A Remembrance of the Past; Building for the Future." ~ Eve Eckert Koehler

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

Occupations: the oldest Bricklayers Union is in BOGAROSCH; PERJAMOSCH is the birthplace of most scientists; the best village mill is in ORCYDORF; the best bone doctors are in KLEINJETSCHA; the best exhibition was in LOVRIN; SADERLACH has the most teachers; SACKELHAUSEN has the most parsons; LOVRIN has the most medical doctors and BILLED the most pharmacists. This commentary is found in the 1924 Donauschwäbischer Volkskalender, titled: Our Danube Swabian Banat Villages Have Their Own Character By Prof. Nischbach, subtitle: Various characteristics of the Banat Swabian Villages.
Trades & Occupations

Domestic Artisans, Farmers, Tradesman, Professionals, Clergy, Administrators & Manual Laborers

     A sign of an intellectually worthwhile life of a village are always the social and cultural associations. The oldest association of our community is the Trade Association, frequently also called Zunft (Guild), Innung (Guild), or Meister (Master Craftsman) Association.

     It was a beautiful entertaining life that the association led, at different formal events, but especially at the annually held general assembly where all the fellow shopkeepers were met by the guild master with village music and after the assembly they were accompanied back again by all of the members of the association with music.  It also happened this way when the master craftsman held a ball. 

     The association – called Zunft (Guild) in the beginning issued apprentice and master craftsman letters, but lost its privileges in 1867.  It remained, however, under the name as a social association until 1877, then it operated until 1897 as Association of the Business Enterprises. 

     Then it existed recently under the name Trade and Commerce Association which from 1924 to the end of 1929 was overheard to be the Iron Ring Trade Association until finally on the 15th of January, 1930 it became connected as the local group of the German-Swabian Trade and Commerce Association.  [Source: Mercydorf 1734-1934 by Peter Schiff, Translated by Brad Schwebler]

English/German Translations & Descriptions & References
Compiled by Jody McKim Pharr

English German Description / Reference
Agriculture - Livestock - Farm Animals for home use & export Landwirtschaft - Tierzucht - Tiere auf dem Bauernhof für zu Hause & Export Agriculture in Surtschin by Michael Schmidt, 1980
"Wheat, Barley, Oats, Rye, Corn, Feed Crops, Red Clover, Beets, & The Farmer's Work Year"

Livestock & Farm Animals in Banat General Contributions
"Cattle, Sheep, Swine, Horses, Chicken & Geese, Goats, & Storks"

Hemp Industry in Batschsentiwan by Hans Kopp - "After WWI, export firms of Batschsentiwan delivered not only to countries in Europe but also throughout the rest of the world."
Artisan, Tradesman or Craftsman Handewerker See: Handicrafts Worker
Artist Kunstler  
Baker Bäcker

Gingerbread Maker (Ger.: "Lebzelter") Here he is decorating a pastry "Lebkuchen" (earlier called "Lebzelte"). Those are the spicy cakes made with honey and nutmeg, and he is in the process of decorating them with liquid sugar (sugar and egg white?).  Photo contributed by Hans Gehl.

Barber & Hairdresser Ballweerer; Friseur-Balvierer

The Ballweerer (Barber)
y Heinrich Hoffmann
Translated by Brad Schwebler

   The daily shaving, whether electric or wet, is understandable for men today.

   In Bulkes it was different.  In Bulkes a man “ballweere” himself, that is, shaved.  One did not go to the barber shop like today to have his hair cut or perhaps be shaved.

   The Ballweerer came to his customer in his home. With his own “Ballweermesser” (knife), one “ballweerte” himself only in exceptional cases.  In the summer, when my father, who was a farmer, worked all week on the Sallasch, he “ballweerte” himself there.  Once or twice a week the “Ballweerer” visited his customers.  Weekday and day times were permanently arranged.  Only the doctor, the pastor, and the teacher “ballweern” themselves daily.  For the farmers he already came early around six or first thing later in the evening, when they came home from field work.  Once a month on the “Ballweerer” day he also cuts customers’ hair.

   His work tools were a soap bowl made of porcelain with the lather brush in it, and the different Ballweermesser (knives) for the varying beard strengths of his customers wrapped up in a leather or linen case.


