Labour Day: The occupations of my ancestors.

Geneabloggers has been running the 2011 Labor Day challenge to celebrate Labor Day in the US last weekend. Where I live Labour Day is celebrated on May Day, the first Monday in May. In other states it’s celebrated on dates in other months.

Even though I’m out of kilter time-wise, this challenge looked pretty interesting so I had a play with what I know of my ancestors back to my 3 x great-grandfathers and put their occupations into a pie chart. I had to make some assumptions behind the allocation of their jobs, because some did different jobs at different times in their lives, for quite long periods, while others combined skills in one job eg railway carpenter. If they only did a job for a very brief period I’ve omitted it.

So here is my Occupational Heritage Pie for the men in my family back to my 3 x great grandfathers. The three unknowns represent pesky unidentified Irishmen who are more than likely to have been farm labourers or possibly fishermen. The surprise was to realise how substantial the farming pie actually was.

The diverse occupations of my male ancestors back to 3 x great grandfathers.

I decided not to attempt the women’s jobs as I did not have enough information on them. Almost all were busily employed looking after the family after marriage but some also combined this with working on the farm, gatekeeper in the railway, working in the family’s tearooms, dressmaking etc. I did not feel it was possible to do their skill range justice in this type of activity. The exceptions are one maternal 2 x great grandmother who worked as a ship’s stewardess after her husband’s death (and perhaps before), and the 3 x great-grandmother who actually owned the family inn in Dorfprozelten, Bavaria inherited it from her family who’d been running it for centuries.

2 thoughts on “Labour Day: The occupations of my ancestors.

  1. Even though you have little information on the women, I find the number of different types of jobs held by the women to be absolutely fascinating. Some of them sound like they were really ahead of their times.


    1. Yes I think all the women of those early pioneers took on many responsibilities though if asked they’d probably have said their occupations were “domestic duties”, making it hard to classify them objectively. Other supported their husbands when times were tough in other ways with court cases or bankruptcies. They were interesting people I think. I love the fact that the 2x great grandmother was a stewardess on ships probably made it simpler for her to make the voyage to Australia when she was no longer a young woman.


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