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Grand Duchy of Hesse 1834-1837

I recently acquired the "Wanderbuch" of Philipp Ludwig Hartmann, who lived in the Grand Duchy of Hesse during the first part of the 1800s. The Wanderbuch is a document required by the Hesse authorities for craftsmen who worked in different locations within Hesse. The word "Wanderbuch" can be translated directly as "travel book," but such a translation does not adequately capture its meaning. A "Wanderer" is not simply a traveler (Reisender), but a specific type of traveler, generally someone traveling from place to place. The difference between a Wanderer and Reisender in German is very similar to the difference in English between a wanderer and a traveler. The Wanderbuch contains the provisions of the 1810 governmental edict that ordered its creation and specified, in detail, what it was to contain. According to this edict, the Wanderbuch was created because some traveling craftsmen were misrepresenting their training, experience, and expertise, thus defrauding the people buying their services. To avoid that, the Wanderbuch was required to officially document the training a craftsman received (for example, with whom he serves an apprenticeship, where he worked as a journeyman, and how long he worked in different places. This information was to be entered and certified with a signature and seal by local officials in each place the person earned a credential. The first page of the Wanderbuch of Philipp Ludwig Hartmann contains personal information to identify him. The handwritten German script is a challenge, but the following is what have been able to translate from this first page of the document: Gebuertig von (born in): Harras-Hausen Seiner profession (his profession): wholesaler (fuker?) Alter (age): nine and twenty years Statur (height): 6 feet 8 inches Haare (hair color): brown Stirne (Forehead): ?? Augenbraunen (eyebrow color): brown Augen (eye color): brown Nase (nose): strong and ?? Mund (mouth)" ?? Kinn (chin): oval (?) Gesicht (face/look): ?? Other signs: 0 The seal of the Grand Duchy of Hesse is at the top of the page. Another stamp, as required by the edict, specifies the type of paper in the Wanderbuch (and its cost, 40 Kronen). As required, it has 64 pages. Of course, a detailed description of the individual named in the Wanderbuch was necessary because photographs were not available at the time. Thus, when a local official was presented with a Wanderbuch, he had to check the descriptive items to make sure that the person presenting the document was the person whose name appeared on it.

After the first page with descriptive information, the Wanderbuch then contains the law that mandated Wanderbuch. After that. all of the pages have room for entries describing the training and experience of the person. Page 5 of Philipp Hartmann's Wanderbuch has a full page of writing. I cannot read most of this German script, but I recognize a date (23 November 1834) and the names the city of Marburg and the city or district of Offenbach, followed by a date (May 1800, twenty-seven). My guess is that this page certifies the completion of an apprenticeship or some other type of training by Hartmann on November 25, 1834, and it is signed by the "Master" or the person providing the apprenticeship or training, who received his certification in May 1800. This page has the official stamp of the city (or district) of Offenbach. Two other pages in the Wanderbuch document stays by Hartman in a couple of cities. The last entry in Hesse is in Bremen, dated July 7, 1837, noting that Hartmann was traveling to Baltimore. Records available on show that Hartmann arrived in Baltimore on October 19, 1837. He traveled from Bremen to Baltimore on the Gustav. According to the arrival records, Hartmann was a tailor. After skipping a few pages, Hartmann wrote a few things in the Wanderbuch about his life. He wrote that he was born on April 7, 1808 in Darmstadt, a city in Hesse. He married Maria Volberh (Volberg?), who was born in Philadelphia on May 22, 1820. They were married in Philadephia on January 17, 1839. He also mentions the birth of two sons and a daughter. His last entry noted the birth of the daughter on December 21, 1845. I was unable to find out more about him, but some documents indicate that he and his wife lived in Baltimore.

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