I am trying to understand part of a sentence on a Prussian passport issued in 1851. Some of the words are printed in Fraktur script, and others are written into the passport form in Fraktur longhand. The portion of the sentence with which I am having difficulty reads as follows:

und werden alle Civil- und Militair-Behoerden Diensten gebenst ansucht denselben mit angefuehrter Begleitung frei und ungehindert reisen

Most of these words are printed on the form and are therefore easy to read. But I am having trouble with the three words that are written in longhand. As best I can make them out, those are the three words that I have written as

Diensten gebenst ansucht

I thought a native speaker of German might be able to make sense of this sentence, even though I may not be transcribing the longhand correctly since it is very difficult to decipher the letters of these words. My tentative translation of this sentence segment is as follows:

and the Civil and Military authorities shall, upon request, assist said person, with his retinue, to travel freely and unhindered

However, I realize the verb forms are not really correct to support this translation.

  • 8
    A scan would really help - you very probably got something wrong here. – tofro Aug 17 '18 at 21:44
  • 2
    This isn't possible to answer without a scan/photo. – Janka Aug 17 '18 at 22:07

Based on your obviously imperfect transcript

und werden alle Civil- und Militair-Behoerden Diensten gebenst ansucht denselben mit angefuehrter Begleitung frei und ungehindert reisen

it is close to the mind to suppose that the orignal would rather be

... und werden alle Civil- und Militair-Behörden dienstergebenst ersucht, denselben mit angeführter Begleitung frei und ungehindert reisen [zu lassen]

which would translate to "... and are all civil and military authorities respectfully requested to let pass him and his aforementioned companianship unobstacled." (Sorry for the doubtlessly amateurish English.)

Of course, having a faksimile of the original would be good. But the reading seems pretty clear anyway.

  • 3
    I don't think it makes any sense to speculate about something you can't see. – tofro Aug 17 '18 at 22:25
  • 2
    @tofro The transcript by Bill Hoffmann is pretty clear. Given a) the context and b) the rules and traditions of German language I do not see much to debate here. The only thing where doubt is possible without seeing the original is the proper wording of the xxxxx section. And somebody more familiar with 19th century clerical style would probably guess even this correctly without any problem. Documents of this type use a very standardized language. – Christian Geiselmann Aug 17 '18 at 23:14
  • 3
    @ChristianGeiselmann Google search "werden alle Civil- und Militair-Behoerden" shows a result containing "werden alle Civil- und Militair-Behörden hiermit diensterebenft ersucht". So I think you can just change to "dienstergebenst ersucht" and we have the correct wording. – Javatasse Aug 18 '18 at 0:55
  • 2
    @Javatasse - Thank you for this hint. Yes, the wording is obviously "dienstergebenst". - Whereas "diensterebenst" - without the letter g - is clearly a spelling error, probably not by the original, rather by some OCR software reading it. The word is correctly "dienstergebenst", i.e. "respectfully at your service" or "respectfully in service"; it is just a clerical formula of politeness). – Christian Geiselmann Aug 18 '18 at 12:13
  • 1
    books.google.at/… – Hubert Schölnast Aug 18 '18 at 17:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.