based on how the writer forms his 'e' and 'a' letters. A larger writing sample would definitely help.

Does a capital 'H' always look like a lower case 'h'? Compare lowercase 'h' in 'Johannes'


with capital 'H' in 'Haußmanns'


or the lowercase 'h' in 'nahm' ("took")


Also, compare 'war' here in "war Conradi St..'

war Conradi

with what you've interpreted as 'wahr' here

pfatter wahr

Would someone misspell 'war' as 'wahr' when they've spelled it correctly a few lines just above in the same document? Or is this "wahr" meaning "true"?

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