Hairdressers from the Banat were 1907 cofounders of the Association of Banat Swabians
(Hans Dama Photo Collection)

Membership Photo: Hairdressers from the Banat were 1907 cofounders of the Association of Banat Swabians. Shown here is a hairdressing competition.

Source: Archiv des Verbandes der Banater Schwaben Österreichs [Archive of the Association of Banat Swabians of Austria]

   In addition he brought the whetstone and leather strap with which he gave the knife the last cut.  He brings all this in a wide leather bag with a brass handle and snap fastener to his customers.  Occasionally he also has an apprentice with him.
    Barber shops in those days were almost as popular a meeting place as saloons. Men had their hair cut professionally, women did their hair at home. - John Schlesinger

   The apprentice then gets the lather while he selects the right knife for the customer’s beard growth.  Before he begins with the Ballweeren, he sharpens the knife on the whetstone and then on the strap.  Like a living village newspaper he tells all the news of the world and the village to his customers.  He was the local paper and the world paper at the same time.  The soap foam abballweerten (shaved up) with the beard hair in it he places in a flat tin can he also brought with his Ballweermesser (knife).  This had a folding lid without a fastener.  In the end he wiped the remaining foam off the customer’s face with a cloth, rubbed the cheeks with alum stone, and quickly went on his way to the next customer.  So he could keep his arranged dates during the warm time of the year he grasped the handgrips of the handlebar with both hands while standing behind the Bizikel (bicycle), placed his right foot on the spike of the extended rear wheel hub, pushed off with his left foot, and swung himself over the rear wheel into the saddle which squashed the feathers under the sudden weight.  During the trip the tin can swung in his hand so that the folding lid opened and the foam with the beard hair flew in the street dust or also on the trunk of the next mulberry tree.  In the winter when everything was covered in snow and it was cold, he came on foot.

   Often I liked to watch the Ballweerer as a child when he grasped the nose of my father and grandfather with the thumb and index finger of his left hand, pulled it up and with the always sharp Ballweermesser (knife) wegballweerte (shaved away) the foam with the beard hairs downwards by the upper lip.  Frequently father and son each had his own Ballweerer.

   The Ballweerer was paid by the farmers with produce like wheat and Kukrutz (corn).  He received cash from the customers who he “ballweerte” daily.  As a second occupation the Ballweerer was as a rule a musician.  His apprentice he trained to be a Ballweerer and naturally a musician as well.  During the harvest time he was also active with the farmers as a day laborer.  According to the list in the Bulkes homeland book, of a total population of 2,860 in the year 1945 there were 17 Ballweerer in Bulkes.  There were no barber shops.  The women wore “Gretchenfrisur” (chaplet hairstyle).  The long hair was braided in two braids and laid counter-clockwise on the head.  Few women who already had a modern hairstyle had to ride the train to Neusatz to the ladies’ hair salon.

Basket, Brooms & Brushes Körbe, Besen u. Bürsten

Basket Factory photo is from 'Heimatbuch der deutschen Gemeinde Schöndorf' (Town History Book of the german village of Schöndorf) by Nikolaus Englemann, 1989, page 165. -Bob Bermel, Schöndorf Village Coordinator

"Basket weaving" was a part of Schondorf history from the colonization beginning in 1768 with the family of Johann Logel. In 1828 census there were 4 'korbmacher' (master weavers), surnames of Frensch, Grunzweig, Lui & Scharle.  Hangai, Wersching and Mayer are 'korbmacher' in the 1850's.  From 1900 to the start of World War I was a very prosperous time for the industry with over 70 workers.  After WWII saw the introduction of a communist, state run co-op with building additions in the 1960's.

Blacksmith Schmied  
Bookbinder Buchbinder  
Brewer (beer) Braumeister The Braumeister (Master Brewer)

  Weifert Brewery in Pancevo
Contributed by Michael Miller
My great grandfather, Balint Muller, but we knew him as Valentine Miller, was a Braumeister (Master Brewer) in Pancevo at the Weifert Brewery.  The Weifert brewery is still in existence.  Source: Hugo Weifert Brewery

  Old dock and Weifert Brewery in Pancevo
Contributed by Michael Miller

  Weifert Brewery in Pancevo
Contributed by Michael Miller
Brick Maker, Bricklayer / Mason Maurer / Ziegler  
Brushmaker Bürstenbinder

Isidor Färber - Feiner Bürsten Erzeuger
Fine brushes producer. Card sent to Kopreinitz, the German variant for Koprivnica, a city in northern Croatia. It is the capital of the Koprivnica-Križevci county; the Hungarian translation is Kapronca. Another variant is Kopriwnitza.

