Today’s post is about when to hire a translator.

Those of you who have been reading along know that I’ve been fumbling my way through German parish records for the first time, working on two of my family lines with some modest success.

To educate myself, I’ve been to many German genealogy sessions at conferences, bought (and read) books on German genealogy and history, used Web translators, pestered friends and relations who speak German, and referred to sites that interpret vintage handwriting. And all of those things were valuable and helped.

But sometimes the smartest and most effective thing is to hire a translator.

Last week, I found the marriage record (above) for my great-great grandparents, Friedrich Wilhelm Alexander KIRSCHSTEIN and Florentine Mathilde BRAUN. I could make out the date, the pastor, the names of Friedrich and Florentine and her father Heinrich, their ages, and the dates the banns were announced. And that was about it.

So I hired a pro and here’s the result:

No. 48 October 20th at 1 o’ clock in the afternoon

Pastor Haake

Mr. Friedrich Wilhelm Alexander KIRCHSTEIN, 31 years old, citizen and master soap maker, a bachelor from here, with Miss Florentine Mathilde BRAUN, 33 years old, 2nd unmarried daughter left behind by the deceased Mr. Heinrich BRAUN, former merchant, dyer of colored goods from here. Proclamation [on] the 3rd, 10th, and 17th of October.

And now you must excuse me – I have some new information to put in my tree!

UPDATE: I buckled down and took some classes and studied and now I can read my own German parish records. Like the book says, If I Can, You Can Decipher German Records. I think the biggest driver for me was impatience and wanting to read records immediately. And of course it helps not to have to pay someone!