Imagine finding your ancestor’s birth and baptism certificate hanging on the wall of a museum! If you have Pennsylvania German heritage, your ancestor’s decorated “fraktur” might be in a museum or proudly featured in a book about American folk art.
Fraktur are 18th and 19th century decorated manuscripts and printed forms made by and for Pennsylvania Germans (often called Pennsylvania Dutch). Most are birth and baptism certificates made in southeastern Pennsylvania or anywhere Pennsylvania Germans settled. Collectively called fraktur, these manuscripts are America’s equivalent to monastic manuscript art of medieval Europe. As a whole, they represent a wonderful body of personal records and primary sources often overlooked by family historians.
Since 1971, Russ and Corinne Earnest have recorded more than 40,000 fraktur and Bible records, most of which are inaccessible to genealogists.
Our mission at the Earnest Archives and Library is to share information from fraktur and broadsides through our publications and public speaking presentations.