You will of course remember our post back in summertime about Jonas Theodor Meyer. (You don’t? Well, refresh your memory if you wish by looking at .) And now, we present another mystery document – and again, it’s not actually “one of ours”. It belongs to someone who attended the recent Preserving Your Past session, which you will remember was conducted by our conservation team. (You don’t remember that either? Well, it was big success, and was part of the Discovery Days festival – .)

It’s from a family bible. We don’t normally accept family bibles to add to the archives, because if they have been used to record baptisms/marriages/burials, their real significance is limited to descendants of those named, rather than a wider audience of local history researchers.

This one, though, has a particular twist – entries written in German, French and English.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In some parts, it’s clear enough: for instance, I can manage enough German to read that “My dear mother entered God’s Heavenly Kingdom on 5 May 1886”, and can see that this note was made in Oxford and accompanied by the distinctly English-language abbreviation RIP. In other areas, it’s less clear. If you have the skills and the time to add to our knowledge here, please do have a look at the images and reply through the “Comments” button. We will relay anything we hear back to the owner. Thanks a lot.

If it helps to have the pages as separate images rather than a slideshow, here they are:

Page 1:

Page 2:

Page 3:

Page 4:

Another linguistic mystery

14 thoughts on “Another linguistic mystery

  1. One more thing I can add…Hugo Heller was born in Calw, Baden-Württemberg not Cairo. And where you see the abbreviation M…..It stands for Magister…Master (a degree)… not Mr or Monsieur!

  2. Are you still taking comments? What a nifty surprise…These are some of my direct ancestors…I can fill you in on at least some of the details if you still need them! Hugo Heller was a bookseller in Oxford…his brother Paul Edward Heller ( sometimes Edward Paul Heller) was a professor of languages at Winchester College (supposedly spoke 7 of them)…he married Julia Blake from the IOW in 1856…The father Wilhelm Eduard Gottlieb Heller married Eleonore Magdalene Von Starkloff in 1829…her father was Bathazar Von Starkloff…
    Ludwig Friedrich was indeed not Hugo Heller’s great-grandfather…but actually his great-uncle…Johann Samuel would have been his great grandfather..however M. Ludwig Friedrich Heller born in 1694 would have been his great-great grandfather..all of these “greats” were graduates of Tübingen!
    Is the any possibility of getting good copies of these pages?

    • Lynn, what a nice surprise! Thank you for your additional information. Unfortunately, we cannot actually provide any copies from this item as it is not one that is held in our collections. It was shown to us during a Preserving Your Past session a little over two years ago, and we agreed to post some pictures in case anyone could shed any light on the text and the language. I’m afraid we don’t have the contact details of the person it does belong to, but they may be following this post and be able to get in touch with you

  3. Sigh – one last correction (as I said, I’m really hopeless at reading the old German script):
    I believe I misread the last sentence as “Ruhe! feiner Gatte” (Rest, fine husband) and that the sentence actually reads “Ruhe! seiner Asche”, i.e. “Rest/Peace to his ashes”.

    • And this is what I believe the German original says (again, I would be grateful for any corrections):

      Den 9ten Juni 1860, haben, mein lieber
      kranker Mann und ich, unter Gottes Beistand,
      das hl: Abendmal empfangen.
      Leonore Heller

      Den 10ten Juni 1860 Abends 9 ½ Uhr hat Gott
      meinen geliebten theuren Gatten Eduard Heller
      zu sich in seine Friedens Wohnungen von dieser
      leidens Zeit abgerufen nach beinahe zwey
      Jährigem Zehrfieber – so preisungsreich auch
      sein Leben war! so sanft war sein Tod im
      festen Glauben an seinen Erlößer u Selig=
      macher. Ruhe! seiner Asche.

  4. (@Moderator: please delete all my other superfluous posts)

    Here’s the final version of page 1. I’m not very good at deciphering Kurrent (the old German handwriting), so I may have made a couple of mistakes:

    On the 9th of June 1860 my dear sick husband and I, with God’s help, partook of the Lord’s Supper. Leonore Heller

    On the 10th of June 1860 at 9.30 pm, God called my dear beloved husband Eduard Heller from this time of suffering into his mansions of peace, after almost two years of hectic fever – but [otherwise] his life was full of blessings! He died so peacefully, believing firmly in his redeemer and saviour. Rest, [my] fine husband.

