Dutch term – Gezel

A gezel is a journeyman, a craftsman who had already finished basic training but had not passed his master’s exam yet and had not been admitted to the guild. The term is also used to indicate someone who worked for a boss rather than having their own shop, so a gezel doesn’t mean the person is young.

You can find the word gezel used as a suffix to other occupations, for example a timmermansgezel (journeyman carpenter) or schoenmakersgezel (journeyman shoemaker). You won’t find these composite terms in most dictionaries, so just look up the first part (without the -sgezel) to see the craftsman they were apprenticed to.

Etching of a carpenter at work

Timmerman (carpenter). Etching by Jan and Casper Luyken, 1694. Credits: Picturing the past (public domain)

About Yvette Hoitink

Yvette Hoitink, MLitt, CG®, QG™ is a professional genealogist, writer, and lecturer in the Netherlands. She has a Master of Letters in Family and Local History from the University of Dundee, and holds the Certification of Genealogist and Qualified Genealogist credentials. Yvette served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Professional Genealogists and won excellence awards for her articles in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly and the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly. Yvette has been doing genealogy for over 30 years. She helps people from across the world find their ancestors from the Netherlands and its former colonies, including New Netherland. Read about Yvette's professional genealogy services.

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