What do you do to earn a quid?

We had our regular tweeters but also joined by a few more who had specific information relating to this week’s topic.

Occupations

Questions were: 

  1. Share the resources and repositories that helped you discover ancestors’ occupations and put their work & life in context?
  2. Tell us about an ancestor with an unusual or dangerous occupation, child labour or a now-uncommon job?
  3. Are there occupations in your family that have passed down to the next generations?
  4. What resources do you review to find out more on businesses & business owners, self employed or financially independent ancestors?

Format for the post will be resources to check out, then occupations relating to our ancestors and finally some questions about unusual occupations and where to find the answers.

Resources to find information relating to occupations and context in life

  • Directories and electoral rolls
  • Census records
  • Newspapers including advertisements, articles and family notices
  • Pre UK census try UK Register of Duties Paid for Apprentices’ Indentures 1710-1811 (National Archives & Ancestry)
  • Public Record Offices for Government occupations
  • Birth, death and marriage records
  • Obituaries but as Sue said they are only as accurate as the informants knowledge – pioneers of the district could have been convicts in reality
  • Title Deeds to property owned list the occupation of owners
  • Apprentice records
  • Military records
  • Wills and probate records
  • 1939 register
  • UK Merchant Navy records: Register of Seamen at TNA or on FMP, Seamen’s tickets, Voyage details for crew lists.
  • Academic journals (JSTOR) through the National Library of Australia
  • Gale newspaper access for occupation background and risks of jobs.
  • Books, books, books and reading
  • Regional Archives
  • Regional and local family history society newsletters
  • Guild records from apprentice to master
  • Immigration passenger lists
  • Council Records
  • Employment lists for businesses
  • Lately bankruptcy records have been adding lots to research on employers.

Specific links

Personal responses

Angela: Census records that revealed I am descended from a ‘Herd’ and a ‘Brush’ . (I kid you not)

Fran: My Cornish miners jobs could be dangerous. The average age of death was 28th years and 4 months. So young.

Pauleen: My dad was a numbertaker – say what, an undertaker? Nope, a numbertaker or tally clerk working with freight distribution in the railway shunting yards. Not quite as dangerous as shunting but still very hazardous.

Sharn: The most dangerous occupation my ancestors had was MINING. I discovered a g g uncle was killed in a mining accident ‘killed by an explosion of fie damp’ on the Scottish Mining Website.

Jane: My ancestors all seem to have fairly standard occupations … Farmers, agricultural labourers, domestic servants, Bricklayers and other tradesmen … Although I do have a rat catcher!

272447 / Pixabay

Hilary: my husband’s grandfather died after a fall working in an Ironstone quarry; my gt uncle was killed whilst working in the docks a cargo fell on him

Allie: I have lots of newspaper compositors and handloom weavers in my family, not unusual at the time but definitely rare today. Not aware of any work accidents, but I’m sure much of the work my ancestors did was dangerous or hazardous to health in the long term.

Sue: My Great great grandmothers sister married RG Winters who was a pianoforte maker. Married in England, migrated to Tasmania, Had a pianoforte factory in Elizabeth Street Hobart

ANZ: And quarry workers and stonemasons often had lung diseases….this asbestosis. Occupations were so hazardous before OH&S awareness but there are still random injuries.

Seonaid: A lot of my ancestors were ag labs, carpenters, navy or army, cab drivers, fruit and veg sales. I do have a female ancestor who took over her husband’s butchery business when he died. Although I expect that’s not unusual.

Pauleen: Generations ago I had miners in Northumberland – another dangerous occupation with the possibility of child labour though I’ve found none

Sue: I have three brothers, one my great grandfather, who survived the 1912 Mt Lyell mining disaster

ANZ: Who remembers when the rat catchers from the council would come round with their fox terriers checking for rats when people still had backyard dunnies?

Fiona: Inspector of Nuisances in a clients family. Image of one here.

Jennifer: My friend’s ancestor worked in a tiny building in the forest in Belgium checking undetonated bombs

OPS: Earlier this year our response to the A-Z Blogging Challenge featured contributions from members on a range of occupations, including Apple Crusher, Dominatrix, Jester, Number Taker, Pig-jobber and Tabernarius!

Dara: My GG-grandfather was a coachman, a servant in a big house. I love the idea of him hitching up the horses and strolling, or racing, through the streets, taking his master to where-ever. Probably my imagination pictures a more romantic version of his job.

addesia / Pixabay

Jill: Husband’s ancestor, Francis Jollie Gowans, was appointed Honorary Surgeon to the King in 1937

Mining the Past: One of the next door neighbours to my miner ancestor was a pit pony driver, aged 13.  My family were miners right up until my maternal grandfather. He suffered from miners lung and had to stop hewing. He was elected pithead weighman on behalf of the miners ie checking the company weighman was weighing the coal accurately so they got paid fairly.

