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Will of Johannes Landis in German and English

The original 1747 will of Johannes Landis (John of Bucks County) was photocopied by the Register of Wills in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, and that photocopy was scanned for this record. The task was to transcribe the original handwritten German letter-for-letter into typed German so that a contemporary researcher could check the 1750 English translation done by Christian Lehman, and also to provide a cultural link to the Swiss-German roots of currently living descendents of Johannes Landis. Transcribing this 1747 German into modern typed letters was a bit daunting, due partly to unfamiliar shapes of letters, and partly to the rather poor quality of the photocopy supplied by the register of wills in Philadelphia. However, the handwriting in the will is quite consistent, so that once letters are identified, they look much the same throughout the document. Uncertain words are displayed below in parentheses. Antje Petty, of the Max Kade Institute on the campus of UW-Madison has checked and edited about a third of this transcription; Antje's first language is German.

The will consists of 2 full pages and one half-page, and at some point each page was folded into quarters. This folding eventually took its toll: the parchment split apart at the folds.Then, probably after 1950, someone decided to use transparent plastic tape to re-connect the pieces of each page. However, the bottom quarters of pages 1 and 2 were switched, as verified by the order of words in the 1750 English translation by Christian Lehman. The exact boundaries of the quarter-pages is not clear, since the taping-together destroyed the words underneath, alas. Therefore, the scan preserved the incorrect position of the words, but the correct line numbers have been superimposed on the scan.

The 1750 English translation took some liberties with the German word meanings, probably to create a document with the style of current wills of that era, but the intent of Johannes Landis was probably respected. Nevertheless, a line-by-line comparison of the German of Johannes Landis and the English of Christian Lehman is not always possible. Even so, the corresponding words and phrases are always within one line above or below. Prior to about 1850, both German and English spelling was not standardized, but rather, spelling was intended to evoke the sound of the spoken words. Thus, within this will, the same word may be spelled multiple ways in 1747. Modern spelling is in red.