Builder Baumeister
 · engineer
 · woodworker ~ carpenter
 · house builder
 · turner
 · cooper
 · joiner
 · cabinetmaker
 · thatcher
 · mason bricklayer
 · coachbuilder
 · wheelwright
 · carver
 · ship & boat builder
Butcher Fleischhauer, Fleischer hauer, Metzger

My Father, the Meat Chopper (“Mein Vater, der Fleischhacker”) by Andreas Franz, Translated by Hans Martini

Sandra Burns: This butcher shop in Hatzfeld, believed to belong to my Great Uncle Mihaly Webers' (married to Anna Wildermuth).  I'd like to know the location of it. Click image to enlarge
Konditorei Cake Shop  
Cabinet Maker, Furniture Maker, Woodworker, 
Tischler On becoming a Woodworker by Adam Martini
Candle Maker    
Carpenter Zimmermann  
Carriage Maker Wagner  
Chambermaid, Housemaid Zimmermädchen  
The Cheese Dairyman  

Contributed by Diana Lambing © Bogarosch

Chimney Sweeper Rauchfangkehrer, Schirbsteinfeger  
Clerk of Court   My Great grandfather (seated) Franja (Franz) Strk at work in his office. He was like a clerk of the court, not a judge though.

Clergy Geistliche  
Clock Maker Uhrmacher  
Comber - Flax Hechler-Lein  
Comber - Hemp Hechler-Hanf  
The Cooper Böttcher / Fassbinder

One who makes or repairs vessels made of staves & hoops, such as casks, barrels & tubs.

Upon further "study" and reading the references Glenn and Jane found, I notice (on more careful inspection) that the "blade" of the thing is most definitely curved... as would be necessary for making barrel staves. So with this blade in place, the contraption would probably be indeed a cooper's bench. Most likely, other blades (or planes) could be substituted for other uses... or with different radial dimensions for making different sized barrels. Most interesting research! [Dan Drew]


The Shaving Horse is a simple foot-operated vice that allows you to hold a piece or wood ... relatively easy to build and extremely useful to. [Glenn in ND]

A Cooper's bench [Jane E. Moore]

Corset Maker Miedermacher  
Cutter – Harvester, Reaper Schnitter  
Day Laborer Taglöhner  
Dentist Zahnartzt

Barbara Anne Teves Schaeffer: Schaeffer Dental Office in Karavukovo.

Click image to enlarge


Distiller of Whiskey & Brandy Brenner (brandwein)  
Doctor - MD  Doctor-Artzt  
Drapery Maker Tuchmacher  
Farmer Bauer  
Flour Miller & His Horse Mill Müller
The Miller & His Horse Mill

A horse mill consisted of two adjacent buildings: the horse-capstan (German: Göpel) building and the mill house proper. The first one was a large round building with a cone-shaped roof of cane or straw. Inside this building there was the horse capstan, a horizontal cross-shaped yoke attached to a very strong vertical axel. The horses were harnessed to the arms of cross-shaped yoke; by moving round and round in a circle, they turned the vertical axel, the motion of which was transmitted via a horizontal intermediate axel and two angular gear sets to the milling mechanism in the second building. The axels and gears were made of wood, and the whole complicated mechanism was certainly a masterpiece of the village tradesmen.


November 03- Rossmühle Mill
'Rossmühle Mill' (Stefan Jäger Collection)

Dominik Simone: The Horse Mill of Alexanderhausen
From the book by Walther Konschitzky:
Dem Alter die Ehr; Kriterion Verlag Bukarest 1982
[interview conducted in 1970]
Contributed by Nick Tullius

General Store Gwelb  
Glass Painter Glasmaler  
Grapeview Grower Winzer  
Handicraft Worker (trade or craft) Handicrafts Worker, Needle Worker and  Embroiderer Handwerk / Handarbeiter(in)

Arts & Crafts (Kunst und Handwerk)
Needlepoint & Embroidery,
Crochet, Decorated Eggs, Crepe Paper Flo
wers & Silk Flowers





business, trade; hence: 
Hemp Comber & Linen Weaver Hemp Comber & Leinenweber

Hemp & Linen Processing

Spinning and weaving are associated occupations. Flax (Flachs) required a great amount of processing to prepare it for spinning.  In America, each family spun and prepared their own wool and flax.  Then, the weaver (who traveled from town to town) would come and weave the wool yarn that had been spun into [wool] coverlets and blankets, fabric for making clothing, etc.  The spun linen or flax was woven into fabric for making clothing, towels, sheets, etc. 

