Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Legitimization of a child I. - German notes

I have written a blog post about illegitimate children some time ago, but I totally forgot to mention legitimization notes there. I decided to divide the article to two parts, first German notes, second Czech and third Latin notes as the explanation of the notes tooks some time (and place). So - what is written in the legitimization notes you can often see in the registries? What does it say in German and how to translate it to English?

First German example is short - just a note about legitimization from 1866. It's taken from Starý Hrozňatov parish in Pilsen archives.

Transcription: Vorstehendes Mädchen Margareta ist durch die laut Trauungsbuch für Altkinsberg Tom IV. pag. 27 am 9. November 1869 nachgefolgte Ehe des Karl Sandner mit Maria Anna Lehr legitimirt.

Translation: Above girl Margareta is legitimized by the consecutive marriage of Karl Sandner with Maria Anna Lehr on 9th November 1869 as marked in the marriage registry for Starý Hrozňatov, volume IV., page 27.

This is the short version of the legitimization information - there is a bit more in the Father column of the registry, but let's see the second example, where this Father column information is extended. 
Second example is taken from Mladoňov parish in Šumperk district in Olomouc region. The legitimization took place in 1905 so it's very rich for information. Let's take a look on the transcription of the notes. First of all short note under the name of the child:

Transcription: Legitimiert auf den Familiennamen "Kuschner" am 22. November 1908
Translation: Legitimized to the surname (family name) "Kuschner" on 22nd November 1908

Original surname of the child was Gabriel - his mother's maiden name. As Franz was legitimized, he received father's surname.

Next note is long one, containing information about the legitimization itself. It combined German and Latin - first part about the legitimization is in German, second part about documents being stored in the parish archive is in Latin.

Transcription: Dieses unehelich geborene Kind männlichen Geschlechtes, namens "Franz" Gabriël, wurde durch die nachfolgende laut dem ex offo Trauungsscheine de dato Pfarramt Lomigsdorf am 9. November 1908 Nro 341 paroch. zu Lomigsdorf für die Gemeinde Ober-Ulischen zwischen den nebenbezeichneten Eltern Johann Kuschner und Wilhelmine Gabriël aus Ober-Ulischen am 9. November 1908 geschlossene Ehe gesetzmässig und rechtskräftig legitimiert. 
Vide ex offo testimonium copulationis de dato officium parochiale Lomigsdorf die 9. Novembris 1908 Nro 341 paroch. reposito in archivo parochiali fach VIII. fasc. I, Nro 1 of.

Translation: This illegitimately born child of male sex named Franz Gabriël was legally and lawfully legitimized by the following marriage of the mentioned parents Johann Kuschner and Wilhelmine Gabriël from Horní Olešná which took place on 9th November 1908; the legitimization was based on an ex offo marriage certificate issued by the parish office in Dlouhomilov on 9th November 1908, no. 341 paroch. from Dlouhomilov, for the village Horní Olešná.
See the ex offo marriage certificate from the parish office Dlouhomilov from 9th November 1908, no. 341 paroch, which is stored in the parish office in the section VIII, volume I, no. 1 of.

So, what does it say to us? The child was legitimized by the marriage of its parents three years after the child's birth. Parents were married in Dlouhomilov parish where the father was from. There were documents about this legitimization - and these documents were stored in the parish archives. If one is lucky enough it's possible to get a copy of these documents from the district archives where parish archives are stored.

Another bunch of information could be found in the "Father" column of the registry:

Transcription: Johann Kuschner, Leinenindustrie-Heimlohnwebergehilfe, Mitwohner sub Haus Nro 50 in Ober-Ulischen - geboren am 8. Februar 1884 in Ober-Ulichen, Mähren, polit. Bezirk Mähr. Schönberg, ehelicher Sohn des Dominik Kuschner, Häuslers Nro 50 in Ober-Ulischen, und dessen Ehegattin Mariana, geborenen Ferdinand Krist, Häuslers in Ober-Ulischen, von welchem obigen Johann Kuschner die unterzeichneten glaubwürdigen Zeugen an Eides statt aussagen, dass sie ihn der Person und dem Namen nach wohl kennen, war zugegen und hat sich als den von der Kindesmutter seiner Ehegattin Wilhelmine Kuschner geborenen Gabriël, angegebenen Vater dieses ihres Kindes Franz bekannt die Einschreibung als Vater dieses Kindes Franz verlangt und um die Überschreibung dieses Kindes Franz auf seinen Familiennamen "Kuschner" ersucht.
Röm. kathol. Pfarramt in Bladensdorf am 22. November 1908
Johann Kuschner, das ist: Johann Kuschner, Vater des legitimierten Kindes
Wilhelmine Kuschner, d. i. Wilhelmine Kuschner, Mutter des legitimierten Kindes Franz.
Rudolf Leiter, das ist: Rudolf Leiter, Zeuge
Josef Leiter, das ist: Josef Leiter, Zeuge
Coram me Joseph Fuchsík parocho proprio

Translation: Johann Kuschner, helper of the flax industry weaver working from home paid on daily basis (ah, how I love German and its compounds!), co-inhabitant of house no. 50 in Horní Olešná, born in 8th February 1884 in Horní Olešná, Moravia, political district Moravský Šumperk, legitimate son of Dominik Kuschner, house renter from house no. 50 in Horní Olešná, and his wife Mariana, daughter of Ferdinand Krist, house renter in Horní Olešná, for which two signed credible witnesses testify that they both know well the above Johann Kuschner in person and in name. He himself, as well as his wife Wilhelmine Kuschner, born Gabriël, demanded that he was written down as a father of this child Franz and they also demanded that the child's surname was rewritten to Kuschner. 
Roman-catholic parish office in Mladoňov on 22nd November 1908
Johann Kuschner (signature), ie. Johann Kuschner, father of the legitimized child
Wilhelmine Kuschner (signature), ie. Wilhelmine Kuschner, mother of the legitimized child Franz
Rudolf Leiter (signature), ie. Rudolf Leiter, witness
Josef Leiter (signature), ie. Josef Leiter, witness
Done by me, Josef Fuchsík, local vicar

So, here is information about the child, as well as signatures of both parents - which is great thing for the family history because it's often the only thing which was hand-written by our ancestors. Two witnesses were necessary for the legitimization - they had to know the father well because they oathed that he was a father of that child. The other information here is a typical information from the birth records.

I hope this will help those struggling with the transcription and translation of the legitimization records.


  1. Thanks to all. :) Preparing Czech notes, they will be ready by tomorrow.

  2. Thank you so much for all the information, very interesting post.

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  4. So a child can only be legitimized by the biological father? Is that correct? If the mother gets married to someone else, he can not legitimize the birth?

    Also, if legitimizing a child is both a civic and religious thing, is there another place to find record of this process besides on the baptism records through the church? Thank you for your insights!

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