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Inhabitants (also the designations Inman (n) or the plural form Infolk can be found) is a designation with regionally different meanings. In many areas, e.g. In the Middle Ages and in the early modern period , for example, in southern Germany, Saxony and Austria, it was used to describe residents of a city who did not own a house or land and therefore did not have citizenship . Similar meanings are associated with insten and instemen (tenants). There are also similarities to the term “ resident” , which came into use at the beginning of the 20th century and was used for day laborers without real estate .

The concept of resident is to be distinguished from that of housemate ; This is understood to mean people who either have a family law relationship with the landlord (spouses, children, aunts, ...) or who are dependent on him as servants ( maids , servants ).

Regional variants of terms

In Mecklenburg to residents of the cities designated without civil status or special privileges as citizens or granny , said altmecklenburgische Landrecht the Civil zubilligte only one main food acquisition in commerce, trade or business. For this reason, special forms similar to handicrafts developed for those (arable) citizens who were full-time farming in urban areas. However, their number remained subordinate in the trade statistics of all Mecklenburg rural towns.

Inst people in north and north-east Germany were day laborers who were contractually bound to a landowner and who worked for housing, cash and wages in kind. They had to provide a second worker (the "crowd worker") and thus acted as a kind of subcontractor.

In south-west Saxony around 1700 it was even customary in some places to speak of “wealthy residents”, which could mean full farmers and other villagers with house and farm property , in cities also house owners . In this area and in the Vogtland , this usage of "residents" later changes with residents , in keeping with the current term, i. H. any resident of a place.

In Slovenia , residents (so-called osabeniki ) were settled as workers in vineyards.

In this context, the terms Beiwohner , Beisasse , medewohner and non-positus , which are used in Switzerland , should also be mentioned, which are based on the fact that these residents of a municipality do not have full citizenship, but have certain rights and obligations due to the existence of the residents. These sitters can be financially significant people.

Rights and Duties of a Resident

In the Middle Ages and in the early modern period, residents of a city who had no possessions and who did not have citizenship were called residents . They had to earn their living as day laborers at a manor or a company (e.g. a brewery) - without being permanently employed there.

When residents marry, special rules had to be observed with regard to the jurisdiction of clergy, since the place of residence was not determined by house or land ownership.

In the regional Thai Ding are orders of the requirements to which a Inman and its host (Wirth) called to meet needs. The Lustenfeldener Urbar of 1635, for example, shows the following obligations: Every subject was obliged to appear at the rulership with an admitted person after 14 days at the latest, to have this person registered and to assume a guarantee . The Inman was formerly another government assumed he had to bring his final farewell from there and then the rule of the Angelüb afford. This was connected with the payment of a drive-up fee (eight cruisers at the time ). After moving in with the landlord, two shillings in tax and one gulden robot money had to be handed over every year . If these taxes were not paid on time, the landlord was responsible for them. If the owner moved out, he had to request cancellation and pay a departure fee. This did not apply if the proprietor remained within the rule. If the move-out was concealed, both the proprietor and the landlord made themselves liable to prosecution. It was forbidden to appear as a servant and thus to hide the inman relationship. If an Inman died, various taxes had to be paid for him from his estate (case-free allowance, partial award money, hospital costs, carer, clerk and official tax). On the other hand, the residents were usually exempt from princely taxes (land tax, armaments etc.).

In this Austrian example, it is worth mentioning the increase in Inman relationships in the 17th and 18th centuries, which even led to the construction of rental houses in Linz with several tenants. As a result of these influxes, an urban proletariat developed in the urban area even in the pre-industrial age .


  • Franz Wilflingseder : History of the rule Lustenfelden near Linz (Kaplanhof). Book publisher of the Democratic Printing and Publishing Society (special publications on the history of the city of Linz), Linz 1952.

Web links

Wiktionary: residents  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Friderich of Flerssheim: Weisthum and court order of community Ellerstadt from 1555 . In: Journal of the Savigny Foundation for Legal History. German Department . 3.1, 1882, pp. 199-223.
  2. granny . In: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon , Volume 5 1905, p. 461.
  3. Michael Mitterauer : Inwohner - Problem of family membership . In: Family and Division of Labor. Historical comparative studies . Böhlau Verlag Vienna, Cologne, Weimar, 1992, p. 198. Archived from the original on July 11, 2016.
  4. ^ Inst people . In: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon , Volume 9 1905, p. 876.
  5. Method Dolenc: The lower people's jurisdiction among the Slovenes from the end of the 16th to the beginning of the 19th century . In: Yearbooks for the culture and history of the Slavs. New episode . 5, No. 3, 1929, pp. 299-368.
  6. ^ Johann N. Schneid: The bridal exam, the marriage blessing, the jubilee marriage and the procedure of the Catholic Church when a foreign religious member is accepted into its society. An auxiliary book initially for budding clergy and soul carers. With an addition of baptismal and funeral speeches . G. Joseph Manz, Regensburg / Landshut, 1835, p. 10.
  7. ^ Franz Wilflingseder, 1952, p. 102 ff.