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ViewMate Posting VM 53051

Submitted by Sherri Fischer Venditti

Information Picture Question
Category: Interpretation
Approval Date: 1/25/2017 4:33 PM
Family Surname: Friedenberg
Country: France
Town: Boulogne-Sur-Mer
Date of Image: 1898
Click the picture to enlarge

G or ?
I'm trying to figure out what the writer intended as the first letter for the surname on line 2 (a similar letter is also in line 20, not shown). At first it looks like a "G", however, there are other, definite, "G's" on lines 8 and 10 which are a completely different form.

Were different forms of the uppercase 'G' used in France or Holland in 1898 or is this a different letter or just a fluke?

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On  Response 
1/26/2017 9:40 AM I do not doubt that the letter in number 2 is "G"; the whole name looks to be Grimbergs Henri

There is no line 20 included in the image

The document is in English, so probably was written by an English or American person and appears to be in pretty classic English/American script
1/27/2017 1:06 PM There are two different Gs for Line 2 and Line 8. Line 10 has Georges Gantin, both names beginning with a G. But Line 2 has a different kind of G.

I can provide a similar example within one person's manifest -- Jacob Zimmer arrived in NYC from Zborow 28 Dec 1899 . His surname was written with a formalized capital Z which goes below the line. But the name of the town starts with a "European Z" similar to Zorro's trademark and with a slash through the middle.
1/27/2017 1:49 PM Line 8 and 10 are two different letters I think. One is a G on line 10, the other a J on line 8. Line 2 is a G. Google "Script letter G" and "Script letter J" and take a look.
1/27/2017 4:22 PM Yes, different styles of handwriting were used in France and other European countries before WWII. You can think of them as older style and newer style. The G on line 2 is the older style. The G on line 8 and 10 is a new style. A person who writes things for a living, like a ship's purser, would certainly have been able to read and write in multiple styles. They might slip between styles either without thinking about it or on purpose for some reason. I've seen German birth records where the child's name is written in a fancy old style manner but the rest is written in simpler manner. I think it's possible that some people might associate a place name or some people's names with an older writing style even while writing generally in a new style. In Germany I think the whole country decided to move to the new style after the end of WWII.
1/27/2017 7:44 PM Definitely a "G". Yes, there are two different styles to write a capital "G", the second one at line 8 is like an enlarged small "g".
Another letter written in different styles: the "A" in "Abraham" at line 1 is like an enlarged small "a", but in line 8 in"Aimé", it is like a printed upper case "A".
I don't think that line 8 has a J ("Jantin?"); compare with the G in Georges (line 10) and the J in Joseph (line 5), Jean (line 14), and Joiner "line 8).
1/28/2017 3:31 AM For any native or/and fluent speaker/reader of French, there is absolutely no doubt that those written letters are two forms of the same alphabetic character G : in Grinberg, Gantin or Georges

As for the sound, to which you refer in your mail, it does not depend from the shape of the written letter for that character, but from its immediate context : written before e or i, g sounds like j in Jeanne (for instance in Georges or Eugène), in all other contexts g sounds like g (Grinberg, Gantin, Marguerite); mutatis mutandis you have the same phenomenon in English (George versus Graham etc..)

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