Also, the give away for Liz Curtis Higgs's A Wreath of Snow was unclaimed, a second drawing has the winner: Merry! Merry Christmas!
Last week I fell down a rabbit hole onto Ancestry.com and was having fun researching family history and looking for that interesting tidbit of information that might get me further down my family tree branch, or give a great story idea.
Do you know what occupations your ancestors spent their lives doing?
What glance at history can you get from their unique occupations?
Let's face it, there were a LOT of farmers in the 19th century! But there were also many other interesting occupations of the times.
My great grandfather was a house mover. Really? Who moves houses? and how could there have really been enough to support him for a living? But I found it this week in a census that he had work for nearly 40 weeks of the year in 1939, while many others of that time could hardly find steady work through the year. Granted, he didn't strike it rich!
I have an ancestor who was a cooper--a barrel maker. But seriously,who needs wooden barrels when you have cardboard and plastic? So I guess that occupation didn't get passed down.
Another ancestor was a blacksmith. Now there's a hard working man. What hot work. My great great grandfather would have had to fix most of his own things around the farm. But I'll bet people came to him to have pieces fixed or made as well. Need a hinge? Oh right, there's always the local hardware store nowadays.
Another ancestor was a miller in Lancaster County, PA. What did he mill you might ask? Hemp. Err--Yep. Hmmm. I guess to make ropes? He was the likely son or grandson of our immigrant from Switzerland. We were able to find the mill stone still intact on the farm with his initials in the stone. And I don't suppose it's legal to have a hemp mill now. So, yep, that didn't get passed down either.
My grandfather was a carpenter. He did odd jobs and fix it work. He did a lot of painting. The thing I love? He often worked on these stunning old Victorian summer homes in Bay View, Michigan near Petosky. In a way, just looking at these beauties from the road--his legacy lives on. They just don't make them like that these days!
What's in your history?
What have you stumbled on in your reading or research that you'd like to see in a novel?