Sue: My great great grandfather had a fairly easy life as head gardener to the Governor of Tasmania in the 1860s and 1870s. Lots of write ups in paper about winning competitions etc

Sue: My other great great grandfather (before he was proved by DNA not to be mine) was a whaling captain and many of his descendants still keep jobs to do with water

Seonaid: Navy & army were pretty regular patterns in my family on both sides. My 3xgr gfather & 2x gr gfather were paper stainers. Found a wallpaper factory near where they lived. I do wonder how 1 ancestor went from a candle & soap worker to planemaker in 10 years.

Angela: have generations of railway workers …porters, station masters. Wonderful that their homes are listed in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage

Sharn: I have used newspaper advertisements and calls tender to find the buildings, houses and rail carriages a gg grandfather constructed in Sydney NSW

Jennifer: Have found business ads on Trove, Wills, Rate books

Pauleen: Court cases can tell you where someone was and who they knew. My George Kunkel was called as a witness to an equity case revealing he was a pork butcher on the gold fields at Tooloom, NSW, travelling from Ipswich Qld.

 

Brooke: When reading census records this list of old English occupations may come in handy. Researching the COLLIDGE family, I came across the occupation CLICKER; someone who worked in the shoe trade cutting out the lowers.

Sophie: One of the things I’ve been struck by in preparing the Occupations tweet series is what a range of dreadful health hazards were associated with so many jobs in yesteryear – hand planking one example

Dara: I struggle to find much information concerning many ancestors’ occupations, that is specific to their own job, other than on BMDs. Trade directories help for some tradesmen.

Pauleen: I found references to my carpenter ancestor in Ipswich burial registers. Fires, flood and disasters can bring up news stories of how my self-employed ancestors were impacted

Fran: Thinking you need to verify the occupations. On the first property we purchased the bank wrote “wife” for me and Stephen made them change it to “Product Manager” so like all sources – CHECK

Carmel: The back of directories for business advertisers

Jennifer: I do have a few ancestors who stated their occupation as ‘gentleman’. Wishful thinking I’m sure

Fran: On passenger lists I have found a number of ancestors occupations. It’s good for people that travelled often as you can see changes in roles, promotions, etc

Dara: Funnily enough, when my GGG-grandfather, who left Ireland a plasterer, became a successful building contractor in Australia, he claimed he was a Gentleman on some records.

Mining the Past: I have an ancestor in Gateshead who worked at the ‘railway staithes’. From maps identified as Dunston Staithes, the largest existing wooden structure in Europe and a visitor attraction!! Guess where I’ll be visiting next UK trip 🙂

TryJimmy / Pixabay

Society of OPS: The Gazette is another great source of business / company info for the UK

Fiona: Check @ArchivesNZ for files on the stations. Have been looking at these in the last week and have found house plans for the houses being rented and sold at the end of their use by railways.

Allie: Mostly censuses and vital records. Otherwise I’ve found a few newspaper reports and adverts that have mentioned employers or business locations, and I’ve also used street and business directories. FindMyPast is good for trade union records

Occupations often passed down through the generations included:

shoemakers, gardeners, coachmen, schoolmasters, coal miners, ag labs, merchant marines, weavers, lacemakers, railway workers, butchers, blacksmithing, tailor, pipers, compositors, watchmakers

Things to follow up on: videos, other twitter chats, competition

  • Today will be of interest to @OnePlaceStudies members engaged in our 2020 Shared Endeavour of Employment and Occupations in our #OnePlaceStudies!
  • Videos to check out from OPS , the twitter chat from the OPS Conference 2020 including occupations
  • Dr Sophie Kay has an Occupation of the day twitter hashtag. Follow it here and learn more about unusual occupations.
  • Also from Dr Sophie Kay: just a little heads-up for those of you who enjoy competitions: keep an eye out for a Twitter/blog announcement from me next month, as I’ll be running a little Xmas Quiz competition themed around the #OccupationOfTheDay strand!

Readers: Check out the OccupationOfTheDay hashtag to find out the answers to these unusual occupations.

Jacker off, Keel Fleeter, Equilibrist or Knife shaver

DNA connections and record keeping

I look after 7 DNA kits from Ancestry and all are uploaded to Family Tree DNA, My Heritage DNA and GEDmatch DNA. How do I keep a record of my matches, chromosomes and common information?

I have a spreadsheet on my google drive  which synchronizes across all my devices. This means whether I am at home on my desktop PC, or in a library with my iPad or my laptop then I can always get to that spreadsheet to make any changes.

I mainly work on my father’s DNA connections or my mother’s as they will be one generation closer to the Most Common Recent  Ancestor (MCRA) than if I work with mine or my brother’s.

The main DNA spreadsheet has lots of sheets relating to Dad

The first sheet has a copy of the first 2000 links from GEDmatch using the one-to-many test. This is just a straight copy/paste. I have then gone through the first 100 people using the one-to-one test to find out the chromosomes shared with my dad.  I am starting to colour code people who match each other when using the share 2 kits test. At least once a moth I update this sheet by checking the people marked in green on the main GEDmatch page for Dad. These will be the recent people who share his DNA.

