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

If you ever receive genealogical records or historical documents from Germany, or if you ever correspond with a family history researcher in Germany, you will find that German family historians use a set of symbols to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

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

  1. Leigh Pritchard

    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.
    Leigh

    Reply

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