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line no.
Original German (black)
contemporary spelling and comments (red)
1750 Lehman translation
1 auter millfurt tounschib in bucks gounti
German used for English place names
Lower Millford Township in Bucks County (Pennsylvania)
2 Datum den 26 st Zeptember 1747 dated the 26th day of September, 1747.
3 Also hab ich Johannes landis mein Ver I John Landus (sic.)
machung (ater) lezter willen gethan und gemacht
Vermachung (ater) letzten willen getan und gemacht
beÿ meinem guten Verstand und lautet wie
bei meinem guten verstand und lautet wie
being at present of sound understanding
have made this my Last Will and Testament
6 folget (Erste geb ich mein) als
some words illegible due to tape
in manner following: First I do give my lands,
7 nemlich (hundert funf und) zwantzig acre mit dem namely, one hundred and twenty five acres with the
8 bruf ment an meinem sohn sammuel landiß
"bruf ment" = english "improvement"
improvements unto my son Samuel Landus,
9 als nemlich vor hundert und funfzig pfund that is to say, for one hundred and fifty pounds
10 um welchen er wieder im teÿl steht.
um welchen er wieder im teil steht
of which he shall draw a share.
11 Zweÿtens (aber) mach ich Johannes landis an meine
zweitens aber mach ich Johannes landis an meine
Secondly I John Landus do hereby give unto my
12 hauß frau anna landis zum Vor auß daß Ehe wife Ann Landus (besides her share) our
13 bet mit betstad zwo küe welche sie will von meine bed and bedstead, two cows of her choosing amongst my
14 küene und den brandewein haten und ein pferd cows and the still kettle, and one horse
15 den paal von meinem pferden und drei shaf (Paul) of my horses, and three sheep.
16 ................ mein küen ...............
some words illegible due to tape
Further I do give unto my wife
17 weiter (geb ich zu meiner Frau)................part
some words illegible due to tape
one third part
18 Von...........Eigenten und lose__
Eigentum; some words illegible due to tape
of all my estate, real and personal,
19 gütern Es seÿ land oder vüh waß auch ist
gütern Es sei land oder vieh waß auch ist
be it lands or cattle or any other thing.
20 weiters soll sie zu ihrem wittwe sitz platz auf mein land
weiters soll sie zu ihrem wittwen sitz platz auf meinem land
Further shall she during her widowhood, have room and privilege to live on my land
21 haben in dem hauß stuben kuchen keller waß sie in my house and of the stove room kitchen, cellar and what room she
22 nöthig hat auch zum brandewein (hatten) wann es has occasion for as also to the still kettle, but
23 sich aber nich wolte in friten und einigkeit wolte
sich aber nicht wolte in Frieden und Einigkeit wolte
if her having room in the said house and store room could not be
24 schicken in diesem hauß und stuben soll man ihr effected in peace and unity, then
25 ein hauß mit einem warmen stuben neben hin bauen a house with a warm room shall be built and added to my house,
26 und brennt holzt vor die thür liffem das sie es
und brannt holzt vor die thür liefem das sie es
and firewood ready for use be
27 nutzen kann hir zu soll ..... leben ......... delivered to her door. Further shall she have necessarys of life
28 diesem land Jahr..............................
some words illegible due to tape
of my land yearly twenty bushels of grain to wit on half part to be wheat
29 ............................und funftzig pfund
some words illegible due to tape
and the other part rye, one hundred and fifty pounds of pork
30 ............und funftzig pund rind fleisch den and fifty pounds of beef,
31 dritten part koch garten und den tritten part one third part of the kitchen garden, and one third part
32 (den gewüs) dreÿsig pfund flays (disse) obige (stug)
(den gewüys) dreisig pfund flays (diese, diffe) obige (stück)
of the orchard fruit and thirty pounds of flax, the said above
33 .... mein sohn samuel landis der mutter er (beÿseÿtz) mentioned parts and things my said son Samuel Landus shall give unto his mother
34 .... hunder und funftzich pfund auß dem land geben out of my said lands, besides her share of the said one hundred and fifty pounds
(ich) soll er ihr zwo kühe ein pferd oder mere
dreÿ shafe im futter und .... halten wir ...
and he shall also keep for her in free fodder and
stabling, two cows, a horse or mare and three sheep
37 .... as well provided for as his own.
Start of page 2 of the Will of Johannes Landis
38 waß die Jungen kinder betrift sollen ihr blatz And concerning my young children they shall have
39 im hauß beÿ der muter haben so lang biß sie house room along with their mother, till they
40 ihr Eÿgen brot konnen Verdinen
ihr Eigenes brot konnen Verdienen
can earn their own bread
41 diesse obige lebens (mitel thüg may) die mutter
diese obige lebens (mitel thüg may) die mutter
the above necessaries of life my said wife
42 mit ihrem sohn auf einem tisch genissen so
mit ihrem sohn auf einem tisch geniessen so
with my said son at one table as
43 lang es ihm auf beÿden seÿten gefahrt wann
lang es ihm auf beiden seiten gefährt wann
long as both parties like it,
44 sichs aber so nicht mehr will schicken so soll sie but if it won't suit no longer, then she shall
45 es in (natur) .......und auß ..................
some words illegible due to tape
receive the above in fact to enjoy the same at her own
46 tisch genishen so lang sie eine wittwen ist
tisch geniessen so lang sie eine wittwe ist
table during her widowhood.
47 Zweÿter so ist mein will daß mein sohn samuel Further it is my will that my said son Samuel
48 das land (ziller) weÿß soll bezahlen nemlich shall gradually pay for the said land namely
49 im Jahr nach meinem abshid oder nach seines fifteen pounds within one year next after my decease
50 an tritt funfsehen pfund und also alle Jahr biß and the like sum every year until
51 voll bezahlt ist doch auf gesetzte (Zill) ohne intereß the whole is paid off all at certain appointed times without interest
52 hir zu geb ich den vormundern voll macht and therefore I do hereby give full power unto my executors
53 meinem sohn samuel einen diet zugeben über
"diet" = english "deed"
to make a title unto my said son Samuel for
54 obige
some words illegible due to tape
my said land as good
55 als ich (sollen)..............................
some words illegible due to tape
as I could do myself.
56 ...................mobillien (angelt) uber
some words illegible due to tape
Further touching my moveables,
57 geb ich den vormuntern (samst) den Erben im I leave the management thereof unto my executors and my heirs
58 ihren willen da mit zu thun wie sie versehes to dispose of them to the best advantage
59 es auf eine (Vendu) zu konnen (lasen) oder either by Vendue or
60 aber sonst zu verkauffen allen das auf or sell them otherways,
61 richtig her geht. only that honesty be observed.
62 auß diessen obigen sollen al die Jungen die
auß diesen obigen sollen al die Jungen die
And out of the above
63 biß da her echt mässigen shulden .... mich zu
biß da her rechtmässigen shulden .... mich zu
all my just debts
64 (soderan) haben bezahlt (und zufrieden sein)
some words illegible due to tape
shall be paid and satisfied. And all the
65 ..................................................
some words illegible due to tape
residue of my estate including what they
66 .................empanngen haben soll (und)
.................empfangen haben soll (und)
have of me received already
67 meine kinder in gleÿche theÿl geteÿlt werden shall be equally divided amongst my children share and share alike and
68 Dieße Teÿlung soll geshehen wann mein Jungster such division shall be made when my youngest
69 sohn neünsehn Jahr alt ist erstregt sich und Jahr
sohn neünsehn Jahr alt ist erstreckt sich und Jahr
son shall be nineteen years old whish shall be in
70 1759 im Januar January in the year 1759.
Start of page 3 of the Will of Johannes Landis
71 Uber das alles setze ich zu vormundern Furthermore I do nominate
72 meinem schwager Jacob muselman und my brother in law Jacob Musselman and
73 mein sohn Jacob landiß in hofnung my son Jacob Landus to be my executors hoping
74 sie werden sorg (tragen) vor meine wittwe they will take care of my widow
75 und kinder so gut alß sie könne daß ein and children as good as they can so that
76 Jegliches zu dem seinigen........hir über each of them may get his share. Moreover
77 ist mein begei-- das diesser mein letzten will
ist mein begei dass dieser mein letzten will
I do desire that this my last will
78 und testement aber mein ........ kinder and testament may by my wife and children
79 mit ............................ und das be received as such
80 ..... in ........... können leben and live peaceably according to the same,
81 Diß bekenn ich Eÿge händig beÿ gezeÿge witness my own hand in the presence of