The second sheet is a copy of the share 2 kits test for Dad and Kevin (his half brother)  This is a straight copy/paste. This means everyone on that list is from dad’s paternal side as dad and Kevin share a father. This list includes names and emails of the matches as well as the amount of cM shared and the generations between the matches. I am in contact with 3 people on this list so far.

The third sheet is one I have to create from information on available trees from the people in the Dad/Kevin list. I find their trees on any of the DNA websites. On this sheet I list the name of the person, the surnames at 4 or more generations away and where and when those people were born and died.

The fourth sheet is the share 2 kits test for Dad and Ruby. Anyone on this list relates to my dad’s maternal grandmother.

Dad/Patrick is because Patrick is the closest unknown link on the GEDmatch list at 3.9 generations.

I just found a great video from Ancestry explaining shared cM, mirror trees and a lot more. The sound is not too great and sounds a bit tunnelly.

My future plans

I will be starting a new spreadsheet for Mum’s DNA at some stage to keep all her information there.

On Ancestry, I have lots of trees, one labelled DNA Dad’s tree. It is here that I use the information from dad and Kevin matches to create mirror trees to find out where they link. So far I have about 6 trees started but none link yet. This will certainly be an ongoing project.

I also keep a separate spreadsheet with all those people I have already found a match to with DNA from either Mum or Dad. But I also include matches with the other people whose kits I look after eg Ruby, Dorothy and Kevin. The information in this is then sent to Blaine Bettinger’s shared cM Project via this Google form. The MCRA is usually a grandparent couple rather than an individual except in the case of my father’s grandmother. Most of my dad’s matches are half relationships and in the note column I will mention if the match is double cousins as I have on one side of mum’s tree. As Ancestry doesn’t give the largest number of cMs, I just put Ancestry in this column. When I have uploaded data to the shared cM project I put the year in the Done column. Anything highlighted in yellow is dad’s side but more information needs to be included, green is same but mum’s side.

Readers: How do you record your matches for DNA from all the websites or do you just use one website?

Where do I begin searching?

I am so lucky that my family history has mainly been in Tasmania since the early 1830’s. I began my researching by asking questions of my mother who seemed to know everything about the family or at least her side of it. My father knows very little about his side and is amazed at what I am finding out for him. Unluckily, we haven’t had any heirloom bibles or notebooks handed down in the family, so I am having to start from scratch.

My number 1 spot

The LINC webpages which has just been updated this week. These are resources related to Tasmania but they do have other links to visit outside our clean, green state. Type in the name of your relative in the search bar at the top.

This search will include

  • births RGD 33
  • deaths RGD 35
  • marriages RGD 37
  • convicts
  • wills and more

Then visit the record, remembering to take note of the source of the record. How much did you find that was useful?

My number 2 spot

The National Archives of Australia – this is for information after 1900 when Australia became one federated country rather than separate colonies. I do a record search and will find war records as well as naturalization records, some passenger lists – both boat and plane. Part of the NAA this year is the Discovering ANZACs website – joint project with National Archives of New Zealand – where all World War I service men and women have their records open to the public. See another post I have written telling you where to find more war records.

My number 3 spot

This is Trove which is part of the National Library of Australia. It has a section of digitized newspapers from all states of Australia. These are being updated all the time. What is also great is they include a citation button in top left corner where you can copy the source of the record very easily. I use the Harvard/Australian version all the time to keep things consistent in the family tree software programme I use.

Readers: What are your three favourite repositories or places to find information for your family history? Do you have some for places outside Australia?

What is a repository?

Research
Photo Credit: Anders Sandberg via Compfight

We are now into week 3 of the family history course and we are about to start planning our major research. As I listened to Dianne Snowden’s lecture about repositories and records, I made some notes and here they are.

What is a repository?

Library, archives, museums, family history society

Cora Num’s website has lots of links to different repositories and record sites globally and locally

Some examples of Australian repositories

National Library of Australia –includes online catalogue to search,  eResources and link to Trove – digitized newspapers

National Archives of Australia – Commonwealth government records from 1901, defence records, photo search, name search

State archives – state Government departments

Repositories including other countries

Australian Joint Copying Project – material from Australia, NZ and Pacific from 1560 to 1984

Family Search – put together by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

List of family history societies in Australia from Cora Num website

Federation of Family history societies in UK

Ancestry – where we will get a one month access soon

 Other record sources

  • To make the most of your research time, you need to know what is kept where.  Always do your homework – what are you looking for and where will you find it
  • Reminder that an index is only a guide – find copy of original record
  • Information only as accurate as the informant gives eg relative better than funeral director

BDM records and indexes – start with yourself and work backwards

FreeBMD – UK site

Graham Jaunay has a guide to what you will find on BDM certificates in each state of Australia

Cora Num – lots of links for Australia BDM records

Electoral Rolls and census records in Australia

Photographs – Jane Shrimpton blog on dating photos

To my readers:

What other record sources have you used especially if it is for countries other than Australia?