What Does This 18th Century German Typeface Say?

I recently started a thread about an old bible that I found ten years ago when I was cleaning out a house after a relative had passed away. At first I assumed that it was just something the person had happened upon and just kept for some reason. It later occurred to me that it might be a family heirloom. I know I have some German in me somewhere from a distant relative, and my father was born in Pennsylvania, so there might be a connection. This page records the birth of an individual born in 1767, but I can’t read the name. When I Googled what I thought was the surname was (Schonectin), I got zero results, so obviously there is no such surname. What is the name? My wife does genealogic research and actually knows substantially more about my family than I do. She should be able to tell me in an instant if it’s a relative of mine.

Looks like Schonertin to me.

You’re not the only one who has trouble reading script. I’m having a hard time deciphering a Mecklenburg census from the 1800s.

I think that third to last letter is a k. Look at the lowercase k in this typeface:


Not exactly the same script, but it’s similar, and the k is a t with a little flag on it.

Of course, Schoneckin doesn’t get any hits either.

I thought the “r” in Schonertin looked like the “r” above it…?

To me, it looks exactly like the second letter of the name, which we all seem to agree upon as starting with “Sch”.

-in is feminine in German, and a -tin strikes me as a plurality but that can’t be right.


I donno. There’s no ¨, either. I’d vote Dutch.

I just looked again. Now I see Schonectin.

A location or birthplace would be helpful. Anyway, if you don’t recognize a family name then it’s probably not one.

If I understand it correctly, she died in Worms in 1782.

Go look at the LDS records. Who knows?

Antique German script is an academic specialty in itself. There is some professor in Pennsylvania who studies it and puts on seminars every few years for graduate students.

Is that an overdot above the O?

It did for me. Doesn’t really much help us, but it appears to be related to the town of Schöneck perhaps.

There is definitely a superscript e above the o in the third line. The modern umlaut is derived from such a superscript e, so the name could be transcribed today with either an ö or an oe.

I agree with yabob that the third-to-last letter is not a t. I’m inclined to say that he’s right, that it’s a k, but I don’t know enough to be sure. Not a t, though.

I went to Google.de and got 54 hits for Schöneckin.


it’s too late to be reading this stuff.

schonerkin ? it does sort of look like a messy “t”. not quite a k or h, though.

i do see an overdot. Schönert comes up in google.

why are we doing all of the homework?


I also think that’s actually a k and that the first o has an umlaut, meaning that the name is: Schöneckin/Schönecken

This font shows how it is likely a k:

If you search, you will find results for that surname. Best of luck!

You get those hits on regular Google, too. Of the relevant ones (some of them are “Schöneck in” that got parsed together), there appears to be a bunch of Finnish hits for Annelies Schöneckin, although a search on that person has the name mostly as Annelies Schöneck. I don’t know if “in” is a Finnish ending of some sort, or whether “Schöneckin” is another spelling for this person’s name.

I think it’s definitely Schöneckin/Schoeneckin. The 7th (c/r) letter matches the 2nd, which is definitely a c, so it ends in -ckin/-ctin rather than -rkin/rtin; it also doesn’t look like the 'r’s in Maria Margaretha. The 8th letter does not look like the ‘t’ in Margaretha above, so it’s likely a k.

There’s a lineage Schöneck that has some connection to Worms – three Wormsian bishops apparently came from it, however, that was in the 13th/14th century. I believe that sometimes, the -in suffix was appended to surnames of females, but I’m not too sure about that – might be just a coincidence.

Hmm, I’ve found a record of marriage between a Georg Martin Zorn and Maria Margaretha Schöneck (this page, second to last entry), dating from 1762, with the curious addendum ‘werden als Fornicanten copulirt’, which I can only guess means ‘are married, having engaged in pre-marital relations’… Can’t be our Maria, of course, but maybe the mother? Why would the daughter have her surname (or a variant thereof), though? Also, Feuchtwangen and Worms aren’t exactly close by each other – there’s about 200km between them, which was quite some distance back then. Plus, Maria Margaretha wasn’t exactly a rare name back then – there’s like eight others just on that list, so it might be there’s just no relation.

There were over 200 Schoenecks in the USA in the early 1900’s, according to the census indexes at ancestry.com, and more than 60 Schonecks. There are some immigration records. The -in suffix used to be fairly common in German, to indicate that the person was a female. Males in the same family would have been called “Schoeneck”.