Archaic Language

In tracking down a cousin (twice removed) in my tree, to see if she ever married, it was a bit of a challenge. The household examination books show she changed her birthdate twice, so the ArkivDigital search was difficult. She’s also named Cajsa so there are several different spellings for her over time.

I finally found her marriage, and tracking her further (once I figured out her “new” birthdate), I found she had only one child.

In looking at the detail on the page, I found that in later listings, he’s listed as “d√∂fstum” which Google helped me understand as the archaic phrase in English “deaf mute.” Then I noticed that before his name in the listings (where husfru or occupation usually is) was an unfamiliar word, so I added that to the phrase to be translated. “Mynsling,” which Google translated as “munchkin.” So, a dwarf, I am assuming. Here’s a clip of the translation:

The records have him admitted to an “Institut” at age 19, but then he seems to be back with his family shortly after that. Was he actually at the Institut but just recorded as being with his family? I can’t tell just from the HHE records.

He survives his mother, and is listed with a cousin’s family for the rest of his life. I lose track of him at age 56, but he was obviously cared for.

I did muse about the language. We would say, still, that he was deaf, or that he was a deaf person, in English. “Deaf and dumb” or “deaf mute” (which meant both unable to hear and mute, not speaking) are today considered offensive by many deaf people.

I looked up “munchkin” because that is what Google suggested was the translation for “mynsling.” Many sources say the L. Frank Baum made up the term for his Wizard of Oz books. But, “mynsling” which seems somewhat related, etymologically, was around before those books were.

Google translate seems to only give that translation in tandem — with both words together. Otherwise, “munchkin” is no longer offered as a translation for ‘mynsling,” instead giving “mince pie.”