  5. I’m going to have a look at the German, but would just like to point out that while it’s used in the same way as a family bible, it’s not actually a bible – it’s a song book for church.

  6. I just wanted to comment that RIP is not a ‘distinctly English-language abbreviation’ and thinking so might be misleading. It comes from Latin: ‘requiescat in pace’ and it’s short form RIP is widely used in many languages.

    • I had no idea about that one and am delighted to learn it, not least because it could be useful in a pub quiz one day. You are right that we could be misled by thinking the writer is using an exclusively English abbreviation. Thank you.

  7. Hello!
    I’ve had a crack at page 2. I don’t speak a lot of German but am okay at French. Some of the names seem to be German so your guess is as good as mine! Let me know if anything I’ve translated is unclear!.

    Maternal uncle:
    Charles of Strarvellof captain in Wurttenberg (Ulm? – place name I think) born the 19th August 18-, married Sophie of Rapp-Francofeld).
    Died the – 18-
    His son, mayor of Starkloff in Palmira in America.

    The writer of this table:
    Hugues Heller, born the 1st October in Calro, 1841

    My dear parents were married the 29th November 1828.

    My dear father, Eduard Heller, is the son of
    Mr (Monsieur) Imanuel Heller who was born 20th May 1765 in Unterlongingen (and was) a preacher OR shepherd (below makes latter more likely), died 2 May 1820
    and of Chr Reg Liegel, daughter of Mr (Monsieur) Liegel (Apotheker), born 1775, farmer in Valington. Died 1824.
    The date of birth of my father is 5th September 1805, he died 10th June 1860

    My dear mother, (Laurnore Starkloff – written above, could be her name or place) was born 24 March 1802
    She is the daughter of Major Balhaser of Starkloff, advisor of the ?, she was born the – 17- at -. S/he (not clear whose death the cross relates to) died – at – in Russia, 22nd July 1812
    and of Chr Walker, born 7th April 17- at – and died 5th May 1886 in Stuttgart.

    My dear brother, Eduard, was born 24th March 18- and is married to Julia Black of Winchester
    Deaths 1874

    My dear sister, Elisabeth, was born on the 16th December 1832 and is married to Chr Wagner, a merchant in Stuttgart born the -. Date of marriage: 9th September. Died 1902
    1858 –( this could be marriage or birthday, not clear)

    My dear brother, Paul Heller, was born the 10th February 18- at – .
    Grandfather 10/2 1795, at Hohantruid 14/5 first

    Paternal uncles and aunts:
    Charles Heller, priest, born the –
    Frederic Heller, lawyer, born the –
    Pauline Heller, born the –
    Sophie Heller, born the –
    – Heller, born the –

  8. Page 2 translates as follows (some words were hard to make out)
    Maternal Uncle: Charles de Starkloff, Captain, in Würtenberg (Ulm) born 19 August 18
    married Sophie de Rapp-[Fraumfeld]
    + 18 in […] in America
    His son Marc de Starkloff
    The writer of this list: Hugues Heller born 1 October 1841 a [Calne]

    Opposite page:
    My dear parents were married 29 November 1828
    My dear father Eduard Heller is the son of
    M Imamuel Heller bron 1765 20 Mai in Unterleningen, pastor, +2 Mai 1820
    and of Chr Reg Siegel born 1775, daughter of M Siegel (pharmacist) […] +1824
    Birthdate of my dear father is 15 September 180[.] + 10 June 1860
    My dear mother […] Starkloff was born 24 March 1802 and is the daughter of Major Balthaser de Starkloff [concillor…] born the 17 in
    + in in Russia the 22 July 1812
    and of Elisabeth Chr: de Welker born 7 April 17 + in
    and + 5 May 1886 in Stuttgart
    My dear brother Eduard was born 24 March 18 and married Julia Black in Winchester
    + + 1874?
    My dear Sister Elisabeth was born 16 December 1832, married to Chr: Wagner, merchant in Stuttgart born the day of the wedding 9 September 1858 +1902
    My dear brother Paul Heller was born 10 February 18 in +
    grandfather 10/2 1795 a […] 14/5 [premiere]
    Paternal Uncles and Aunts
    Charles Heller, priest, born +
    Frederic Heller, notary, born +
    Pauline Heller, born +
    Sophie Heller, born +
    Louis Heller, born +

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.