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In the 13th/14th century the concept of an intentional professional education was formed. The "Meisterlehre" in three steps, "Lehrling" (apprentice), "Geselle" (journeyman) and "Meister" (master craftsman) was created. Young men were educated in the knowledge and know-how of their chosen craft. They began the long journey as an apprentice of 1-4 years. Since there was no mandatory school an apprenticeship could start from age 12 on coinciding with their confirmation date. Boys had to prove legitimate birth of honest parents and had to be tied to a security. Apprentices had to pay money. An apprentice belonged to the household of a master craftsman which could be his own father. The master had to feed and clothe his apprentices but paid them no money for their work. The apprentice had the right to a thorough education. The apprenticeship ended with a "Lossprechung" (release) before the entire guild. The graduate would then go on as a journeyman to work under several masters in his homeland or abroad to gain further experience before he would present his masterpiece and become "Meister". The young men to go as journeymen had to apply for so called "Heimatscheine" (certificates of residence for the native country - Inland- or abroad - Ausland-) It is to keep in mind, that abroad meant the state adjacent to the homeland as well as a foreign country. Some young men were released from years of travel, because of impediments or because they were needed in their fathers' business. Once the journeyman presented his master piece, he became a member of the guild and was allowed to set up his own shop.

Source: Schottner, Alfred. Das Aus- und Weiterbildungssystem im historischen und neuzeitlichen Steinmetzhandwerk.

The FamilySearch Catalog lists applications for Heimatscheine at FamilySearch Keyword search: Heimatscheine . See also keyword search: Lehrlinge, Gesellen, Meister and Innungen

Foresters (Förster)

The Forstakademie Tharandt trained all foresters for Saxony.


There all kinds of designations for the profession of farmer. Depending on the size of land they were cultivating their names were Köther, Käthner, Hufner, Pferdner and here is another name to identify a farmer: "Wirtschaftsbesitzer". In the 19th century this term developed for a "Gärtner", someone who was among farmers a cultivator of land not much larger than a garden. Such a cultivator was also known as "Gartennahrungsbesitzer". He used the land for raising vegetables for his own use as well as for sale.



Dienstboten (servants) are persons attached to a household. They do the household chores in a city or in the country. Well into the middle of the 20th century there were many Dienstboten in German households. Most Dienstboten were females. They served in well established households. They had to clean, cook, do the laundry, the shopping, received visitors and looked after the children. Their work days were long and the wages low.

Working in a factory was another job women would perform.

The FamilySearch Catalog lists occupational indexes for Saxony at, Keyword search: Gesindeverzeichnis, Dienstbotenverzeichnis or Gesindejournal

Diaries of midwives

With the rise of gynecology, the traditional role of midwifery came under scrutiny. In Germany the first maternity hospital was established in 1779 in Jena. In 1818 the first regulations for midwifery were published. Midwifes were appointed to certain districts for a length of time and came under the observation of the health department. They had to report their activities yearly to the health official, who would determine their salary and their competence. Midwives had to be trained and certified in order to take up their profession.

Midwives were encouraged to keep diaries, in which they recorded the procedures of the deliveries and their observations. This was necessary because not only the employer needed to gain an insight into the activities of the accoucheuse, the midwife herself would profit from keeping notes about her work. Her duty was not only to deliver a child and look after the wellbeing of the mother, but she had to report the child birth to the priest, the civil registration or the police officer. If she had taken careful notes, she would have no problem to report, names, addresses, and dates. If a midwife had to become a witness in a court procedure, she would also be well prepared with dates and facts.

The keeping of a diary would serve the midwife well, when she writes down her observations. She would be more precise in her recordings, since she has to explain what is happening. She would have to ponder the outcome and ask herself what could be done better and how a situation should be handled in the future.
A diary would enable the midwife better to recall certain cases, especially when she assists the same woman again and therefore can recall any problems in a professional manner. For the length of her professional life a midwife was encouraged to keep a yearly log of her activities.

The diaries of midwives were evaluated for statistical purposes, which on the other hand served as a base for improving the health of women.
An excellent diary would have the following information:

Day and hour of birth
Name of mother, her age and her domicile
Name of father
Delivery number
The child’s position at birth
The gender of the child
Did the child live or was it a stillbirth?
Was it a normal birth, a premature birth or a miscarriage?
Was the assistance of a physician required?
How much carbolic acid was used?
Did the mother stay healthy, did she get sick, did she die and when?

Midwife diaries may have been kept by health administrations (Gesundheitsamt) and archived


Ahlfeld, Dr. Ueber den Werth und den Gebrauch des Hebammen Tagebuchs in: Tagebuch der Hebamme Frau Henkel in Bruch vom 5. April 1895

Wikipedia: Hebamme


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  • This page was last modified on 2 February 2015, at 21:30.
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