Thursday, August 16, 2012

18th and 19th century Frakturs

A Fraktur is an illustrated family history document made popular by Pennsylvania Germans in the 18th and 19th centuries. The documents are hand drawn and lettered, usually by an artist, and list family information such as marriages and births. The National Archives has posted several of these wonderful documents on their Flickr site.

In the case of the National Archives collection, many of the Frakturs were submitted as official proof of marriage to help widows prove their right to their husband's pension. Sadly, they were never returned to their families.

The National Archives also has this great video about restoring the Frakturs in their collection.

If you have German ancestors that lived in America around the 18th and 19th centuries, it may be worth a Google search of their surname + Fraktur. You never know what may come up!


Jana Last said...

How sad that these beautiful heirlooms didn't make it back to their families!

Jana Last said...

Just to let you know this blog post was listed on my Fab Finds post at

Nancy said...

These are beautiful, Heather. Thank you for the suggestion to search my ancestor's surname + fraktur. I was disappointed to find that when I searched the name, two pages came up and only one link was not to my blog! I'll try some of my other German surnames next!

Anonymous said...

How interesting - they almost look like samplers. Jo

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

Thanks for the comments! Jo, I thought the same thing which is what drew my eye to them. It would be to easy to recreate one of these with embroidery...maybe that's a new project for me!