Follow Us on Twitter

Today's Lesson - 17 Jan 2010: Understanding Latin Part 1

I've recently been helping a friend index some Italian church records. If you've ever seen Roman Catholic church records, then you've encountered Latin before. Some find it daunting and challenging, but it's the complete opposite. I find it rather easy. Well, it is easier when you compare it to the Hungarian language. With some patience and a knowledge of basic genealogical words, you can understand those Latin records in a cinch!

Today I'm going to help you understand dates. Before we begin, you should know that endings can vary for words. They can vary from -a, -o or -us. The numbers will remain the same no matter which ending is used. Let's start off with the most basic information: numbers.

1 - unus
2 - duo
3 - tres
4 - quattuor
5 - quinque
6 - sex
7 - septem
8 - octo
9 - novem
10 - decem
11 - undecim
12 - duodecim, or decimo secundo
13 - decimo tertio
14 - decimo quarto
15 - decimo quinto
16 - decimo sexto
17 - decimo septo
18 - decimo octavo
19 - decimo nono
20 - viginit, or vicesimo
21 - vicesimo primo
22 - vicesimo secundo
23 - vicesimo tertio
24 - vicesimo quarto
25 - vicesimo quinto
26 - vicesimo sexto
27 - vicesimo septo
28 - vicesimo octavo
29 - vicesimo nono
30 - triginta, or tricesimo
31 - tricesimo primo
40 - quadragesimo
50 - quinquagesimo
60 - sexagesimo
70 - septuagesimo
80 - octogesimo
90 - nonagesimo
100 - cento, or centimo
1000 - millo, or millesimo

Hopefully you you caught onto the pattern of the numbers repeating. If you look closely at 40-90, you'll notice the endings begin -agesimo. Numbers in the 100's have endings with -gentesimo. Example: quadragentesimo (400), quingentesimo (500).

Now onto months. The latter months can be quite confusing for some. January to August are written as is, except for various ending variations: Januario, Januari, Juni, Junio, Juno. September to December are a different case. As they CAN be written as they appear, they'll more than often appear in number and letter form. Here is the explanation:

September - 7bris (note: 7 in Latin begins with sept)
October - 8bris (note: 8 in Latin begins with oct)
November - 9bris (note: 9 in Latin begins with nov)
December - 10bris, or Xbris (note: 10 in Latin begins with dec; also sometimes shown as Roman Numeral X for 10.)

Now if you've ever seen a year written out in Latin, you know it can be long, confusing and intimidating. But, it's actually pretty easy. Take what you have learned about numbers above, and you'll master it quickly! Use the above numbers as a guide, to help you out. Here are a few examples that we'll now analyze knowing what we already learned:

1: (millesimo centesimo sexagesimo septo)
mill. =1000
cent. = 100
sex. = 6
sept. = 7
The date is 1167.

2: (millesimo quingentesimo quarto)
mill. = 1000
quingen. = 500
quart. = 4
The date is 1504.

3: (millesimo sexcentesimo quadragesimo secundo)
mill. = 1000
sexcent. = 600
quadrag. = 40
secund. = 2
The date is 1642.

4: (millesimo octingentesimo quinquagesimo primo)
mill. = 1000
octigen. = 800
quinqua. = 50
prim. = 1
The date is 1851.

5: (millesimo nongentesimo septuagesimo octavo)
mill. = 1000
nongent. = 900
septua. = 70
oct. = 8
The date is 1978.

I hope this has helped someone out there. If you have questions or need help with any Latin documents, feel free to comment or email me at nickmgombash@yahoo.com.

2 comments:

Del said...

Hello-

I am looking for someone who I can employ to translate cursive Latin from German vital records.
My ancestors lived in Bavaria and I have been fortunate enough to find many family birth, marriage, and death records.
Sincerely,
Del Chausse in Paso Robles, Ca

NickMGombash said...

Hi Del,

I'd love to help you out. Feel free to contact me at nickmgombash@yahoo.com

Nick

Post a Comment