Abbreviations for Meyer's Lexicon

Subject: Abbrev. for Meyer's Lexicon

BEYOND THE ABBREVIATIONS: DECIPHERING MEYERS ORTSLEXIKON ENTRIES
(by Betty Heinz Matyas - Magazin *Der Blumenbaum, SGGS*, Vo.13, No. 2, Oct/Nov/Dec 1995)

Volume 13, No. 1 of *Der Blumenbaum* (Summer 1995) lists abbreviations for the gazeteer, 
E.Meyers Orts-und Verkehrs-Lexikon des Deutschen Reiches).  Many rsearchers, not familiar 
with the German language, find the entries still frustrating.  To give an overview of the
kinds of information to be found in the entries, and to propose an orderly and meaningsful
transfer of their information, the following procedure is offered:

1.  In addition to microfilm #496,460 (A-L) or #496,461 (M-Z), habe before you the list of 
abbreviations and a copy of the GOTHIC ALPHABET.  A  MAGNIFYING GLASS is also a help.

2.  Towns are listed in alphabetical order, but when there is more than one town by the same 
name, they are numbered.  If you are uncertain in which area of Germany the town you seek is 
located, you may need to copuy the first few phrases of the entry for each town, as far as 
the first or second semicolon.  Within these phrases you will be able to pick out
abbreviations for the region or state, as well as names of nearby towns.  In the examples
below, these pertinent clues are underlined.  You can now locate each town on a
detailed map, 1:200,000 scale or better.

EXAMPLE:

Eismannsberg, 1) D., Bay., RB. Mfranken, Bkdo. Nuernberg ...
                         2) D. U. Lgem., Bay. AG Koessting, Bkdo. Straubing, P. Milbach,
                            E. Altransberg
                         3) D u. Lgem. Bay., Obay., AG Friedberg, Bkdo. Augsburg

These three Eismannsbergs in the above example all happen to be in Bavaria (Bay.),
one in the region of Mittelfranken, another in Oberbayern.  Finding the larger towns/cities
nearby, on the map, can help in locating the usually much smaller village you are seeking.

3.  Having found which town may be yours, the entry can be photocopies and the work continued 
at home.  Now make three columns on a sheet of lined paper.  In the left column on the
first line, copy the first phrase or two as abbreviated, including ALL punctuation,
up to a comma or semicolon.   In the same way continue transliterating each phrase
in its abbreviated form, on subsequent lines in the left column, to the end of the entry.
(See enclosed table farther down) The films are often not sharp enough to clearly
identify some of the Gothic letters; for example, the lower z may look like g,
l and I may look alike, and k can be mistaken for f.  Lower case h sports a tail,
and y looks like an n with a tail.

4.  You will need a very good, UNABRIDGED GERMAN-ENGLISH DICTIONARY to find the 
meanings of words that will, for the most part, turn out to be the names of services
and trades carried on in the town.  Be aware of the German penchant or hooking several
words together even including more than one abbreviation.  Not knowing the language,
one may have difficulty determining where one word ends and the next one begins,
but use of the dictionary can help solve this mystery.

EXAMPLE:

Zuckerw. = Zucker + werk = sugar works or factory
Zementwfbr. = Zement + werke + fabrik = cement products factory

While you may not be able to decipher all the abbreviations or words, the problem
abbreviations may not be critical to your search at this point.

5.  Knowing the order in which the various features of the entry are presented can be
a help in decoding, since all the information for one town is printed in a single
paragraph.  Note this order:

a) name of town, its location --province and district; elevation and population,
b)  governmental agencies and offices,
c)  basic services: post office, telegraph, railroad stations or stops, and routes;
    availability of gas, water, and electricity, which many areas did not yet have
    when the lexicon was written in 1912; hospitals, banks, churches,
d)  businesses, trades, industries,  products manufactured,
e)  tiny adjacent villages and large farms, their services and population.

6.  The last step is to translate each entry into English, writing the definition
in the last column, directly across from its German equivalent.

NEXT is an excerpt from *Meyers Ortslexikon*.   It is the basis of the exercise
illustrated in the table which follows after, showing how the elements of this entry
can be organized.  Each abbreviated word or phrase found in the excerpt has been copied.

Gunzenhausen, 1) BASt. (415m), l/d Altmuehl; Bay., RB. Mfranken, LG. Ansbach; 5278 E;
T,Pw: 22 km E Weissenburg, 17 km E Spalt, E: Treuchtlingen-Ansbach, Pleinfeld-Noerdlingen;
BA., AG., Bkdo. Ofoerst., StdA., SteuerA., ForstA., RentA., VermessA., EichA., BMedizinalA.;
2 ev., 1 kath. K., Syn.; Schloss; Real- gew. FortbildSch.; Theater; Krankenh., Badanst., Gas-
Elektr.-, Wasserwerk, Schlachth.; Spk., Bay.HdlBkFil., Bay.RotenBkAg., HandwKredGenoss.;
Kram-, Gefluegel-, Viehmaerkte; Getreide-, Holz-, Leder-, Weinhdl; Hopfenbau; Buersten-, 
Fleisch- u. Wurstw-, Likoer-, Malz-, Masch.-, Schirm-,Seifen,Tonofen-, Zementwfbr.; Brau., 
Gaerbn., Gerbn., Mln.,Zinngiess. Sv.D.-- Dazu  Ein. Fallhaus 19, Leonhardsruh 4, Lohmuehle 3, 
Reutberg 7, Waltmuehle 6, Weinberg 8 E.


