Friday, January 7, 2011
Countdown to Mesa Family History Expo - 2 Weeks
It can certainly be difficult to break through brick walls that involve foreign languages. I know people who have tried to learn Italian or Polish or Spanish just to find out who their ancestors are. Are you one of those? It certainly can be frustrating, can't it? Well, if your brick wall, or maybe just minor missing details, involves a language you can't read, it certainly puts up a barrier.
Yes, you can take the letter or document to the fine folks at the Family History Library in Salt Lake, and they will translate the material for free, but only up to a point. I had close to a dozen letters, written in German, telling all about the family that had remained behind in Bohemia in the mid- to late-1800s. I could read some names and dates, but not the specifics (who did what on a given date). Various translators either could not read the old Gothic script or charged me a fortune to decipher (all well worth it, I must add). Then I met Julia and Gina Raddatz - two young German natives who could read the script, translate the information, and help place the data into historical context! I think I have died and gone to Heaven. I have added a couple of people to my family tree plus gone back another generation and learned the death date for my g-g-g-grandfather (along with the specifics of his last day on Earth).
If you are coming to the Mesa, AZ Family History Expo and would like some German to English (or English to German) translation help, these two young ladies (who work together to come up with their translations, sometimes doing it "double blind" for accuracy) will be at the "Ask the Pros" booth to assist for free. And you don't even have to pay for the Expo experience to enlist their help. If a translation job is longer than they can do at the time, they will provide you with contact information so you can get the work done (for a fee) at a later date (they will have a scanner set-up there for the convenience of scanning documents to translate after the Expo).
So bring your German documents, letters, cards, etc. to learn what really happened with your family in the Old Country! And plan to have a great time in Mesa.