Re: What Price Familiant Numbers? #austria-czech

Celia Male <celiamale@...>

Tying up more loose ends: On the 17 July 2005 Dave Bernard of Sherborn, Mass.
wrote: According to the Familianten act only the first-born received the
Familiant license and was permitted to marry. Does anyone know how one went
about acquiring a Familianten Number in the early 1800s - other than

And Dave then asks what the going rate might have been in the currency of
the day - florins or guldens? His point of reference Dave states: My GGGF
(who inherited his father's Familiant #) borrowed 100 Fl. to start a business
in 1815. But I have no idea what that might be in today's money or what a
Familiant number might have brought at auction].

I have had little time to research this in depth, but I do have some points
of reference, unfortunately we need currency conversions >from Gulden and Krone
to Florins! See this discussion:
I am sure some of our economists who are experts in currency conversion can
help out!

Here are some interesting preliminary points:

1. The licence required for erecting a synagogue in mid-1800s Bohemia
was a one-off payment of 1,000 Gulden and annual charge of 100 Gulden.

2. Then here is a chilling account of the *Judensteuer* in Bohemia up to 1826:
it was 261,000 Kronen/p.a. The Kaiser commented cynically when asked to defer
payment: Even if only two Jews remain in Bohemia, they would have to pay the
tax between themselves.

3. The Moravian Jewish community had to pay an annual tax of 82,000 Florins
in 1782.

As there were 8,541 Familiant in Bohemia and 5,106 in Moravia and we assume
that the tax is the same per caput, then a simple calculation tells us that
the Moravian tax should be ca 150,000 Krone, but it is given as
82,000 Florins, so one Florin must be = to about 2 Krone.

3. Wedding feasts in Bohemia in the 1700s: Only Jews who pay a tax of 100
Florins can offer a wedding feast to their guests. If the host pays a tax
of 300 Florins the wedding can have a much more elaborate menu [salmon and
trout are forbidden!]. A tax of 600 Florins however gives you a much
freer hand.

4. Barmitzvah: Unless you pay 400 Florins/p.a tax you are only allowed to
serve carp [no other fish]. The only meat permitted is beef and chicken or
goose. Cakes etc are not allowed. If you do not pay 100 Florins tax - you
are not allowed wine except for the single ritual/blessing glass. 400 Florins
brings you unlimited choice but coffee is forbidden under all circumstances.

5. Circumcision: Upto 50 Florins/pa - you are only allowed 10 male guests.
100-300 Florins allows you 20 male guests and cakes, chicken and drink. For
300 Florins you can invite 25 guests.

6. Prague Prices in 1846:

One pound of beef, veal, lamb or mutton = 2 Krone
One fowl or duck = 2 Krone
One goose = 1 Krone
One Indian hen = 10 Krone [a turkey perhaps?]

7. Travel tax: All Jews resident in Bohemia had to pay 2 Krone/day whilst
they were out of Bohemia

With all this financial data, surely we can get somewhere? Inflation was
very low in those days, so I doubt we have to figure that into the calculation.
If my "back-of-the-envelope" calculation is correct; i.e. 1 Florin = 2 Krone,
then a payment of 100 Florins for a Familiant licence can be equated to
200 Krone or 200 lbs of meat or 200 fowl. In todays parlance, this would
be the *Big Mac* currency equivalent, so beloved of economists. In the UK,
we also have a *Mars Bar* currency standard!

As families were poor in those days, this was a substantial sum of money,
equivalent to a high percentage of the family food budget for the year.

Celia Male [U.K.]

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