EXAMPLE:

Meyers Abbrevation
        German Translation (Deutsche Ubersetzung)
        English Translation (Englische Uebersetzung)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Gunzenhausen, 1)BASt. 415m), l/d Altmuehl;
        Gunzenhausen, 1) Bezirk Amt Stadt (415m), links der Altmuehl
        Gunzenhausen, 1) District office city (415m elev.), left of Altmuehl River

Bay., RB. Mfranken Bavaria;
        Bayern, Regierungs Bezirk, Mittel Franken
        Administrative district, Middle Franconia

L.G. Ansbach;
        Landsgericht Ansbach
        Court of Ansbach

5278 E.;
        5278 Einwohner
        5278 residents  

T, Pw:
        Posttelegraph:
        Post office & telegraph

22 km E. Weissenburg
        22 km Eisenbahn Weissenburg
        22 km to trains station at Weissenburg

17 km E. Spalt,
        17 km Eisenbahn Spalt
         17 km to train station at Spalt

E: Treutlingen-Ansbach,
        Eisenbahn: Treutlingen-Ansbach
        Train: Treutlingen to Ansbach

Pleinfeld-Noerdlingen;
        Pleinfeld-Noerdlingen
        Pleinfeld to Noerdlingen
       
BA., AG.,
        Bezirksamt, Amtsgericht
        District office, legal court

Bkdo. Ofoerst.,
        Bezirkskommando, Ober Foerster
        District military command, forester's station

StdA., SteuerA.,
        Standesamt, Steueramt
        Civil registry office, tax office

ForstA., RentA.,
        Forstamt, Rentamt
        Forestry office, accounting office

VermessA
        Vermessamt, Eichamt
        Survey office, bureau of standards

BMedizinalA.;
        Bezirk Medicinalamt
        District medical office

2 ev., 1 kath. K.
        2 evangelische,  1 katholische Kirchen
        2 Evangelical (Lutheran), 1 Catholic churches

Syn.; Schloss;
        Synagogue; Schloss
        Synagogue; castle

Real- gew. Fortbild Sch.;
        Real- gewerbte Fortbild Schule
        Continuation trade school

Theater; Krankenh.,
        Theater; Krankenhaus
        Theater; hospital

Badanst.,
        Badeanstalt
        Baths

Gas-, Elktr.-, Wasserwerk,
        Gas, Elektriitaet, Wasserwerk
        Gas, electricity & waterworks

Schlachth.,
        Schlachthaus
        Slaughterhouse

Spk., Bay.HdlBkFil.,
        Sparkasse, Bayerische Handelsbank filial
        Savings bank, Bavarian Trade Bank branch

Bay. RotenbkAg.,
        Bayrische Rotenbank, Aktiengesellschaft
        Bavarian Roten Bank, joint-stock co.

HandwKredGenoss.;
        Handwerker Kredit Genossenschaft
        Tradesmen's Credit Association

Kram-, Gefluegel-, Viehmaerkte;
        Kram, Gefluegel, Viehmaerkte
        Small wares, poultry, livestock markets

Getreide-, Holz-, Leder-, Weinhdl;
        Getreide, Holz, Leder, Weinhandel
        Grain, wood, leather, & wine trade

Hopfenbau; Buersten-,
        Hopfenbau; Buerstenwerk
        Hop culture; brushes

Fleisch- u. Wurstw-,
        Fleisch- und Wurstwerke
        Meat and sausage works

Likoer-, Malz-, Masch.-,
        Likoer, Malz, Maschinen
        Liqueur, malt, machinery

Schirm-, Seifen, Tonofen-,
        Schirm, Seifen, Tonofen
        Umbrella, soap, kiln

Zementwfbr.;
        Zementwerkfabrik
        Cement products factory

Bru., Faerbn., Gerbn.,
        Brauerei, Faerben, Gerben
        Brewery, paints, tannery

Mln., Zinngiess.
        Muehlen, Zinngiesserei
        mills, pewter/tin foundry

Sv.D.-
        Servisklasse-D
        civil servant allowance, category D

Dazu Ein. Fallhaus 19
        Dazu Einoede Fallhaus 19
        In addition, outlying farms Fallhaus 19

Leonhardsruh 4, Lohmuehle 3,
        Leonhardsruh 4, Lohmuehle 3
        Leonhardsruh 4, Lohmuehle 3

Reutberg 7, Waltmuehle 6,
        Reutberg 7, Waltmuehle 6
        Reutberg 7, Waltmuehle 6

Weinberg 8 E
        Weinberg 8 Einwohner
        Weinberg 8 residents


You know have a word picture of your ancestral town, what services it provides and
where to find them if they are not available in that town. The most useful portions 
in the Meyers Orts listings are probably the following: 1) location of the 
town in state, province, duchy, county, etc., 2) location of the civil registry office
(Standesamt) and where it is located if it is not in that town, 3) the administrative
district (Regierungs Bezirk) where government district records for various towns are kept,
and 4) church denominations found in the town.

Contributed by Brigitte Gastel Lloyd 


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