Between 1780 and 1870 German-Jewish families gradually changed from a "prebourgeois" pattern to one resembling that of non-Jews of the middle class. In the older pattern, many fathers traveled far from home on business for extended periods, and married women frequently carried on economic activity outside the home, though with less extensive travel. Children often left home at an early age to work, apprentice, or study. Members of the extended family frequently lived together in the same household or building. On the other hand, restrictions on marriage led some Jews to remain single. Prosperous families had Jewish servants, especially cooks and maids, and unmarried commercial employees of the family firm often lived with the family. The bourgeois family, on the other hand, was generally a nuclear-family household living in its own home with a father who worked outside the home and returned home every evening and a mother who managed the household and created a cultivated and respectable atmosphere.1 These changes were much more rapid among prosperous and urban families than among rural Jews and the poor.
Preemancipation legal restrictions were an important cause of the premodern patterns. As it was impossible to limit the number of children a couple had, legal restrictions applied to families rather than individuals. Most governments restricted the number of Jewish families under their jurisdiction and required Jews to pay an annual fee in return for a residence permit (Schutzbrief) allowing them to reside and do business. Without procuring a residence permit, a young man could not marry or open an independent business. Those whose applications were rejected had to remain in the household of a "permit holder" and could not start their own family. Some Jewish men and women were able to marry after much delay, but many could not marry at all. Housing