02 November 2009

A Note About Valentine Coleman

A handwritten note found among other family papers now in our (Jim & Cathy's) possession regarding Valentine Coleman.  It looks as though there is a birthdate (1798) and a date of death (1860), but then again, maybe not.  To complicate matters, there is a Valentine Coleman I, Valentine Coleman II, and Valentine Coleman III in Jim's lineage.  Eva (Schultz) Coleman, the second wife of Valentine Coleman III was born in 1798 and died in 1860.  Was this note all about Eva?  I can't decipher most of the note.


Apple said...

I blew it up and I couldn't make it out. Some of what look like f's are probably s but that was usually when there was a double s so it looked like fs. I see a couple of captitol I's. My problem is the letters I'm seeing don't actually spell words! Could this be written in another language? A tough one! The rhythm of the last bit makes me think 61 years, 9 months, 19 days - but that certainly isn't what the words look like.

Cathy said...

Thanks for trying, Apple. It could be in German...


Patti Browning said...

I wish my German wasn't as rusty as it is, but I think you're spot on with thinking it's German.

For example, it looks like it says, "...frau von Valentine Coleman" which would translate to "wife of Valentine Coleman." I also spot the word "Alter", which means age. I also see the word "monat" after the 9 -- translated, the word is month. After the 16 and after the 19, the word is "tag", which means day.

This page (http://www.mun.ca/rels/morav/pics/tutor/sample1.html) is an example of German script and below the sample page is the German translation. Take a look at the word before the date 1752 ("Jahr") in the example; it very much resembles the word in your document written before 1798, before 1860, and after 61. That word is "year" in English.

I think if you read through this document you'll spot many helps to your words. The strange symbol that looks like the old english way of spelling a double "s" is actually the German symbol "ß" or, alternately, a substitution for the "ch" sound.

Lastly, this page (http://www.magma.ca/~raksim/gscript.html#examples) will be of some help as well. He might even be able to help you translate the entire thing, for a price....

Good luck! Let us know how this turns out!

Patti Browning said...

Also check out this page, showing a really nice example of the entire German alphabet:

You could scroll through the rest of the lesson for a great tutorial on German script.

Palmsrv said...


You've added so much to deciphering the note. I thought it referred to Valentine Coleman's wife (the dates seemed correct) but the "frau von Valentine Coleman" confirms it for me. THANK YOU! I will delve into it more using the links you provided.


Marlys said...

It basically says:
The wife of Valentine Coleman, who was born in the year 1798, the 16th day of December, and died in the year 1860, day 28 September, and was, at the time of death, aged 61 years, and 9 months, 19 days."
We've been studying church books written in German and Latin, so this was fairly easy to figure out, especially with the patterns others have pointed out here so far.
It's written in Suetterlin and English, btw, and you can download Suetterlin as a font--very helpful if you type what you think you see. If it matches, you've got it!