As a collector of German travel documents it is not always easy to read the handwriting of a issued passport especially when you have documents before 19th century. Well, I guess said is valid also for other collectors and their collection area.

The old German language is handwritten in “Kurrent” which is a form of late medieval cursive writing, also known as Kurrentschrift or Alte Deutsche Schrift (“Old German script”). Over the history of its use into the first part of the 20th century, many individual letters acquired variant forms.


Sütterlin is a modern script based on Kurrentschrift that is characterized by simplified letters and vertical strokes. It was developed in 1911 and taught in German schools as primary script from 1935 until 1941. Then it was replaced with “normal German font,” which is sometimes referred to (correctly but confusingly) as “Latin font.”

One of my latest acquisitions is a passport from the city of Neumünster (North Germany) issued 1811, printed form but the personal details are handwritten of course. The picture below helped me to read the text. There you can see examples of the single handwritten letters in “Kurrent“.

It`s a learning process and it takes time to get “fluent” in this old German language handwriting but it`s also fun and educating.

Here is another link which will help you to read old German handwriting. Sorry in German only. Enjoy.

Sharing is caring...