The story is, as I was told, that my great-grandfather was a Journeyman in Leatherware, also called “Gerber” guild in the late 1800’s. He walked (Waltz) in his “Kluft” from North of Trier, and stopped at Master- shoemakers to learn his trade. He arrived and settled in Franconia, the town of Dettelbach, and opened his own shoe store.
The Journeyman years (Wanderjahre) are a time of travel for several years after completing an apprenticeship as a craftsman. The guild has died in the 1920’s, but made a comeback after the 1980’s. The journeyman is required to wear a uniform, named “Kluft “.
The “Geselle” demeanor should be friendly in public, and this will help them find shelter for the night and hitch a ride to the next destination. As a Geselle you are required to be unmarried, childless and debt-free—so you cannot run away from debt and social obligations.
In modern times the brotherhoods often require a clearance by the police. They carry a Journey book (Wanderbuch) to record their stay and time on the Walz, and a small fixed amount of money. The Geselle is not supposed to squander money nor to store up any riches during the journey, it is only meant for getting experience.
The Middle Ages
The Journey years or Wanderjahre in the Middle ages was taken by painters, mason-architects and goldsmiths, and was highly important for the developing the artistic style around Europe
The tradition dates back to medieval times, the brotherhood (Schächte) is still alive in German speaking countries. They travel mainly by foot and take rides for three years and one day, this is the minimum period of journeyman or woman.
These days the crafts include roofing, metalworking, woodcarving, carpentry, even millinery and musical instrument making/organ building
The journeyman brotherhoods had established a standard to ensure that wandering journeymen are not mistaken for tramps and vagabonds.