Archiver > GERMAN-BOHEMIAN > 2006-08 > 1155419516

Subject: Re: [GERMAN-BOHEMIAN] Cottager
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2006 17:51:56 EDT

Sedlak is translated as a Bauer or Landwirt in German -- a farmer in English.

In a message dated 8/12/2006 1:56:03 PM Mountain Standard Time,
My great grandmother's father was a mason from the Egerland (not a Meister,
though) and he is called a Hausler in the church records. There may have been
a small garden behind the house but it was not large enough to qualify them
for the "Gaertner" designation. A Master mason probably had a good income but
journeymen masons often ended up in the army because they were relatively

I did not mention that my great grandmother emigrated to MN with her
mother, brother and sister around 1869.

If the family were called Hauslers on church records from the late 1840s and
early 1850s and that may mean that it is an older designation. Some of the
references I have for Chalupner and Hausler indicate that it was the Sudetens
that interpreted these words as approximately the same. However we
have to remember that the word Sudeten was not in use until the turn of the
20th century (1900 and later).

It is always best to find a definition associated with the time when a
word was written rather than trying to apply more modern interpretations.

Hausler can be taken apart to be Haus (house); Hausl (little house); and by
adding the "er" it becomes an adjective referring to the occupant - Hausler is
one who lives in a little house.

There is a farmhouse museum at Windsheim (Bad Windsheim) about 30 km east of
Dinkelsbuhl. I recommend that anyone interested in what housing was like in
old Bohemia should visit that museum. There is one old thatched hous that
dates from around 1200 and it is a good place to start to see how living
conditions changed over time. If I recall, the newest house and barns (Hof) there
date from about 1935.

The mill was very interesting. I always thought of millers as probably
being fairly prosperous but that particular example made it appear that the
miller's living quarters in the same building as the mill were very small and
sparsely furnished. Our guidebook indicated many millers were quite poor.

There are cottages and farm Hof, mills and other examples of Höfe from all
around Germany -- any many of them may be very close to the Höfe and cottages
owned by the Germans in Bohemia. There is a one-room weaver's cottage with a
big loom, a bed, an armoire, table and chairs. I no longer remember what kind
of kitchen that cottage had.

One other very small cottage had an adjoining room for the kitchen with the
kitchen stove on one side of the chimney and the heating stove on the other in
the small main room. The kitchen was totally dark - probably had to be lit
by a lantern or candle. The stove had a fairly deep well on one end for hot
and a cooking surface. I don't recall what kind of shelves might have been
in the kitchen. If there was access to the chimney to hang meats for smoking
it was not apparent.

Almost all of the larger farmhouses, inns and other buildings that were also
residences had a big chimney over the cookstove where smoked meats hung. In
one old inn building the chimney had an opening that was maybe 4 feet wide and
there were a number of saugages and hams hung there. The wood-fired
cookstove was beneath it. It was in a long hallway adjoining the inn room. Guests
might pass the cookstove on their way to eat or drink.

The kind of barn a farmer had depended on his "specialty." Hops farmers had
one kind of barn while grain farmers had another and livestock and pig farmers
had yet another. The farm houses all had several rooms and some had 2
stories. Upper rooms were small, usually had a bed and pegs on the wall for
clothing and maybe a trunk or other storage chest but not much other furniture.

The houses with a tradesman in the family often reflected the man's trade in
how they were finished -- a plasterer had an elegantly plastered lower floor.
A carpenter had beautifull paneling or cabinets and a painter might have a lot
of stenciled designs throughout his house.

I don't recall seeing any farms that the Germans called a Chalupe so that may
be a word used only in Bohemia.

Chalupner comes from an old west Slavic and Czech word (Chalup or Chalupe)
and the Germans did not change the spelling except to add the "r" at the end.

Some time back one list member wrote that her ancesotors were called
Chalupners but she believed they owned a rather large farm -- which did not fit the
oldest definition of a Chalupner. Back in 1654 a farmer held 11 strich or
more while the largest Chalupner had only 9.

It is possible that over time a Chalupner was able to grow his holdings but
for some reason the lable that was attached to his Hof was never changed. I
have not found any reference to why that would happend or if there was any tax
advantage to one designation or the other.

It is possible that as more farmers grew more prosperous a "small holding"
was no longer all that small -- the amount of land with a Chalupe in 1900 may
have been enough to have a farm in 1654..


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