It's hard to visualize the concept of serfdom. The people in Slovakia, Hungary and many other countries in Eastern Europe were under serfdom till 1848 ( Bosnia was the last country to abolish serfdom in 1918 ). Jabloncza was in the process of freeing itself from this model of economics after so many centuries . The changes must have rippled through the landowners as well as the former serfs, eventually setting the stage for immigration to America .
Written in the Jablonca census and church records, there are people listed with the occupation of ZSELLER which translates to " tenant farmer " or cotter . It can mean two things if one finds an ancestor listed as a " zseller ". I quote from Felix Game's treatise on social classes of the farmer in Austria - Hungary: " The cotter was not part of the first wave of settlers, and had to take smaller, and less well-located acreage, but had the same obligations as the tenant farmer, although in proportion to his smaller holding. Usually occupied a small building on a small parcel of land, on which he grew little beyond his family's personal use. The zseller worked for others as day laborers, or tradesmen. " The other occurance is when they are zsellers but not on their own land, or sharing a small building with another family while working as day laborers . Sometimes this happens with extra members of a family who have no inherited land or a newer immigrant to the village looking to work in a vineyard or farm.
The Keller family listed below not only had a "katona" - soldier - living with the second family in the same house at Jablonca # 77 but they worked as day laborers. Sometimes day laborers or tenant farmer is written in latin as " inquilineus "
NOTE : For anyone interested in Felix Game's research or his great articles, they are still posted at http://www.felix-game.ca/.
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