Hans Kopp's excellent information on the processing of hemp is identical to the process used to prepare flax for spinning. 
The Hemp Industry in Batschsentiwan

Hemp Comber Hechler-Hanf  
Herdsman or Shepherd Hirte  
House Painter & Stenciler Maler
Porch stenciling by Mari Hermann of Mercydorf
Photos taken by Jody McKim Pharr, 2006

Hunter Jäger  
Inn-Keeper Wirt  
Landless Laborer Kleinhäusler  
Leather Handler / dealer Lederhändler

Lederhändlung: Leather dealer business

Linda John-Theis: My grandfather, Michael Reichardt, leaning in the doorway of his Leather shop in the 1930s, downtown Vrsac (Werschetz), Yugoslavia, now Serbia.

Cllick image to enlarge

Leather Coat Maker Bundemacher  
Linen Weaver Leinenweber  
Livestock & Animals Breeders Vieh und Tiere Züchter Breeding, produce & animals for home use & export
Cattle, Sheep, Swine, Horses, Chicken & Geese, Storks and Goats
Maker of the Rolls for the Ceiling Wikelmacher  
Master Brewer Distiller of Beer, Whiskey, Brandy Braumeister, Bier und Brandwein brenner  
Midwife / Nurse Hebamme  
Musician Musiker  
Pastry-cook, Confectioner Konditor  
Pharmacist Apotheker
  Photo: OLD HUNGARIAN PHARMACIES, Livia Nekam, Corvina Press 1968.  "The author describes apothecary vessels that have survived from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, . . . the most beautiful of the pharmacy interiors and furnishings from the Empire and Biedermeier periods." A small format but fascinating book with a fantastic range of colour photographic plates and interesting historical detail. (Contributed by Jody McKim, 30 July 2007]
Potter Töpfer  
Restaurant Owner Gastwirt

Roofer Dachdecker  
Rope Maker Seiler  
Saddler, Harness Maker, Bridle Maker Sattler  
Seamstress Näherin  
Servant Diener  
Sheet Metal Worker Spengler  
Shoemaker / Boot Maker Schuster

Shoemakers of Miletitsch [Hans Kopp]

Silkworm Breeding  
The Breeding of Silk Worms
Information from the Moritzfeld Heimatbuch, provided by Don Mingesz, 2003

     We were not able to establish when exactly the breeding of silk worms was introduced in our village. It was a very beloved economic activity in the 18th century. We know that emperor Joseph the 2nd – like his mother – has brought in Banat specialists from Italy in order to spread this branch of the agricultural production. In those periods many people bread silk worms (even well to do peasants), because it was an easy activity for the families with many children, which needed an additional income. For years 1880-1902 we have accurate information about the breeders and their success in the Banat and Arad counties.

County Number of
Locations / Breeders
Cocoons Income
Arad   142 / 1156 307586 564852 282426
Karasch 213 / 4763   1017883 1867549 933774.5
Temesch 197 / 10389 2343531 4369405 2184702.5
Torontal 207 / 18229 2677461 4845145 2422572.5
Hungary 2667 / 94605 18949372 35225339 17612669.5

In 1892 the Moritzfeld village arranged one and a half-acre of land as tree nursery. Here they mainly cultivated blackberry bushes. The tree nursery was maintained by a nursery worker paid by the community, under the supervision of teacher Nikolaus Kolb. The inspectorate for silk in Szekszard supplied the villages with silk worms and tried to get breeders everywhere. In 1896 in our village 165 persons dealt with this activity, in 1910 there were only 105 persons. In some years they were able to get between 1500-2500 kg of cocoons and received an average amount of 4000 Kronen (2000 Florins) out of sales. It was for sure a welcomed additional income.

