Friday, December 19, 2014

Putting the Wraps on Occupations

I left out quite a few families to avoid too much repetition on the jobs. The majority of the ancestors were farmers in some capacity - some small, some vast. The operation of grist mills was another popular occupation. Innkeepers [taverns, public houses] were also fairly common. Several immigrants came over as members of the textile business. Tanners, paper makers, doctors, veterinarians, blacksmiths and wheelwrights dotted the landscape as well. As the families moved to the cities day laborers, carpenters, night watchmen, tool and die makers and other urbanized jobs began to appear.

To find out about your ancestors' livelihoods, try checking city and county directories, probate files [listing disposition of farmsteads, listing tools, etc.], town histories and census records to get started. Be aware of terms like laborer, mechanic or other generic occupations. Your carpenter could be listed as a mechanic  - a person who worked with his hands, not a car repair guy! That of course could be the case as the 20th century progressed.

Then there's the horse thief, mobster, moonshiner or pirate to deal with!

Visiting Ancestral Homes

How many of you have conducted research in the towns, or at least counties, that your ancestors lived in? On my research junkets, I made it a point not to do research only. I would mix a day or two of research with visiting local historical sites. Cemetery visits can fall under either  category.

Mixing it up gives you a break from the libraries and helps to give you a feel for the area. I'll take a look at a few of those trips in the posts ahead.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Contintued Job Check

My Wagner/Laubscher family from Baden migrated from Pennsylvania to Missouri and Wisconsin because of work available in the lead mines.

The Crousore/Kraushaar family was one of farmers primarily in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana. Immigrant, Nocholas was also a distiller.

John Simmons, Sr. operated a popular tavern at the corner of Wall and Nassau Streets in New York City before and after the Revolutionary War. Late in life he was a land speculator in upstate New York. John Jr. served as his father's sales agent on the land investment, was an on-again, off-again farmer in NY and the Midwest, and ran a "public house" near Canonsburg, PA. John William was a farmer. James M. was a carpenter and farmer. John T. farmed and worked at a sawmill.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Some More on the Job Market

The majority of my Quaker ancestors who migrated from Pennsylvania to Virginia were farmers.

Casper Rinker, whose family hailed from Switzerland, held a sizable amount of farmland in Virginia, but also ran an inn - visited on more than one occasion by George Washington.

Peter Trisler, of Wittenburg, Germany and Jessamine Co., KY, was a somewhat eccentric physician.

The Sension/St. John line was involved in the textile industry before coming to America [tailor, button maker] and farmers in New England, New York and Ohio. There was one innkeeper in the mix.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Occupations Continue

The bulk of my Rhode Island stock were farmers or mariners, with an occasional weaver, minister or merchant thrown in.

My Faucetts, John, Josesph and Benjamin F., were farmers for the most part until Benjamin moved the family to Indianapolis. Joseph had served as a tailor's apprentice, so had an occupation to fall back on during the winter months.

Hugh and Ebenezer Mahurin were colliers [iron workers] in Massachusetts and New Jersey. They also farmed. Generation 3, Seth, who dropped the Ma and became Hurin, kept at the farming, as did son Othniel.

Edward Hazen was an inn keeper. His son and grandsons were farmers.

Humphrey and John [the Elder] Turner were tanners by trade. John's son, Ezekiel, chose the life of a mariner.

Friday, December 12, 2014

More on the Job Market

I left off with the Pralls and few allied families yesterday. I'll continue from there with the Rhodes family.

Although immigrant Zachariah Rhodes seems to have pursued political and community interests over any particular career - he did drown off the coast of Rhode Island, so may have been involved in maritime pursuits. Son John was a farmer, as was grandson, John. Little is known of John's son Holden. His son Holden took to the seas. He was a privateer during the Revolution and was a sea captain. His son Zachariah was also a sea captain. He and his brother, Perry, were lost at sea in 1815.

Captain Holden Rhodes' father-in-law, Daniel Remington, was a ship's carpenter.

The in-laws of Captain Zachariah Rhodes also had ties to the seafaring world. His wife's father and brother [James Cunningham Sr. and Jr.] were sea captains. Harriet's five sisters all married seamen, shipbuilders or others in similar trades.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Ancestral Occupations Round Two

Early Prall family occupations:

Jan Arentsen van Heerde, the immigrant, was a bowery master [head of a farmstead] and farmer on Staten Island from about 1650-55.

Arent Jansen Prall [c1646-1725] was a wheelwright in Kingston/Esopus and Staten Island, New Netherland/New York.

Pieter Prall [1672-1748] was a Staten Island planter.

