Routes Traveled by Apprentice Saddler Johann Helmig


The itinerary of journeyman saddler Johann Helmig reveals a labor market that extended throughout Central Europe. After their apprenticeship, journeymen often traveled from one job to the next for several years. We can see that Helmig rarely went beyond the borders of the German-speaking area during his migrations. In many trades, journeyman migration was obligatory, as it was in the saddler trade. In the 17th century, it was still generally believed that the practice of journeymen traveling was for the “good of the state” and that journeymen could acquire special skills this way. It was not until the second half of the 18th century that people began to doubt the usefulness of this practice.


Source: Wandering Years of a Journeyman Craftsman, Reserach Center for Biographical Documents [Forschungsstelle für Personalschriften], Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz. Available online at:  (last accessed December 2020).


Routes Traveled by Apprentice Saddler Johann Helmig, published in: German History Intersections, <> [November 30, 2023].