German Genealogy Tip #16: Germans Use Symbols to Denote Birth, Marriage, and Death

October 15, 2014 Josiah Schmidt German Genealogy Tips

German Grave

German Grave

If you ever receive genealogical records or historical documents from Germany, or if you ever correspond with a family history researcher in Germany, you will find that German family historians use a set of symbols to denote genealogical events:

* born (the star symbol references the star said to have heralded the birth of Christ)
baptized (the tilde resembles a wave or ripple in water)
 married (the infinity symbol represents the lifelong commitment of marriage)
o/o divorced (a broken infinity symbol represents the breaking of the commitment)
+ died (the cross resembles a common grave marker shape)
[] buried (the two brackets together resemble a burial plot)

An example of a German genealogical record might look like:

Johannes Müller
* 5.10.1786 Beispielburg
~ 15.10.1786 Beispielburg, Evangelische
23.7.1810 Beispielburg, mit Martha geb. Schumann
2.3.1842 Fiktiondorf
[] 3.3.1842 Friedhof Fiktiondorf

One Response to “German Genealogy Tip #16: Germans Use Symbols to Denote Birth, Marriage, and Death”

  • Leigh Pritchard says:

    I have a page out of a book that has these symbols (and thank you for putting them all where I can find them at a glance), but there is also a *Si ~ and then a date and then a Wa. Any chance you know what this might mean? Thank you so much.

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