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German Illness Translations


Submitted by Jeff Weimer


     The following is a compiled listing of illnesses and causes of deaths gleaned from three primary sources.  They are posted here in the hopes that they may aid family historians and genealogists in interpreting the conditions in which their ancestors lived and died.  My role has merely been the compiler.  The credit for the translation work should go to Ann
     Rempel, Dora Epp, V. Lyle von Riesen, and Adalbert Goertz.  Those who feel they have more to add to the list or important corrections may do so by notifying myself (Judith Rempel,

Reviewers who have suggested improvements: Elli Wise, Alan Peters, Adalbert Goertz, Glenn Penner and an anonymous physician from Calgary, Alberta.  Thank you. Edited by Marty McMahon (13 Apr 1997) This work may be freely copied for non-profit purposes,  No copyright is claimed.



Abzehrung-emaciation; consumption

Altengeschwuern-varicose veins
Altersschwaeche & Altershalber-old age            
Ausschlag-skin disease
Auszehrung-weakness - often tuberculosis
Blattern-pustules, perhaps smallpox or chicken pox
Blutsturz-violent hemorrhage
Blutvergiftung-blood poisoning
Brechdurchfall-bloody diarrhea - perhaps bacillary dysentery (i.e. Shigellosis)
Bruch Schaden-hernia
Darmgicht, Darmkolik, & Darmsucht-intestinal afflictions - one or more could be gastroenteritis caused by bacteria
Lungesucht (der taru)-tuberculosis
Diphtherie, diphteritis-diphtheria
Druesenkrankheit-disease of the lymph glands - perhaps scrofula (an acute form of tuberculosis)
Durchfall und der Ruhr-dysentery
Engbruestigkeit-tightness of chest, asthma
Englischen Krankheit-rickets
Entkraeftung-weakness as found in old age
Enzuendungs Fieber-inflammation/fever
Faul Fieber-"rotten" fever
Flecken-spots-perhaps measles or typhus
Folgen chirurgieschen-operation result of a surgical operation
Freasal und Fleck Fieber-fever and spotted fever
Friesel  Pustules-could be chicken pox
Fruehgeburt-premature birth
Gallen Fieber-infected gall bladder - perhaps bilious fever or hepatitis
Gedaermbrand, Gedaermfrasz-intestinal gangrene (ulcerative colitis)
Gichter-convulsive fits
Goldene Ader-hemorrhoids
Halsbrauene-quinsy, suppurative tonsillitis - perhaps strep throat
Harnruhr-diabetes insipidus
Herz-Brustwassersucht mit Hinzutrender Lungenlaehmug-pleurisy, emphysema
Herzerweiterung, Leber-Magenverhaertung-enlarged heart and hardening of the liver and stomach
Herzkrankheit-heart disease
Hitziges Fieber-typhoid fever
Keuchhusten-whooping cough
Kindbette (in dem)-post partum illness
Knochenbruechen-broken bones
Krankheiten und Urin-illness of urine-producing organs
Lebensschwaeche-frailty of life
Leibverstopfung-blockage of the belly (constipation)
Luftroehrenschwindzucht-bronchial (galloping) consumption - probably bronchial pneumonia
Lungenlaemung-disability of the lungs
Lungentuberkulose-pulmonary tuberculosis
Magenkrebs-stomach cancer
Magenoperation-stomach operation
Magenverhaertung-perhaps hardening of the stomach
Masern und Roetheln-measles and German measles
Melancholie und Wahnsin-depression and madness
Nerven Fieber-typhus
Nichtbestimte Krankheit-unknown illness
Niederkunft (bei der)-maternity confinement
Nierenkrebs-kidney cancer
Organ.  Herzfehler-organic heart failure
Potatschen-spotted fever, spotted typhoid
Scharlach, Scharlach Fieber & Schlarachriesel-scarlet fever
Schlag, Schlaganfall-stroke
Schlagflusz-apoplectic fit, stroke
Schleichendem Fieber-consumption, tuberculosis
Schwemmen-external growth (spongy growth)
Schwindsucht-acute tuberculosis
Soropkeln (?)  Verstopfung der Gekroesdruesen-blockage of intestines, tuberculosis of glands
Steckflusz-asthma, emphysema
Steinbeschwerde-kidney stones
Stickhusten-whooping cough
Tod durch Unschlingung der Nabelschnur um den Hals-Erstichung-stillbirth due to strangulation by umbilical cord
Ungluecksfaellen mancher Art-accidents of any kind
Unterleibsentzuendung-peritonitis due to intestinal bacteria released into the abdominal cavity
Unzeitig ad. Todtgeborene; den Wochen-in stillborn, or premature childbirth
Venerischen Krankheit-venereal disease, syphilis
Verunglueckt-accidental death
Wassersucht-dropsy, congestive heart failure, edema
Windgeschwulst-chicken  pox
(1) The Kirchenbuch prepared by Dirck Tiessen (1782) in Petershagen,
  Prussia.  This is how the list started, from a single page entitled
  "Hauptkrankeiten" (main illnesses).  It was translated  by Ann Rempel
  and Dora Epp in 1996.  They humbly requested that I qualify their work
  as follows.  "Not all terms are translated or perhaps correctly
  translated.  But, but the result is the best of our ability."  For both
  Ann and Dora, German is their first language, but have lived in Canada
  and used English for 40+ years.
(2) A monograph by Richard Ringenberg (1942), Familienbuch der
  mennoniten Gemeinde Eichstock.   Schriften des Bayerischen Landesvereins
  fuer Familienkunde e. V., Heft 18.  Verlag Michael Laszleben, Kallmuenz
  uebert Regensburg.  The causes of death found in this monograph were
  extensively reviewed by V. Lyle von Riesen who holds a PhD and has
  taught in medical schools in the United States for 35 years.  His
  published article is entitled "Causes of Deaths in the Eichstock
  [Baveria] Mennonite congregation" and can be found in Mennonite Family
  History, XV, 4, p. 151-155. 
(3) Another article published in Mennonite Family History, prepared by
  Adalbert Goertz.  It appeared in the April 1991 issue as "Diseases in
  Prussian Church Records".


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