(noun) - From the Latin word fractura ('breaking"), fraktur is a German word that describes an antiquated style of black letter writing. Fraktur, while largely lost as a calligraphic art, lives on as both typeface and font. This, however, is its literal definition.
Fraktur has commonly come to mean a type of certificate, most popular from the late 1700's to around 1900, used by the Pennsylvania Dutch to document births, deaths, family genealogies, and land purchases.
The most delightful -- and highly prized by collectors -- of these types of fraktur are those bordered and illustrated with Pennsylvania Dutch symbols. As time went by, the original "fraktur" black lettering became a less significant element of the certificates. In some cases it disappeared entirely, wholly replaced by handwritten script.