Frederick’s journey?

While on vacation earlier this month, I saw that I had received an email from my German acquaintance Friederike. She wrote to let me know that maybe she could explain how Frederick Isserstedt and Wilhelmine Sachs could have possibly met when they lived so far apart in Germany.

She also sent me this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journeyman_years <–GO READ THIS FIRST!

640px-Apprenticeship

Journeyman — The tradition of setting out on travel for several years after completing apprenticeship as a craftsman.

There was a short time in the Isserstedt’s lives when they decided to open a shoe repair shop in downtown Plymouth, Wisconsin. This foray into retail didn’t last long though and they went back to farming full-time, no doubt because there wasn’t much money to be made in shoe repair. (Shoe forms and anvils were passed down in our family.)

In 1866 the Isserstedts sold lots in downtown Plymouth as seen below. Before this would most likely be where and when they would have opened their shop.

This Indenture made the first day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty six between Frederick Isserstedt and Wilhelmnie Isserstedt his wife parties of the first part and Peter Lesch party of the second part all of the county of Sheboygan and State of Wisconsin.

…in consideration of the sum of three hundred dollars to them in hand paid…[for] the following described piece, tract and parcel of land situated lying and being in the County of Sheboygan and State of Wisconsin to wit:

The South eighty four and one half (84 1/2) feet of lots no. one (1) and two (2) and the North eighty four and one half (84 1/2) feed of lots no. seven (7) and eight (8) in Block no. ten (10) of the Village of Plymouth.1

In order to have opened a shoe shop, Fred would have had to know how to make, or even repair, shoes. This skill would have been learned in Germany. So it is possible that Fred apprenticed as a shoemaker, and then went on to his journeyman training. This would have required that he travel all over the country finding masters that would teach him the skills he would need to make a living, and eventually to be accepted as a master shoemaker himself. So the story goes — Fred traveled as far north as Dömitz, met a girl, fell in love, and married her, as soon as he was done with his travels. (And how could he not fall in love, she had such a cute smile.)

Of course Fred’s possible journeyman’s travels are purely speculative on my part, but, it would explain a lot.

Thanks Friederike for the heads up! I knew nothing of this tradition until now.


Source:

  1. Sheboygan County Wisconsin, Register of Deeds; Deeds (1839-1886) and index to deeds (1839-1888); Deeds, v. 22 (p. 312-end) 1866-1867 Warranty deeds, v. 23-24 (p. 313) 1866-1867  –  FHL film #1,392,898 – vol. 24, page 13 [image 1211].
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George Hamm’s mysterious father…

hamm_georgeGeorge Hamm, Sr. was baptized 2 days after he was born, as the illegitimate son of Elisabetha Knobloch. His father wasn’t named. I have always assumed that Jacob Hamm was his step-father and the relationship was a close one, only because George took the Hamm surname by the time he was confirmed at the age of 13.

Now, however, I have re-thought this assumption. It is entirely possible that Jacob was his actual father, and Elisabetha and Jacob didn’t marry until after he was born. The reasons for this possible delay in marriage can be seen below:

Sometimes, they didn’t have the money to pay the marriage fee. Other times, the church was far away or the pastor wasn’t easily accessible. Some German states, in an effort to control the booming population, placed legal restrictions on marriage, making it more difficult. And sometimes, the couple simply didn’t feel that much concern about whether marriage or children came first. Peasant society had its own marriage customs apart from the customs of the state church. In earlier times, the community had viewed living together, making a commitment to one another, and especially having children as basically equivalent to getting married. Despite valiant efforts by churches, stamping out traditions and convincing people to first perform the ceremony in a church proved difficult.1

I have heard this information several times over the past few months from different sources. If the birth was illegitimate the mother’s name is the only one that would be listed. Which is why even if everyone knew who the father was, the church didn’t bother to put that information down because they weren’t married.

It has been estimated that illegitimate births may have comprised around 15% of overall births, depending on living arrangements, on laws relating to marriage, on poverty rates, on customs concerning women’s work, and other social factors. Many of these illegitimate births were legitimized by the subsequent marriage of their parents. Christening records may have the abbreviation pmsl, standing for per matrimonium subsequens legitmata (or legitmatus, depending on the gender of the child). This notation indicates that the premarital child of a couple was legitimized by the subsequent marriage of its parents. Generally, the mother’s name was crossed out and the father’s name substituted, a procedure frequent in the 19th century. The Church considered illegitimacy to be immoral, and recorded all deviant behavior. Often ridicule, shame and mockery were aimed at the mother. At times, clergymen recorded illegitimate births/christening upside down in the church books.2

I never saw the initials ‘pmsl’ on any of  George’s records, but, I don’t have his christening record, only his baptismal record. So unless I can do a yDNA test of the known male HAMM descendants of Jacob and his possible son George, I won’t know for sure who his father is. But, right now, I am not ruling out Jacob.

So the two reasons I am leaning to the relationship  as that of father/son, because Jacob and George wrote to each other, and Jacob appeared to covet the letters that he was sent, as indicated by his son Fritz’s letter to George; and because of recent information I have come across regarding marriage in Germany at the time he was born. Fingers crossed.

Source:
1. http://www.understandingyourancestors.com/ar/parishBirth.aspx
2. http://genealoger.com/german/ger_church_records.htm