Thursday, May 3, 2018

No Hints from Heidelberg

If we can't figure out French handwriting, how about trying German?

I'm still determined to find a way to send home the hundred year old photograph of two adorable French Canadian children, but until I can figure out a way to tap into some local resources in Quebec, Canada, we'll have to set aside that mystery.

Meanwhile, there are more photographs to review from that shopping trip to the antique store in the hills of northern California.

True to formGold Rush country seems to yield such resultsthere were more than that one photograph with an inscription on the reverse in a foreign language. One photograph in particular was an item I couldn't resist buying. For one thing, the handwritten date revealed that was possibly the oldest picture I had found in the store. On the positive side, there were three lines of handwritten notes on the back of that photo. The down side was that I didn't attempt to read what the note said while I was still in the store.

Perhaps I should have tried that approach before buying the thing.

What I thought I was seeing was handwriting in German. After all, the photographer's imprint was from Heidelberg. Sounds pretty German to me. And the size of the picture's format seemed to fit with photographs produced during that time period. But I knew I wouldn't really be able to tell what the handwriting said until I got the thing home, scanned and enlarged it.

That donemonths afterwardsI still can't read that handwriting. Perhaps that is owing to that little inconvenience of not knowing how to read German (or at least German script). What I can tell are the two datesone being the year 1873 and the other a specific date in 1876.

While those three lines of handwriting don't seem to have provided the clues I was hoping for—a name would have been a nice touchthey do say something. And perhaps that something will be pertinent to our search. While I may not know much about the German languageand definitely not much about how it is writtenperhaps someone here does.

So, to start with...anyone here know how to read German? Here's the note, as big as I can enlarge it while keeping it fairly legible.

Or maybe it isn't German, after all...


  1. I am no good at foreign language. Lars 1 sometimes translates for me.

    1. Yes, Lars has been very helpful to you, Far Side, but I think he mostly helped with translating the notes on your Norwegian photographs. I'd love it if he could weigh in on this handwritten entry if he knows German script!

  2. I posted for one of my ESL students - from Germany. I'll let you know if she responds.

    1. Thanks so much for the help, Kathy! I appreciate it!

  3. My student says she is not very good at reading old handwriting and can ask her parents when it is daytime in Germany, but she thinks it says:
    Pictured 1873 at the age of 63
    Died November the 8th 1876

    1. Thanks, Kathy! Yes, if she could double check with her parents. I know the old German handwriting is nothing like what students learn there now, so it is a challenge. Still, it looks like whatever the information turns out to be, it doesn't seem to include any names...unfortunately!


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