Danube Swabian

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"Every man is a quotation from all his ancestors" ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors!


Guidelines for the compilation & layout of Family Books or Village Clan Books (Familienbuch)

AKdFF recommendations
Richard Jäger, AKdFF
Translated by Diana Lambing

1. Compiling a Family Book


One should strive for as much completeness as possible when recording data. All groups of people should be recorded, including those just passing through, strangers to the village, soldiers etc. If individual entries are illegible at source, then this should be noted accordingly. Main sources are the church registers. Further sources from 1895 onwards are the second copies of documents in the diocese and parish registry offices.

Historical background 

Every work should contain a short historical introduction about the village, e.g. the founding of the village, variants on the village name, the origins of the immigrants, the development of the settlement, special features, the disbanding of the settlement etc. 

Sources and literature 

The academic quality of a Family Book is measured by its ability to be checked and scrutinised. The origin of every entry should be comprehensive. Printed sources, e.g. Family Books already published, WK (Wilhelm-Kallbrunner), collections of works, ‘Hacker’ books etc. also count as literature. The foundation of our own bibliography (Stefan Stader’s collection of Danube Swabian colonists), as well as easily accessible standard works on immigration and emigration (Hacker, Pfrenzinger, Treude, Reimann etc.), should be used when creating a Family Book. Apart from these, Heimat Books and Family Books from neighbouring communities should also be consulted, especially when later immigrants can be proved to have been billeted in other villages, or to have come from there. 


Maps, especially historical ones, are very helpful in showing the location of the villages and should not be omitted. 

Current position of the bibliography on origins of the Danube Swabians 

The current position of the bibliography should be given at the end of the book. This can be requested from the editorial staff or the AKdFF office. 

2. The manuscript for publication 

A Family Book should normally contain the following parts:

  • 2.1.  Title (+)

  • 2.2.  List of contents (+)

  • 2.3.  Section of a map (+) showing village and neighbouring villages or region (e.g. Banat map)

  • 2.4.  Foreword and greeting by the AKdff, the HOG and the author

  • 2.5.  Historical background (+)

  • 2.6.  Directions on how to use the Family Book (+)

  • 2.7.  List of abbreviations and symbols used (+)

  • 2.8.  Phonetic alphabet (if used)

  • 2.9.  The families numbered from A to Z (the main body of the book) (+)

  • 2.10. Appendix with maps, village street plans, lists, tables and photos

  • 2.11. Register of village names (+) and the surnames, with their numbers, from those villages

  • 2.12. Register of surnames and the wives who married into the families

  • 2.13. List of sources and literature (+)

The parts marked with (+) are obligatory. 

2.1. Title 

Give the name and region of the village, the religious denomination, the period covered by the work, the author’s name, the AKdFF coat of arms, the place and year of publication, e.g. ‘Family Book of the Catholic parish of Blumenthal in the Banat (and its daughter parishes) 1770 – 2005, Part I, A – M, by Hans Mustermann, Munich 2007’. The title on the cover should correspond with the title inside the book.

2.5. Historical introduction 

The author must inform the reader of the contents and the limit of their work. They should state exactly what sources have been used, what these sources specialise in, what gaps they show and what period the Family Book covers. All the villages of the parish should be named and also the period when these villages belonged to the parish. As well as this, references to the political and administrative history of the village, its economic history, the development of the population and the religious and ethnic background of the inhabitants, are all welcomed.

2.6. Directions on how to use the Family Book 

As the Family Book should be written in such a way that it can be used and understood by non-genealogists and beginners too, giving such directions is imperative for every Family Book. The connections between relationships are arrived at by linking the <family numbers>. With every family, the family number should be given for the man, as well as his wife, in <pointed brackets>, showing what families they later founded, or into which illegitimate relationship they entered. 

2.7. List of abbreviations and symbols used 

Details or abbreviations of personal data may be dispensed with for the main parish if it is obvious that only this parish is meant. If several villages belong to the parish, then often initial letters (L., A., Su.) are enough to identify the villages clearly. Christian names, professions and descriptions of official standing should be abbreviated as little as possible. One must remember that many users of the book are only looking for a few data and do not want to spend a lot of time studying the abbreviations used in every book. Therefore, three-letter words should never be abbreviated (e.g. ‘a.’ for ‘and’). Common abbreviations, such as ‘S.’ for ‘son’, ‘T.’ for ‘daughter’ (Tochter) should be used and listed in the list of abbreviations, as well as the usual symbols for personal data, i.e. * for ‘born’, oo for ‘married’, + for ‘died’, ~ for ‘baptised’, € for ‘buried’. 