Count Mercy, the Italians and the Silkworm... The first settlers of Mercydorf were Italians, who settled here to introduce silkworm breeding in the Banat.  They came with their priest Clemens Rossi who was the first pastor who established the parish in 1734. Read more

The Smith & Stoker


Brenneisen, Brenner · blacksmith
· copper
· tin
· gun
· lock
· watchmaker
· jeweler
· goldsmith
· silversmith
Spinning flax & wool    
Stonemason Steinmetz

Contributed by Diana Lambing © Bogarosch

Surgeon Chirurg  
Tailor & Seamstress Schneider

A sewing and embroidery lesson in the 1920's, (Bogarosch Heimat Book)
Contributed by Diana Lambing - Click image to enlarge

Sewing Class in India, contributed by Hans Kopp, Oct 2007

Sewing Class in India Contributed by Hans Kopp, Oct 2007

Teachers & Scribes Lehrer Teacher Friedrich Kühbauch & The German Public School by Peter Lang

The Business and Trade School ~Furnishing the School with Teaching Agents by Peter Lang

The Local School Council - Continuing Education Schools - Grammar School - Trade Academy by Peter Lang

Teachers of Mercydorf by Peter Schiff

Thresher – (Owner) &  Threshing Machine Drescher & Dreschmaschine Dreschmaschine means threshing machine. North American farmers use 'combines' which pick up the mowed -- or standing grain as they drive through the fields. The self-propelled combines remove the grain kernels, wheat, barley, oats, canola, beans, clover and flax and leave the straw as they drive through the fields. The straw is later baled and used as bedding for livestock and sometimes fodder (feed).

The threshing machines were heavy iron machines that were stationary during threshing. They had to be pulled either by horses or tractor to move to a different location (the next farmer's Treplatz = Dreschplatz). Anne Dreer (ex-farmer)

Threshing Machines, Steam Engines and Tractors
by Nick Tullius

Threshing Machine Photo, Taken in Knees, Banat by Rudy Jobba

Threshing Machine - Obresch, Syrmia

Threshing Party in Bogarosch









Town Drummer Trommler The Der Trommler / The Town Drummer / Crier - "HEAR YEE!, HEAR YEE!."

"Town Crier," would walk to every corner of the town, ringing a bell until the crowd gathered around him, then he would yell out, - "HEAR YEE!, HEAR YEE!."  Then he would present his message in a singing tone. He was known as the "Messenger."

Since the people in the villages didn't have radios, the community hired a messenger. He would get the message from the community City Hall. He had a drum and went from corner to corner in the village. He would drum for a few minutes to give the citizens the chance to come out to the street and listen to the news being delivered by the drummer. He delivered his message in a shouting singing tone. The message being delivered, concerned the local people, whenever community work had to be done, on a volunteer basis. The man was known as the Town Drummer, or "Der Trommler." He should be called the "Town's Singer" instead of the "Town Crier." It would be hard to cry on every corner.


Image: Donauschwäbische Lebensformen an der Mittleren Donau, 2003 by Hans Gehl
Read: The Town Crier by Ruth Elizabeth Melcher

Veterinary Surgeon Tierartzt  
Wall Compactor – Maurerstampfer Our Early Houses Were Made From Clay and Were Bound With Straw
Weaver Weber

Photos by Jody McKim

Spinning and weaving are associated occupations. Flax (Flachs) required a great amount of processing to prepare it for spinning.  In America, each family spun and prepared their own wool and flax.  Then, the weaver (who traveled from town to town) would come and weave the wool yarn that had been spun into [wool] coverlets and blankets, fabric for making clothing, etc.  The spun linen or flax was woven into fabric for making clothing, towels, sheets, etc.

Hans Kopp's excellent information on the processing of hemp is identical to the process used to prepare flax for spinning. The Hemp Industry in Batschsentiwan

Weaving Flax & Wool Weber

Welder Schweißer  
Wine Farmer;
wine wholesaler;
wine merchant

Banat Vineyards

Batschka Vineyards

Syrmia Vineyards

Wine Processing

Wool processing (carding, dyeing)    
Woven Wool cloth processing (Fulling)    

[Published at by Jody McKim Pharr]

Heritage » Economy » Trades & Occupations

 Last Updated: 08 Feb 2020