Aaron Prall [1698-1757] farmed and operated a grist mill in Hunterdon Co., NJ. He may also have been a trader, operating between Staten Island and Kingston and Hunterdon Co. and Kingston.

Cornelius Prall, Sr. [1732-1813] followed in his father's footsteps, farming and operating a grist mill.

Cornelius Prall, Jr. [1768-1834] was a farmer, but spent a lot of time buying and selling land [as had his father.]

Isaac Rittenhouse Prall [1800-1880] was a farmer in New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

[The rest of the line was covered in yesterday's post.]

Pierre Billiou [c1622-1701], Arent's father-in-law, was a weaver in The Netherlands and a farmer on Staten Island.

Hans Christopher [c1648-c1690], Pieter's father-in-law, was a farmer as well.

The Whiitaker family: Edward [c1640-1695] was a soldier and may have been a tavern keeper. His son James [1675-aft 1751; Aaron's father-in-law] was a cattle dealer and probably took part in other trading ventures.

The Garrisons: John [c1704-1775], Cornelius Sr.'s father-in-law, was a farmer and miller. His father and grandfather ware farmers.

Wilhelm Rittenhouse [1644-1708] owned the first papermill in British America and was the first Mennonite minister in the colonies. His son Gerhard/Garret [c1674-1743] was a farmer and grist miller. William [1695-1757] was a farmer and tavern keeper. His son and Cornelius Prall, Jr.'s father-in-law, Issac, was also a farmer and tavern keeper.

More later!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ancestors' Occupations

Take a look at what your ancestors did for a living. Were they farmers, storekeepers, ministers, horse thieves or carpenters? How did they manage to put bread on the table for their families?

I'll run a few posts discussing how my ancestors kept their families fed. I guess the best place to start is with my father, Hugh Prall. He was a tool and die maker and owned his own shop. His father, Marshall Prall, was a candy maker in Marion (IN), Cincinnati and Indianapolis. My great-grandfather, Hugh M. Prall, was listed variously as a clerk, canvasser, solicitor, carpenter and cornice maker. (I think the canvasser/solicitor job was gathering info for the local directories.

My Dad's maternal grandfather, Charles Faucett, was a teamster, a city agent for Kingan & Co. (Indianapolis) and a day laborer. His father, Benjamin F. Faucett was a farmer in Hendricks Co. (IN) and a carpenter, after moving the family to Indianapolis.

On my Mom's side of the family, her father, Charles McHugh, was a tool and die maker (he made auto parts and toys in the shop) and patented the "Putt-Putt Boat," a popular toy during the late teens and 1920s. (He also took my father under his wing and taught him the business.) His father, James McHugh, was a farmer and stonemason in Illinois and Wisconsin. John McHugh, my great-grandfather, was also a farmer and stonemason. He was a coal miner for a short time as well in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Wisconsin.

Mom's maternal grandfather, James Crail, was a blacksmith and a veterinarian. (His career included stints as a Federal Meat Inspector in Chicago and Indy.) Aaron Crail, James' father, was a farmer, whose life was interrupted by the Civil War.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

New England Families & SLIG 2015

Since I'll be taking a course on New England research in Salt Lake, I thought I'd line up the families from that region of the colonies. Yes, colonies! The last of my NE clans were in America by 1700. By the Revolutionary War, the majority were either still in NE or had migrated to New York & New Jersey. 1800 saw them in the Mid-Atlantic States and heading for the Ohio Territory.

Approximately 70-75 families found their way from the British Isles to New England between 1620 & 1700. Maybe 10-15% were from Wales, Scotland & Ireland, while the rest were from England. One family's origin, Welch or Dutch, is still being debated.

The vast majority settled in Massachusetts Bay & Plymouth, while Connecticut & Rhode Island came later as welcomes wore out in the former two colonies.

Descendants of those 70-odd families migrated west into Ohio, Indiana & Kentucky by the early to mid-1800s.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Wright - Davis - Bowater, SLIG 2015 & a REALLY Long Layoff!

For the handful of people who follow the blog - sorry for the total lack of posts since early October. I just let it get away from me! No excuses.

The Salt Lake Institute is just around the corner, January 12-16. I'm trying to get all of my New England ancestors updated in preparation for the "Diving Deeper into New England" course. I believe there are still a few openings in 3-4 tracks for those who are interested.

One of the non-New England families I've been working on is that of James and Mary Wright, Quaker ministers who lived in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. When I first worked on this couple many years ago, Mary Wright was believed to be Mary Davis. Then, "new research" pointed to Mary Bowater being Mrs. Wright. It seems that Mary Wright's maiden name is still open to debate. It may be that my "free research time" in SLC should be devoted to Quaker and Wright research!