2.8. Phonetic alphabet 

Because of the regional differences in dialects, only general ground rules can be drawn up. These should be altered or supplemented, depending on the peculiarities of the village. The following rules apply to the German language area:

Similar-sounding names are listed together after the following sound alphabet for the initial letters: 

A = A
B, P (not Pf, Ph) = B
D, T, Th (not Tz) = D
E, Ä, Ae, Oe, Ö = E
Ei, Ai, Ay, Eu, Äu, Oi = Ai
F, Pf, Ph, V = F
H = H
I, J, Ü, Ue, Y = I
K, C (hard), G = K
Qu = Kw
L = L
M = M
N = N
O = O
R = R
S = S
U = U
W, V = W
X = Ks
Z, Tz, C (soft), Tsch = Z

No notice should be taken of any lengthening or sharpening in the middle of names. Double vowels and double consonants are treated as single ones. Elided (not spoken) consonants are disregarded. Otherwise, the procedure within a name is the same as with the initial letters. 

aa, ah = a
ä, ae, äh, aeh, ee, ö, öh = e
ie, ih, j, ü, ue, üh, ueh, ui, uy, oy = i
bb, pp = b
ck, kk = k
ss, ß = s 

Names which sound the same, with or without an ‘e’ in the middle or at the end, are listed under those without an ‘e’:
Arend, Arnd = Arnd
Lang, Lange = Lang 

Similar sounding names with an ‘h’ in the middle are listed with those without an ‘h’:
Berthold, Bertold = Berdold 

For further rules and explanations see:
Allgemeine Richtlinien für eine Ordnung nach der Lautfolge (Phonetische Ordnung). Berlin: Beuth-Verlag 1933 (= AWv-Merkblatt 3); und: Themel, K.: Wie verkarte ich Kirchenbücher? Der Aufbau einer alphabetischen Kirchenbuchkartei. Berlin: Verlag für Standesamtwesen 1936. 

2.9. The main body of the book: Families from A – Z 

- All surnames of people listed in the book should be written in capital letters. Variants of the name should also be given.

- Dates (days and months) should be written in double numbers, i.e. beginning with a nought if the number is singular.

- Individual families are listed in alphabetical order of the husband and are given a number.

- Within the same surname, the families should be listed chronologically, never by Christian name. The criterion of the chronological order is that the date of the marriage takes precedence or, if this is not known, the date of birth of the earliest known child. Illegitimate children whose father is not known are also built into the mother’s surname chronologically. Godparents, witnesses, house numbers, cause of death (up until 1907) and profession should also be included.

- The registration in Vienna (Wilhelm-Kallbrunner) should be included; details from the Stefan Stader collection of works and, for the 20th century, the date of emigration / expulsion / resettlement overseas, Austria, Germany etc.

- A list of priests who carried out the sacraments should be given. 

For data protection reasons, the causes of death during the last 100 years (from 1907 onwards) should not be published in the Family Book. 

The card indexing of a Family Book begins with the register of marriages. The contents are extracted – not word for word, but just all the important facts – and immediately transferred to the family cards or into the relevant computer programme. One starts appropriately with the beginning of the period to be worked on, or in a period from a detailed and legible church register. To begin with, a period of about thirty years is worked upon and the children born in this period are then extracted from the baptismal register and transferred to the family cards. For families who moved into the village later, but whose marriage is not recorded in the village church register, a separate family card should be made. Next, the death register should be consulted. Then a further thirty-year period can be added, and so on.

When all the family cards have been filled in for the appropriate period, they should be put into phonetically alphabetical order and numbered throughout. The next step is to link the numbered families, i.e. the numbers of the parents of the married couples should be given, and the numbers of the couple’s children’s own families should also be given. If the links are done by computer, then their accuracy should be checked.

The family cards are then put into the computer with a word processing programme, or printed with the data bank programme used specifically for this from the start. 

[Contributed by Richard Jäger, AKdFF. Translated by Diana Lambing. Published at DVHH.org 27 Sep 2007 by Jody McKim Pharr]

Last Updated: 19 Feb 2020

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