What Were Your Ancestors Doing In 1870?

Here's something I find most clients miss when they are researching their family trees. 

From 1850 forward, the census records record peoples' occupations. In rare cases, you'll see a woman with a career (it was not looked upon as socially appropriate), but the males of the household will have professions. And they weren't all farmers.

You'll find physicians, brick moulders, hotel keepers, teachers, wheelwrights, ministers, coal miners, day laborers, and so many more. Though people generally chose a profession and stayed with it throughout their lives (whether they liked it or not), there are those who did change jobs midstream.

If you do discover farmers or coal miners, you'll find them starting their careers young. I admired those farming fathers who had 18-19 year old sons with the description "at school." So many of the sons were working the fields by 12 years of age, and schooling became a thing of the past.

Whether you record your family tree in a personal software program (which I would recommend), or in an online software program, be sure to take the additional event step of adding their occupations. You just may discover some exciting facts among your family branches.

Comments