Anhalt Occupations

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Since genealogy is no longer confined to researching nobility, the research into the middle and lower classes has presented for many genealogists frustrating dead ended results. Members of the population which are not "established",i.e. farmers bound to the land, have to take what is or becomes available. To this group belong the shepherds, the "Schäfer "and "Hirten", as they are known. They represent a profession which was passed on from father to son. Often people married into families of shepherds. They may not stay in one place for very long. Research needs to take in surrounding areas for any given family of shepherds. Such research was conducted by Dr. Hermann Metzke and others for the shepherd families in Anhalt and the southern part of the former Prussian province of Saxony. The list of shepherds can be found in Arbeitsgemeinschaft für mitteldeutsche Familienforschung e.V. Schriftenreihe der AMF Schäfer- und Hirtenfamilien in Anhalt und dem südlichen Teil der ehemaligen preußischen Provinz Sachsen von Dr.Hermann Metzke, Jan. 2006 at the Famiy History Library, Salt Lake City , UT, International Floor, call number 943 B4amf v. 98.


Before a man was able to work in his chosen profession, he had to undergo a rigorous training. Read all about the career of a craftsman


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 Family History Library Catalog lists occupational indexes for Sachsen-Anhalt 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 aWrofessional 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