Heinrich Wohlgemuth lived on prestigious Brotbänkengasse

Heinrich Wohlgemuth lived on prestigious Brotbänkengasse

My German script reading ability is improving but I'm not yet good enough to decipher many of the written notations on the old German records we are working with. In this closeup of Frederike Wohlgemuth's death record, we can read that the death is reported by the merchant Heinrich Wohlgemuth who resides in Danzig at [unknown street name] No. 19. 

Below that, we see the deceased is Frederike Wohlgemuth, born Paechter, 72 years and 7 months old, of "mosaische" religion, living in Danzig at [that same address]. At the bottom, we see she was born is Tiegenhof and was the widow of the merchant Leopold Wohlgemuth. (Also, there is mention of Marienburg, another nearby city known today as Malbork.)

Okay, but what is the street name?  It would be nice to know the precise location of Heinrich's home in Danzig, especially now that we know his mother Fredericke also lived there. 

I asked Rodney Eisfelder for help reading the script. He's the Australian leader of the Danzig record indexing project that I have been a part of, and he has been my coach in learning to read the old German. Here is his email reply.

It looks to me like Brotbänkengasse. The street name is mentioned on a few web pages, such as here. So the street still exists, but with a new name (Chlebnicka), right in the centre of town, one block from the town hall. — Regards, Rodney

Wow. I never would have seen that, but can sort of make it out now. Brotbänkengasse. Bread banks street.

But there's a bigger wow. Chlebnicka is one of the main touristed streets in Danzig's old town. My hotel there in 2018 was a few blocks away on Ogarna. The Chlebnicka Gate at the end of the street is one of the important landmarks of Old Town. 

Following one of Rodney's links, we learn that "bread banks" provided an early form of commercial credit enabling the distribution of bread during the Middle Ages. From these beginnings, a system of interconnected warehouses, markets and banks developed that remains central in the European economy to this day. 

We will study this more, but it is enlightening to learn that the old name of ul. Chlebnicka in Gdansk was Brotbänkengasse, evidently the street of bread banks. It was the commercial and financial center of old Danzig, and that is where our Wohlgemuth family members lived 110 years ago.

I don't know if the street address on Brotbänkengasse corresponds to today's numbering, but Chlebnicka 19 is located at the east end of the street, adjacent to the gate. That was no doubt a central, important and prestigious address in the banking world of turn-of-the-century Prussia.

In terms of Wohlgemuth geography, Heinrich's home in the center of town was about a half mile north of the J. Wohlgemuth company location on Zabi Kruk in the Alte Vorstadt. The Isaac Wohlgemuth home at Abegg Gasse on Granary Island was a half mile east of that, forming an easily walkable triangle, the nexus of the Wohlgemuth's world.

From Hilda's description, they traveled more often by horse and carriage.